Real Estate Agent Wants Me out at The End of The Lease

Hello,

I moved into a a house in Melbourne in September 20 during lockdown, listed for $480 a week, negotiated it down to $460 a week and 6 months lease as I wasn't able to inspect and wanted to be able to leave in case something was wrong with it. Real estate agent took weeks to get back to me and suddenly agreed, blaming the owner being an old lady and not answering to emails, with the lease starting the following week and finishing on the 29/03 (end of the COVID moratorium).

I moved in and am really happy with the place and want to stay for the long run.

I got a call before Christmas asking what I wanted to do at the end of the lease, I said I wanted to stay and the agent said that the owner's niece, who's their financial dependant wanted to move in, so I needed to move out at the end of the lease, and if I left earlier than that, they wouldn't charge me for breaking the lease early, they'd help me find another similar place, and possibly negotiate moving fees.

Now that agent was fired, and the Real estate agency's director called me to tell me the agent left, and the owner's daughter wanted to move in to start uni in Melbourne (previous story was with the niece, and the owner being an old lady) so I needed to move out, same promises, no early exit fees and they'd help me finding something. Now he rings me every week asking when I'll leave and never suggested any other place, despite having some listed on their website.

I don't believe their story and I think they just want me out so they can list the property again (and charge the owner for it) and rent it out for more.

I rang the tenant's union and they said they can't legally issue a notice to vacate until the end of March, which will then give me a 60 days notice issued by VCAT.

Today the Real Estate agency director emailed me again asking when I'd leave, and if I could agree to have left the premises at the end of April.

Can I just ignore him until I actually get an official notice to vacate issued by VCAT (which they won't get if their story is bogus as I think it is)?
If I effectively leave and see the place advertised again, can I do anything against them for "unfair dismissal" ?
If I ask for the landlord's details, do they have to provide them?

Cheers

Comments

  • "and 6 months lease as I wasn't able to inspect and wanted to be able to leave in case something was wrong with it"

    Sounds like you shouldn't have gone with such a short lease

    Just find something else. They can always just say they are going to sell it and get a contract of sale and go to VCAT. But like you said in March they will likely be able to kick you out anyway. So just find something else and move on.

    That's the risk of renting.

    • -31 votes

      Yep, agreed, ultimately I'll move out but if I can enjoy summer in this house, save up a bit more and buy something in 6 months, it saves me the hassle of doing it now

  • I don't believe their story and I think they just want me out so they can list the property again (and charge the owner for it) and rent it out for more.

    Scummy but they're entitled to as long as it's not in breach of your contract. Never believe anything someone tells you verbally, least of all Estate Agents, and always ask for it in writing or confirm it back to them in writing.

    Find somewhere new.

    • Its not scummy at the slightest.

      Having the Niece story in writing does nothing.

      Even the day after vacate it is listed on domain at $50/week more the landlord / agent has done nothing wrong.

      • +8 votes

        I would agree with tsunamisurfer.
        Was the OP scummy when he negotiated rent cheaper at difficult time and also 6 months lease term in their favour at the time?
        "Find somewhere new" is exactly what the real estate agent asked a few times.
        The OP could just say they have no intention to move early and will stay to the last day of the lease term. End of story.

        • Wouldn't it be justice when OP moves out and the new place is not ready because the previous tenant refuses to vacate.

  • Have you told them that you have no intention of moving until the lease is up?

    If I effectively leave and see the place advertised again, can I do anything against them for "unfair dismissal"

    I don't think so.

    • I said I was looking, which I am, but couldn't guarantee a move out date

      • What did they say when you said "please stop calling me, I will let you know if circumstances change?" :)

      • To be honest you're better off looking now than in a months time. If you wait until the end of the lease, the other place may not be ready to move in (a week or two in a hotel may be necessary). A lot of the time it takes a week or two for references, approvals, contacting owners (as you had moving into your current place). You don't want that happening

        If you find a place now (or in the next couple of weeks) that you can move into in 2 two weeks notice it gives you time to organise things and find deals on movers.

  • If you have a look at the Title Deeds of the property you will see that the name on there just happens to be not yours. Let's establish that minute detail first.

    wanted to be able to leave in case something was wrong with it.

    So you were happy when the flexibility to leave was on your side. Now that the lease is ending and due process demands an extension or letting the contract end, that's an issue?

    I don't believe their story and I think they just want me out so they can list the property again (and charge the owner for it) and rent it out for more.

    Their story is just noise it doesn't matter, what matters is the landlord wants possession of their property back. Please leave by the end of the lease.

    I rang the tenant's union

    Why? They didn't force you out they offered you incentives to leave early or you can leave on time with no sweeteners.

    Can I just ignore him until I actually get an official notice to vacate issued by VCAT (which they won't get if their story is bogus as I think it is)?

    Yes, but you will be on record as a bad tenant. Their 'reason', daughter, niece, doesn't matter to VCAT, what matters is that the lease is finished and you refuse to leave because someone said Niece.

    If I effectively leave and see the place advertised again, can I do anything against them for "unfair dismissal" ?

    Unfair dismissal of tenant. Wow.

    • -57 votes

      Not doing anything wrong here, at the end of the lease, it automatically goes to month-to month. I'm not saying I'm going to lock myself in the house and shoot everyone approaching, I want to do things right, and if I don't have to go through the hassle of moving again, I'll save up a bit more and buy something instead.

      I have offered to sign for another year at the original listed price. I rang the tenant's union to see if this is legal, and it isn't.

      • I want to do things right

        then move out at the end of the lease. You signed for 6 months and you got 6(or 7) months.

        They told you they wanted you out once the lease is over before Christmas

      • Not doing anything wrong here, at the end of the lease, it automatically goes to month-to month.

        No it doesn't when the agent has informed you that they wish for the contract to end.

        I rang the tenant's union to see if this is legal, and it isn't.

        What is illegal? The landlord wanting to take possession of his property at the end of the lease?

        • -15 votes

          Please define "inform". Is it a verbal notification or does it have to be some sort of official document?
          It is currently illegal to evict people in Victoria under the COVID moratorium

          I understand you point of view and I'd probably have the same in your shoes "you're a renter, get out" but the situation isn't clear that's why I'm hoping to get advice from people who know the current rules, not opinions

          • @kanter:

            It is currently illegal to evict people in Victoria under the COVID moratorium.

            You are not being evicted, you seem to want to hang your hat on this.

            You signed a 6 month lease , lets say MID Sept 2020, six months from there is MID March 2021.

            So if you really really wanted to you can hide behind the moratorium for another 2 weeks (til the end of the moratorium). Then it becomes legal for them to make you leave.

            Then you can be recalcitrant and flat refuse to leave which requires it goes to mediation, then the courts, then the court sheriff, that would be more time lost for you, costs and both parties are impacted negatively.

            What does all that achieve?

            The most efficient use of your time is to find another place yourself and leave by the end of the lease.

            If something broke in the house you'd be the first to jump up and down that it is not fixed in time, but its OK for you to determine when you wish to vacate contract or no.

            • @tsunamisurfer: I don't want to get to that point, of course, and I am already looking for a new place. I guess I wasn't clear in my initial post, I haven't had anything official and written saying they want me out, therefore the lease automatically converts to a month-to-month

          • @kanter:

            It is currently illegal to evict people in Victoria under the COVID moratorium

            What? You're not getting evicted. It's the end of your lease.

            Today the Real Estate agency director emailed me again asking when I'd leave, and if I could agree to have left the premises at the end of April.

            To be honest, this is pretty generous already. It sounds like they're already trying to accommodate and give you a chance to find a new place and to move out amicably. There is still over 2 months until the end of April, so the notice period is completely fair game.

            I don't get what you're trying to do here. What's your end game? Are you trying to stay there until you find a new place, for another 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, are you just wanting to stay there for as long as you can and just make other peoples' lives harder?

            I'm genuinely curious, because from what you're saying, I can't see any sort of end game, what are you trying to achieve?

      • Not doing anything wrong here, at the end of the lease, it automatically goes to month-to month

        Unless they ask you to leave at the end of your contract. In which case as long as they give you the correct notice period there is nothing wrong.

        The only thing you MAY have going for you is a misunderstanding of the eviction moratorium. Do the rules mean they can't kick you out before the moratorium ends, or can they give you notice before that, to move out after the moratorium ends.

        FYI according to the Victoria Tenants association there are two "non-fault grounds" that tenants can be evicted at the moment with 60 days notice:

        “No-fault grounds” are where the tenant is not at fault, but the landlord has a lawful basis to seek to get the property back.
        If a landlord:

        • is selling
        • or they or their family needs to move in
  • They don't have to provide the landlord's details. If it were me I would ignore them and let them issue you the notice when they get around to it. If they offer you some other houses great, if not there is no need to help them.

    If they aren't making you leave during the lease they can give whatever reason they want as long as they give you the right notice.

  • At least you’re hearing something from the agent.
    My lease expires in 10 days and the agent won’t return my phone calls or emails.

    • When your lease expires, it automatically goes to month-to-month, it doesn't mean you need to be out of the door, but it is definitely crap to have to worry about it!

      • -1 vote

        I'm no expert but I thought leases only go month to month if the landlord agrees to it.

        I don't think there is any kind of automatic switching over once your 6 mnth lease is up.

        As the landlord has not agreed to a month to month lease, this means your out on the day your lease is up.

        Maybe a lease expert could comment.

        • +4 votes

          Definitely not the case. As soon as your lease has expired, you are on a month to month lease and all of the changes in rules that come with that. In fact in NSW at least, if it is less than 1 month out from the end of the lease you have essentially already switched over to a periodic lease as they need to give you a month notice to end the lease at the end of the contract term. That is a bit of a grey area though.

          I was in the same position where I hadn't heard from the real estate for months. Reason being the rental market value has tanked and we were paying way too much. They would rather we pay 15% too much on a periodic lease than renegotiate a new contract.

          https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/advice/ending-your-tenancy/whe...

        • My lease says it automatically switches to monthly after the fixed period is over

      • This is so wrong on so many levels. Where are you getting this silly idea from?

        You've already been informed via email and by telephone that they want you out before the end of the lease.

        The only thing they haven't done is serve a notice to vacate, but I'm sure with your recalcitrance,they've already started gamplanning how to get you out quickly.

    • So if they don't do anything, it goes month to month. If you want out I think you have to give 14 days notice before the end of the lease (ie 4 days ago). If you're past that deadline you may have to give more notice, but I think it depends on what state you are in. If you give notice the correct way (Letter/email - I'd suggest a registered letter and make sure you have the correct notice period) then all you have to do at the end of the notice is hand over the keys. I'd suggest after receiving the notice they will contact you.

      As an emergancy, you may find you can give less notice if it's due to covid reasons (ie you can't afford it anymore due to losing you job).

  • Your lease agreement is up, they have a family member moving in (supposedly).

    Sorry but you don't really get any recourse.

  • +15 votes

    The reason why they want you out is irrelevant, does not matter if it is a niece or a daughter. You can drag it out for the 60 days but if they want you to leave then you have to leave eventually. Once you have left there is no recourse if you see the property advertised again.

    I am going through the process of evicting tenants in my rental, they will be out by the end of April.

    • It is relevant these days with the COVID moratorium, and the reason dictates the length of the notice period

      • +3 votes

        Thats why I said you can drag it out for 60 days. Unless it is extended then your protection under COVID moratorium expires on 28 March 2021. After this they can just give you normal notice.

        Or they can give you a termination order now under the pretence of the landlord moving back in.

        Either way you will be out in 60 days if they really want you out.

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

      • The COVID moratorium protects people being evicted due to finnancial hardship. You're trying to game the system to save up for a summer house. ie the COVID moratorium doesn't apply to you, you clearly have enough money, stop trying to screw over other people because of your selfishness.

        Owners don't need to give a reason to remove someone at the end of their lease, so whatever reason they have given you doesn't matter, they can simply say "I don't want to rent to them anymore".

        It's not an eviction, eviction is if you were still within the 6 month contract and no the 'month to month' doesn't count either.

  • I moved in and am really happy with the place and want to stay for the long run.

    That's nice and all but it's their house and your contract is up. Whether the niece is actually going to move in or not is irrelevant.

    • Except their contract isnt up and they have been sending weekly emails to try and get them out early.

  • +20 votes

    Ah they joy of tenants wanting everything their own way.
    That aside, forcing the situation to the eviction stage will not look good on your record

  • You'd better find a new place soon, only 4 weeks left.

  • Offer to share the house with the neice. Could work out alright. 😉

  • The entitlement is strong in this one.

    Start looking around for a new place to rent, there's nothing you can do about the situation.

  • +24 votes

    You signed a 6 month lease for your benefit. Well they can use it to theirs as well. It is their house and the contract is ending. They can leave it empty, they can give it to their daughter, they can relist it for $2000 a week if they want. You have no say in the matter and it is not "scummy" in the least.

    When your lease is up, get out. You are entitled AF

  • Spend some time looking for your next place, something that you'll feel happy about living in for a year or more. Your real estate agent will give you a great reference as they just want you out ASAP at this stage. When you signed up to the place, you were also giving them the option of only having you there for that minimum period. You can't really do anything about the previous property manager offering to pay your moving fees unless you got it in writing.

    • It does sound harassing the way they constantly call to ask when you're leaving. If you start to look at a few other properties, you can tell them you've made some rental applications that you're waiting to hear back about. This will put pressure on your real estate agent to put in a good word for you, so you can choose a place you really like and not just out of desperation, and also hopefully they'll stop calling so much.

  • I'd you require help to look for a new place, there is a great new site called realestate.com.au!

  • The following website explains the eviction process:

    https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/

    My quick reading of it says that they have to give you the proper 60 days notice, and that having a dependent family member moving in is a valid reason.

    Yes, you can probably dispute it, and the website tells you how.

    However, if you take that path, the landlord may respond by increasing your rent (with notice), since the laws surrounding covid and rent appear to be ending on 28 March. You can also dispute that, but if the rent was originally reduced because of covid, the landlord probably has a valid reason to increase it now.

    Either way, I don't think you will be able to keep living there for much longer at the current rent.

    • They're not evicting though?
      The lease is up.

      An eviction would be an early termination. The OP is requesting an extension of lease and feels they're entitled to it.

      • Thanks wizzy
        Drakesy the lease is up, meaning that it goes to month-to-month at the end of march, and they can then give me a 60-day notice. They can't legally issue the notice before, because of the COVID moratorium, however the RE agent is pressuring me off the record to leave earlier, which is what I find unfair (as the bratty entitled twat I seem to be)

        • Actually, reading the below page, it looks like the notice they have to give you is 90 days because your lease was for 6 months, and that this notice period increases to 120 days once the fixed term has ended and you automatically move onto a periodic agreement:

          https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/advice/common-problems/notice-...

          I do think that it's still in everyone's best interests for you to just move somewhere else as quickly as possible though. The landlord will be able to force you out eventually if that's what they want. As I mentioned above, they will probably also increase the rent.

        • I'd say that the notice was given when they informed you that they'd need you to vacate before Christmas, which come end of February will be 60 days.

          I got a call before Christmas asking what I wanted to do at the end of the lease, I said I wanted to stay and the agent said that the owner's niece, who's their financial dependant wanted to move in, so I needed to move out at the end of the lease.

          You have a hard end date to the end of the lease and you knew they wanted you to vacate.
          Being proactive and looking around prior to the end of lease is what you should have been doing.

          Getting to the end of your lease and complaining that they won't extend won't garner much sympathy.

          • @Drakesy: As a landlord myself, I can tell you that the laws about giving notice are actually pretty strict. Notice has to be in writing, not verbal. It also has to use the correct form. Here is an excerpt from the Tenants Victoria website:

            A notice to vacate must be in the proper form and be signed and dated by the landlord or agent.

            It cannot just be left in your letterbox or under your door. It must be given to you in person, sent by registered mail, or the landlord might give you the notice by electronic method such as email if you agree.

            Generally speaking, most laws regarding renting tend to favour the renter, not the landlord.

            • @wizzy: Thank you, that's the bit I'm not clear about, what format does the notice needs to be in? Verbal or written, does it have to be formal?
              Is it issued by the RE agent or by VCAT? To me VCAT seems to be the last resort, which I don't want to get to.

              Just trying to understand the process, really

              • @kanter: I don't own any properties in Victoria, so I am only relying on what I have read on the Tenants Victoria website.

                I think if you look around on the Tenants Victoria website it will tell you exactly what written notice and what form the managing agent has to give you. Verbal notice won't count though, and there may be some additional rules in place because of covid:

                https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/

                Otherwise, give them a call and I'm sure they can tell you.

                If I was your landlord, I would be getting rid of this managing agent pretty quickly. They don't sound great. If they had issued the correct written notice, at the correct time, there would be no room for you to dispute it. It's not difficult.

                But also, going to the tribunal to dispute any of this is a hassle. I think It will be better for you if you just move as quickly as you can.

              • @kanter: Oh please, you aren't trying to understand anything. You know the process full well and are hoping to find loopholes to hold onto the sweet little deal you managed to score during COVID

        • The lease doesn’t automatically go month to month. It’s usual practice but it’s up to the owner to extend it for a month. If you continue living there after the 6 month lease is up then you are living there not under a lease and you don’t have a right to continue living there. Save some money and buy your own place so this doesn’t happen again or try to sign a very long lease if you really like a place. You agreed to stay for 6 months now your time is up.

          • @snooksy: There is so many false information with this reply. Lucky there is a black and white website that tenant can check out provided by the government.

            https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/types-of-ren...

            After the fixed date contract expires, the tenant has every right to continue living there just like the landlord has a every right to kick them out anytime they want. Both parties just have to serve the correct amount of notice defined by the law.

      • Yes that's true, but my reading of the rules says that notice is still required, and that the landlord has to have a valid reason to ask the tenant to leave at the end of the lease. Having a family member move in is one of the valid reasons.

        https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/advice/ending-your-tenancy/evi...

        I don't think it's very fair to the landlord, but these appear to be the rules.

  • Move back in with your parents.

    Save some money.

    Buy your own house.

    Problem solved.

  • Lol - I sometimes wonder if real estate agents are worth it as a landlord. Then I see posts like this and I'm glad I will never have to deal with this sort of tenant as man you are weirdly entitled. If your lease is over then they should be able to boot you out without a problem. Sounds like you've been given fair warning and heads up as well, not like they're asking you to move out next week, they've told you long ago what their intentions are.

    • I don't understand your comment. They are free to boot the tenant out at anytime they want, they just have to give enough notice according to the laws.

  • +3 votes

    the rental market in Melbourne is very dead right now. I just got an place for $200 p/w less than it was a year ago and most places on the market around me are sitting empty for months.I would be surprised if they are trying to get you out just to raise the rent. unfortunately, you did sign a 6 month contract.

  • If they wanted you to move out by the end of the lease which I assume is the 20th of March, they would have to issue an official termination notice served to you by the 19 Feb.

    If you didn't receive any notice, you don't have to move out by March end.

    Within the last 30 days from 20th March, they can issue an official termination notice at anytime giving you 30 days. After 20th March, they will have to give you at least 90 days notice. (NSW rules)

    Of course either way you're moving, so better look for something else.

  • Thanks mate, that's really helpful. Victoria laws are a bit different, especially with the temporary COVID relief rules, but that's the information I'm after. Cheers!

  • I could be wrong here but I have some experience with vacating during the end of last year and the effects of COVID. In this case I don't think the agent/landlord can kick you out before the lease end date. For whatever reason (daughter/niece moving in - it doesn't really matter) after your lease end date, they're legally allowed to "evict" you. My advise is start looking for a new place now, usually people start looking 4 weeks before the lease ends. Good luck with your next apartment hunting!

  • very unlikely that they're kicking you out just to find a new tenant. You don't throw out a good tenant.

    Are you a 'bad tenant'? Have you:

    • Knocked back a rental raise for the next lease?
    • Complained about broken things / asked for repairs very often?
    • Made noise / had other neighbours complain?
    • Smoked / have pets, or left significant mess during an open inspection?

    If not, no realtor will kick you out just to advertise for a new tenant. It's likely that they do want to renovate/move in/sell.

    • I agree. The only time I have ever issued a notice to vacate was because the tenants complained endlessly about minor things. It drove me crazy. I preferred to be without tenants for a few weeks than continue to deal with that.

      I also changed managing agents at the same time because they failed to issue a written notice to vacate when I asked. Consequently the tenants were able to stay on longer than I wanted.

      OP's landlord needs a better managing agent.

      • Yes, I agree. It appears that the RE hasn't issued the proper notice to vacate or whatever the correct form is in Vic.

    • +4 votes

      "Complained about broken things / asked for repairs very often?"

      The fact that this is considered a bad tenant is ridiculous in my view. Sure, it can get unreasonable at some point if you want them to fix things that don't matter (scuffs in paint, etc) but if you are requesting they fix things that ought to work (and you are paying for the use of), that shouldn't brand you a bad tenant. If anything, reluctance to maintain things in working order is a sign of a bad landlord…

      • Of course, which is why I placed 'bad tenant' in quotes. There are plenty of bad landlords out there though, and this is a common reason for being kicked out. But even the worst landlord wouldn't kick out a quiet, clean tenant that always pays their rent.

      • I completely agree. Landlords that refuse to fix things are bad landlords.

        But believe me, there really are tenants that make constant and ridiculous complaints. These are the tenants I would refer to as bad tenants. For example, I once had a tenant who complained that the grass was wet after it rained. They wanted me to "fix it" because they are paying rent for dry grass, not wet grass.

        This same tenant also complained that a floor tile in one of the rooms sounded a bit drummy, and "might" break at some point. They wanted me to replace it even though it was not currently broken. I explained that if it ever broke I would definitely replace it immediately. The tenant was not happy. Two years later and the tile is still completely fine and not broken.

        I think it is these types of tenants that Keplaffintech is referring to. A tenant who reports that the oven etc is broken, is doing the right thing, and no reasonable person would think they are bad tenants for that.

        • +2 votes

          That's fair enough. I've only ever been on the side to experience a bad landlord who wouldn't fix the stove, wouldn't rectify severe mould issues, etc.

          Hard to imagine such needy tenants when you aren't one yourself. Also probably hard to imagine how bad landlords can be when you aren't one yourself. Everyone always remembers the bad experiences though.

  • Just tell the agent you havent found anywhere else to live and at this stage you intend on staying until your lease ends unless they can offer you another option.
    Then state what you are looking for eg one bedroom with parking and balcony for cheaper than your paying now.
    The agent can then chose to present options to you or not.

    • It’s not the agents problem.

      The agent acts on behalf of the landlord, not the tenant.

      If the agent serves the correct notice to vacate with the correct notice periods and the tenant fails to vacate, then the landlord can apply to vcat for a possession order. It’s also possible(although unlikely) the tenant can be held accountable for the landlords costs in breaching the tenancy agreement by not vacating.

      • The agent wants the OP to move out before the end of the lease so it is the agent’s problem.
        The agent can’t kick them out before the end of the lease but they want them gone.
        If the agent helps OP find another place the problem is solved

        • You missed the point.

          It’s not the agent that wants the tenant out. It’s the landlord.

          The agent doesn’t care. In fact, you’ll likely find that the longer the tenant is in the property, the more the agent gets paid.

          The agent isn’t required to find the tenant a new place either.

  • Check how the real estate agent has to "officially" notify you about being eveict and until that happens just respond with "I am looking, but have not found anything yet.". When you get the official eviction letter you will then have 60 days to move.

    Play the game back at them w.r.t. playing along verbally only, but have no intention of moving until you get the paperwork.

  • op is a joker

    its not your place so they can make whatever excuse they want. The property owner could say they like their toilet so they want to move into a property THEY OWN AND BOUGHT

    Get over it mate, move out

    I like how people think they own the place when they are just renting. Pathetic

    Unfair dismissal? LOL

    • Because of jokers like you, there are laws. Read up on them.

      • oh yes im a joker who worked hard, saved up, paid cash and then gets undermined by people who think they own something they dont

        I will never rent my property and rather leave it empty then deal with people like OP