Notice to vacate in rental properties

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When a rental provider (landlord) wants a renter (tenant) to move out of the property, they can either talk to the renter to reach an agreement or give the renter a notice to vacate. 

A notice to vacate is a formal statement that the rental provider wants to end the rental agreement. A rental provider can only give a notice to vacate for certain reasons. 

If a renter does not leave by the termination date in the notice to vacate, the rental provider can apply to VCAT for an eviction or possession order.  

On this page: 

Or, you can find information about renters giving notice or evictions on other pages. 

There are some different rules for: 

Reasons rental providers can and cannot give notice

Rental providers can only give notice for certain reasons. These reasons are listed in the tables on this page.  

Other reasons for giving notice are not valid. A rental provider must provide a reason when they give someone notice to vacate. They cannot give notice without a reason. 

In some situations, a rental provider can give a notice to vacate before the end of the rental agreement. 

A rental provider cannot give someone notice for doing something, or saying they will do something, they are legally allowed to do. 

For example, a rental provider cannot give a renter notice to vacate for:

  • requesting repairs
  • asking to have a pet
  • challenging a rent increase. 

A notice to vacate is not valid if it is unlawful discrimination

Agreement to leave without formal notice

A rental provider may ask a renter to leave without giving them a notice to vacate. The renter does not have to agree to leave. If they do, they should record this in writing.

Immediate notice

Rental providers can give a renter a notice to vacate immediately if the renter or their visitor does any of the following: 

  • intentionally or recklessly causes serious damage to the property, including safety equipment and common areas 
  • puts neighbours, the rental provider or the provider's agent, or their contractors or employees, in danger.

Read more about immediate notice. There are additional rules for violent or dangerous behaviour in a rooming house or violent or dangerous behaviour in a caravan park

How to give notice

Rental providers should use the Notice to vacate to renter/s of rented premises (Word, 760KB).

The notice must:  

  • be addressed to the renter 
  • give the reason the rental provider is ending the agreement  
  • be signed by the rental provider (or their agent) 
  • be sent with enough time for it to get to the renter 
  • state the date the renter has to leave by (the termination date). 

Delivering a notice to vacate 

The notice to vacate must be delivered to the renter at the rented premises, either by: 

  • post 
  • electronic communication (such as email), if the renter has given consent to receive notices and other documents this way 
  • hand (giving the notice personally to the renter). 

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. If you think you might need proof that you’ve sent the notice you can use registered post.

Challenging a notice to vacate

A renter can challenge a notice to vacate if they: 

  • believe it was not given to them properly 
  • disagree with the reason given on the notice 
  • were given the notice as a result of family violence. 

Find out about challenging a notice to vacate

When a renter does not leave

If a renter does not leave after being given notice, rental providers can apply for a possession order. See more information on possession orders and evictions.  

When a renter dies

If there is only one renter in a property and they die, the rental provider can end the rental agreement by giving a notice to vacate to the deceased’s legal personal representative or next of kin. Read more about what happens when a renter or rental provider dies

Ending an agreement early – reasons and notice periods

A rental provider can only end a rental agreement early (before its stated end date) for one of the following reasons. If the rental provider does not give one of the listed reasons, the notice to vacate is not valid. 

There are different timeframes for giving a renter a notice to vacate depending on the reason the notice is being given. 

Read more about some of the common reasons rental providers give renters a notice to vacate: 

List of reasons rental provider can ask renters to leave early

Reason for notice to vacate before a rental agreement ends Minimum notice required
The renter or their visitor intentionally or recklessly causes serious damage to the property, including safety equipment and common areas 
Immediate
The renter or their visitor puts neighbours, the rental provider or the provider's agent, or the rental provider or agent’s contractors or employees, in danger
Immediate
The premises are unfit for human habitation, destroyed totally, or destroyed to the extent that they are unsafe
Immediate
The renter or anyone else living in the rental property seriously threatens or intimidates the rental provider, their agent, or the rental provider or agent’s contractors or employees
14 days
The renter owes at least 14 days rent
14 days
The renter has failed to comply with a VCAT compliance order
14 days
The renter has already been given 2 breach of duty notices and the same breach occurs
14 days
The property is being used for illegal purposes
14 days
The renter has brought in other renters or sub-letters without consent
14 days
The renter has not paid the bond as agreed
14 days
The renter has a child under 16 years of age living at the premises when the rental agreement says this is not allowed
14 days
The rental provider is a government housing authority and the renter misled the authority so they could get social housing
14 days
The renter has been involved in a drug-related activity in public housing
14 days
The renter is keeping a pet without consent and VCAT has made an order excluding the pet 28 days

Notice at the end of an agreement – reasons and notice periods

If rental providers (landlords) want renters to move out when an agreement ends, they will still need to give them notice. 

How much notice they need to give depends on the reason for the notice. See the list below.

In some cases, the rental provider must include evidence with the notice to vacate, such as a building permit or statutory declaration. See the evidence requirements in the table below.

The notice to vacate for an end of fixed-term agreement must specify a termination date on or after the end date listed in the rental agreement. To end the rental agreement early, the rental provider must give a notice to vacate for a different reason.

Notice can be given at any time if the agreement is month by month.

See more information on the rules for different types of agreements

List of reasons a rental provider can give notice at the end of an agreement

If rental providers want to issue a notice to vacate at the end of a fixed-term agreement without a reason, they can only do so at the end of the first fixed-term agreement. Where renters stay in a property on a subsequent fixed-term agreement after the initial fixed-term expires, a notice to vacate at the end of the agreement can only be issued using another one of the reasons listed in the table below.  

Some of the reasons for notice to vacate have specific evidence requirements. This means that the rental provider must supply a form of evidence demonstrating that the reason they have given in the notice to vacate is genuine.

If a notice to vacate requires specific evidence that is not supplied, the notice is invalid.

Detail on the required evidence is described in the table below, where applicable.

Reason for notice to vacate at the end of a rental agreement
 Evidence requirements Minimum notice required
A fixed-term agreement of less than 6 months is ending
 NA 60 days before the end of the initial fixed-term agreement
A fixed-term agreement of 6 months or more (but not more than 5 years) is ending
 NA 90 days before the end of the initial fixed-term agreement
A fixed-term agreement of more than 5 years is ending
 NA 90 days before the end of the initial fixed-term agreement
The rental provider is planning to move in at the end of the fixed-term rental agreement. If this is the case, it must have been listed in the ‘additional terms’ section of the rental agreement. If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason, you must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

Both of the following:

  • the rental agreement (section 91ZW requires that this must be stated in the rental agreement); and
  • a witnessed Statutory Declaration signed by the rental provider, confirming the date they intend to resume occupancy.
14 days
Reconstruction, repairs or renovations are planned and cannot go ahead unless the renter vacates. All necessary permits have been obtained.  If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

Both of the following:

  • Photographic proof that repairs are required; and
  • Contract with, or quotation from, a suitably qualified tradesperson for carrying out planned repairs, stating:
  1. the nature of the repairs required,
  2. the reasons why the premises need to be vacated by the renter in order to carry out the repairs, and
  3. an estimate of the length of time it will take to complete the repairs.

Or the following:

  • Building permit for repairs or renovation.
60 days
The rental property is going to be demolished and all necessary permits have been obtained.  If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

Note: If a notice to vacate is issued for this reason, the rental provider must not re-let the premises to a person for use primarily as a residence before the end of 6 months after the date on which notice was given, unless approved by VCAT.

Both of the following:

  • Building permit for demolition; and 
  • Contract with a suitably qualified Builder-demolisher, stating the date that demolition will occur.
60 days
The rental provider wants to do something else with the property (for example, use it for a business). If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate. 

The following:

  • A witnessed Statutory Declaration of intention to use the premises for business purposes, including details of the particular business and stating that the premises will not be re-let as a residence before the end of 6 months after the date the notice was given.

And one or more of the following:

  • the ABN of the business; or
  • Business registration or license; or
  • Council planning permit.
60 days
The rental provider, a member of their immediate family (including parents and parents-in-law) or a dependent (who normally lives with the rental provider) will be moving in. If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

A witnessed Statutory Declaration signed by the rental provider, stating either:

  • they intend to reside in the rented premises, or
  • the name of the person who will occupy the rented premises, their relationship to the rental provider, and declaring whether the person is a dependent, and
  • that the rental provider understands that they must not re-let the premises to any person (other than the person named to be moving in to the rented premises in the statutory declaration) for use primarily as a residence before the end of 6 months after the date on which notice was given, unless approved by VCAT.
60 days

The property is to be sold or put up for sale, and vacated immediately after the rental agreement ends. If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate. 

Note: The rental provider cannot shorten the length of the rental agreement to give a notice to vacate for this reason.

In addition, if a notice to vacate is issued for this reason, the rental provider must not re-let the premises to a person for use primarily as a residence before the end of 6 months after the date on which notice was given, unless approved by VCAT.

One of the following:

  • Contract of sale, signed by the vendor and purchaser and dated; or
  • Contract of engagement/authority to sell with a licensed estate agent; or  
  • Preparation of a contract of sale prepared by a conveyancer or an Australian legal practitioner.
60 days
A government authority owns the property and needs it for public purposes. If you are giving a notice to vacate for this reason you must include evidence with the notice to vacate. 

One of the following:

  • Provision of acquisition details (public information); or
  • Compulsory letter of acquisition from the government.
60 days
The rental provider is a government housing authority and the renter no longer meets the criteria for social housing.
 NA 90 days

Mortgagee giving notice to vacate

A mortgagee (lender) such as a bank can give a renter a notice to vacate if they are repossessing the property. There are specific provisions for this. For more information, refer to the Residential Tenancies Act or contact us.  

Forms you might need

To give a renter notice to vacate a property, rental providers should use this form:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about giving a renter notice to vacate include:

  • rental providers must now specify the reason they are ending the rental agreement
  • there are two new reasons to end an agreement: threats and intimidation and when a pet is kept without consent.
  • rental providers must now attach evidence to a notice to vacate for change of use.

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 notices to vacate, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Part 2, Division 9 – Termination of residential rental agreement.