Using rental notices
Proper procedures must be observed when serving a notice. If the matter ends up in court, the person who prepared the notice would have to prove the notice was served correctly.
Three handy charts were developed to help you understand the use and service on notices, particularly for the breach and termination of non payment of rent.
How much time does it take to serve a notice?
The Counting days page has links to several flowcharts developed to show you how to service notices correctly.
How to issue a notice
You can serve a notice by emailing or handing it to the intended person, by email or mailing it by ordinary post (but not by placing it in the tenant's or lessor’s letterbox yourself).
You should not use certified mail for sending notices.
A notice to a tenant can be given to:
- the tenant;
- a person who usually pays the rent; or
- a resident of the rented premises who is apparently over 16 years.
If the tenant is giving a notice to a lessor, it can be given to:
- the lessor;
- the lessor’s property manager;
- the person or organisation that receives the rent; or
- any person apparently over 16 years living at the lessor’s home;
Where there are two or more lessors or tenants, the notice need be given to only one of them (although the notice should refer to all of the parties to the agreement).
Any notice to be given to a person whose address is not known is regarded as having been served if a copy of it is published in a daily newspaper, which circulates generally throughout the State.
If serving the notice by post, you will need to factor in the days for postage in addition to the required periods of notice.
When to serve a notice
If a tenant breaches the agreement by not paying the rent, or in some other way, how and when the lessor issues notices is going to depend on what exactly has gone wrong. This is explained in more detail in the section "When things go wrong" and the flowcharts in the appendices in Renting out your property - a lessor’s guide.
When serving a notice to end a tenancy following a breach notice, it must not be issued before any time period given in a breach notice, otherwise a Magistrate may reject court action to end the tenancy.
If the lessor is ending the tenancy for reasons other than a breach of the agreement eg. selling the property, the lessor must still serve the notice of termination (Form 1C) - this is not to be used for non-payment of rent.
Similarly, if the lessor is serving a notice about a rent increase or an inspection, they must also comply with the Act's requirements and use the correct notice.
Proof notice was served
If a tenancy issue goes to court, the Magistrate is likely to require proof the notice was served correctly. Therefore, keep a copy of each notice issued including a written record of:
- the method you used to serve it, and
- the date it was sent or handed to the person.
Also, the person who sends the notice should sign these notations.