Quality tenant selection in the first instance and a professional property management approach will do much to avoid the need to even consider how to remove a tenant from your property. However, it is still possible that at some stage in your property investment journey you will be faced with the challenge of how to remove a difficult tenant.
In this article we cover how a termination notice must be issued to a tenant, the amount of notice required to terminate the tenancy, and what happens if the tenant doesn't leave as ordered.
Firstly, it is important to note that there are only certain grounds upon which a landlord or their agent can end a tenancy, and minimum notice periods apply.
How Does A Landlord Or Agent End A Tenancy?
Firstly, if the landlord wishes for the tenant to vacate the property, the tenant must be given a termination notice. NSW Fair Trading advises that the termination notice must:
How Much Notice Do I Need To Provide to End A Tenancy Agreement?
The minimum period of notice required to be provided to a tenant to vacate is:
No minimum notice period is required if notice to terminate the tenancy is given on the grounds of:
What If The Tenant Doesn't Leave By The Termination Date?
Most commonly, this question is asked when a tenant has been provided a termination notice for non-payment of rent of some other breach of the tenancy agreement. If the date specified in the termination notice comes around and vacant possession of the property has not been provided (and in the case of non-payment of rent, the outstanding rental amount has not been paid) - what do you do to remove the tenant from the property?
If the tenant remains in the property beyond the date specified on the termination notice, further action must be taken by applying to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a termination order. The Termination and Possession Application form provides NCAT the details required to order the termination of the tenancy and specify the date on which the tenant must vacate the property.
If the tenant does not comply with the NCAT termination order, the next step is to request NCAT to issue a warrant for possession of the premises. The warrant for possession authorises a Sheriff’s Officer to enter the property and provide possession of the property to the landlord.
What Happens When A Sheriff Is Required To Evict A Tenant From My Property?
The Sheriff's Office will advise the date and time the warrant will be executed at the property. A locksmith must be arranged to attend the property at this time, to assist in securing the property once possession is returned to the landlord.
In the interest of safety and security, the Sheriff will enter the property first while the agent and/or the landlord and locksmith must keep away from the property. The Sheriff will advise when all is clear for the locksmith to commence work, and often provide an update on the state of the property, any individuals still inside and a brief overview of what (if any) contents may have remained on the property. If it is safe to enter, the Sheriff will advise that you may enter.
What If The Tenant Has Left Possessions At The Property On The Day They Are Evicted?
It is unfortunately common that on the day a Sheriff's Officer executes the warrant for possession, the property has not been left vacant by the tenant. There are very clear requirements around the treatment of any possessions left at the property by the tenant - it is certainly not the case that items can simply be discarded.
A detailed overview is provided on the NSW Fair Trading Uncollected Goods page, and covered in our article What Happens When A Tenant Leaves Items Behind In A Rental Property? We recommend reading these sources in detail to understand the current requirements.
Importantly, prior to July 2020, if enough goods were left at the property to prevent it from being rented, an occupation fee (equal to a day’s rent) could be charged for each day the goods are held, whether they are stored on the premises or elsewhere, up to maximum of 14 days. This is no longer the case.
Landlords can no longer charge tenants an ‘occupation fee’ equal to the rent for each day goods are left on their premises once a residential tenancy ends. You can only charge a tenant for the actual costs incurred to remove, store, maintain, insure and dispose of goods. No other charges are due.
The Value Of An Experienced Property Manager And Landlord Insurance
It is essential leading up to and throughout the process of obtaining possession of the property that correct notice periods and communication requirements, records and documentation are kept. This is where an experienced, professional property manager is invaluable.
Additionally, the costs associated with the eviction of a tenant can quickly become significant. Overdue rent, occupation fees, lost rent while unable to re-let, NCAT application costs, Sheriff costs, locksmith costs, rubbish disposal, cleaning, and potentially repairs... there is a lot to consider and pay for when a tenant is evicted from a property. A good landlord insurance policy can pay for itself tens of times over in a single instance of tenant eviction, and is therefore essential for any property investor.
If you would like your Newcastle property managed professionally and transparently by a team with experience and excellence in communication, contact us today.
Carnelian Property Management Newcastle NSW
We are a family-owned and run Charlestown real estate agent offering expert property management across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.