Notice to vacate in a rooming house

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If a rooming house operator wants a resident to move out, they can talk to them and come to an agreement, or they can give them a notice to vacate. A notice to vacate is a formal statement that the operator wants to end the residential agreement and that the resident should leave the property.

If the operator and resident come to an agreement, they should record this in writing.

A rooming house operator can only end a rooming house agreement for certain reasons.

It is against the law to ask someone to leave because they did, or said they would do, something that is within their legal rights under the Act. For example, an operator cannot give a resident a notice to vacate because they have asked for a repair, or told the operator that they will apply to VCAT if the repair isn’t made.

A rooming house is a building where 4 or more people can live in rented rooms, some of which might be shared, and access communal facilities. Each resident has an individual rental agreement. It is different to a sharehouse, where everyone signs the same agreement to rent the whole property.

On this page:

Giving a notice to vacate

Rooming house operators must use the ‘prescribed form’ when giving a notice to vacate. A prescribed form is defined by Victorian rental law. We recommend using our official form the Notice to vacate to resident/s of a rooming house (Word, 749KB).

The notice must:

  • be addressed to the resident
  • state the reason the operator is ending the agreement
  • be signed by the operator (or their agent)
  • state the date the resident should leave by.

When an operator gives someone a notice to vacate, they must give it to them with at least the amount of notice required by the Act. The amount of notice required depends on the reason the person is being asked to vacate.

A rooming house resident can challenge a notice to vacate.

Delivering a notice to vacate

The notice to vacate must be delivered to the resident, either by:

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

If posting, allow for mail delivery times, which depend on:

  • your delivery method
  • where you’re 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.

Giving notice for a residential rental agreement

Previously, people living in rooming houses could have a residential rental agreement. If this is the case, the operator must give the resident notice according to the periods required for a residential rental agreement. Get more information about rental providers giving notice to vacate.

Reasons a resident can be given a notice to vacate and notice periods

A rooming house operator can only end a rooming house agreement for certain reasons.

There are different timeframes for giving a resident a notice to vacate depending on the reason.

Some of the reasons for notice to vacate have specific evidence requirements. This means that the rooming house operator 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.

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

Reasons an owner can issue a notice to vacate
 Evidence requirements Minimum notice required
The resident or their visitors put people or property in the rooming house in danger.
Note: an operator cannot issue a notice to vacate for this reason if they have already given the resident a notice to leave for the same reason. For more information, view Suspending residents for violent or threatening behaviour in a rooming house
 NA Immediately
The resident or their visitors seriously disrupt the peace and quiet of other residents.
 NA Immediately
The resident or their visitors intentionally or recklessly cause damage to the rooming house, including safety equipment and common areas.
 NA Immediately
The resident owes at least seven days’ rent.

NA

2 days
The resident has used their room for illegal purposes, or allowed someone else to do so.

NA

2 days
The resident does not comply with a VCAT order.

NA

2 days
The resident has already been given two breach of duty notices and the same breach occurs.

NA

2 days
The resident or their visitors seriously threaten or intimidate the rooming house operator, their agent, or the operator or agent’s employees.

NA

14 days
A fixed term rooming house agreement is coming to an end.

NA

28 days
The rooming house mortgagee takes possession of the rooming house.
NA 60 days
The rooming house is for sale with vacant possession or another condition of sale that means the residents cannot stay.
If this is the case, the operator must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

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

The owner is doing maintenance or construction work and:

  • has received all relevant permits
  • needs an empty room to do the works
  • does not have an equivalent room available to provide the resident, if other rooms are not impacted.
 NA 60 days
Reconstruction, repairs or renovations are planned and cannot go ahead unless the resident vacates. All necessary permits have been obtained. 
If this is the case, the operator 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 this is the case, the operator must include evidence with the notice to vacate.

Both of the following:

  • Planning permit for demolition; and
  • Contract with a suitably qualified Builder-demolisher, stating the date that demolition will occur.
 60 days

Notice to vacate when a building is leased

Someone who isn’t a rooming house operator but leases a building to another person and that building is being used as a rooming house must give each resident a notice to vacate in any of these cases:

  • they receive a notice of termination of the lease or an agreement to occupy the building
  • the lease, or an agreement to occupy the building, is ended by consent or agreement
  • the building is abandoned by the person leasing the building or the rooming house operator.

The notices to vacate must be given even if the person leasing the building, or the building owner, did not agree that the building could be used as a rooming house.

The notices can be given by putting them on the doors of the residents’ rooms. They must give at least 45 days’ to move out, or say the residents must move out by the end of the building lease – whichever gives the residents more time. This date must be stated on the notice.

The rooming house operator can still give residents a notice to vacate. It may have an earlier end date which would then apply.

Notices to vacate do not have to be given if the building owner or the person leasing the building will operate it as a rooming house.

Mortgagee giving notice to vacate

A mortgagee (lender) such as a bank can give a resident 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 1997 or contact us.

Forms you might need

To give a resident notice to vacate, use this form:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about giving notice to a rooming house resident include:

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

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 giving notice to vacate in a rooming house, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Division 10 of Part 3