Tenants have all their regular rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 to give a notice of intention to vacate (see: When you want to leave). For example, if you have a month-to-month (periodic) lease, you only need to give 28 days’ notice of your intention to vacate, and you do not need to provide any reason for vacating.
With the temporary law changes from 29 March 2020, you also have the right to give a notice of intention to vacate with a reduced notice period of not less than 14 days for these reasons:
- you need special care
- you have received and accepted an offer of public housing or housing from a registered housing agency
- you need to move into temporary crisis accommodation
- you live in special disability accommodation and the landlord’s registration to provide this accommodation has been revoked.
The new laws add two more reasons allowing a reduced notice period of not less than 14 days to end your lease:
- you are suffering severe hardship
for example: severe hardship due to family violence/personal violence or severe financial hardship, or
- the landlord has made an application to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.
You can give more than 14 days’ notice, but you must not give less than 14 days.
It does not matter if your tenancy is periodic or a fixed-term tenancy. These options are open to all tenants.
Even though you have the right to leave early if the landlord applies for a termination order, it’s important to note you are not required to move out. VCAT must consider if making an order to terminate the tenancy is reasonable and proportionate.