How much notice do I have to give when I move out?
If you want to end the tenancy you have to give your landlord at least four weeks (28 days) notice, unless the landlord agrees that you can give less notice than this.
How much notice does my landlord have to give me if they want me to move out?
From February 2021, landlords must give you 90 days (at least three months) notice if they want to end the tenancyand it has to be for one of these reasons:
- the landlord is putting the property on the market for sale within 90 days of the set end date, or
- they’ve sold the property and the owner needs it to be empty (known as an unconditional sale, with “vacant possession”), or
- it would be impractical for you to stay in the property because the landlord wants to do major alterations, refurbishment, repairs, or redevelopment within 90 days of the set end date, or
- the landlord is changing the property to a commercial premise for at least 90 days, or
- the landlord needs the property to be vacated for a business activity, and they told you that they use the property for that purpose, or
- the landlord wants to demolish the property within 90 days after the set end date.
However, they only have to give you 63 days (at least nine weeks) notice if:
- the landlord or one of their family wants to live in the place as their main home (usually it has to be immediate family) for at least 90 days, or
- one of the landlord’s employees is going to live there, and the landlord told you before the tenancy started that the property was used for housing employee, or
- your tenancy agreement clearly states that the landlord is the Ministry of Education and the property is usually for a school board of trustees.
If you’re given only 63 days’ notice in one of those situations, the landlord’s written notice to you must give the reason for ending the tenancy.
Difficulties faced when a tenant is leaving
Some common problems that landlords face when tenants are leaving are:
- Bond refund issues: Disputes can often arise between tenant-landlord when deductions have to be made from the tenant’s bond for cleaning fees or repairs.
- Failure of payment of past-due water bills: If a landlord neglects to monitor the payment of water bills that are in the tenant’s name before they leave, they may find themselves stuck with unpaid bills.
- Abandoned personal property: When tenants skip move-out inspections, landlords can find themselves with abandoned personal property that they must figure out a way to dispose of, which often strains a landlord-tenant relationship.
The final inspection: a bit of theory
The inventory/chattels list: what it is
An inventory/chattels list is a detailed list of every item within a property, which includes fixtures and fittings, cupboards, windows, doors, kitchen appliances, and furniture, and its condition.
This is a particularly important document that is often supported by photographs and which provides landlords with tangible evidence of the exact contents and condition of the property when a tenant first moves in.
How to check chattels
During the final inspection, a landlord must carefully tick off every item in the house against their chattels list. While it is possible to use a rental property management company for this purpose, which makes the job a lot easier, a lot of landlords choose to do it themselves.
In order to properly conduct the chattels check, landlords should inspect the property room by room. They should take notes and photographs, while checking things such as the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floors, looking for any surface damage and stains. Landlords should compare the state of the property to the photographs attached to the chattels list created when the tenant first moved in.
Fair wear and tear
The term “fair wear and tear” refers to the unavoidable damage that happens through regular, day-to-day use of a property. A worn carpet from being walked on is a perfect example of normal wear and tear. A landlord cannot claim compensation from the tenant for anything that constitutes wear and tear. To avoid disputes on that, it is advisable for landlords to clearly have it stated in the lease agreement.
Wear and tear vs. damage: is there a difference?
Normal wear and tear is different than damage caused by tenants. While normal wear and tear occurs naturally over time, damage is a result of negligence, carelessness, or abuse. A carpet that has faded due to sunlight exposure would classify as wear and tear, whereas food and drink stains on a carpet are considered tenant-caused damage.
Landlords can use the tenants’ security deposit to pay for repairs necessary due to damage.