What is a ‘Notice to Vacate’ and What Are My Rights?

August 30, 2020
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A notice to vacate. How much time do you have if this happens, and what are your tenant rights in NSW and other states?

A notice to vacate is different from ending a lease. In a notice to vacate, the lease is broken. Whereas, if the landlord wants to end things with the tenant, the landlord just needs to give notice if they don’t want to renew the lease.

Let’s discuss what happens when a tenant receives a notice to vacate.

Why have you received a Notice to Vacate?

A notice to vacate is a form that a tenant receives from the landlord. There are a number of reasons why one might be sent. It is not the same however as a notice of intention to leave which is given by the tenant.

For example, if the rented property has been destroyed or is considered to be unfit to live in, the landlord may send an immediate notice to vacate. It’s more common to receive a longer notice period, ranging from 14 to 120 days.

The landlord may need to you to vacate the property if your rent is overdue, you have failed to pay the bond, or you have broken the conditions of your lease in any other way. There could also be circumstances beyond your control, such as the landlord selling the property or wishing to regain it for their family’s personal use.

Lastly, your landlord might send you a notice to vacate due to the sale of the property. If your landlord sells the property will you’re living there, you have to vacate the premises according your lease agreements and the local state law. They will also be furnishing you with a notice of intent to sell.

What are your rights?

If you’ve received a notice to vacate, it’s natural to worry. You do have rights in this case, however. Depending on where you are, you can look up Victoria tenancy laws or tenants’ rights in NSW to stay informed. Here’s a quick rundown of general required notice periods.


Landlords must give a period of notice ranging from 14 days for overdue rent or breach of contract, to 26 weeks if there is no concrete reason for notice to be given.


A 30-day period is required if the premises are to be sold, while 90 days must be given if the fixed term period has expired without a new agreement being signed.

Northern Territory

At the end of a fixed tenancy agreement, 14 days of notice must be given. For periodic tenancy agreements, this is extended to 42 days.


60 days’ notice must be given whether a tenant is on a fixed term or periodic agreement. However, this may only be 7-14 days in the event of a breach of contract.


For a normal breach of contract, a 14-day notice to vacate is given. If there is no fixed-term tenancy agreement or it has expired, a 60-day notice can be given if the landlord or his dependents wish to move in or the property has been sold with vacant possession. When there’s none of these reasons, 120 days of notice must be given.


Landlords must give at least 14 days of notice for breach of contract evictions, or 28 days in some cases.

South Australia

In general, landlords must give 60 days of notice to their tenants; or 90 if there is no reason given. For a regular breach of contract, 7 days’ notice must be given, and 14 days for rent that is in arrears.

Western Australia

If there is a breach in agreement, the tenant must be given 14 days’ notice in writing to turn this around. If the property has been sold and the contract requires vacant possession, the timeframe is 30 days. For general notices, 60 days must be given.

Finally, if you’ve received a notice to vacate that has not followed the proper procedures or that you feel violates your legal rights, you can take the case to the Tribunal in your region. If the notice to vacate is valid and you want to move out earlier, you could try to arrange to do so directly with your landlord. Be sure to get all agreements in writing to avoid further disputes.

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