Landlord Wants to Sell Property, Issued with VCAT Notice. What's The Likelihood I Will Be Kicked Out?

Hi,

I have been renting an apartment since 2015, and my landlord (who lives overseas) has issued me with notice that they wish to sell and take vacant posesssion.
I have received VCAT notice of hearing under section titled "Termination order: sale of property"

My situation
Living in a 2bdr apartment with my wife and baby , currently working from home, wife currently unable to work due to covid restrictions.
Being forced to move out would be a pretty big inconvenience and obviously financially costly (paying for movers, cleaners, taking time off work, finding a new place and signing a lease, etc).

https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/news/changes-law-about-renting-h...
This site says
"It is no longer possible for a landlord to give a tenant notice to vacate a rented premises."
However it also lists a valid reason for landlord to request vacant possession as the reason given. (Sale of property)

Questions

  1. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this during Covid times and wondering what the chances are of the magistrate deciding they aren't allowed to force us out? Or is it a fait accompli that the magistrate will tell us we have to leave in 60 days?
    (Based on the facts mentioned above, personal family circumstances, and current covid situation making it difficult to find a new place)

  2. If VCAT is unlikely to kick me out, then as an alternative option would you think it's reasonable for me to suggest an agreement directly with the landlord, e.g. I will agree to move out by a certain date if he waives my rent for 45 days

From the VCAT form "The landlord is seeking a termination order either 60 days from the hearing date or a date agreed to with the tenant, whichever is earlier"

thanks!

Comments

  • Sounds like your landlord is in some real financial pain and has to force sell the apartment. Be a better person, I would do option 2 and negotiate to pay 50% rent.

    • +83 votes

      To be fair, the landlord does not need to negotiate. He has legal grounds to ask tenant to leave. Whether the tenant agrees to move out in X days doesn't mean a thing, as he has been served the correct notice.

      To OP, your chances of staying on depend on whether the new owner want to live there or will rent it out as an investment. If they want to rent it out then you have a good chance of staying as you have a history of 5 years. Presumably if you've been there that long you have a record of on time payments. If he's renting he'd be silly to try for someone else unless you're paying less rent than they believe they can get.

      • Hmmm the OP was asking for free rent with option 2, which was not right when I first read it. I do believe a discount would be a nice gesture on the landlord’s side even though the tenant is not entitled to it, considering the tenant has a good track record.

      • This. (edit: just to clarify I was referring to Dizzle's comment)

        But as others have pointed out, yes it's inconvenient, but it probably wouldn't hurt for you to start looking at other options… and hey it's a renter's market at least. Be mindful that as it gets closer to Christmas/New Years, there will be a lot less agents available to show properties and becomes that much harder to find a place.

        • Traditionally, end of year has been the time to get apartments in built up areas like the CBD or around the university since students vacate for a few months or for good and it's cheaper for them to do it this way.

          Then again, the students never returned this year so anything goes…

          Agents towards the end of the year normally is as you say jace88, but this year many agents are super hungry literally and figuratively, and agents and sales are the ones whom eat the frog the best, doing the extra mile to make their living

      • He wants vacant possession to be able to market the property properly so even if the new owner wants to rent it out, OP has to go

        • I guess this was advised by the agent since I'm guessing less apartments are bought for investment (need tenants) these days

    • This might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I would ask for a couple of weeks free rent to help you pay for moving, etc.

      Also now is a renters market right now, at least in Melbourne. Record vacant properties because of all the international students leaving and people going back to live with their folks. A few of my friends were able to move to a newer or bigger house for the same rent. One was also able to negotiate a permanent reduction in rent by threatening to leave due to cheaper rental options elsewhere.

    • How would 50% rent help the landlord's "real financial pain"?
      I assume it was a typo and you mean pay 150% rent or else you are just taking the piss here.
      Offering to pay a substantial rent increase might be an option if you are serious about avoiding inconvenience to your family.

  • https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/covid-19-...

    Looks like you can be evicted for the landlord to sell if VCAT says it is fair. Even in the covid19 period.

    Best to start looking at alternative accommodation just in case. Potentially if you can find alternative accommodation do a deal with the landlord.

    And contact VIC Legal Aid.

    • Thanks for the link.

      As suspected, the tribunal will make consideration on all factors including compassionate grounds.

      "The tribunal must consider whether it is reasonable and proportionate. It must consider the following:

      if the application is because you did something wrong, how serious it was, whether someone else caused it and whether you have tried to fix it
      whether there is another option to fix the problem
      your landlord or the real estate agent’s behaviour
      if there is family violence or a personal safety intervention order
      any other matter, such as how long you have lived there and how eviction would affect you and your family".

      • 5 years isn't enough on compassionate grounds from experience. That clause is for much longer term tenants and elderly. I.e. 10-15years.

        You don't own the property so you'll have to move eventually regardless.

        • Damn 5 years isn't enough?

          You could have a 5 year old in that time!

          • @Jofzar: babies don't magically appear after conception.

          • @Jofzar: I would think along the lines of, elderly with dementia and the move would cause undue stress, or if a child or adult with special needs needs a nearby facility.

            To the OP:
            Best option is negotiation. 2 ways to try to go about this, you can try both if you want. Just remember there needs to be something of similar value to your landlord as well. Won't be easy since I'm guessing correspondence to the landlord is through the agent and not direct so communications could be censored both ways as there is a third stakeholder.

            1) Pre-negotiation
            Landlord wants to sell the house and wants to get out of the market and or need the money. Need to work with the agent and convince them staying on is a better idea without the thought of loosing out (aka. buyer hesitant because they have to get the tenant out during COVID). How? Negotiate you stay on and you will resign a lease IF the new owner wants this AND will arrange a move out within X days should the new owner not wish to have a tenant. It's a risk, but I don't see any reasonable landlord saying no to this unless the intended sale of the property is solely to get you out without dealing with "COVID rights".

            2) VCAT negotiation/mediation
            Get your information together and itemize every cost involved in moving (within reason). Ask for that amount in the VCAT mediation. If mediation fails, the member will see that you made an honest attempt to resolve the issue and most likely find this part in your favor. At least you won't need to leave empty handed.

            • @plague69:

              2) VCAT negotiation/mediation
              Get your information together and itemize every cost involved in moving (within reason). Ask for that amount in the VCAT mediation.

              Does that work, lol?

              • @ozhunter: You replied to quick for me to edit and add: "Oh, saying you have a newborn and it's been super stressful, on top of your partner unable to work always helps"

                VCAT is not as strict to the letter of the law as you think. If you want the law and nothing but the law, have to appeal to the Supreme Court. If the landlord is unhappy with the outcome, he wont appeal. Who would want a property with a tenant / landlord case in progress. More often than not, VCAT makes concessions for the little man. (Not sure about the other CATs, but VCAT sure is this way by experience from both sides of the coin)

                It says "How eviction would affect you and your family". Emotionally, financially, physically, mentally. It's up to interpretation. In this environment, I put my money on financially and mentally being big players in this. Also the reason I didn't list trying to fight this so they don't get evicted is because again, most likely it wouldn't be successfully overturned as I'm sure there have been many precedents already during COVID of evictions. Lucky for the OP owner is overseas.

                As long as the OP doesn't go in guns blazing acting like the world owes him, he should be fine. (Will be surprised how many people go in guns blazing and even cut the member off half sentence lol)

                Edit: Reading the rest of this thread… Gets super heated. Facts people, facts lol.

                And OP: Please say thanks by coming back here and replying what happened in the end once it happens. We need closure

  • Being forced to move out would be a pretty big inconvenience and obviously financially costly (paying for movers, cleaners, taking time off work, finding a new place and signing a lease, etc).

    You'd have to do that any time you move, unless you plan to stay in that house forever

    As an alternative option would you think it's reasonable for me to suggest an agreement directly with the landlord, e.g. I will agree to move out by a certain date if he waives my rent for 45 days

    Why would the LL take that option?

    • on the VCAT form "The landlord is seeking a termination order either 60 days from the hearing date or a date agreed to with the tenant, whichever is earlier"

      So if it helps him for me to move out earlier, then maybe he is willing to make an agreement.

      • 60 days will generally give them the time they need to do things. Advertising, inspections, open houses (particularly in the VIC climate) could take 4 weeks, then 30 days settlement. Most landlords will want you in there as long as you can for that 60 day period to get as much rent as they can while advertising. If they get a buyer early, they will factor in what's left of the 60 days into the settlement. If you move out in 45 days, you only pay rent for 45 days.

        The only thing you really have to negotiate with is making sure the property is a good standard for inspections and how often they can get in for inspections (I think there are rules for how often, but if you offer better conditions/more frequent availability they may help you with rent.

        • good points, so basically the owner actually would prefer me to stay as long as possible, thus making any agreement pointless for him

    • Why would the LL take that option?

      Very true. There needs to be a reasonable reason for the 45 days rent or anything suggested as with any negotiation

  • +144 votes

    so your post is just all sort of excuses to get 1.5 months of free rent?

    • You sound really bitter
      I have lived here for 5+ years, always paid rent on time and caused no damage or issues for the landlord whatsoever, and I'm just asking a question.
      Thanks.

      • actually, you're trying to justify preventing the landlord their right to sell the property cos you don't want to leave or hustle 45 days free rent. worst kind of entitled tenant.

        • yeah absolute worst kind of tenant! pays rent on time and causes no damage. what a nightmare for the owner.

          • @eckorock: soooo do you want a trophy? .. sorry, my bad, just free rent

          • @eckorock:

            pays rent on time

            And asks to stay for FREE for no reason. (didn't cause damage, I paid rent, are not reasons)

          • @eckorock: yeah mate i always pay at woolworth for my food…that one time I didnt want to pay and they stopped me like wtf….im a loyal customer.

          • +12 votes

            @eckorock: owner is entitle to ask you to leave as long as notice is in accordance with contract. you don't get free rent or anything in return. it is simple fact of the contract that governs obligation of both party.

          • @eckorock: Wow, what a model tenant…. you fulfilled your obligation that you signed a contract on. Now they are exercising their right on that same contract but you don't like it so you want 1.5 months of free rent? Sounds like you're the only person not fulfilling the agreement here.

            This is all business.

            Don't like it? Buy an apartment and you can stay as long as you want.

          • @eckorock: I hope you don't make it too hard for the landlord to get their apartment back. You're not entitled to the property since you don't own it, just renting so the landlord has done the correct thing.

      • I've got an answer. If you don't want to be under the control of someone else, buy your own property.

      • I'm sorry but YOU don't own the property.

        If he wants to sell, for whatever reason, he/she can.

        To be honest, if your landlord was selling now, in this climate, they would definitely be in some financial strife.

        I doubt they are kicking you out as it's hard to find a tenant atm.

        You can easily rent out another place, for a lot cheaper, in this climate, atm.

        This is the downside of renting and unfortunately, it has occurred to you.

        Accept what is outside your control, and deal with it. I highly doubt you're going to want to live in a place where the landlord is trying to evict you.

        Remember, your next place is going to be contacting your currency landlord/agency. I would just leave on reasonable terms.

        FYI, agents who I know, never ever approve applications where the tenant has proven to be difficult in their last tenancy. Just trying to help you out, it's better to think with the end in mind, rather than your short term inconvenience.

      • Look, many of us wanted to be compassionate here.

        The majority of us feel your inconvenience and your pain but don't support the way you think. The landlord doesn't owe you anything. It is not the way to ask for a bargain.

        Time is tough and everyone is feeling the pain. Be fair and do whatever you can to honor the rental agreement while you can.

        A more positive suggestion. Whatever you do please consider the consequence as it may leave a record in your tenant’s database.

    • That's still a lot of money, isn't it? If there was a deal here for $2000 cashback then it'd be on the front page of the comments section for weeks and we'd all be going bananas for it.

    • pretty much…

      i agree with op that it would be a huge inconvenience at this time specially with a child around, but LL has not done anything wrong. However with partner not working won’t it make things bit easier for packing things up?

  • If i were in serious financial hardship and had to sell, my problems would come before yours…

  • buy the property from the landlord.

  • +10 votes

    I dont quite understand the 2nd option. U want to stay longer. Why would the landlord give you free rent for you to leave at a later date?

    Pretty sure you'll have to move out. I have heard this is a reason they're able to force tenants out.

  • Can they evict before it sells.. or only once it gets sold?

    • +8 votes

      They mostly want tenants out first, so they can get the place 'styled' to show it off it its best light. Possibly do some minor works as well .. to get top dollar.
      Having a tenant and all their stuff in their does not usually attract top dollar. Tenants are also very protective of their stuff.. so on open houses they often want to sit on their couch ;)
      Some landlords do sell with the tenants in as it is easier , and rent is collected up until settlement.

      • true that, i watch simpsons regularly.

      • In rare instances where the tenant is immaculate and has styled the property beautifully, the owner might keep the tenant during the sales process and still fetch top dollar. In this case the tenant is sometimes given a discount for the inconvenience of the inspections and keeping the place looking immaculate.

        I doubt that is the case here.

  • +8 votes

    Being forced to move out would be a pretty big inconvenience and obviously financially costly (paying for movers, cleaners, taking time off work, finding a new place and signing a lease, etc)

    Unfortunately, this is the life of a tenant.

    Or is it a fait accompli that the magistrate will tell us we have to leave in 60 days?

    The member (not magistrate) will definitely say you will have to leave. You will only have to pay rent at your current place until the date you leave though. If you leave in 2 weeks and 2 days, you only pay rent up until that day.

    • cheers for the advice

      • +2 votes

        FYI you still need to give 14 days notice in writing.

        • This happened to me in NSW. I was given 90 days to vacate (or earlier, with little notice - 7 days I think).
          In my situation, I allowed the landlord to do an inspection with the agent and after doing this the landlord decided to rescind the notice and allow me to stay a bit longer while renovations were planned.
          This was helpful but 6 months later I got another notice and left.
          I am aware Victoria has different rules.

  • To be fair, put yourself in the owners shoes. If they are doing a forced sale, you don't want to be in their shoes, and with the market tanking due to oversupply of apartments owner is unlikely to make top dollar, didn't we have a forum post from a member stating he had lost 100k due to a forced sale from a house in melb ?

    Yes as a tenant it's inconvenient to be looking at a new place, but you also get to walk away without a huge financial penalty. It's a renters market for apartments now, just look at all the ones going for half price in docklands/south bank.

    • fair call, I think i am also asking a fair question, based on a scenario: if a magistrate is unlikely to kick me out, then would it be reasonable for the owner to want to make an agreement to get me out

      if as most people are saying, the magistrate will tell me I have 60 days to leave, then it's a fait accompli and I'll have to leave, making my idea of an agreement moot :)

      • That's true as well. For me personally I would see these things as an opportunity to upgrade to a nicer place at the same or lower rental price.

      • "owner to want to make an agreement to get me out" is nothing but called encroachment on someone's property. be careful before taking matter to court or tribunal as if you fail then you will end up paying owner cost for wasting his time and willfully causing hardship.

        as long as owner gives you notice then you should leave and as others said try to find better place at cheaper rent as currently renter market is suffering and new property owner will be willing to give discount on rent including rent free period.

        not sure which part of Melbourne you are living but northwest Melbourne (Doreen) property are empty without tenant and owners willing to negotiate 1 to 2 month rent free period as long as you sign for 12 month contract. i am sure scenario might be same in other suburbs.

  • Offer to purchase.

    • How long do you think to organise finances, closing credit cards, applying home loan, understanding borrowing capacity, etc?

      not to mention deposit required, and ability property cost vs rent fee.

      People often think rental fee is equal or more than the mortgage repayments. This is not true and vary from property to property.

      Having said that, speaking as Devil's advocate, OP can pretend to offer purchasing at high price if the owner let him leave in 90-120 days, etc.
      Anyway good luck.

  • +11 votes

    Just move please.

  • Sounds like terrible timing under the circumstances. You could certainly try to get a rent reduction for the remaining time citing financial hardship and cost to move - no idea if you’ll be successful.

    I hope there’s a silver lining for you e.g. the next place works out better and cheaper. Perhaps the next place will be more toddler friendly/fun for bub who’ll be on the move before you know it.

    Good luck!

    • This. Can't hurt to ask the owner for a rent reduction due to costs of moving and financial hardship. Obviously no gaurantee they would do it for you, but potentially they say yes: either to be nice, or because they want you to be a good sport with the inspections

  • I had to move myself and my two children, multiple times, in 10 years due to having the place sold.

    Just start looking for your new place and don't look back. Another door has opened, there's no reason to waste your time on the old one.

    Good luck to you.

    • We have an Osteopath near us that leaves quotes on their advertising board. The latest is
      “As one door closes another opens; apart from that it is a great car”.

  • It's not really a big inconvenience then if you get some free rent huh. Although the excuses are valid but to be honest it is overly exaggerated. There's lots of properties to rent now, landlords that are not selling are desperate to rent out, you might even get better rates and a newer place. We have all rented before and we know the risk if a landlord decides to even change their tenants for any reason, they can do it. And you don't deserve to get one cent out of that inconvenience. The contract is there to protect you and the landlord, not free loaders

  • 5 years is a good run for everyone involved. Sometimes having to move out when we would prefer not to is a price we pay for renting. It's best to come to this realisation now and literally move on.

    If you're working from home and your wife is not working why would you need cleaners? Or even movers for a 2 bed apartment? Clean yourselves, hire a moving truck and get a friend or 2 to help move. Move on the weekend, no time off needed. It seems like you have as much time on your hands right now as one could with a 2 year old.

    Usually the hardest thing about moving is not having overlap in rent between the old and new places, it seems like you might be able to limit this.

  • Wow. Entitled much?

    It’s a valid eviction reason. Read your lease. With due notice, you aren’t entitled to a thing. Let lone FREE RENT!

    I guess you could always buy the house, negating the need to leave. Oh wait…

  • Well…. 100%
    What do you think would happen when a land lord sells a property? They would want you to vacate in order to have the property cleared for the buyer.
    Do you think the buyer would allow you to life in their property, after spending thousands in the purchase there of?

    • +12 votes

      Its their job they deal with dodgy landlords all the time.

      and how is that relevant in this case? nothing dodgy about selling your property.

        • +11 votes

          After 5 years, he's probably on a periodic lease. That gives him as much flexibility as the owner. Nothing dodgy about that.

        • So you are saying that someone has no rights to sell their property and give notice even though the laws clearly state they can?

          • @gromit: I think he was saying if they are on a fixed term lease you can't make them leave until the end of the lease.
            If they have a fixed term lease the landlord will usually offer the tenant incentives ($) to leave prior to the expiration. If their lease has reverted to a periodic lease, or the fixed term is expiring prior to the notice to vacate date, then there is no issue.

            • @bohn: As you say he is unlikely to be on a fixed term. But regardless termination orders absolutely can be made with a fixed term contract if selling. Either way nothing dodgy about it and seems the LL has followed the rules to the letter.

  • Did the landlord or agent discuss this with you before dropping the VCAT notice of hearing on you?

    If their only communication was the legal note, my approach would be to screw them for every cent possible. Manners or money.

    • +3 votes

      Ah, the ol' pre-notice notice.

      Just like when a tenant decides they want to leave, they need to provide written notice to the agent/landlord.
      The tenant doesn't need to call up the agent to let them know they are vacating before sending the written notice.

        • The hearing is only scheduled in order to protect the landlord should the tenant fail to comply - so that they will be forced to leave within the 60 day notice period.

          Should the tenant comply - there will be no hearing.

          OP hasn't said whether this came with a Notice to Vacate or not, or whether they received one previously. Be surprised if this isn't the case.

  • Mate, you have 60 days and no case for VCAT. This is standard practice in the rental market and happens all the time. Covid won’t impact this especially as the real estate market is back operating in Vic so you have no excuses about not being able to find a new place. Start searching now and you will be surprised that you will likely find something better for the same price or less in this market. Five years is a great run for a rental so you’ve done well.

    • I didn't go to VCAT, they did, because of the new covid provisions

      • The covid provisions specifically are to cover you in the event you cannot make rent payments due to being financially impacted by covid. This case has nothing to do with the covid provisions.