Getting notice to vacate can come as a nasty surprise for tenants, but it doesn’t have to be all bad news.
Landlords can ask tenants to leave before a lease ends if conditions of the lease have been broken. Each state has different laws stipulating the rules around this, but it usually boils down to common sense.
If the rent is overdue, the property has been damaged or the property has been used for illegal purposes, the landlord is likely to have the law on their side.
But if the landlord simply wants to sell the property, the tenant has the right to demand sufficient notice and can even ask for compensation.
Investment property advisor Andrew Crossley says landlords commonly sell properties so they can live in them or to ease financial pressure. Whatever the situation, Crossley says mutual respect can result in a happy outcome.
“Hopefully an amicable solution is found – perhaps the agent can help the tenant find another property and perhaps the landlord can pay for their moving costs as a consolation or maybe help contribute by giving them the equivalent of what’s left on the lease towards their moving costs,” he says.
If the tenant is happy to move, a first point of call should be the leasing agent. Agents can help tenants find another property and keep them informed of new rentals coming on to their list.
Crossley says agents are particularly motivated to help good tenants.
“The agent may not want to lose that tenant to another real estate agency if they’re a good tenant,” he says.
Before landlords issue notices to vacate or tenants dispute such notices, both parties need to consult their state or territory laws.
Emma Heuston, principal lawyer at LegalVision, says each party has rights and responsibilities.
“The notice period will be dependent on the term of the lease and the reason for the termination and this does vary from state to state,” she says.
“The common thing with each state and territory residential tenancy act is there is a right to appeal to a tribunal specific to that state or territory.”