Landlord's Guide to Ending the Rental Lease Agreement

POSTED ON October 10, 2023

Landlords and property managers don't leave the end of the lease process to chance. Clear communication, detailed checklists, and straightforward guidelines are your keys to a hassle-free end of the rental lease agreement.

The Rules and Regulations in Melbourne

As a rental property in Melbourne owner, it's imperative to be well-versed with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. The act outlines the rights and duties of both landlords and tenants. Understanding the specific regulations regarding notice periods, security deposits, and property maintenance is crucial. Stay updated with any amendments to the legislation to ensure your practices are always within the legal framework.

Rental Bond

The bond is a security deposit for unpaid rent, property damage, or other lease agreement breaches. In Melbourne, the rental bond is lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). In Sydney: NSW Fair Trading. 

Ending the Rental Lease Agreement

Provide the appropriate notice period to end a tenancy, as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act.  

  • Notice Period

Adhering to the notice period stipulated in the rental lease agreement, inform your tenants in writing about the impending end of their lease term.

  • Schedule a Move-Out Date

Coordinate with the tenant to schedule a mutually convenient move-out date. Clear communication helps avoid confusion and ensures both parties are on the same page regarding the move-out process.

  • Review the Lease Agreement and Move-in Checklist

Before the tenant leaves, check the rental agreement to make sure they did everything they were supposed to. Also, look at the list of things in the house and make sure everything is in good shape. This step is crucial for fairly handling the rental deposit and avoiding potential disputes post-move-out.  

  • Comprehensive Move-Out Checklist

Offer your tenants a detailed move-out checklist, ensuring they know all the tasks they must complete before vacating the property. Remind them to cancel or transfer utility services and update their mailing address for the return of their rental bond.

How To Inspect the Rental Property

Conducting a meticulous property inspection is a crucial step at the end of the rental lease. The inspection should be as thorough as possible to assess any damages or necessary repairs.

  • Initial Walkthrough

Begin with an initial walkthrough of the entire property. This will give a general overview and help identify any obvious issues that need attention.

  • Document the Property's Condition

Utilise a detailed checklist to document the condition of each room and common area. Take photographs or videos as visual evidence to supplement the written record. This documentation will be crucial in disputes regarding property damage or the return of the security deposit.

  • Check for Damages

Inspect walls, floors, ceilings, and fixtures for any damage beyond what's typically expected from regular use. Check for problems such as wall holes, cracked tiles, impaired carpets, or appliances that aren't working correctly.

  • Inspect the Overall Cleanliness

Assess the overall cleanliness of the property to ensure it adheres to the high standards expected at the end of a tenancy. Pay attention to every detail, examining all rooms, corners, and surfaces. Ensure no debris, dust, or grime in any property corner and that all areas, especially the kitchen and bathrooms, are sanitised.

Walls: Check the walls for marks, the floors for stains, and the windows for cleanliness.

Carpets: If the property is carpeted, ensure the carpets are clean and free from stains or damages.

Kitchen Appliances: Appliances such as the oven, range hood and fridge should be clean inside and out, and all fixtures should be in working order.

If the level of cleanliness could be better, coordinate with the tenant for necessary cleaning or hire professional cleaning services to restore the property to its optimal condition. Ensuring a clean and hygienic property is fundamental for the satisfaction of the next tenant and maintaining the property's value and appeal.

  • Assess Necessary Repairs

After the inspection, promptly address any maintenance issues or repairs identified. Prepare a list of tasks to be done. Based on the lease agreement and local regulations, analyse the responsibility for each repair, whether it falls on the landlord or the tenant.

  • Provide a Detailed Report to the Tenant

Provide the tenant with a comprehensive report of the findings. Clearly outline any damages and the estimated costs for repairs. This transparency helps in avoiding disputes and ensures a smooth transition.

  • Schedule Repairs

If the damages fall under the landlord's responsibilities, hire qualified professionals to ensure the work is done to a high standard. Ensure all repairs are completed efficiently and effectively to prevent future issues. Confirm that all maintenance and repairs are completed before the new tenant moves in to ensure the property is in excellent condition, providing a comfortable and safe living environment for the next occupant.

  • Calculate Deductions, If Applicable

If any damage or issues are the tenant's responsibility, calculate the necessary deductions from the security deposit. Provide a clear and itemised list of all deductions, including the cost of repairs, replacements, or cleaning services. Ensure that the calculations are fair and justifiable, adhering to the terms outlined in the lease agreement and compliance with local regulations.

Before finalising the deductions, please communicate with the tenant to discuss the details and provide them with the itemised list. This transparency helps avoid disputes and ensures a mutual understanding of the deductions made. After deductions, ensure the remaining security deposit is returned to the tenant within the legally stipulated time frame.

Returning The Rental Bond Back

After calculating any necessary deductions, return the remaining security deposit to the tenant. Ensure the process is transparent by providing the tenant with a detailed, itemised statement highlighting any deductions made and their reasons. This statement should be clear and concise, allowing the tenant to understand each deduction's justification.

Returning the security deposit within the timeframe specified by local regulations or the lease agreement is crucial. If there are delays, communicate with the tenant and provide reasons for the delay, ensuring transparency and maintaining trust.

  • Use a reliable payment method

Pick a trustworthy and easy-to-keep-track-of way to get paid, like using a bank transfer. Give the tenant a receipt or a copy of the payment form to show that the payment happened. This step ensures a smooth end to the tenancy and fosters a positive landlord-tenant relationship, which can benefit future references or dealings. 

  • Dispute Resolutions

If a dispute arises with a tenant, try to resolve it by communicating with the tenant. If you cannot resolve the dispute, you could seek mediation:

For Melbourne: Apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a hearing or seek mediation through The Consumer Affairs Victoria 

For Sydney: You can seek mediation through the NSW Fair Trading or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a hearing.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective Communication with Tenants: Clear and timely communication with tenants is crucial for scheduling move-out dates and resolving potential disputes amicably.
  • Thorough Property Inspection: Conduct a detailed inspection to assess the property's condition, identify any damages, and document everything with photographic evidence.
  • Transparent Handling of Rental Bonds: Ensure a fair and transparent process in calculating any necessary deductions from the security deposit and returning the remaining amount to the tenant.

🔍Are you looking for a thorough bond cleaning checklist to provide to your tenants? Look no further than our Bond cleaning checklist here.