In brief - This is the fourth article in our five-part series on changes that come into effect on 29 March 2021 impacting landlords (rental providers)

Links to the other articles in the series can be found at the bottom of the page.

Rental providers no longer have a right to issue a notice to vacate without grounds. They can now only issue a notice to vacate at the end of the fixed-term of a rental agreement if it is end of the initial term of the rental agreement. This does not apply to long-term  rental agreements of more than five years. The termination date may be the last day of the term  or any date after the last day of the term (provided the requisite notice period is satisfied).

Rental providers may now give a renter a 14-day notice to vacate if the renter, or any person occupying the premises, has seriously threatened or intimidated the rental provider or their agent,  or a contractor or employee of the rental provider or their agent.

Rental providers may give a renter a notice to vacate if the renter of their visitor:

  • endangers the safety of occupiers of neighbouring premises, the rental provider or their agent, or a contractor or  employee of the rental provider or their agent, and

  • recklessly or intentionally cause serious damage to the premises, including any safety equipment or common areas.

Renters can give 14 days’ notice of intention to vacate without paying lease break fees where they require special or personal care, have been given notice of an intention to sell, need temporary crisis accommodation or have been accepted into social housing.

A mortgagee under a mortgage entered into before the rental agreement who is entitled to possession or to exercise their power of sale in respect of the premises may give a renter at least  60 days’ notice to vacate. A mortgagee cannot give this notice if they consented to the rental provider entering into the rental agreement regardless of when it was entered into.

Compensation for broken lease

Rental providers may apply to VCAT for compensation if a renter terminates a fixed-term rental agreement before the end date. When making a compensation order, VCAT must consider the advertising or reletting fees on a proportionate basis, loss of rent taking account of prompt mitigation, the severe hardship the renter may have suffered due to an unforeseen change in circumstances if the agreement had continued, and whether the rental provider served the notice  to vacate (other than for repudiation of the agreement by the renter).

Goods left behind

Rental providers must take reasonable steps to give notice in the prescribed form to the former renter that the goods have been left behind and store them for a period of at least 14 days after giving the notice. Rental providers may charge an occupation fee if they are sufficient to prevent the rental provider from renting the premises, which must not exceed the amount of rent that would have been payable under the rental agreement for a period not exceeding 14 days.

A rental provider may dispose or sell the goods after the 14 day period. The former renter may request the proceeds of sale within six months of the sale less any occupation fee and the reasonable costs of the sale.

Click on the links below to read more:

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2021.

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