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How to Evict a Tenant: Tasmania (TAS) Australia

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Every lease agreement starts out simply enough: a charming person applies to move into your rental property.

You have a vacant premise that’s been lying idle for a while, and which you’re simply dying to fill. The mortgage payments on the premises were simply driving you up the wall. And so, you onboard them as quickly as possible just to get them in and paying rent.

No credit report checks, background checks or eviction reports – you were desperate for that income. 

Before you know it, no rent is forthcoming, and the tenant is mostly unfazed. 

You just fell for a ‘professional’ tenant.

Professional tenants are like vampires – they will suck the lifeblood out of your rental property and your bank account.

Professional tenants are vampires, they move into a property intending to live largely rent-free, often with no intention of paying any rent whatsoever. They’re on a mission to suck the lifeblood out of your property, your peace of mind and your nest egg. And they’ve successfully migrated across the Bass Strait from the mainland.

And so begins the arduous journey to evict them, with the tenant fighting you every step of the process. Read on to find out how to evict a troublesome tenant in Tasmania.

Evicting a Tenant in Tasmania

Tasmanian law requires landlords to serve a tenant with written notice when terminating a lease agreement. As such, you need to adhere to the protocol dictated by the Residential Tenancy Act for the eviction to hold in a court of law if it came to that. 

Sometimes tenants turn to the justice system to fight a termination notice. In the case of a professional tenant, you can expect a bruising legal battle that is likely to stretch out for months if not years to come. 

Such problem tenants can be acutely aware of the inner workings of the legal system and tenancy laws. They exploit every available loophole to delay and drag the proceedings to frustrate your efforts to evict them.

You have two options when terminating a tenancy, but the circumstances driving the eviction dictate the method to use. You can issue the tenant with a vacation notice or apply for a termination order directly from the court.

Termination By Issuing a Vacation Notice

Typically, you serve a tenant with a termination notice after they’ve violated one or more provisions of the lease agreement. In addition to issuing the notice, you must accord the tenant the necessary notice period before requiring them to vacate the premises.   

However, if the tenant fixes the breach before the vacation notice lapses, you cannot terminate the lease agreement. On the other hand, if the tenant fails to fix the offence, the lease agreement terminates on the date specified in the notice.

The length of the notice period depends on the type of lease agreement in place with a tenant. Typically, tenancy agreements fall into two different classes – fixed term and periodic tenancy agreements.

Terminating a Periodic Lease Agreement

The standard notice period when terminating a lease for a tenant on a periodic tenancy is 42 days. Here are some common grounds for terminating a lease agreement:

  • Sale of a premise – you can end a lease agreement if you plan on selling the premises. However, you’d need to furnish the tenant the sales document to back up your claims alongside the notice to vacate. A copy of the sales agreement can serve as proof of the sale.
  • The premise is reclassified as non-residential – you can terminate a lease if you wish to convert a residential premise into a commercial or business premises.
  • Carrying out renovations – you can terminate a lease agreement if you intend to carry out extensive renovations or repairs on the property. For improvements to count, they must include works that would make the premises unsuitable for human occupation. Or, if they’d pose a health or safety risk to the tenant if they were to remain on-site during the repair works.
  • Premises to be used by family members – if some members of your family are going to take up residence in a given property, you can terminate a lease agreement. Eligible family members include sons, daughters, domestic partner, parents, or any dependents living with the landlord.

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Terminating a Fixed-Term Tenancy

  • End of a fixed-term lease – for tenants on a fixed-term agreement, you must issue a notice of at least 42 days when the tenant has two months remaining on the contract. The last day of the vacation notice can be the last day of the lease agreement but not earlier.
  • Evicting a nuisance tenant – if a tenant proves to be a nuisance, you can issue them with notice to vacate as long as it has a 14-day notice. Substantial nuisance includes disrupting or interfering with the lives of other tenants on the property. Loud noises, antisocial behaviours, unpleasant smells, and excessive lights are some of the tenant conduct that counts as a substantial nuisance.
  • The bank is selling off the premises – if a bank is set to sell the property to recover a debt you owe them; you can terminate a lease agreement of the tenant in the building. However, you must issue the tenants with a termination period of at least 60 days.

Terminating a Tenancy Due to Rent Arrears

You can issue a tenant who is late with the rent with a notice to vacate as long as you give them a 14-day notice.

You have the right to terminate a fixed tenancy before its expiry if the tenant delays the rent. If the tenant clears the rent arrears before the notice period ends, then the lease agreement continues. However, if the tenant fails to clear the rent arrears within the notice period, the tenancy agreement ends on the last day specified in the vacation notice.

If you had previously issued a tenant with two notices to vacate over rent arrears over the last 12 months, the tenancy agreement is terminated. The lease agreement is invalidated regardless of whether the tenant pays all rent arrears within the notice period.

Applying Directly to the Magistrate’s Court

Some instances call for you to skip issuing an errant tenant with a vacation notice and seek a termination order from a magistrate’s court. Such an application uses Form RT02, and you need to furnish the tenant with a copy of the application as soon as possible after filing the claim.

Here are some scenarios that can have you applying for a termination order.

  • A tenant causes severe damages to the rental premises or the neighbouring property. If a tenant’s reckless behaviour results in extensive damage to your property or a property nearby, you can apply for a termination order. You can also apply for a termination order if you believe the tenant is likely to cause severe damage in the future.
  • A tenant who injures the landlord or a neighbour. If a tenant harms you or a person living in a premise physically, you should apply for a termination order. The same case applies if you believe the tenant is likely to injure someone in the future.

Don’t Entertain a Parasitic Tenant

Despite the clear protocols outlined in the tenancy laws, evicting a professional tenant amounts to a considerable legal battle. Engaging with them not only leaves you exhausted, but it can also have you facing a bleak financial future once the dust settles.

As such, a good offence is the best defence as far as dealing with professional tenants goes. Because it’s quite difficult to evict a professional tenant once they are in your premises, your best strategy is to avoid them in the first place.

Vetting any prospective tenant thoroughly is the best way to screen out trouble makers and keep them away from your rental properties. 

Thanks to the various tenancy databases, you only need to access a prospect’s tenancy and financial history to make an informed decision. Modern technology designed specifically for landlords such as Lodge lets you run a comprehensive background check in just 60 seconds

Lodge also enables you to streamline your entire property management process.

Reserve your spot now for a personalised demo and see for yourself how easy it can actually be.

 

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