Switching property managers isn’t as difficult or expensive as many think. There are a lot of misconceptions around changing property managers, leading to distrust amongst owners who may be counting the days until their agreement ends or their tenants vacate.
Don’t put up with a inadequate property manager! If they just aren’t cutting it nor undertaking the responsibilities as listed in your agreement, you should consider switching. After all, it’s a mutual relationship, and there’s no reason to pay for unsatisfactory service.
Common misconceptions about switching
Some common misconceptions amongst property owners are:
- Waiting until the tenancy is up before switching property managers
- Will cause major disruption to the tenant
- Will have to find new tenants for the property
- A new lease will have to be drawn up
It is a common belief amongst investors that switching property managers will disrupt tenants. If a property manager has good processes that considers the well-being of the tenants, the switch will lead to happier tenants.
The truth about switching
Remember: you can change property managers whenever you’re ready, with minimal disruption to both yourself and your tenants. The property management contract will only end the relationship between yourself and your current property manager. Howver, the relationship between you and your tenant will remain.
Most property management agencies have a notice period for ending an agreement ranging from 30-90 days, depending on your state or territory.
Looking after your tenants from day one
At Dynamic Residential, we care deeply about your tenants. We always look after your best interests and ensure your property is taken care of, but we understand that a happy tenant is the key to success.
And don’t forget: you can change property managers whenever you’re ready, with minimal disruption to both parties.
How to know when it’s time to evict your tenant
The very idea of ‘problem tenants’ might send a chill down the spine of even the most experienced investment property owner.
You might have a tenant who’s consistently 12 days late in rent payments or one who often disturbs the naeighbours next door. Whichever the case, evicting your tenant might be the most viable choice if they’re causing you stress and worry.
This article covers the reasons to legally evict a tenant and maps out the process. We’ve also included essential details like tenants’ rights, costs to consider, and where to go for support.
Reasons to evict a tenant.
The reasons to do this are vast, but it’s essential to define your motives clearly. Why?
First, you must ensure it’s substantial enough to warrant an eviction. You may find yourself without a leg to stand on if it isn’t. Also, there are different guidelines depending on the reason for removal.
Most common eviction reasons for problem tenants
- Non-payment of rent
The most common reason for helping owners evict their problem tenants. And usually, it isn’t just a one-off situation.
You must try every reasonable avenue before getting to the point of eviction. Your property manager would’ve tried negotiating a payment plan or working with your tenant directly to find a resolution.
A property manager’s intention is not to evict tenants. They’d rather keep them in their home if they can.
If things aren’t resolved even after negotiations, then you might need to take action to evict your tenant.
- Failure to maintain the property
A tenant is obliged to take reasonable care of your property to avoid excessive property maintenance issues. This may warrant an eviction if they’ve made alterations to the home without consent or caused any damage due to deliberate or negligent behaviour.
- Breach of agreement
If your tenant has repeatedly failed to follow and maintain any of your agreements, you might need to evict them.
Common breaches of the agreement include:
- Nuisance (e.g. disturbing neighbours)
- Subletting without consent
- Non-payment of utility bills
- Engagement in illegal activity
A tenant engaging in illegal activity on yours premises provides you more than reasonable ground to evict your tenant. For instance:
- Using the premises for illegal purposes (e.g. storing stolen goods, drug manufacturing)
- Threat, abuse, intimidation, or harassment
- Domestic violence
Owner reasons for eviction
You might wonder: Can I evict my tenant if I’m selling my property?
Sometimes, you’ll need to evict a tenant because of your own reasons. You may have sold your property and the new owners want it to be vacated. Or, you need to repossess the house. Whatever reason, as an owner, you have the right to terminate the tenancy without ground as long as you provide prior notice to your tenants.
Below, we outline the process of evicting a tenant.
How to evict a tenant or a co-tenant: mapping the process
- Issuing the notice
Because there are many legal complexities in the steps to eviction, there are some essential things to remember.
Ensure you provide the correct notice period.
Notice periods can be confusing for landlords looking to evict a tenant alone. Depending on your state, there are different notice periods for eviction to adhere to.
Generally, you can expect to give 7-14 days’ eviction notice time for non-payment of rent or breach of agreement. You are looking at least 42 days for termination without grounds. It’s wise to note that you’ll need first to provide a Notice to Remedy to the violation before you can sometimes serve a Notice to Vacate.
Below, you can find a list of resources by state to help you determine your tenant eviction notice period:
- VIC – Consumer Affairs Victoria
- WA – Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
- NSW – Fair Trading
- SA – Legal Services Commission of South Australia
- NT – Northern Territory Consumer Affairs
- TAS – Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
- ACT – ACT Revenue Office
- QLD – Residential Tenancies Authority
Ensure you include all the necessary information in the notice
Include all these steps in writing:
- The address of the property
- The owner’s full name/trading name
- The full name of the tenant(s)
- The grounds (if any) for termination
- The date which the tenancy will end
- The signature of the property manager or landlord
Below is a list of links to state authorities offering eviction notice templates that you can complete and deliver to your tenant:
- QLD – Notice to leave
- SA – Landlord’s notice of a breach to the tenant: termination of the agreement
- NT – Notices for landlords to tenants
- TAS – Notice to Vacate
- NSW – Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement
- A – Notice of Termination
- VIC – Notice to vacate to tenant/s of rented premises
Ensure you serve the notice according to the guidelines in your state
How a landlord or property manager is required to hand the information to their tenant differs by jurisdiction. It’s okay to leave the notice in your tenant’s mailbox if you live in NSW, but the laws in Victoria require you to serve a notice by hand, by registered post, or by email if the tenant has given consent to be contacted this way.
The surest way of serving notice is to deliver it to the tenant in person. You may also send it by registered post, but you’ll need to factor in the postage dates.
When issuing the termination notice, triple check every detail. If you miss any essential information, the tenant may dispute the lease termination on the basis that the notice was invalid.
- Applying to the Tribunal
If the tenant does not vacate by the date specified on the termination notice, then you may notifiy your state’s Tribunal and apply for an order. You must use it within the termination date period stated on the termination notice, and it varies, ranging from two weeks in Queensland to thirty days in Western Australia.
Below, we’ve provided helpful links to each state authority to help navigate the different requirements:
- ACT – ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)
- VIC – Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
- NSW – NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
- WA – Magistrates Court of Western Australia
- QLD – Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
- TAS – Magistrates Court of Tasmania
- SA – South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT)
- NT – Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT)
- Attending the Tribunal
You may choose to represent yourself or have your property manager represent you.
A strong case relies on detailed records of the termination notice, how you served it, you and your tenants’ conduct regarding the tenancy agreement, evidence of rent payments, and other supporting documents.
The Tribunal will issue a termination order for your case if the court rules in your favou,. Also known as a possession order, it sets a date by which your tenant must move out.
- Evicting the tenant
Once the Tribunal issues the termination order, your tenant must move out by the date set. If they fail, you may apply for a warrant, or, a Warrant of Possession, from the Tribunal. This allows law enforcement authorities, like the bailiff in WA, the police in VIC, or sheriff in NSW, to remove the tenant from your property.
You should never forcefully evict your tenant yourself, even if they have not moved out by the termination date. Even if it’s by changing the locks or turning off the utilities, this could lead to prosecution. Always follow the legal process of evicting a tenant. You should obtain a termination order and Warrant of Possession, and rely on the authorities to carry out their part of the process.
What are tenants’ rights in the eviction process?
When dealing with problem tenants, it’s vital your remember that they have rights that must be respected at every stage of the eviction process.
So, what are tenants’ legal rights, and how do they affect you?
As an rental provider, you’d already be aware of rights that protect tenants from excessive rent increases and oblige you to conduct urgent repairs.
There are also some additional tenants’ rights that will affect how smoothly an eviction progresses.
- Staying after the termination date
Tenants have a right to stay after the termination date in the notice you or your property manager issued. By law, they are obliged to leave the property only after the issue of a termination order and a Warrant of Possession.
- Rent payments
Often, if the tenant moves out before the termination date, they’ll be required to pay rent only until the day they vacate. Except if they were under a fixed-term lease, in which case they would be liable for the rent until the end of the lease agreement period.
- Final inspection & return of bond money
If the Tribunal does not make an order dealing specifically with the bond, you’ll be required to give a reasonable opportunity for the tenant to attend a final routine inspection and provide them with a copy of the outgoing condition report. After agreeing to the amount of money the tenant owes, you can apply to your state authority for the bond money refund.
- How are tenants’ rights affected by COVID-19?
More information about the residential tenancy moratorium on evictions during COVID-19 can be found here:
Calculating the costs of evicting your tenant
It can be such an arduous process!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO EVICT A TENANT?
It really differs by state and territory:
First, the Tribunal application fee can range from $26.95 in QLD to $162 in the ACT. Warrant of Possession applications can set you back a further $114 if you’re in VIC, and having authorities enforce the warrant will cost even more if you’re in NSW.
If you’ve recruited the assistance of a property manager, their rental eviction and Tribunal fees will not be included in their base rate. This means you may expect to pay several hundred dollars to evict your tenant.
If this blog has raised questions about managing the tenant and landlord relationship, it might be wise to begin thinking about how to find a suitable property manager. Our advice? Look for one who doesn’t charge additional fees to evict a tenant, and make sure you ask why!