If the landlord wants you to move out of the property, they must give you a valid notice to vacate. There are various reasons why your landlord can give you a notice to vacate, and the length of the notice period depends on why the landlord is giving you notice and whether or not you have a fixed-term tenancy agreement.
It is important to note that just because you receive a notice to vacate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to move out. If the landlord wants to evict you, they must first apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and convince the Tribunal that they should be granted a possession order.
The landlord can give an immediate notice to vacate if the rented premises are destroyed or unfit to live in. An immediate notice can also be given if you (or a visitor to your home) deliberately damage the property or endanger the safety of neighbours.
The Tribunal requires substantial proof from landlords in these cases. If you receive an immediate notice to vacate you should contact us for urgent advice.
A 14-day Notice to Vacate can be given when:
If the property was the landlord’s main place of residence before you moved in, they may give you a 14-day notice to vacate if:
If there is a mortgage over the rental property that was entered prior to your lease, and the mortgagee (usually a bank) becomes entitled to possession of the property, or to sell the property, the mortgagee can give you a 28 day Notice to Vacate.
In most cases, tenants may be able to attend the possession order hearing, and seek to delay the time before when the warrant to evict is executed by the police. The Tribunal can grant up to a maximum of 30 days before the warrant can be purchased.
If you are forced to vacate the rental property because of a Notice to Vacate by the mortgagee, you may be able to claim compensation from your landlord. Advice should be sought in these matters.
A 60-day to a notice to vacate can only be given where there is no fixed-term tenancy agreement, or when the termination date on the notice (ie the date that you have been given to vacate on or by) is on or after the expiry date of your fixed-term agreement.
The landlord can give you a 60-day notice to vacate when, immediately after the 60-day period, the premises will be:
If the landlord serves a notice for any of the first 4 reasons above, they cannot re-let the premises again for 6 months after the notice is given (unless they are letting it to a person referred to in the notice or they have permission from the Tribunal).
A 60-day notice to vacate can also be given if the landlord has entered into a contract of sale of the rented premises.
The landlord can serve a 120-day no-reason notice to vacate when there is a periodic tenancy agreement (that is, there is no fixed term or the fixed term has ended) or when the termination date on the notice (ie the date that you have been given to vacate on or by) is on or after the expiry date of your fixed-term agreement.
The landlord can give you a notice to vacate at the end of your fixed term. The termination date on the notice must be the same as the expiry date on your fixed-term agreement. If you have a fixed-term agreement for less than 6 months, the landlord can serve a 60-day notice to vacate. If you have a fixed-term agreement for 6 months or more, the landlord can serve a 90-day notice to vacate.
If you leave before the end of the fixed term you may still be liable for rent until the date that your fixed term expires.
A notice to vacate must be in the proper form and be signed and dated by the landlord or agent.
It cannot just be left in your letterbox or under your door. It must be given to you in person, sent by registered mail, or the landlord might give you the notice by electronic method such as email if you agree. If you receive a notice to vacate electronically and you have not consented, check your lease and contact us for further advice.
If the notice is sent by mail, the notice period must include the time it would take to reach you. See Australia Post delivery times.
To be valid, a notice to vacate must provide for the clear minimum notice period required by law plus the time it takes in the post, and one extra day being the termination date. The termination date is not included in the clear notice period. You should also make sure you keep the registered envelope and the tracking number as this can be important evidence. Even if you do not collect your registered post, the Tribunal may still consider that it has been lawfully served.
The reason for the notice must be clearly stated with sufficient detail and it must be a valid reason (except in the case of a 120-day no-reason notice to vacate).
If it does not meet all of these requirements, a notice to vacate is invalid. If you have doubts about the validity of your notice to vacate, you should seek advice as soon as possible.
You can challenge a 60-day notice to vacate (except for a notice for the end of a fixed-term agreement) if you think that it is invalid. However, if you want to challenge before the landlord applies to the Tribunal for a Possession Hearing, you must do so within 30 days from the date that you receive the Notice to Vacate. If you don’t challenge the notice within 30 days, you can still challenge its validity at the Possession Hearing.
You can also challenge a 120-day no-reason Notice to Vacate or an end of fixed-term notice to vacate if you believe that it has been given to you in retaliation for exercising your rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (eg asking for repairs). The following time limits apply to challenging a notice given in retaliation:
If you have received a notice to vacate and would like to know if you can challenge it, contact us as soon as possible.
If you have a fixed-term agreement you have a legal right to stay until the end of that term unless you receive a valid notice to vacate and the Tribunal has granted the landlord a possession order. If you give a notice of intention to vacate with a termination date earlier than the end of your fixed term agreement, there may some liability for breaking your lease early. If you do want to move out before the end of the fixed term, or earlier than required by the notice you can always try to negotiate an agreement with your landlord or agent. Make sure that you get the agreement in writing, signed by you and your landlord or agent.
If you have a periodic tenancy agreement, in some circumstances you may able to give a 14-day notice of intention to vacate after receiving a notice to vacate. Check when you can leave.