When a renter (tenant) wants to move out of your property, time is of the essence. If you’re self-managing, use this step-by-step guide to get the best out of your next vacate.
Let’s start simple. What is a notice of intention to vacate?
A notice of intention to vacate is a formal statement that your tenant wants to end the rental agreement. Renters who want to move out can either talk to you (their rental provider or landlord) to reach an agreement or give formal notice that they want to leave.
It’s worth noting that there are only specific reasons your tenant can end their rental agreement early without breaking that agreement (also known as ‘breaking the lease’) and having to pay compensation or a lease break fee.
Why would my tenant give notice of intention to vacate?
- They want to end their agreement: Renters must give notice if they’re going to leave at the end of a rental agreement (or ‘lease’). That notice period will vary depending on your state/territory. If your tenant is on a fixed-term agreement, like a 12-month agreement, this will automatically move to a month-to-month (or ‘periodic’) agreement if they don’t give notice.
- They’re providing early notice without breaking the agreement: There are a few reasons your tenant can leave before the end of the rental agreement without breaking the lease and having to pay any costs. These reasons might include: The property doesn’t meet minimum standards before the renter moves in, the property becoming unfit for human habitation, or the rental provider has breached a compliance or compensation order. Check the table on this page for a complete list of reasons and timeframes in Victoria.
- They’re breaking the agreement: If your tenant gives notice for any other reason before the end of the rental agreement, this is considered breaking the rental agreement, and they may need to pay costs.
- They are seeking an agreement to leave without formal notice: Your tenant may ask you if they can leave without giving you a formal notice of intention to vacate. In VIC, the rental provider does not have to agree – check to see what applies in your state. But if you do, the agreement should be recorded in writing.
- They’re experiencing family violence: People experiencing domestic violence may need to change their rental agreement so they or their children can be safe to apply to the Civil Administrative Tribunal in their state.
How will my tenant give notice?
Your tenant must put this notice in writing. Different states and territories will provide forms for this purpose. Refer them to Consumer Affairs. They can deliver this notice by email or hand.
What process should I follow once I receive this notice?
- Confirm their intention to vacate: Ensure you reply as soon as practical to confirm and thank them, letting them know you’ll confirm the balance of rent owed up to their vacate rate. This is also a good opportunity to offer tips to help them get their full rental bond back.
- Guide them on next steps: From here, you must offer your tenant a clear guide on what to do from here to save headaches for both parties. Let them know when the final outgoing inspection will occur and whether carpets need to be cleaned or the house fumigated before they hand back the keys. Consider attaching a repairs and maintenance form, a moving-out checklist and a copy of the original Property Condition Report for reference.
Make a plan to re-advertise your property.
You may or may not need to advertise the property again, but most private landlords will find they want a new tenant to fill the upcoming vacancy. Where possible, it’s ideal to start advertising your property 4-6 weeks before it’s available.
Speak to your current tenant about getting access to the property to show through prospective tenants. Remember, this may be a difficult time for your tenant while they’re busy moving and won’t want the intrusion of people coming through the house. Try to strike a balance and get them to agree to several short viewing times on days that work for both of you.
When you’re ready to list your property, Rent.com.au has everything you need to get a tenant fast. Upload your photos, and write a clear and compelling description of your home and its selling points to attract the best tenant. Don’t forget to add available inspection times.
Your tenant hands back the keys.
Check that you’ve received the correct keys from your tenant. Compare them with the photo of the keys attached to their original Property Condition Report.
Has your tenant had cats or dogs living in the house? You’ve likely included special conditions in their tenancy agreement about whether the property must be professionally fumigated/sprayed for fleas at the end of their tenancy. If they’ve run out of time to get this done, they may allow you to organise the spray yourself and take the cost from their rental bond.
This is your final chance to get a forwarding address for your tenant. You will only need this if there’s a reason to follow up or if your new tenant keeps receiving mail intended for the former tenant.
Do the outgoing inspection.
Print off or check the ingoing Property Condition Report. This document would have been completed the day your tenant moved in.
See if your tenant is willing to attend the final inspection with you. Face-to-face inspections can eliminate disagreements and miscommunication over items that need to be cleaned or fixed.
When you do your final inspection, look at the following:
- Are the walls in the same condition (plus fair wear and tear) as they were in the original PCR?
- What condition is the carpet in?
- Check the light fixtures and exhaust fans
- What condition is the garden in?
Agree on what’s being taken from the bond
Sometimes a few items will still need addressing, even after the vacate clean is completed. The goal is for your tenant to get their full bond refunded.
Your tenant should have completed everything to standard, ready for your to complete a new ingoing Property Condition Report for the next round of tenants.
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