On this page: This page outlines what you need to do when ending your tenancy.

Ending your Tenancy

What do you need to do when you want to leave a tenancy

A lot has changed in tenancy laws, we have included an excerpt here from the Tenants Victoria website. Please remember that the VALS Civil and Human Rights practice acts for tenants facing eviction and those with problems around the condition of their property. If you need advice, help or representation, call us on 9418 5900.  

Your tenancy ends when you move out and hand in the keys. You need to pay rent until the notice period ends or longer if you still have the keys. You have to leave the place ‘reasonably’ clean but this does not mean you have to steam clean the carpets or pay for professional cleaners. 

New rental laws 

New rental laws came into effect from 29 March, 2021. There have been considerable changes in this area. 

Notice of intention to vacate 

The normal 28-day process for a notice of intention to vacate remains unchanged if you are leaving when the tenancy is a periodic tenancy that runs week to week or month to month, on or after the last day of a fixed term agreement. 

Exit condition reports 

Exit condition reports are now done when a renter leaves a property.  These must occur within 10 days after the tenancy has ended, and the rental provider (landlord) must give the renter reasonable opportunity to attend. It is still a good idea to take extensive photos when moving in or out a property. 

Reduced notice of intention to vacate 

There has also been much change in relation to the renter giving a reduced notice of intention to vacate. A 14-day notice can now be given regardless of whether the termination date is before or after the fixed term agreement. This applies in the following circumstances: 

  • When a renter with special or care needs must leave to get care: evidence is required with the notice of intention to vacate 
  • The renter receives an offer from the director of housing or of a community house: evidence is required with the notice of intention to vacate 
  • The renter needs to access temporary crisis accommodation: evidence is required with the notice of intention to vacate 
  • The rental provider serves a ‘notice of intention to sell’ and the renter was not notified under the disclosure obligations at the start of the tenancy (Residential Tenancies Act 1997, section 86(1)) 
  • If the renter has been given a notice to vacate under sections 91ZX-91ZZE of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. 

(Source: Tenants Victoria, 2021) 

To determine eligibility VALS will:

  • enquire as to the Aboriginality of the client;
  • enquire as to perceived or actual conflict of interest;
  • enquire as to compliance with the Means Test;
  • consider the merit of the client’s matter.

Aboriginality
The first time someone uses VALS they must provide proof of their Aboriginality using the Confirmation of Aboriginality Form. This form must be signed and sealed by the Officer Bearers of a recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.

Conflict
VALS must not decline to provide assistance to an eligible person, group or body on the grounds that the other party to the matter is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In circumstances where the relationship between the parties to a case would result in a conflict of interest, that conflict must be managed in accordance with the Victorian Legal Practice requirements and Policy Direction 9 – “Managing Conflicts of Interest” – of the Attorney-General’s Department Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to Indigenous Australians (2008).

VALS will not act if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may be an ‘actual’ conflict of interest or a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can involve:

  • Clients who have different interests, such as VALS may have advised or acted for person “A” (old client) who has an interest that conflicts with person “B” (intended new client).
  • Clients and VALS, such as a VALS staff member or Board Member has an interest that conflicts with an intended new client. Conflicts involving client-provider relationships are:
    •  An owner, director, manager, employee, contractor or agent of VALS and/or;
    • An employee of the Department; and/or
    • A close relative (spouse, de facto, parent, sibling or child) of any of the above.

VALS provides assistance on a first in best dressed basis (i.e. provide direct assistance to the party who approaches VALS first). VALS will refer the other party to another legal service provider or “brief out” the client to a private lawyer (subject to the client meeting the requirements for brief outs). Where appropriate, VALS may act for one client and provide assistance by brief out to the other.

Means Test
Where a person seeks casework assistance, VALS must ensure that applicants satisfy the Means Testing provisions of the Policy Directions.

VALS must ensure that all applicants for legal casework assistance satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • Under 18 years of age;
  • Main source of income comes from Community Development Employment Projects; (CDEP) participant wages or Centrelink (or equivalent) benefits; or
  • Gross household income is under $52,000 per annum.

Note: Household income includes the income of your partner, spouse, relative including an adult child who you live with.

The Means Test will be administered in two parts:

Part A: Requires the completion of a small number of questions relating to the applicant’s personal circumstances and income level.

Part B: Is required where applicants do not satisfy the criteria in Part A. It requires more detail about the applicant’s income, assets, employment status and number of dependents.

Merit Test
Discretion will be used to determine if a particular case has merit.