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The tenants Union of Victoria has a step by step guide to ending a tenancy that can be extremely helpful. The guide details the steps to take for providing notice periods, breaking leases, and what to do once your lease expires.
When does the tenancy end?
Your tenancy ends when you vacate the property and hand in the keys. Make sure you hand in the keys as soon as possible, as you may be considered to be in possession of the property (and liable to pay rent) while you still have the keys. If you gave notice to the landlord that you were leaving (see the When you want to leave fact sheet for more information), you can move out before the notice expires. However, you will still be liable for rent until the end of the notice period, unless the landlord finds new tenants before the notice period expires.
Condition of the property
When you move out, you must leave the property in a reasonably clean condition. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must steam clean the carpets, although landlords and agents often try to insist that you do this. What is considered ‘reasonably clean’ can depend on how long you have lived in the property and what state it was in when you
moved in. However, if you installed any fixtures or fittings (such as picture hooks) or made any alterations to the property, you must remove these and restore the property to its original condition. Otherwise the landlord may make a claim against your bond or make a compensation claim for the cost of restoration. If possible, take photographs of the property after you have cleaned it. If you have the carpets steam cleaned or you hire equipment to do it yourself, make sure you keep the receipt.
Ideally, you should arrange a joint inspection with the landlord or agent at the time that you move out. However you cannot insist on the landlord or agent inspecting the property with you.
Getting Your Bond Back
At the end of the tenancy, you and the landlord or agent can decide how the bond should be paid out. You can agree that the bond be returned to you in full, or that part or all of the bond be paid to the landlord. When you reach an agreement, both you and the landlord or agent must sign a Bond Claim form, which the landlord or agent must then send to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. The Bond Authority will then pay out the bond according to the form. The bond will be paid directly into the bank account you nominate on the form, (usually by the next business day after receiving the form). If you and the landlord or agent cannot agree, the landlord or agent must apply to the Tribunal within 10 business days of the end of your tenancy. The landlord cannot claim any money from your bond without your agreement or without an order from the Tribunal.
If you have moved out but you haven’t got your bond back, you should apply to the Tribunal as soon as possible. There is no cost for applying for return of bond. See the Bonds fact sheet for more information.
Moving can be stressful, but there is always help available to make the process as smooth as possible. Things to consider include:
If you are renting a vacant property, you will need to disconnect the services you had connected when you moved into the property. Give at least 48 hours notice for any reading. Failure to do this may result in you paying for services charges accrued after you have left the property.
It is important to get your mail re-directed to your new address, do not rely on the next tenants to forward your mail for you. Australia post will redirect your mail to your new address for $11 per month.
If you have time to notify people of you new address make sure you notify