Q & A for Investors

How much notice must a Tenant give a Landlord (or their Agent) that they are going to vacate?
If the Tenant is on a fixed term Tenancy and wants to end the Tenancy on the last day of the fixed term, the Tenant must give the Landlord (or Agent) 14 days notice including the last day of the fixed term. If the Tenant is on a periodic agreement (month to month), then it may be ended at anytime with 21 days notice. On the other hand if the Landlord has already given a Termination notice to a Tenant, the Tenant may then leave at anytime without notice.

How much notice must a landlord give a tenant that they require vacant possession?
If the Landlord wants to end the Tenancy on the last day of the fixed term, the Landlord must give the Tenant 30 days’ notice including the last day of the term. If the Landlord wants to end a periodic tenancy, then a 90 day termination notice must be given unless the property has been sold. In this case, a 30 day notice is required once an exchange of contracts without cooling off has occurred. If the Termination is not served personally, 4 days postage is required.

How much notice must a landlord give a tenant that they want to vary the rent?
During a fixed term Tenancy, it is not possible to vary the rent unless the Tenancy Agreement so specifies. At the end of the Tenancy Agreement or at any time during a periodical agreement, rent can be increased with 60 days written notice. Rent may be increased once, twice or even more frequently per annum.

What is the difference between fair wear and tear and negligence?
Fair wear and tear means the deterioration to the premises that occurs over time even though the premises receives reasonable care and maintenance. Such deterioration could be caused by exposure, time or just by ordinary use. The Landlord is responsible for fair wear and tear. For example a carpet will wear out over 10 to 15 years. On the other hand negligence refers to negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to a premises. For example, red wine stains on a carpet.

What is the maximum security deposit/bond a landlord can charge a tenant?
A rental (security) bond is an amount of money paid by the tenant as security for any future possible breaches of the tenancy agreement. The amount required is equivalent to 4 weeks rent for both unfurnished and furnished properties.

What is the minimum period a tenant can be in arrears before the landlord may commence formal eviction proceedings?
If a tenant is in breach of agreement solely for rent arrears, the landlord can give a non-payment of rent termination notice. The rent must remain unpaid for not less than 14 days before this notice can be given. If the Tenant pays all rent owing before the expiry of the notice, then the termination notice no longer applies. If the Tenant continues to be late in rent payments, then a formal eviction process is the only option.

Can you briefly explain the steps involved in a formal eviction?
STEP 1: Issue a termination notice – in writing, signed by the Landlord or Agent.

This sets out:
• The premises concerned.
• The day by which the Landlord/Agent wants vacant possession of the premises.
• The grounds (if any) for the notice
The notice must be properly ‘served’ either in person, by post, by fax, or hand-delivered in an addressed envelope to a mailbox at a residential or business address of the Tenant.

STEP 2: If the Tenant does not comply with the notice and the non-compliance with the Tenancy Agreement cannot be remedied, then the next step is to apply to the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal for a hearing. The Tenant is notified to appear before the Tribunal on a particular date some 2 to 3 weeks after the application is processed. At the hearing, both the Landlord/Agent and Tenant present their case and the Tribunal grants an Order. This will be either for:
1. Unconditional possession, or
2. Conditional possession when the Tenant is reprieved as long as certain conditions are observed.

STEP 3: The unconditional possession Order is enforced by the local Sherriff and may involve the Police.

Today Property Management is a highly skilled profession and involves a vast array of disciplines. If you have any question about any aspect of Property Management relating to any property in NSW, you are invited to call Liselle Harris at John Pye Real Estate on 9980 6777 or 0407 671 716 or email email liselle@johnpye.com.au. This is a free service without any obligation whatsoever. In addition when requested, a free Investment Audit can be carried out on any property on your behalf.

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