Tenants Rights and Eviction Notices

Date: Sep 02, 2010
Document Type: Newsletter

When you are renting a residential premise, it is important that you are aware of the legal requirements for evicting a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 2006 ("the Act").

Under the Act there are a variety of ways that a tenancy agreement ("lease") can be ended such as:

  1. The landlord can end the lease if the residential premises become unfit to live in due with no fault of the tenant or the landlord.
  2. If the landlord does not want to renew your lease or allow it to continue beyond the fixed term, they must provide you with a minimum 14 days written notice up to and including the last day of the term.
  3. The landlord can end the lease if a breach of the tenancy agreement has occurred such as damaging the premises, using it for illegal activity or being behind in rent. In such an instance, the landlord must provide you with 14 days written notice (for both fixed and continuing leases).
  4. The landlord can end the lease on a "no grounds" basis (for continuing leases) if they provide you with 60 days written notice.
  5. In the even that your landlord has sold the premises and you are outside your fixed-term lease, they must provide you with 30 days written notice upon the exchange of contracts with the new owner. If you are still within your fixed term, you cannot be evicted.

The most important knowledge for a tenant is the process involved in ending an agreement where you have breached a term of the agreement (i.e. failing to pay the rent).

If your fall behind in rent, your landlord may serve you with a termination notice. It is important to know that if you do not vacate the premises, you are not breaking the law. If you choose to ignore this notice and remain on the premises, the landlord will likely escalate the issue of tenancy by taking it to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) for 'termination' and 'vacant possession' orders. If the CTTT decides in the landlord’s favour, you must vacate by the date provided by the Tribunal.

It is also important to know that your landlord raise their concerns to the CTTT without notifying for the following reasons:

  1. You or your guests have damaged the premises.
  2. You have injured or may injure your landlord, agent or the neighbours.
  3. The landlord would suffer financially if the premises was not vacated (the CTTT can order your landlord to compensate you).

If you disagree with the CTTT decision, you may appeal within 14 days of receiving notice of their decision by filling out an 'Application for a Rehearing' form and returning it to the CTTT.

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