Ending a Tenancy

When it comes time to vacate a property, or requesting a tenant to vacate a property, there are several factors that need to be considered to ensure that your obligations are being met in accordance with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA Act).

Below, we will discuss everything relating to ending a tenancy and vacating the property, including:

  • How to End a Tenancy
  • What needs to be done during the vacate process
  • Tenant’s obligations
  • How to get your bond back
  • Disputes

How to End a Tenancy

A Tenancy Agreement, either Fixed Term or Periodical, can only be ended in accordance with the RTRA Act.

When a Tenant is wanting to vacate a property, a minimum of 2 weeks notice is required to be provided in the approved form. This must be completed, even if the tenancy agreement is ending/expiring.

If an Owner wants to end a tenancy, they are required to provide a minimum of 2 months notice; either before the lease expiry or any time during a periodical agreement.

Failure to provide the required notice in accordance with the Act is a breach of the agreement.

Returning the Property

The keys, remotes and security devices (if any) are required to be returned to the Agent’s Office before, or on the day the Notice expires – unless otherwise agreed in writing.

There is legislation specifically relating to returning the property, in addition to instructions provided in Item E, which is in the Tenancy Agreement.

Standard Term 38 – Keys:
At the end of tenancy, the tenant must return to the lessor all keys for the premises.

Special Term 5 (a) & (h):
The tenant will on vacating the premises:
(a) return all keys, keycards and other security devices (if any) and make good the cost of replacement should any of these items not be returned or be lost at any time.
(h) return all remote control devices in good working order and condition including batteries, and where not returned, make good of the cost of replacement.

Warning:
Failure to return the property to the Agent will result in the tenancy not being finalised, and the tenant’s will be responsible for rent until the keys are returned.

We understand that moving home can be stressful.

This vacate and cleaning guide is to assist you in making your moving and vacating process as easy and stress free as possible, to ensure that you can start the next chapter in your new home ASAP.

To ensure that your vacate goes smoothly and your bond is refunded quickly, we highly recommend referring to your Form 1a – Entry Condition Report to confirm the condition the property is required to be returned in, and be sure to meet your obligations in accordance with the Act and your Tenancy Agreement.

Please Note: If at the end of the tenancy the tenant is in breach of any of its obligations under this tenancy agreement the lessor may rectify such breach and claim the cost of such rectification from the rental bond or the tenant.

Tenant’s Obligations

At the end of tenancy, the tenants are required to return the property in a similar condition it was in at commencement of tenancy. This includes cleaning, repairing any damage caused during the tenancy (including damage caused by pets and guests) and lawn/garden maintenance.

In accordance with Standard Term 37:
At the end of tenancy, the tenant must leave the premises, as far as possible, in the same condition they were in at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted.

In accordance with Special Term 5 (b) – (g)
(b) on the last day of the tenancy have all carpets cleaned to a standard similar to the standard as provided by the lessor/lessor’s agent at the start of tenancy.
(c) fair wear and tear excepted, repair damage to the premises arising or as a result of the tenants’s or it’s guest’s actions including damage (if any) caused by the tenant’s pets.
(d) remove all the tenant’s property from the premises including rubbish and property on the premises not the property of the lessor.
(e) leave the premises (including the grounds) in a neat and tidy condition.
(f) fumigate as reasonably required if pets have been on the premises.
(g) provide copies of invoices and receipts relating to compliance with the requirements of Special Terms – Clause 5 (b), (c) and (f) to the lessor/lessor’s agent on or before vacating.

The Vacate Inspection

The vacate inspection is typically completed within 3 business days of when the keys are returned to the agency.

To prevent scheduling conflicts, if you would like to return the keys before or after the Notice expiry, please advise your property manager.

During the vacate inspection, the agent will compare the condition of the property to the Form 1a – Entry Condition Report.

Your Property Manager will complete a Form 14a – Exit Condition Report, documenting the condition of the property during the time of inspection.

This report will be forwarded to you as soon as possible after the inspection has been completed. A copy of the report with photos will be provided on your Tenant Portal.

Please Note: not all items noted on the report will require your attention, as the report is also provided to the Owner. If you are unsure, ask your PM for clarification.

If there are any items on the report that you disagree with, you are required to forward your concerns and comments in writing to your property manager within 24 hours so the matter can be discussed with the Owner.

Meraki Property Management offer 24 hours for the tenant to return to the property to rectify any outstanding items noted on the Exit Condition Report; however, we are not obligated to do so in accordance with the Act.

The opportunity is offered to assist with obtaining a full bond refund.

However, it is imperative that all tenants understand that failure to meet their obligations is a breach of their agreement and may result in the Owner seeking compensation for loss of rent and any costs incurred.

Tip: The fastest and easiest way to get a bond refund is for the tenant/s and the property owner/manager to agree about how the bond is to be paid out. This will allow you to benefit from the RTA’s new Bond Refund Fast Track, where all parties can agree and respond online, and payment can be made quickly.

Getting your bond back

To get your bond back you should leave the property in the condition it was in when you moved in, apart from fair wear and tear.

Your Property Manager will request your bank account details when you return the keys and complete the vacate process.

Bank details are required for each person who is listed as a bond contributor. Please Note: Refunds are only paid into Australian bank accounts.

If you have an unpaid Bond loan, the RTA will deduct the amount owing on the bond loan from the tenant’s refund and pay it directly to the Department of Housing and Public Works.

If you want to dispute a proposed bond refund, you will need to submit a Dispute resolution request and provide:

  • reasons for your claim
  • your contact details
  • if you require a translator or interpreter.

Using your Bond

A rental Bond is a security deposit paid at the start of the tenancy and is held by the RTA and is refunded to the tenant when the property is vacated, provided no money is owed for rent, damages or other costs.

However, the bond is not designed to be used by the tenant for costs relating to their tenancy, such as rent, cleaning and repairs.

Having claims on your rental bond may cause problems with securing a tenancy in the future, as most Agents ask if the bond was refunded in full at the end of your tenancy on their rental reference requests.

Tenants with claims on their bond may be identified as high risk tenants, as a claim is to rectify a breach of agreement.

Break Lease

If you are needing to vacate the property before the expiry of your Tenancy Agreement, this is called a Break Lease (lawfully known as a Breach of Agreement).

For more information regarding vacating early, please refer to our Break Lease post.

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