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.
|Notices to vacate [pdf, 44kb]|
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 seek urgent advice from the Tenants Union.
A 14-day Notice to Vacate can be given when:
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 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 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.
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:
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 or be sent by registered mail. Or the landlord might give you the notice by electronic method such as email if you agree.
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.
The reason for the notice must be clearly stated 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.
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 the Tenants Union 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. However, if you do want to move out earlier 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. You should contact the Tenants Union to check whether you can give 14 days’ notice.