Renters giving notice of intention to vacate

Skip listen and sharing tools

Renters who want to move out can either talk to their rental provider (landlord) to reach an agreement, or give formal notice that they want to leave.

A notice of intention to vacate is a formal statement that the renter wants to end the rental agreement (lease).

There are only certain reasons renters can end a rental agreement early without breaking the agreement (breaking the lease) and having to pay compensation or lease break fees.

On this page:

You can find information about rental providers giving renters notice to vacate and evictions on other pages.

There are some different rules for:

Reasons renters can give notice

End of an agreement

Renters must give 28 days notice if they want to leave at the end of a rental agreement (lease).

Renters on fixed-term agreements, like a 12-month agreement, will automatically move to a month to month agreement if they do not give notice.

Early notice without breaking the agreement

There are some reasons a renter can leave before the end of the rental agreement without breaking the agreement and without having to pay costs.

These reasons, and how much notice must be given, are listed in the table on this page.

The renter must give written notice for any of these reasons.

Breaking the agreement

If renters give notice for any other reason before the end of the rental agreement, they will be breaking the rental agreement. They may have to pay costs.

Agreement to leave without formal notice

A renter may ask a rental provider if they can leave without giving them a formal notice of intention to vacate. The rental provider does not have to agree. If they do, the agreement should be recorded in writing.

Renters experiencing family violence

People experiencing family violence who need to change their rental agreement (lease) so that they or their children can be safe can apply to VCAT.

They can ask VCAT for an order so that the site owner:

  • gives them a new site agreement
  • lets them leave before the agreement ends without having to pay fees.

Read more about changing or ending a rental agreement because of family violence.

Withdrawing a notice of intention to vacate

If you are a renter and have given notice but decide you want to stay longer or extend the agreement, we suggest you:

  • tell your rental provider as soon as possible
  • provide written notice to withdraw the intention to vacate
  • seek the rental provider’s or agent’s agreement in writing.

If the rental provider does not agree to the withdrawal

If the rental provider does not agree to withdraw the notice to vacate, the renter can apply to VCAT for a hearing.

If VCAT has not said the renter can stay longer or extend the agreement, the renter must leave by the date on the original notice of intention to vacate.

If renters do not leave

If a renter gives notice but does not leave, the rental provider can apply to VCAT for an order for the renter to move out. This can mean the renter is evicted.

How to give notice

The renter must put the notice in writing. Although it is not compulsory to use this form, we recommend using our Notice of intention to vacate rented premises by renter (Word, 108KB).

Delivering a notice to vacate

The notice to vacate must be delivered to the rental provider by:

  • post
  • electronic communication (such as email)
  • hand (giving the notice personally to the rental provider).

Allow for mail delivery times, which depend on:

  • your delivery method
  • where you are mailing your notice from.

It is important to allow enough time for mail to be delivered if you are posting the notice. The Australia Post website can help calculate delivery times.

List of reasons and timeframes

Reason for leaving a property  Minimum notice required
The property doesn’t meet minimum standards before the renter moves in.

Immediate

(We suggest renters advise the rental provider of the problem and allow a reasonable time for a response before giving notice. This will help avoid a dispute later)

The property becomes unfit for human habitation or is destroyed to such an extent that it becomes unsafe.
Immediate
The rental provider has breached a VCAT compliance order or compensation order.
14 days
The rental provider has breached a duty for the third time and has been given a breach of duty notice twice before.
14 days
The rental provider has refused to make changes a renter has asked for so that the property is suitable for someone with disability.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because they are ending a fixed-term agreement of less than 5 years.
14 days

The renter needs temporary crisis accommodation.

Temporary crisis accommodation is accommodation that is provided on a non-permanent, non-profit basis for persons: 

  • experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness; or 
  • being subjected to family violence or at risk of being subjected to family violence

and is provided by a person or body which receives funding for the purpose of providing such accommodation.

14 days
The renter needs special and personal care, and needs to move to get this care.
14 days
The renter is moving into social housing.
14 days
The renter is a public tenant and receives a 90-day notice to vacate because they no longer meet eligibility requirements.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because they are making major repairs to the property.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because the property is going to be demolished.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because the property is going to be used for a business.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because the rental provider or their family is going to live in the property.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because the property is going to be sold.
14 days
The rental provider has given the renter a notice to vacate because the property is going to be acquired for a public purpose.
14 days
A long-term agreement was verbal or didn’t use the right form.
28 days
Any other reason.
28 days 

However, for fixed term agreements, the end date on the notice of intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the rental agreement.

If the date is earlier than this, the renter is breaking the agreement and may have to pay lease break fees.


Forms you might need

To give a rental provider notice of intention of vacate, use this form/one of these forms:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about renters giving notice include:

  • renters do not have to pay lease break fees in certain circumstances
  • renters can end a long-term rental agreement if it was not made in the prescribed standard form.

Some language also changed:

  • Landlords are now called rental providers
  • Tenants are now called renters
  • Leases are now called rental agreements.

You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about renters giving notice of intention to vacate, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 91Z – Notice of intention to vacate
  • Section 91ZA – Notice to have no effect in certain circumstances
  • Section 91ZB – Reduced period of notice of intention to vacate in certain circumstance
  • Section 91ZZN – Form of notice of intention to vacate