Tenants Have Handed Back Possession Early during 90 Day Notice Period

My wife and I recently became landlords.

Signed a 6 month lease, rolled over into monthly. We decided we wanted to make changes to the property and it wasn't going well with the tenants for reasons I won't get into so we gave the tenants 90 days notice to vacate as per fair-trade NSW advice. We even waited until after Christmas period because we wanted to be fair on the tenants.

But now the tenants have vacated before the 90 day expiration and without any communication to us. We were deliberately misled, earlier we offered to let them use the trailer to transport some heavy items. We asked when could I come install the new range hood. The tenants had many opportunities to do the right thing and let us know they had found a new place and would be vacating early.

On Friday a moving truck arrives to our surprise, and later that day the tenants hand back keys to us. They then informed us (rather gleefully) they would not be paying any more rent - like they got one over on us.

Now we have an vacant property and we haven't even started to look for new tenants because we had more than 30 days to go until the 90 day notice period

Do we have any recourse? The bond is still with NSW Fair-Trading BTW.

Surely the tenants had to give some prior warning before they handed back possession.

The tenants deliberately deceived me so naturally I feel cheated. Not seeking revenge, just some sense of fairness/justice.

I'll call fair-trading when they open again tomorrow but appreciate advice on this forum as I'm very stressed.


closed Comments

    • +5

      roasted so hard his internet went out.

    • +4

      They're still processing their PTSD from missing out on a potential two months' worth of rent. It's going to take some time and a few counselling sessions before they even feel confident enough to jack up the rent by $50 dollars per week when they relist the property because the place has a new rangehood now.

  • +2

    OP, do you have a real estate agent or self managing the place?

    Seems you 're upset on account of losing the remainder of the 90 days rent, but also tending to renovations as a deduction of a tenanted property.

    I can see how much joy they would've had upon returning your keys. Can't see how you would recover any money from them when they abused by your instructions.

    The question about agent is to see if you had any rental agreements and conditions which you might want to review

    • Edit: abided not abused

  • +8

    I don't understand how you can be complaining when you give your tenants notice to move out and they do move out.

    Plus it's not like they would just find a new place for exactly the day you want them to leave.

  • +8

    How hard up are you on making the repayments with the place being empty? It seems like this is the only issue here.
    It's foolish to assume an investment property will be rented 100% of the time and if you cannot make the repayments without it being tenanted then you should probably be choosing to invest your money elsewhere.

    You asked them to leave within a specified time and they did. There's no deception going on here at all.

  • +5

    Cashflow… is the third pillar of investment property ownership…I had my property vacant from 24 Dec to 10 Mar… had to cop it… unfortunately there’s no recourse to this situation, tenants are well within their right to vacate once your notice is served…

  • +3

    Shares > Investment Properties - no dramas like this.

    • +1

      Monday portfolio $500k. Friday portfolio $350k and worse if you need the cash.. It does not happen to propertied within a week..

      But within 3 mths, that $500k could be >300% higher too. (See: NVX, LKE, VUL, etc).

  • +5

    OP you seem to have misunderstood the 90 days to vacate you offered to your tenant.

    It's up to 90 days to vacate the property. Not they have to vacate on the 90th day.

  • +5

    You kicked your tenant out and they left…

    It's not like what ever place they tried to moved to would accept someone moving in only at an exact date in a month's time.
    Or did you think your tenant would be fine to pay rent in 2 rentals?

  • -1

    What changes were being made to the property?

  • +4

    please ring beyond blue after reading all the advises OP at 1300 224 636

  • +11

    How's your level of entitlement! You kicked them out, for reasons you won't go into, and by some miracle they managed to find themselves another place to live within the 90 days you gave them and now you're pissed because 1) they didn't tell you 2) you've missed out on rent and 3) you don't have anyone else lined up ready to move in.

    Are you serious? Really re-read your post and then tell me if you think you still have a leg to stand on.

    BTW YOU made it a month to month agreement with the tenant, not them. They therefore left part way through the end of their final month, since every month is their final month. I sure hope you pay them back their bond money that they're entitled to.

  • +1

    as a landlord I lost at tribunal when tenants had given some future notice like 3 weeks time

    there had been some disagreements, I forget what about now (this is years ago)

    then one day I came around, found no-one home, and found the keys on the table inside.

    I thought they owed me rent to the date of notice when they said they would leave, so applied to tribunal for the rent

    the tribunal officer said I had accepted handover when I picked up the keys so they owed nothing

    in other words, if I hadn't picked up the keys, they might have owed me rent to the notified date

    but as I had 'accepted vacant possession' by picking up the keys they'd left without telling me

    I lost.

    So yeah - consider it a lesson (in over 30 years as a landlord I've had many), and use the vacancy as an opportunity to renovate and then advertise it for a higher rent - seems to me demand is coming back after the slough of COVID lockdowns

    • the tribunal officer said I had accepted handover when I picked up the keys so they owed nothing

      That's rough!

      • That’s’ law.

    • +6

      Why did you enter the premises, when no one was home but you believed they were still occupying the premises?

      I don't think a landlord can just pop around and let themselves in if no one is home

      • I don't recall exactly - but guess they'd left some message about being gone, there was no response when I knocked the door when they would normally have been home, and I looked in the front window and saw the place empty of furniture so they'd obviously moved out and gone. Something like that.

        hindsight is 20:20 (see my loss at tribunal above) - and everyone's an expert after the event.

        I thought I understood the law before that - I'd been a landlord for maybe 17 years already

        but there are always new mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned

        many give up after the first bad experience of being a landlord and say never again.

        So let's just say I continue to live and learn …

    • -1

      Lol demand for rentals is falling mate rent is down 30-40% in Sydney.

  • +1

    Yeah, but think of all that sweet sweet equity mate

  • Whilst a shitty move, count it as a win.

  • +4

    What do you expect they vacant on 89 or 90th day? And why tell you when you already told them to get off the property.

  • +5

    It was periodic lease when you gave them 90 day notice to vacate. They can move out at anytime. See this as the cost of your business.

    If you did not give them the 90 days notice, then they are supposed to give you 21 day notice.

    I would try to bring forward the renovation if I were you. If you cannot bring it forward, see if you can expand the scope of the renovation and start early (e.g. fresh coat of paint etc).

    • +9

      They didn't leave before the agreed time, op gave them up to 90 days to find a new place to go. They did, end of story. No responsibility on their part to tell the owner when they'd move out as -they- have been given notice to leave. As a courtesy yes, but it seems the owner hasn't been so courteous with their renovation requests.

  • +1

    I'll call fair-trading when they open again tomorrow but appreciate advice on this forum as I'm very stressed.

    What do you want exactly, for the tenants you wanted to vacate the property… to come back?

    • -3

      It may be that some of or all of the bond could offset the loss of rent if that is. It all depends on the notice documentation of course.

  • +7

    I was once the tenant in a situation exactly like this. 6 months LA then onto a month to month. The Landlord asked to vacate in 90 days. I vacated in 60 days after 1 week notice. The Agent insisted that I give a 21-day notice. I told him that as per law I don't have to. Ultimately left the place but the landlord claimed money out of the bond. This amounts to exactly 2 weeks of rent :) I disputed and now waiting for the tribunal date. FYI..no damage was done to the property.

    • Which state?

    • +3

      Hey OP in NSW (can't speak for other states) just apply for your bond first then the REA needs to go to the tribunal to dispute it

  • +1

    this is exactly, why i will never be a landlord & rent out any property to anyone. too much hassle for such little gain! dealing with tenants are a nightmare! now matter how good they are.

    • It is why real estate companies also manage rentals.
      It is their job, and they usually have a property lawyer on payroll, so nobody gets screwed.

  • +2

    Zero comment from OP. Are you sure you guys are not being had?

  • +2

    Surely this is a piss take.

  • +1

    You gave them notice to move out and changed/rolled their lease to ‘monthly’. Seems like a 1 sided story but the tenants faces uncertainty of not having a roof to live in and they just did what they have to do. Wouldn’t make a difference if they used all 90 days of your notice. You’re kicking them out, they moved out.

    • +1

      having a roof to live in

      Tenants must be possums 😛

  • +4

    how dare they move out when you asked them to move out, report them to the FBI

  • +4

    The OP clearly doesn't understand the law in NSW and is pushing blame onto the tenants.
    Read the law. In NSW no counter notice is required - the tenant can move out anytime within the 90 days.
    I'm a landlord myself but this is really petty of the OP with all the flowery language about being "misled".

  • +2

    You had tenants with a monthly lease, you gave them 90 days notice, and they left earlier than this deadline.
    As they had a monthly lease, I see nothing wrong here?

    When I was 18, I co-shared with mates and had a youngish Italian guy who was very religious (besides the point) as a landlord.
    He used to turn up unannounced to look at something to see if it needed maintenance, or any excuse to check on the house.
    Once we got home to find him walking in the front door, only for him to say he knocked and the door was open already…
    He never got over the fact that he rented out his house to us, it was our house, and for a year it was not his to use anymore for that year.
    He had the best intentions, but was so uncomfortable with someone else living in his house that he often overstepped the landlord boundaries.

    You sound just like him :(

    • +4

      Some owners want their property to be kept as if it was a gold bar in a safety deposit box. No wear and tear or extra costs while the value goes up. So misguided and plain stupid.

  • +1
  • +1

    this is the exact opposite of the thread where the tenant was complaining about being asked to move out at end of notice period. coincidence? surely not

  • In WA i have to give 20 days notice to vacate, at least on my contract

  • +1

    This is funny haha, its 90 days to get out mate, they stop paying when they get out. What would you have done if they were still there after 90 days and weren't able to find/be approved a rental? That's why its 90 days, get money together and pack everything up and have property in a state to get their bond back

  • +3

    Further reading below, I don't think you have any legs to stand on ……


    Leaving before the date given by landlord

    Periodic agreement

    You can give vacant possession (move out) and stop paying rent at any time before the termination date listed on the notice. You are not required to give notice to the landlord/agent, however it is prudent to inform them, in writing.

    • -3

      Yep, amazingly no notice required. Though if I wasn't the tenant, I wouldn't be asking for a reference.

      • How is that "amazingly"? The landlord gave a notice of eviction… now they have 90 days to uproot their lives and find a place and resettle. For a typical household moving is an incredibly expensive (time and cost intensive) exercise.

        The landlord may lose out on about ~3 months of rent (at MOST). Renting out property is a business, and this overhead would be part of the cost of doing business (an operational expense).

        • The landlord gave a notice of eviction

          Is it an eviction or ending a tenancy agreement. Do you consider a LL not renewing a tenant's contract an eviction?

          Because with fixed leases, the LL only has to give 30 days notice. The tenant would only have 30 days to uproot their lives and find a place and resettle.

          With fixed leases, both the LL and the tenant know in advance when the house will be available.

          The landlord may lose out on about ~3 months of rent (at MOST).

          I'd guess the OP was still receiving rent for the 60 out of 90 days the tenants stayed. They just need to find new tenants asap or renovate the place like they wanted to do.

          That link says that in NSW it is prudent to let the LL know you're leaving, according to some comments here it is mandatory in some other states.

          • +1

            @ozhunter: The whole thing talks specifically about a notice (referring to the eviction/termination notice).

            A LL not renewing a tenant's contract is not an eviction, its rolling over to the periodic lease terms.

            I think I understand what you're trying to say, but I think at the end of the fixed term its fair dinkum to have a short notice period of 30 days (BEFORE the contract moves into periodic) given the definitive end date that tenants and LL can both plan for. Typically as a lease comes to an end, tenants are already preparing to either move or seek clarity from LL as to whether they should be looking.

            Once things move into periodic, there is a high degree of uncertainty for the tenants as to what the "end date" is… and hence the 90 days period being a sufficient buffer.

            Letting the LL know is more of a courtesy than an actual requirement IMHO.

            • +1


              90 days period being a sufficient buffer.

              That's fair enough. Basically all my comments in this thread are about whether the tenant needs to let the LL know when they are moving in advance even if they are on a periodic lease.

              Letting the LL know is more of a courtesy than an actual requirement

              Apparently in some other states it is an actual requirement. I get that it is isn't for those in NSW

              • @ozhunter: Generally I think its better for all folks involved to give each other enough notice to plan accordingly. Treat folks with respect and they will in turn respect you.

                I think OP and their tenants had a major breakdown in communications and it became adversarial rather than folks giving each other a fair go.

  • +1

    What is with these dudes who post in the forum and then don't post a single comment? They should be a new category of @disabledusers just for them

    • +5

      Hard to reply when they are getting smashed and its not the answer they were looking for!

      • how hard is it to reply with a few answers, and a "oh ok, I see, thanks for your help"

  • +2

    It's the surprised Pikachu of landlords.

  • +9

    OP's gone to Specsavers to hang out with the other no reply op's

  • +2

    I seriously pity your next tenant. You told them to leave and they did.

  • +5

    Wow. Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

    Trying to renovate while the tenants are still living there after giving 90 days notice to vacate. You can't possibly see how they would be annoyed by that? But its okay, you waited until after Christmas to evict them so all good.

    I actually feel happy for the tenants they got out early.

    Ps. Please do not treat your new tenants like the previous ones.

    • -3

      Trying to renovate while the tenants are still living there

      Lol, he just asked.

      Though depending on the reasons to evict, he probably should have waited.

      • +1

        Is that not the same as trying…..?

        • Asking seems to convey a lesser degree of trying and is more specific?

          Eg. Someone could be trying to get into my house could come across as someone breaking in or just asking me for permission.

          • @ozhunter: I didn't downvote you.

            However, the fact that he even asked seems to suggest how oblivious he is to the situation.

    • If the place is going to be without a tenant for 2+ months then OP would have been better off saving himself the stress and paying an agent to do it all properly. But I bet “losing” money to the agent who knows how to manage tenants would also grind his gears.

  • Remember that dodgy playstation post. I really hope the former tenants reply with their side. That would be awesome.

    • I still don't know what that PS guy was trying to get out of posting that. Some people really are psychopaths.

      'It's not a lie, if you believe it'
      - George Costanza-

    • +1

      Link to the PS post?

      • +2

        Probably the one about the Xbox One X (not a Playstation but who remembers such details from nearly a year ago)

        Forum responders were originally sympathetic to the OP.
        Then the buyer responded that the "new" Xbox could not be registered because Microsoft claimed that the serial number had previously registered.
        Then the OP admitted he had opened the package.
        Then OP was accused of using a sockpuppet account to support his own case. (Sammy78's posts have since been removed by the mods).
        Then the OP posted a screenshots of serial numbers which knowledgeable responders noticed must have been faked.

        Sold Item on OzBargain - Buyer Threatening Police Action

  • +9

    OP is taking the piss right?

  • +2

    I don't get your point. You wanted them out and they are out earlier. How is that inconvenient? The 90 day notice is the maximum time they have to vacate. They did so earlier so I believe you got what you wanted 🤔

    • TLDR: OP is annoyed they missed out on the extra month of rent.

      • OP is a bit stupid. That's the purpose of a 90day notice. You risk a month or two of rent. They can move on the next day of the notice as well and OP will be out 3 months of rent

  • +7

    I love it when landlords get a taste of their own medicine.

  • You gave them notice. Most people take that is to leave within 90days.
    You should be happy you can get on with your reno.

    Cant workout what you could possibly upset about here.

  • +2

    The tenants deliberately deceived me so naturally I feel cheated.

    You terminated their lease early and YOU feel cheated?

    Once you serve them notice, they can move out at any time.

  • +1

    OP sure has a lot to say in response to these comments 🤣

    • Maybe he also used to work at SpecSavers

  • Once the tenant receive a notice to vacant, they can pretty much leave at any time they want without being liable to pay rent once they move out. They could leave the same day of the notice date.

    So, what is the issue here.

    • +1

      The issue is that he's now stuck with paying a full mortgage. This is a 1% problem and he will struggle to get any sympathy here.

  • +6

    To quote a previous post I made…

    I get the feeling landlords feel like they're doing lower income households a solid by providing them with a roof over their head

    Get over yourself. You removed the roof over their head. They obliged. And now you're upset you'll lose some income? Try and think outside your own life for once. It will do you some good.

    • +1

      Went through this twice. Landlords didn't gave a shit and did not even acknowledge us when they came down for the auction to their property while we're still living there.

      • I mean, I agree with the sentiment. But are you saying you're the tenant OP is referring to? Or is this another example of shitty landlords? - Alternatively, did you reply to the wrong comment?

  • +2

    OP has ghosted.

    • Call him Patrick Swayze cos they GHOST

  • I think the main issue that irked the OP is the tenants gleefully informing the OP that they will not be paying any more rent due to moving out. Feelings were definitely hurt here.

    • I expect there was some emotion on OPs part in delivering the notice to vacate in the first place. The lord was left slack jawed holding land that earns him nothing for at least a few months, sounds like just deserts to me. You reap what you sow.

  • Imagine landlord entitlement where they believe they are exempt from any risk of investment properties.

    • huh ???

      • +4

        Imagine landlord entitlement where they believe they are exempt from any risk of investment properties.
        Does that help jv?

  • +4

    Tenants are always in the precarious position of having their lives uprooted by a Landlord's decisions.
    The tenant was well within their rights. I feel sorry for the tenant, and not for the OP.

    • -1

      I feel sorry for the tenant


      • +1

        See above.

        • -3

          Lots of tenants are a**holes too, not just landlords…

  • +6

    you kicked them out, they left. you expect them to not start looking for a new home until their "90 day grace period" is up. I knew landlords can be asshats, but this post is next level..

    0 sympathy for you. 0 legal standing for you.

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