July 25th, 2017
12 ways to attract quality tenants
We’ve all heard those tenants from hell stories, and all live in hope that it will never happen to us, or to our clients.
But very occasionally, even after doing everything you can to find good tenants, situations may arise where a tenant is not cooperating, not paying their rent, or is otherwise disobeying and disrespecting the rules of your legally binding tenancy agreement.
If an agreement can’t be reached with your tenants, then, unfortunately, the next step is inevitably eviction. In these types of situations, a tenant will ideally leave of their own accord when asked to. However, in extreme situations, it may be necessary to involve your state government authority.
Each state has its own set of rules around evicting tenants on lawful grounds, so we’ve put together a summary of the rules and regulations around evicting a tenant, on the basis they have done something to breach your tenancy agreement.
Please note that this information only applies in cases where the tenant has done something wrong to breach their rental agreement. For information related to other situations in which the tenant or landlord wishes to end a tenancy early, visit your relevant state’s website (more details listed below).
The first step when you think a tenant’s actions may be in breach of your tenancy agreement is to go back and carefully read the tenancy agreement, identify the specific wrongdoing, and of course, communicate with your client. If you’re unsure, then speak to a specialist tenancy lawyer for further advice.
In NSW, you are required to give at least 14 days notice in situations where you wish to end a tenancy due to wrongdoing on the tenants’ part. This includes if the tenant/s are 14 days or more behind with their rent, or if they have otherwise breached your pre-defined tenancy agreement.
The termination notice must:
In some situations, you don’t even need to give the tenant notice, and instead, can apply directly to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a possession order. These situations include instances where, upon your inspection of the property, there has been:
It should go without saying that if a tenant refuses to leave the property within the specified time period, then you or your client cannot take things into your own hands by changing the locks or shutting down power at the property, otherwise you and your client may be liable to pay heavy fines or compensation to the tenants.
If tenants are refusing to vacate, you must apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a possession order within 30 days of the ‘date to vacate’ specified in your termination notice. The Tribunal will then make a decision, based on the evidence you and the tenant present at the hearing.
If the Tribunal makes an order it will give the tenant a date to move out. If the tenant still does not vacate, you will need to obtain a warrant for possession from the Tribunal’s Registry and have it enforced by the Local Court Sheriff’s Office.
More information from the NSW State government: Ending a tenancy – Information for landlords
Queensland has slightly different rules and processes around evicting tenants from the property. If you wish to end a tenancy agreement before the specific tenancy period is up, the property agent or the landlord must fill out and complete a Form 12 – Notice to Leave Form, and give a physical copy to the tenant/s.
There are different minimum notice periods, depending on the situation. Note that the following timeframes apply to general tenancies only, and there are separate timeframes which apply to long and short-term moveable dwellings, such as caravans:
If the tenant/s do not leave the property by the date nominated, then you or your client may apply directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a termination order without further notice to the tenant.
In WA, there are separate procedures and forms to be used depending on whether you wish to terminate the rental based on non-payment of rent, or for other reasons. If the tenants fall behind with their rent by at least one day, then you or your client can give the tenant a Form 21: Breach notice for non-payment of rent, or write to the tenant.
Tenants then have 14 days to bring their rent up to date. If all the outstanding rent is not paid within the 14 days, then you can issue a Form 1A: Notice of termination for non-payment of rent. This ends the residential tenancy agreement and requires the tenants to vacate the premises within the next 7 days.
Apart from not paying rent, a tenant can also breach the rental agreement for any of the following:
In these situations, the tenants should be given a Form 20: Notice to tenant of breach of agreement (other than failure to pay rent), which gives the tenant 14 full days to fix the problem. If the tenant does not fix the situation within the 14 day period, the next step is to issue a Form 1C: Notice of Termination (not to be used for non-payment of rent).
This seeks to end the tenancy no sooner than seven full days after the notice is received. The WA government has a number of handy flowcharts in the appendices of their Lessors Guide that outline the process for evicting tenants in cases of non-payment of rent, and for other reasons.
In South Australia, tenants are considered to be breaching a lease agreement if they do any of the following:
In these situations, your first course of action is to give the tenant a legal notice that identifies the problem and the date the tenant needs to leave the property if the problem is not fixed. Do this by issuing a notice to tenant to remedy breach of agreement.
Also, it’s important for property managers and landlords to know that it’s not just them who can issue an eviction notice to a tenant, but anyone who is affected by disruptive behaviour of a tenant, including:
To submit an application to issue an eviction notice, the applicant must pay a fee (currently $69 as of April 2016) to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT), and you’ll be expected to appear before a tribunal if the application is accepted.
This is important for property managers and landlords to try and address any issues early on, and as amicably as possible – otherwise they may find themselves unexpectedly without tenants in their property if they are evicted.
In certain more serious cases, the landlord can apply to SACAT to end the lease immediately without giving the tenant any other notice, and this generally can only happen if the tenants are putting the safety of others at risk, or causing serious damage to the property, or if the landlord believes that their own safety is at risk.
Find more information on the South Australian Government’s website:
All tenancy agreements in the ACT are standardised in the state’s Standard Tenancy Terms (STT), and terminating a tenancy can only be done in accordance with the STT, as well as the RTA Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA, which governs all tenancies in the ACT).
The landlord or agent can serve a notice to vacate, however, only the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) can order an eviction, and only the police can carry out the eviction. A landlord seeking to terminate a tenancy must follow a strict process set out in the RTA.
The ACT has different processes and minimum notice periods depending on whether the eviction is on the grounds of non-payment of rent, or for another reason. For issues regarding non-payment of rent, the tenant must have rent arrears of at least 7 days (this includes only paying part of the rent).
On the 8th day of arrears, the landlord or agent may serve a Notice to Remedy (NTR), which must state that if the outstanding rent is paid in full within 7 days, the tenancy will continue as normal, with no further action.
However, if the tenant does not pay the rent within the specified 7 days, you may issue them with a Notice to Vacate (NTV), which gives the tenant 14 days to move out. At this time the landlord can also make an application for a TPO to ACAT.
However, the ACAT hearing cannot take place until the date for vacation specified in the NTV has passed.
In Victoria, a landlord, or managing agent, can request the tenant to vacate the property for a wide variety of reasons by serving a notice to vacate. Depending on the reasoning and its severity, there are different minimum notice periods that are applicable.
Immediate notice before the lease end date;
14 days notice before the lease end date;
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, a notice to vacate must;
You can find the notice to vacate form on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, along with more detailed information, including notice periods and laws that apply to vacate orders that take effect at the conclusion of the agreed leasing period are available through Consumer Affairs Victoria.
If the tenants have been served a notice to vacate that complies with the above requirements but have failed to vacate the premises, then the landlord or managing agent can seek a possession order for eviction from VCAT.
In difficult circumstances, this order can be used to obtain a warrant that in turn can be executed by the Victorian Police to evict the occupant/s.
In the Northern Territory, there is a range of notices to vacate that are specific to the reason. These are;
A notice of termination by the landlord or managing agent must;
For a periodic tenancy, a landlord may terminate the tenancy without a specified reason with 42 days notice to the tenant. According to the Northern Territory Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord, or managing agent, can evict a tenant via the Supreme Court if one or more of the following serious breaches occur;
Should the tenant not vacate the premises after the time period of the notice has lapsed, the landlord or managing agent can seek the repossession of premises order from the commissioner or the Court. Should this order be attained, the tenant will be given a maximum of 5 business days to vacate.
This should go without saying but during that time, the landlord can not forcibly remove the tenant. In order to obtain the order, the Court will consider the following before making a decision;
In Tasmania, there are 6 main reasons a landlord or managing agent can evict a tenant. Each carry a specific notice period.
For a notice to vacate to be valid it must have;
If the tenant/s refuse to vacate the property, the landlord or managing agent can seek a Vacant Possession Order from the Magistrates Court of Tasmania by completing the application and also serving it to both the Court and the tenant. You must present both the tenancy agreement and your notice to vacate that complies with the above conditions.
In addition to these documents the Magistrates Court will only present a vacant possession order if the reason behind the eviction is just, the tenant received the application for the order and the notice was properly delivered.
While we hope that you never have to enact the above, this information should shed some light on where you stand legally and the steps that you can take to protect your investment. Evicting tenants is hard, but managing multiple properties for numerous owners is easy with PropertyMe’s online property management software.
With built-in inspections and maintenance, streamlined property accounting, document management and triggered messages, you’ll have everything you need to manage your properties. Book a free demo or call us on 1300 776 763 today to see the PropertyMe difference.
Alternatively, you might also be interested in 12 Ways to Attract Quality Tenants, How to Prevent and Respond to Negative Tenant Reviews and How PropertyMe is Different from the Competition.
Did we miss anything in The Ultimate Guide to Evicting Tenants In Each State? Please let us know in the comments below.