Help! I’m a long-term tenant being told to vacate!

Recently Dangerfield Exley Lawyers were contacted by a client who was served with a notice to vacate.

Recently Dangerfield Exley Lawyers were contacted by a client who was served with a notice to vacate. Currently, a 120 day notice to vacate period exists, although this is likely to be phased out as part of Victoria’s new tenancy reforms that will come into play in 2018. Our client was a long term tenant and needed advice as to what to do.

I’ve been served with a 120 day Notice to Vacate by my landlord and I don’t know why I have been asked to leave. I’ve been renting the property for nine years and have treated the home like my own, always making sure the house and garden are maintained. I feel it’s unfair; I have been asked to leave after living at the property for such a long time! I’m a single mother of two children and most other properties in the same area would cost a lot more to rent. I don’t want to move further out as this would mean my children would have to move schools; and this would be very difficult, especially as they are both completing their VCE right now. Is there anything I can do to contest the Notice to Vacate?

What is a Notice to Vacate?

A Notice to Vacate is a 120 day notice that can be served on you by a landlord if there is no periodic tenancy agreement in place or a fixed term has now come to an end. In circumstances where a 120 day notice is served, no reason has to be specified as to why you have been served with the Notice to Vacate.

A Notice to Vacate must be in the proper form and be signed and dated by the landlord or agent.

If a landlord requires you to move out of the premises, a valid Notice to Vacate must first be served on you. It cannot be left in your letterbox or under your door.

The Notice to Vacate must be delivered to you at the rented premises either by:

  • Registered post;
  • Electronic communication (such as email) if you have given consent to receive notices and other
    documents this way; or
  • Hand (giving the notice personally to you). The landlord is able to leave the notice with a person who appears to be over the age of 16 and residing at or employed at your usual or last known home or business address.

What you can do if served with a Notice to Vacate

You are able to contest the validity of a Notice to Vacate if the 120 day minimum notice period required by law; plus the time it takes in the post, and one extra day being the termination day, have not been satisfied. It is a good idea to keep the registered envelope and tracking number as this can be important evidence. If the Notice to Vacate does not meet all of these requirements, the notice may be rendered invalid. You will have 60 days to challenge a 120 day-no-reason Notice to Vacate.

You are also able to challenge a 120 day no-reason Notice to Vacate if you believe that it has been given to you in retaliation for exercising your rights, for example, asking for repairs to be conducted. It is against the law for the landlord to serve you a Notice to Vacate if you were simply exercising your legal rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

For further information on your rights involving a notice to vacate, please contact Dangerfield Exley Lawyers for a full and frank discussion.

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