When you’re ready to move forward in life, sometimes, it can mean a change of address card.
So how do you prepare for an end of lease? There are certain things you’ll have to know, and we’ve got five tips to help you make sure you’re covered in a legal and practical sense.
When ending a tenancy in Melbourne, you can either remain at the property until the date of the end of lease or you can move out beforehand — however, note that you’re still responsible for covering that rent money.
Residential tenancies in Melbourne run according to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, which has more than a few guidelines for how you should initiate an end of lease:
There are three main ways to end a tenancy:
- When everyone agrees to terminate the tenancy
- If your landlord or agent gives you a ‘Notice to Vacate’
- You provide valid notice to your landlord or agent of your intention to vacate
If you have a fixed-term agreement, but you decide you need to end your lease early, you should give written notice as soon as possible that you are leaving. Breaking a tenancy agreement may require you to pay compensation to your landlord.
Pack and Arrange to have your Belongings Moved
The first thing you’ll want to do is pack your belongings. According to Victoria’s ‘Guide for Tenants’, at the end of lease, a landlord is well within his or her rights to dispose of particular goods, including perishable foods, dangerous goods, and goods that have no financial value.
Now, if you end up leaving goods behind that don’t fall under these categories, your landlord has to store these for 28 days, notify you within seven days that your goods can (and should be) collected, and allow you to reclaim these after if you’ve paid any costs associated with them storing it for you.
But what if you have a finicky landlord? If they end up refusing you the right to return and grab your things, and you incur a loss, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for compensation. It’s best to make sure that you’ve moved everything before the end of lease, however, to make sure you’re not running back and forth.
If you inadvertently leave behind any ‘personal documents’ (including official documents, photographs, correspondence, video cameras, computer hard drives, any other documents a person would expect to keep), you landlord must store it for at least 90 days.
Finalise any Outstanding Rent and Bills
Once you’ve given notice, you’ll want to sit down with your landlord and determine the conditions of the return of a bond.
This mostly depends on the condition of the property. If…
- There is damage caused by you or your visitors on the premises
- There are cleaning expenses incurred
- There is abandonment of the property
- You, the tenant, leaves the landlord to pay bills you were responsible for (like gas meters)
- There is still unpaid rent
- The landlord lost his or her goods while you were on the premises
- Your landlord can apply to VCAT to have the entire bond claimed in their name.
Now, keep in mind that a Bond Claim form must be submitted to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), any time after the end of lease. There’s no time limit on submitting it. This form sets out the divisions in amount and terms of return of a bond.
You’ll also want to make sure that, before you leave, you check out any final meter readings for things like gas, water or electricity and let your providers know you’re leaving. If you miss doing this, you may continue to be charged for utilities during the next billing period.
Go for a ‘Bond Back’ Guarantee
One of the biggest potentials for contention between a landlord and tenant during an end of lease is the bond amount and return. Of course, there are laws that prevent fraudulent claims from unscrupulous landlords but there is always ‘wiggle room’. Sometimes, landlords may nitpick and use any opportunity to claim a property’s condition as ‘damage’.
In this case, you’ll want to specifically choose an end of lease or ‘exit’ cleaning service. These professional service providers will make sure your interior and exterior space is cleaned according to strict standards and guidelines.
In fact, many service providers offer a ‘bond back guarantee’ that allows you to ensure that you’ll have your bond returned.
Make Sure you Vet your End of Lease Cleaning Providers
Not many tenants consider this but it’s important. Professional end of lease cleaning providers are going to be entering your home. And whether they’re supervised by you or not, opt for a service provider that can show you that each of their employees have been thoroughly vetted, including police and background checks.
You want to have peace of mind, not only that your property will be returned in the condition you found it but that your personal safety is assured.
Provide a Forwarding Address
Finally, make sure to provide a forwarding address to your landlord for any outstanding bills and correspondence that may be left over as you transition to your new place. You’ll also want to include this new address and/or telephone number on your Bond Claim form to the RTBA.
All in all, a move can be pretty stress-free — as long as you take care of the details. Follow this checklist of things to take care of and cross them off one by one.
To prepare for your ‘End Of Lease’, get in touch today.