for ending a tenancy...
Moving is definitely one of the most stressful experiences many people will have. There are so many things to do and remember – it can be completely overwhelming! But it doesn’t have to be this hard! Set up a list of tasks that need to be done when you end your tenancy and make sure everything is crossed off the list before you move. Easy! If you come to any agreement with the agent or landlord, or you give notice of your intention to end the tenancy make sure you put everything in writing or email!
You can end a tenancy agreement and leave a property on a weekend, public holiday or over the Christmas/New Year break if that works for you.
Your tenancy agreement sets out rules regarding when and how often your landlord can access the property at the end of your tenancy. If the landlord/agent wants to conduct viewings for people who might want to rent the property you must give reasonable access in the last 3 weeks of the tenancy and you must be given 24 hours notice. If the landlord is selling then you must also provide reasonable access but only if you have been told in writing that the landlord plans to sell the property and you are given 24 hours notice.
Ensure you disconnect all the utilities that are supplied in your name as soon as possible after you vacate the property. Take a photo of the electricity, gas and water meters (ensure the photos are date stamped) and keep for your records. As most tenants do not have the water account in their name, the landlord is responsible to take a reading of the water meter no later than the day after the tenancy ends and should give you an opportunity to verify that reading. Your contribution to the next bill will then be worked out on a pro rata basis and you should be able to see a copy of the bill.
Cleaning and condition
As a tenant you are expected to return the property in substantially the same condition and level of cleanliness it was in at the beginning of the tenancy (as noted in the condition report) To ensure you do the best and most accurate job you should find your original condition report or ask for a copy and compare this against the condition of the property when you have done all your cleaning. You do not have to clean or fix things that were not clean or not working at the beginning of your tenancy. However if you have damaged something, and it is not fair wear and tear you should repair it. Sometimes it can be a good idea to discuss repairs with the agent or landlord or ensure they are done to everyone’s satisfaction. You do not have to fix things that wore out or broke as a result of “fair wear and tear”. This means you are not responsible for minor damage or deterioration caused by normal human use or natural forces/action.
If you are vacating during a periodic tenancy (commonly starts automatically at the end of your fixed term) then you are required to give 3 weeks notice in writing, and pay rent to the end of those three weeks.
If you pay your rent by direct debt ensure that you cancel it at the appropriate time. If you have to pay rent on a pro rata basis (i.e. 10 days instead of your usual fortnightly amount) then write to the agent and advise them of the amount and state clearly that you only give authority for that amount to be withdrawn and that after that you cancel your authority for any further direct debits.
In most cases your tenancy will end on the day you hand back the keys and no longer have access to the property. Generally you will return the keys on or before the final inspection.
Firstly, the tenancy agreement sets out when the final inspection should be. In most cases your final inspection should be in the last month of the tenancy, ideally on the last day. Some agencies do a “pre-vacate inspection” in the weeks leading up to your tenancy ending. This can only be done if with 7 days notice, and in accordance with the general rules regarding access noted above. In some cases agents will say that they will do a final inspection with you and then conduct an additional final inspection with the landlord. We recommend that you take your cleaning products, sponge, broom etc to the final inspection with you in case there are any last minute things to touch up.
Getting your bond back is probably going to be your biggest concern when vacating a property. If you are able to attend the final inspection, take a copy of the bond refund form, and ask the agent or landlord to sign it on the spot. Make sure you include your forwarding address on the form.
Break lease and bond return
If you have ended your fixed term tenancy early it is unlikely that the agent or landlord will agree to refund your bond before all outstanding issues such as compensation have been resolved. While the Tenants Advice Service believes you should get your bond back if there are no issues with the condition of the property this will often not be the case.
If you are in a co-tenancy (e.g. more than 1 person on lease e.g. sharehouse)
If you’re a co-tenant and you’re leaving a tenancy but others are staying you should:
- Take photos of condition of all parts of property not just your room
- Do a condition report – some agents will do this when one or more tenants move out
Ensure you have arranged for your bond to be refunded to you by the incoming tenant or the remaining tenants – and then sign the bond transfer form.
- Given or received valid notice in writing and there is no dispute
- Confirm any arrangements for agent/landlord to access property in writing
- Schedule final inspection
- Disconnect all utilities connected in your name
- Take photos of meters (date stamped)
- Clean property as needed when compared to incoming condition report
- Arrange for carpet cleaning if necessary
- Take photos/videos of condition of property and do your own condition report
- Remove any additions, alterations you have done to property
- Calculate rent payable until end of tenancy and pay that amount
- Cancel direct debit if necessary
- Return keys and get a receipt or sign a photocopy
- Print bond refund form and take to final inspection
- Attend final inspection
- Resolve any issues with condition of property
- Sign bond refund form and lodge with Office of Rental Bonds (your or the agent can do this)
- Give yourself a pat on the back for getting to the end of the list!