Commissioner's Blog: Leaving a rental home
When it comes time to move out of a rental property, knowing what’s involved in advance can help ensure things run more smoothly.
How much notice to give depends on whether a fixed-term or periodic tenancy is being wound-up. Even though a fixed-term tenancy is for the period agreed in writing, it does not end automatically – notice must be given by either party 30 days’ before the expiry date, or it will rollover into a periodic lease. A periodic tenancy can be concluded by the tenant giving at least 21 days' notice in writing, or the landlord/agent giving 60 days’ notice.
In cases where a home has been repossessed by the mortgagee, such as a bank, you will be given 30 days’ notice to move out. The mortgagee cannot ask you to pay rent during this 30 day period.
If you need to ‘break lease’, be aware that it can be costly. Firstly you’ll need to seek written permission from the landlord and come to an arrangement, before potentially paying rent until a replacement tenant is found.
When vacating a rental, you are required to leave the property in the same condition (less fair ‘wear and tear’) as when you first moved in. For this reason, it is wise to ensure the Property Condition Report signed at the start is accurate, take photos of the property both at the beginning and end of the lease, plus attend the final inspection (if possible) to sort out any potential issues on the spot.
If you have not cleaned the property to a reasonable standard, or if minor repairs are needed, you’ll probably need to meet the costs involved to fix the problem.
Landlords and agents cannot insist you use a specific company or trader to undertake any of the repairs or cleaning, neither can they charge you for a pre-estimated cost – they are only allowed to charge you for the actual costs incurred.
If there’s a dispute over how the security bond is to be paid-out, you can apply for conciliation by Consumer Protection. Should that fail, the Magistrates Court can settle the matter.
More information about ending a tenancy is on the Consumer Protection website at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au