Everything landlords need to know about ending a tenancy

ending a tenancy

When it comes time to end a tenancy, there are various rules and procedures that landlords need to follow. These rules differ from state to state, but the NSW regulations are a great starting point for landlords.

Here’s how you can work with your property manager to ensure the process remains as pain-free as possible.

Giving notice 

If you want your tenant to vacate the property, you and your property manager will need to provide them with a written, signed termination notice. This notice should include the date by which tenants need to vacate, and if appropriate the reason or grounds for the notice.

The following minimum periods of notice apply:

  • 14 days if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement or is 14 days or more behind on their rent.
  • 30 days if the fixed-term agreement is due to end.
  • 30 days if the property has been sold after the fixed-term agreement has ended.
  • 90 days if the fixed-term period has expired and the tenant has not resigned.
  • If your tenant finds a property before the above periods, they have the right to move out at any point without providing formal notice.

Rental bonds

So what about that all-important rental bond?

First your property manager will need to survey the property for any damage. They can then advise whether the rental bond should be returned in full or if there are any damages that need to be addressed.

Keep in mind that your tenant isn’t responsible for general wear and tear to the property. This refers to any natural deterioration of the property, usually from things like exposure, time and regular use. Your tenant is only liable for damage that has been caused by intentional, negligent or irresponsible actions.

Inspections by new prospective tenants

If you wish to show the property to other prospective tenants, you’ll need to give ‘reasonable’ notice each time. While the law doesn’t define what constitutes ‘reasonable’, your property manager will be able to advise on this point. As for showing the property to prospective buyers, you’ll need to give tenants 14 days written notice of intention to sell before the showing, and then 48 hours before each showing after that. Tenants aren’t required to clean the property for these showings, however a great property manager can make all the difference here by communicating the situation with tenants and hopefully arranging for a neat and clean property during inspection times. 


At the end of a tenancy, tenants are obliged to return the property in the same condition and cleanliness as it was at the beginning of the tenancy. Remember the wear and tear exceptions above, and note that tenants don’t have to steam clean carpets (unless it was stipulated in the tenancy agreement).

Return of keys

When all the loose ends have been tied up, your property manager can look after the final key return. Tenants will need to provide your property manager with all keys, including any extras they cut during their tenancy.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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