Ending a tenancy, information for landlords

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  • Ending a tenancy, information for landlords

    This is a collection of fact sheets for residential landlords on topics related to ending a tenancy:

    Giving a termination notice Making a bond claim Goods left behind by your tenant Using tenancy databases Residential tenancy and real estate complaints

    All the fact sheets in this document can also be accessed as individual pages on the Fair Trading website: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

    Many of them are in the Being a landlord, Ending a tenancy section.

    May 2017


  • When you want to end the tenancy it is important thatyou follow the correct procedures. If you don't do this yourun the risk of causing an unnecessary delay in gettingback possession of your property or having to start theprocess all over again.

    Amount of notice requiredIf you want the tenant to vacate you must give them atermination notice. The notice must:

    be in writing be signed and dated by you or your agent be properly addressed to the tenant give the day on which the residential tenancy

    agreement is terminated and by which the tenant isrequired to vacate

    where appropriate, give the grounds/reason for thenotice.

    You can write your own notice or use the modeltermination notice provided by Fair Trading.

    The minimum period of notice you can give the tenant tovacate is:

    14 days - if the tenant is 14 days or more behind withthe rent or has committed some other breach of thetenancy agreement

    30 days - if the fixed term of the agreement is due toend

    30 days - if the premises have been sold after thefixed term has ended and vacant possession isrequired by the buyer under the terms of the salecontract

    90 days - if the fixed term period has expired and nonew agreement has been signed.

    These notice periods are designed to give tenantsreasonable time to find another rental property. If theycan find a property sooner they can move out at any timewithout having to give you any formal notice. Exceptwhere notice has been given for the end of the fixed

    term, the tenant's responsibility to pay rent ends from thedate they hand back possession, not the end of thenotice.

    There is no minimum notice period required if notice isgiven on the grounds of:

    the premises being destroyed or wholly or partlyuninhabitable

    ceasing to be legally usable as a residence being acquired by compulsory process (eg. by the

    RTA) on the death of the sole tenant.

    After you issue a notice you can issue another notice ona different ground if necessary. For example, if you issue90 days notice to terminate a periodic tenancy without areason, and the tenant then doesn't pay rent for 14 days,you can issue a non-payment of rent notice.

    Counting days and other rulesIt is important to count the days accurately when workingout the termination date for the notice and to add extradays to allow for delivery.

    There are specific rules which need to be followed whenserving a termination notice or any other notice to yourtenant. Go to the Serving notice page on the Fair Tradingwebsite for more information.

    Tribunal possession ordersIf you give notice and your tenant does not vacate by thedue date the only action you can take is to apply tothe NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for apossession order. You cannot forcibly evict the tenantyourself or take action such as changing the locks orcutting off the water or power supply. Heavy penaltiesand compensation could be payable if you do.

    You need to apply to the Tribunal within 30 days after thedate to vacate specified in your termination notice.Whether you obtain a possession order is up to the

    Giving a termination noticeInformation for landlords

    May 2014 FTR77

  • Tribunal to decide, based on the evidence you and thetenant present at the hearing. In the case of notice'without a reason' the Tribunal must make a possessionorder if the notice was served correctly, unless the tenantcan prove it was retaliatory.

    If the Tribunal makes an order it will give the tenant adate to move out. If the tenant still does not vacate youwill need to obtain a warrant for possession from theTribunal's Registry and have it enforced by the LocalCourt Sheriff's Office.

    You can apply direct to the Tribunal for a possessionorder, without giving the tenant notice, in the followingcircumstances:

    serious damage to the premises or any neighbouringproperty

    injury to the landlord, agent, employee or one of thetenant's neighbours

    use of the premises by the tenant for illegal purposessuch as drug manufacture

    threat, abuse, intimidation or harassment by thetenant

    undue hardship faced by the landlord if the tenant has occupied the same premises for 20

    years or more.

    May 2014 FTR77

    www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.auFair Trading enquiries 13 32 20TTY 1300 723 404Language assistance 13 14 50

    This fact sheet must not be relied on aslegal advice. For more information aboutthis topic, refer to the appropriatelegislation.

    State of New South Wales through NSW Fair TradingYou may freely copy, distribute, display or download this information with some importantrestrictions. See NSW Fair Trading's copyright policy at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or emailpublications@finance.nsw.gov.au


  • Property agents and self-managinglandlords must be registered with RentalBonds OnlineFrom 30 January 2017, property agents and self-managing landlords must be registered with RentalBonds Online (RBO), Fair Trading's easy and secureservice to manage bonds online. Agents and landlordsmust also offer the service to new tenants as the firstoption for lodgement of their bond.

    Information on registering as a user is available on theTaking a bond page on the Fair Trading website.

    When the tenancy has ended and the tenant owes youmoney, you can make a claim against the tenant's bond.

    Reasons for claimingThe main reasons a claim can be made against the bondare:

    unpaid rent the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the

    premises, beyond fair wear and tear unpaid water usage charges, so long as you had

    requested payment within 3 months of receiving thebill

    any 'break fee' or other charges payable as a resultof the tenant breaking the tenancy agreement early

    the reasonable cost of cleaning any part of thepremises not left reasonably clean, having regard tohow clean the premises were at the start of thetenancy

    the reasonable cost of having the barrel of the lockschanged or other security devices replaced, if thetenant has failed to return all keys and securitydevices they were given.

    This is not an exhaustive list. There may be otherlegitimate reasons for making a claim against the tenant'sbond, such as the cost of disposing of goods left behindby the tenant. The claim must relate to a breach of thetenancy agreement by the tenant.

    Fair wear and tearYour tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear to thepremises. Fair wear and tear means the deteriorationthat occurs over time with the use of the premises eventhough the premises receive reasonable care andmaintenance. Such deterioration could be caused byexposure, time or just by ordinary use. The tenant is onlyliable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actionsthat cause damage to the premises.

    These examples may help to explain the difference.

    Fair wear and tear Damage

    Faded curtains or frayedcords

    Missing curtains or torn bythe tenant's cat

    Furniture indentationsand traffic marks on thecarpet

    Stains or burn marks on thecarpet

    Scuffed wooden floors Badly scratched or gougedwooden floors

    Faded, chipped orcracked paint

    Unapproved or poor qualitypaint job

    Worn kitchen bench top Burns or cuts in bench top

    Loose hinges or handleson doors or windowsand worn sliding tracks

    Broken glass from one of thetenant's children hitting a ballthrough the window

    Cracks in the walls frommovement

    Holes in walls left by tenantremoving picture hooks orshelves they had installed

    Making a bond claimInformation for landlords

    May 2017

  • Water stain on carpetfrom rain throughleaking roof or badplumbing

    Water stain on carpetcaused by overflowing bathor indoor pot plants

    Paint worn off wall nearlight switch

    damage to paint caused byremoving posters stuck withblu tack or sticky tape

    This means, for instance, you can lodge a claim againstthe bond for the cost of cleaning the carpet if it has beenstained or left dirty. You should not lodge a claim if thecarpet is clean and unstained, even if the carpet was newor professionally cleaned before the tenant moved in.

    Claiming a bond using Rental BondsOnlineClaims for online bonds must be submitted throughRental Bonds Online (RBO). A landlord, agent or tenantcan submit a claim for an online bond.

    If you submit the claim first, the principal tenant will besent a 14-day notice of claim by email and SMS. Co-tenants will receive copies of any notifications sent to theprincipal tenant, but they cannot log on to RBO or do anybond transactions.

    The principal tenant can then log on to RBO and view theclaim details. If the tenant agrees to the claim, they canlog on to RBO and agree for the bond to be refunded.

    The bond will then be deposited as per the agreed bondclaim. All refund payments are made by direct deposit tobank accounts. It is important that bank account andcontact details are kept up-to-date.

    If the tenant does not agree with the claim, they areencouraged to discuss this with you. If an a