Victoria Ending the Tenancy Agreement

In Victoria, ending a residential tenancy agreement is known as termination. The landlord or tenant can terminate the agreement under certain conditions listed below. This page gives a brief outline - click through on the links below for more detailed information about termination and compensation.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

How does termination work?

Under Victorian law, there are a certain number of circumstances where the tenancy can be terminated. The landlord or tenant can choose to terminate the tenancy in some situations, and there are other instances where the tenancy will be automatically terminated.

How do I notify the other party of termination?

If a landlord or tenant wants to terminate the tenancy, they must notify the other party in writing. You should use the following forms:

To make sure that the notice is valid, you should carefully read the information below and complete all sections of the notice as required. Depending on the reason for termination, there are different minimum notice periods. To ensure your notice is valid, make sure you give the notice in time.

When is the residential tenancy agreement automatically terminated?

A tenancy agreement is automatically terminated if:

  • Agreement - the landlord and tenant agree to terminate the tenancy
  • Consent - the tenant vacates the premises with the landlord’s consent
  • Abandonment - the tenant abandons the premises (see below for more information about abandonment)
  • Owner Terminates - the landlord is no longer the owner of the rented premises, and the current owner wishes to regain possession
  • Mortgagee Terminates - a mortgagee (person lending money) becomes entitled to possession of the premises, or has the power to sell the premises, and wants to regain possession
  • Tenant Buys Rented Premises - the tenant buys the rented premises
  • Tenant Rejects Agreement - the tenant rejects the agreement and the landlord accepts that rejection
  • Sole Tenant Dies - there is only 1 tenant under an agreement, and that tenant dies

The agreement can also be terminated by the landlord or tenant (see below).

Termination and Share Accommodation—how does it work?

Co-tenancies

When the Landlord Terminates the agreement
If the landlord terminates a tenancy agreement with multiple co-tenants, the termination applies to all of the co-tenants.

When a co-tenant terminates their agreement
If one co-tenant is leaving the agreement but the other co-tenant(s) remains, the leaving co-tenant should negotiate with the landlord to have their name removed from the tenancy agreement. If the co-tenant remains on the agreement, then they will be held jointly liable with the remaining co-tenants for any damage or loss caused.

Sub-tenancies

If the agreement between a head-tenant and landlord is terminated, then the agreement(s) between the head-tenant and sub-tenant(s) will also be terminated. If this occurs, the head-tenant should notify the landlord and sub-tenants.

The sub-tenants must either vacate the premises or negotiate a new tenancy agreement directly with the landlord or with a new head-tenant.

When can the Tenant terminate the tenancy?

The tenant can lawfully terminate the tenancy in these circumstances:

  1. Terminating a Fixed Term Tenancy: 28 days notice - the tenant can terminate a fixed term tenancy any time after the end of the fixed term. They must give the landlord at least 28 days notice.
  2. Terminating a Periodic Tenancy: 28 days notice - the tenant can terminate a periodic tenancy at any time, so long as they give the landlord at least 28 days notice.
  3. Termination by Tenant after Landlord gives Notice to Vacate: 14 days notice - if the landlord gives the tenant a notice to vacate, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy by giving the landlord at least 14 days notice.
  4. Premises Destroyed or Unfit for Habitation: immediate notice - if the premises is completely destroyed, becomes unfit for human habitation, or becomes unsafe, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy immediately.
  5. Landlord does not comply with Tribunal Order: 14 days notice - if the Tribunal makes an order applying to the landlord but the landlord does not comply with it, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy. The tenant must give the landlord at least 14 days notice of termination.
  6. 3 Successive Breaches by the Landlord: 14 days notice - the tenant can terminate a fixed term tenancy by giving at least 14 days notice if the landlord breaches the same term of the agreement 3 times and the tenant has previously given two Breach of Duty notices to the landlord.

As a tenant, what are the steps to terminating a tenancy?

If you are a tenant terminating the tenancy because of 3 successive breaches by the landlord, or because the landlord has not complied with an order of the Tribunal, you should generally not leave the premises immediately after giving the notice of intention to vacate. If you do leave immediately but the landlord does not accept the termination and successfully challenges its validity at the Tribunal, then your termination will be considered invalid. If you have already left the premises, then you will have abandoned the premises. This means you could be liable to compensate the landlord.

Therefore, the best option is usually to give the notice of intention to vacate, and then wait to hear whether the landlord accepts the termination or challenges it at the Tribunal. If the matter goes to the Tribunal, you should wait until a decision is made.

Read more detailed information about when the tenant can terminate the tenancy here.

When can the Landlord terminate the tenancy?

Termination after the end of a fixed term

The landlord can terminate a fixed term tenancy after the end of the fixed term in the following circumstances: (This section also applies to periodic tenancies)

  1. End of Fixed Term Tenancy: 60-120 days notice - the landlord can terminate a fixed term tenancy on the date that is the end of the fixed term. The minimum notice depends on how long their fixed term is. If the fixed term is 6+ months, then the minimum notice period is at least 90 days. If the fixed term is less than 6 months, then the minimum notice period is at least 60 days. If the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy after the end of the fixed term and there is no specific reason for termination, then they must give the tenant at least 120 days notice.
  2. Terminating a Periodic Tenancy: 120 days notice - the landlord can terminate a periodic tenancy at any time. If the landlord has no specific reason for termination, then they must give the tenant at least 120 days notice of termination.
  3. Premises to be Sold: 60 days notice - if the premises is going to be sold or has been sold, the landlord can terminate the agreement. The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of termination.
  4. Landlord intends to Conduct Repairs/Renovations: 60 days notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if they intend to conduct repairs/renovations/reconstruction to the premises immediately after the tenant moves out. The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of termination.
  5. Landlord’s Place of Residence: 14 days notice - the landlord can terminate a fixed term tenancy at the end of the fixed term or later if the tenancy agreement states that the rented premises was the landlord’s residence before the tenancy and that the landlord intends to resume occupancy after the tenancy. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.
  6. Landlord’s Family to Use Premises: 60 days notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the landlord, a member of the landlord’s family, or a dependent of the landlord, is going to occupy the premises after the tenancy. The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of termination.
  7. Demolition of Premises: 60 days notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the rented premises is going to be demolished. The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of termination.
  8. Premises to be Used for Business Purposes: 60 days notice - the landlord can terminate the agreement if the premises are going to be used for a non-residential purpose immediately after the tenancy, such as for a business. The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of termination.

Termination at any time during the tenancy

The landlord can terminate a tenancy at any time, before or after the end of a fixed term, for the following reasons: (This section also applies to periodic tenancies)

  1. 3 Successive Breaches by Tenant: 14 days notice - the landlord can terminate the agreement by giving at least 14 days notice if the the tenant has breached the same term of the agreement 3 times and the landlord has previously given 2 Breach of Duty notices.
  2. Tenant does not Comply with Tribunal Order: 14 days notice - if the Tribunal makes an order applying to the tenant but the tenant does not comply with it, then the landlord can terminate the tenancy. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.
  3. Tenant Fails to Pay Rent: 14 days notice - if rent becomes 14 or more days overdue, the landlord can terminate the agreement. The landlord must give the landlord at least 14 days notice of termination.
  4. Tenant Fails to Pay Bond: 14 days notice - if the tenant does not pay the rental bond as required by the tenancy agreement, then the landlord can terminate the agreement. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.
  5. Tenant Sub-lets without the Landlord’s consent: 14 days notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the tenant sub-lets the whole premises or part of the premises without the landlord’s consent. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.
  6. Tenant Maliciously Damages the Premises: immediate notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the tenant, or the tenant’s visitor, maliciously damage the rented premises or any common areas. The landlord’s notice can be immediate.
  7. Premises Unsafe, Destroyed, Not fit for Habitation: immediate notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the premises is destroyed, becomes unsafe, or is not fit for human habitation. The landlord’s notice can be immediate.
  8. Tenant Endangers Neighbours: immediate notice - the landlord can terminate the tenancy if the tenant, or the tenant’s visitor, endangers the safety of any neighbours of the rented premises. The landlord’s notice can be immediate.
  9. Tenant uses Premises for Illegal Purpose: 14 days notice - the landlord can terminate the agreement if the tenant uses the premises for an illegal activity, such as illicit drug manufacturing or distribution. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.
  10. Child Resident in Breach of Term: 14 days notice - if the tenancy agreement has a term that prohibits a child from living at the premises, and the tenant breaches that term, then the landlord can terminate the agreement. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.

Read more detailed information about when the landlord can terminate the tenancy here.

What happens if the tenant abandons the premises?

The tenancy agreement is terminated if the tenant abandons the premises. The premises is abandoned if the tenant permanently vacates without giving a valid notice and stops paying rent. Abandonment is a breach of the tenancy agreement. This means that the tenant may have to compensate the landlord for any losses suffered as a result.

Abandonment occurs differently depending on whether the agreement is periodic or for a fixed term:

  • Fixed Term - if the tenant vacates the premises without giving a valid notice of intention to vacate before the end of the fixed term.
  • Periodic - if the tenant vacates the premises without giving a valid notice of intention to vacate.

If there are multiple co-tenants, abandonment only occurs if all the tenants have vacated the premises and rent is no longer being paid.

If the premises has been abandoned, the landlord is allowed to enter and retake possession. Because it is not always clear whether the premises has actually been abandoned, it is good practice for the landlord to seek an order from the Tribunal. If the landlord attempts to enter and retake possession but the premises has not actually been abandoned, then they will be in breach of the tenancy agreement and may have to compensate the tenant.

When can the Landlord or Tenant be compensated?

If the landlord or tenant unlawfully terminates the agreement (i.e. terminates the agreement in none of the ways listed above), they may be liable to compensate the other party for any loss suffered as a result. If you think you have suffered any loss as a result of an unlawful termination, you should apply to the Tribunal.

If termination is lawful (i.e. it falls into one of the categories listed above), then the tenant need only pay rent for the period until they move out.

Compensation for Landlords

If the tenant unlawfully terminates the agreement, e.g. they abandon the premises before the end of the fixed term, then the landlord will generally be entitled to compensation for lost rent for the period until the end of the fixed term.

The landlord must make an effort to mitigate any losses. This means that the landlord must try to find a new tenant for the premises. If the landlord does find a new tenant, then the old tenant will only have to pay compensation for rent up until the new tenancy agreement begins.

The landlord can also claim compensation for other breaches of the tenancy agreement, such as damage caused by the tenant to the premises through a malicious or careless act.

Depending on the circumstances, the landlord may also be able to claim for re-advertising costs and re-letting fees.

Compensation for Tenants

If the landlord unlawfully terminates the agreement, e.g. does not give sufficient notice of termination, then the tenant may be able to claim for losses incurred as a result. For example, if the tenant incurred excessive moving out fees because of the unlawful termination, then the landlord may be liable to pay compensation.

How does the Landlord regain possession after termination? (eviction)

If the tenant does not move out by the termination date specified in the notice to vacate or the notice of intention to vacate, then the landlord can apply for a possession order from the Tribunal. Any application for a possession order must be made within 30 days of the termination date. Once the Tribunal issues a possession order, the landlord must then give it to the tenants.

If the tenant does not comply with the possession order by moving out in the required period, then the landlord can apply for a warrant of possession. This warrant authorises police officers to evict the tenant from the premises. Landlords cannot personally conduct an eviction, and under no circumstances should landlord use physical force to evict a tenant.

If you are a tenant and you have been notified that the landlord intends to have you evicted, you should seek legal advice from Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Tenants Union of Victoria.

What should happen to goods left behind by the Tenant?

What happens to goods left behind depends on whether they are personal documents or other goods.

Personal Documents

If the tenant leaves behind any personal documents, such passports, licenses, or identity documents, the landlord must take care of them for 90 days and take reasonable steps to notify the tenant about where and when they can collect the documents.

If the documents are not collected within 90 days, then the landlord can dispose of them. The landlord should check that it is not a criminal offence to destroy certain types of documents, such as passports.

The landlord can charge any reasonable costs they have incurred in taking care of the documents before handing them back to the tenant. The landlord cannot charge a fee or any other amount however.

Other Goods

The landlord can remove/destroy/dispose of any goods left behind that have no monetary value, are dangerous, or are perishable foods.

If goods of monetary value are left behind, then the landlord can only remove/destroy, dispose of them if the total cost of removal/disposal is greater than the estimated value of the goods. If the landlord is unsure about value, then they can apply to Consumer Affairs for a valuation.

If the landlord is not allowed to remove/destroy/dispose of the goods, then they must store them for at least 28 days in a safe place. Within 7 days of storing the goods, the landlord must notify the tenant of where and when they may collect the goods.

The landlord can charge any reasonable storage and notification costs they have incurred while taking care of the goods before handing them back to the tenant. The landlord cannot charge a fee or any other amount however.

If the goods are not claimed within 28 days, then the landlord may sell them at a public auction. The landlord can keep any proceeds of the auction necessary to cover the costs of storage, selling, and notification of the tenant. They may also keep any amount owed to them by the tenant under an order of the Tribunal. Any remaining money should be paid to the tenant.


These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.