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When a tenant doesn’t move out on time
By: Vincent Ruan
June 01, 2022

To be clear, in 99% of cases this doesn’t happen.  The majority of people do the right thing and organise to vacate the property on or before the end of the notice period.  But, every now and then a situation arises where a tenant remains in the property past their official move out date.

Sometimes this is because they have been provided with a Notice to Leave.  This could be due to the tenant breaching their agreement or the property having been sold.  Sometimes major works are required or renovations are going to be undertaken and the property needs to be vacant.  In some instances, it is simply because the owner wishes to use the property for themselves.

We find that invariably when the property is not vacated at the appropriate time it is because the tenant is objecting to having the decision made for them, regardless of whether they have held up their end of the bargain or not. 

This is why we suggest that when a tenant is provided with official advice that they must move out, that access to the property is not required immediately after their scheduled vacate date.  In our experience, it pays to allow some flexibility in our timeline, just in case the tenant has not vacated the property.  

Sure this is easier said than done sometimes, but it is important to be aware that although there is a legislated process we can follow if this situation arises, urgent applications and decisions by tribunal members still take time.  The saying “expect the best, prepare for the worst” definitely applies when we are initiating the end of a tenancy.  We are definitely not able to forcibly remove someone and their belongings, as tempting as it may be sometimes.

What is more difficult to manage though, is when a tenant themselves provides notice of their intention to move out on a certain date, but then remain in the property past this date. There are a number of reasons why we find this occurs and it is usually to do with circumstances out of their control.  For example, there is a delay in access to the next property they are moving into. The vacating tenants may be too sick to make the move.

One of our goals as your property manager is to maximise your return and part of this is lining up a new tenant to move in as soon as practicably possible after the old one moves out.  Even when everything is going well, at least three business days are still required between tenancies so we can conduct our final inspection and there is time for the vacating tenant to rectify any cleaning, etc that may be required.

But there are a few instances where we may suggest either allowing a longer period of time between someone moving out and another moving into the property or that we don’t actively start to market for a new tenant until the property is vacant.  The situation quickly becomes very sticky if a new tenant is all set to move in and the old tenant still remains in the property.  

  1. When it is obvious the tenant is going to struggle to have the property up to standard before vacating e.g. a lack of care and attention has been clearly visible at routine inspections
  2. If the tenant is building a new home - builders are notorious for delaying handover at the last minute
  3. At leasing inspections, there are no obvious signs of packing and preparing to move - sometimes people become overwhelmed with the process 
  4. When we are aware that the vacating tenant is extremely vulnerable e.g. ongoing mental health issues

These are just a few of the reasons why we work so hard to keep the lines of communication open with our tenants.  When we are provided with a notice of intention to vacate, the first thing we do is reach out to the tenant so we can understand their circumstances.  This way, we can then provide you with the best strategy for re-leasing your property and we minimise the risk of unexpected surprises popping up (we like to keep things simple).  We will also contact them regularly during their notice period so if anything changes, we are across it as soon as possible.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any rental property related question. We love to help. 

JR Landing Green Square - Finalist in REB (Real Estate Business) Awards Property Management Office of the Year 2021 & 2022

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Written by
Vincent Ruan
As a property investor himself, Vincent's passion for real estate began more than 10 years ago, and his focus on professional...