This information is a guide and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.

Rental home is being sold

The rental provider (landlord) can sell your rented home during your tenancy even if you have a lease. But strict legal requirements must be followed about entering your home. Renters must be compensated if the rental provider wants to hold a sales inspection.

What the law says

The rental provider

Before signing a lease

If the rental provider already has plans to sell the property before they enter into a fixed term rental agreement (lease) with you, they must tell you this [section 30D].

Note that all the sections in brackets on this page, such as [section 30D], refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

After you have moved in

If the rental provider wants to sell, the law says they can enter your home for these reasons:

  • To show the property to a prospective buyer, including having open for inspections [section 86]
  • To take photos or videos for advertising the property for sale [section 89A]

However, they must:

  • Give you proper written notice with the minimum required notice period stating why they wish to enter (see the section on this page headed ‘Notice of intention to sell’) and
  • Not enter the property outside the hours of 8am and 6pm, or on public holidays [sections 85 and 86]

If someone else needs to enter, such as a sales agent, photographer or prospective buyer, they can also enter if all of the requirements under the law have been met [section 85].

Anyone entering your home must:

  • Do so in a reasonable manner, and
  • Not stay any longer than is necessary to achieve the purpose of the entry [section 87]

Note that on this page sections in brackets, such as [section 87], refer to sections in Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Sales inspections

If the purpose of the entry is to show the property to prospective buyers, the rental provider must also:

  • Give you proper written notice of their intention to sell at least 14 days before any proposed entry (see the section on this page headed ‘Notice of intention to sell’) and
  • Make all reasonable efforts to agree with you on days and times for the property to be available for inspection

Entries for sales inspections cannot take place more than twice a week and cannot last for more than an hour.

Also, you must be paid compensation equal to half a day’s rent or $30, whichever is greater, for every sales inspection.

Photos and videos for advertising

If the purpose of the entry is to take photos or videos for advertising the property for sale, the rental provider must also make a reasonable attempt to come to an agreement with you on a suitable time for entry [section 89A].

The renter

The renter:

  • Must allow the entry if the rental provider or their agent has followed all the laws [section 89]

However, if the rental provider or their agent has not followed the laws, the renter:

  • Does not need to allow the entry
  • Can apply to VCAT, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, for an order stopping them from entering – see the section on this page headed ‘Restraining orders’ [sections 91and 452]

Remember that it is an offence for the rental provider or agent to enter your home if they have not followed the proper entry requirements under the law, unless they have a reasonable excuse, such as an emergency situation [section 91A].

You can report offences to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), which can issue an infringement notice on the rental provider or agent if they have failed to follow the law.  You can also apply to VCAT for a restraining order.

 

Notice of intention to sell

If the rental provider wants to enter your home to show it to prospective buyers, they must give you a ‘notice of intention to sell’ form at least 14 days before proposing to enter your home [section 86(2A)].

This notice must be given even if they told you before you signed a lease that they had plans to sell the property.

Notice of entry and minimum notice periods

Unless the rental provider or agent follows the correct procedures, it is an offence for them to enter your premises without a reasonable excuse [section 91A].

They must give you proper written notice.

If they wish to enter to:

  • Show prospective buyers the property, including having an open for inspection, you must be given at least 48 hours’ notice
  • Take photos or videos to advertise the property for sale, you must be given at least 7 days’ notice

The notice of entry must:

  • Be in writing
  • State the reason under the law that allows for the entry
  • Be given to you in advance to make sure you get the minimum notice period [sections 88 and 86]

The notice of entry can be given to you:

  • In person, between 8am and 6pm
  • By mail, in enough time for the mail to be delivered; check Australia Post delivery times
  • By electronic communication (such as email) if you have given written consent to receive notices this way. See our page Starting a tenancyfor more information on consenting to have notices sent electronically [section 88]

Negotiating an entry time

Sales inspections

If the purpose of the entry is to show prospective buyers the property, the rental provider or agent can only enter if they have made all reasonable efforts to come to an agreement with you on days and times for the property to be available for inspection [section 86].

If they have not made all reasonable efforts to come to an agreement with you, you do not need to allow the entry. You can also apply to VCAT for an order specifying and limiting when entry may occur by the rental provider and their agent, including any sales agent or any other persons [section 89].

Entries for advertising purposes

If the entry is to take photos or videos for the purposes of advertising the property for rent or sale, the rental provider or agent must make a reasonable attempt to come to an agreement with you on a suitable time for entry.

Family or personal violence

Sales inspections

If you are a ‘protected person’ under an intervention order, the law allows you to require that any inspection is by appointment only, and not by an open for inspection [section 86].

Intervention orders include: Family Violence Intervention Order, Family Violence Safety Notice, Personal Safety Intervention Order, and recognised non-local Domestic Violence Order.

Photos and videos

You have the right to object to the taking of photos or videos if they might identify anyone living there who is at risk of family or personal violence. See below for how to make an objection to photos or videos.

It is an offence for the rental provider or agent to enter your home if they have not followed the proper entry requirements under the law, unless they have a reasonable excuse, such as an emergency situation [section 91A]. You can report offences to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which can issue an infringement notice on the landlord or agent if they have failed to follow the law. You can also apply to VCAT for a restraining order.

For more information on family and personal violence protections, see our page Family violence and your tenancy.

Objecting to photos and videos

You can object to the taking of photos or video if they would show something that:

  • Directly identifies you or someone else living with you
  • Reveals sensitive information about you or someone else living with you
  • Is valuable and would increase the risk of theft at your home
  • It would be unreasonable to expect you to remove or conceal such an item

You can also object to the photos or video if they might identify someone living there who is at risk of family or personal violence.

Objection must be in writing

If you want to object to photos and videos being taken for any of the above reasons you must put your objection in writing and give it to the rental provider or agent.

Then the rental provider or their agent must not take photos or videos that you have objected to.

Reviewing photos and videos

If you gave written notice objecting to photos or video being taken that would show any of the above, the law says you can ask to review any that were taken before they are used to advertise the property. This is so you can ensure they do not reveal anything you have objected to.

If you have asked to review them, the rental provider or their agent must not use them to advertise the property before you have reviewed them, and given your written consent that they can be used.

Old photos and videos

If it has been more than 12 months since photos or videos were taken for advertising purposes, the rental provider or the agent must get your written consent before they can use them.

Other photos and videos

If a photo or video was taken for a reason other than for advertising, such as a photo taken during a routine inspection, and the rental provider or their agent want to use these for advertising purposes, they must get your written consent beforehand.

Compensation

Compensation for sales inspections

The rental provider must pay you compensation equal to half a day’s rent or $30, whichever is greater, for every sales inspection held when your rental property is being sold.

Compensation for other reasons

You can also apply for compensation if:

  • Any of your belongings are damaged or stolen during an entry to your home [section 90]
  • The rental provider or agent has breached their duty to make sure you have quiet enjoyment of your home [sections 67, 209, 210]

For more information see our page Compensation for renters.

Restraining orders

It is an offence for the rental provider or agent to enter your home if they have not met the proper entry requirements unless they have a reasonable excuse, such as an emergency situation.

If the rental provider or agent have not met the proper entry requirements or have been making frequent or harassing visits, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a restraining order.

This also applies to harassing phone calls or letters, as these are a breach of your right to quiet enjoyment.

A restraining order can prohibit or restrict the rental provider or agent from entering the premises or contacting you. It can be enforced by the police.

It is an offence for the rental provider or agent to breach a restraining order.  They can be prosecuted.

Notice for breach of duty

You can also give the rental provider a notice for breach of duty if they have breached your right to have quiet enjoyment of your home. Notices for breach of duty tell the rental provider to:

  • Fix the problem
  • Not commit the same, or similar, breach, and/or
  • Pay you compensation for any loss you have suffered because of their breach of duty

For more information see our page, Rental provider breaches and other notices.

You can also report offences to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which can issue an infringement notice on the landlord or agent if they have failed to follow the law [section 91A].

Moving out

Do I have to move out?

You do not have to move out just because the owner is selling. If the rental provider wants you to move out, they must give you a notice to vacate.

If I get a notice to vacate when must I move?

If the rental provider wants you to move out because of the sale, they can give you a notice to vacate if they intend to sell the property as vacant immediately after the tenancy ends.  If they have already signed a contract of sale and want you to move out, they must give you a notice to vacate within 14 days of signing the contract of sale, or when all the contract conditions have been met. This means they cannot think about it for a few months after signing a contract, then use the sale as the reason on the notice to vacate. [section 91ZZB]

If they give you a notice to vacate it must include evidence showing that they intend to sell the property, or have sold it [section 91ZZO].

The notice to vacate must be given to you at least 60 days before the date they want you to leave [section 91ZZB].

If you have a fixed-term lease, you have the right to stay until the end of your fixed-term. The date in the notice to vacate cannot be before the end of your fixed term, unless you have agreed to leave earlier.

For more information see our page Notice to vacate.

Can I move out early?

Notice of intention to sell

If the rental provider wants to enter your home to show it to prospective buyers, they must give you a notice of intention to sell at least 14 days before any proposed entry [section 86].

If you have been given this notice and want to move out you can, but you will need to give the rental provider at least 14 days written notice of your intention to vacate [section 91ZB]. See our page, When you want to leave.

You can do this even if you have a fixed-term lease.

Giving your notice of intention to vacate after getting a notice of intention to sell is not breaking your lease. You cannot be asked to pay any lease breaking costs if you end your lease this way [section 91ZB].

However, you are responsible for paying the rent while you are in the property up to the vacate date in your notice of intention to vacate, even if you move out before the date in your notice.

Notice to vacate

You might want to move out if the rental provider gives you a notice to vacate, but not a notice of intention to sell. The rental provider may not intend showing the property to prospective buyers until after you have moved out.

If you have a periodic lease (such as month-to-month) you can move out but you must give the rental provider at least 14 days’ written notice of your intention to vacate. See our page, When you want to leave.

You will have to pay rent while you are still in the property and up to the vacate date in your notice, even if you move out sooner.

If you have a fixed-term lease you may be able to move out early if the rental provider agrees. If they do agree, make sure you get the agreement in writing and that it is signed by the rental provider or agent. Otherwise, you may have to pay the costs; see our page, Breaking your lease.

Extra note on fixed-term leases

If you have a fixed term lease, have been given a notice to vacate and want to move out before your lease ends but the rental provider will not agree, or will agree if you pay lease-breaking costs, you may want to wait to see if they will give you a notice of intention to sell.

They must give you this notice if they want to show the property to prospective buyers.

If you get a notice of intention to sell you will be able to end your fixed term lease with 14 days written notice. You will not be responsible for paying any lease-breaking costs.

Asking for compensation for moving out early

If the owner wants you to move out before the end of your fixed term you can ask for compensation for your inconvenience. If they agree to the compensation, get the agreement in writing and make sure that it’s signed by you and the current or new owner, whichever one owns the property at the time and is offering you the compensation, or their agent. See our page Compensation for renters.

Cleaning

You do not have to go to any special effort or expense, such as hiring cleaners, to make the property more attractive to prospective buyers. All you are legally required to do is to keep the premises in a ‘reasonably clean condition’.

Lease and bond

Lease continues with new owner

If the property is sold, your lease continues with all the same terms and conditions, including the amount of rent that you pay, how and when you pay, and the date when the fixed term ends. The only change is that new owner takes on the rights and duties of the rental provider. You should receive a letter to let you know their name.

Bond remains with RTBA

When the property is sold, both the new owner and the old owner must notify the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). Your bond remains with the RTBA until the end of the tenancy. If the rental provider’s name was on the bond lodgement form you should get a letter from the RTBA confirming the name of the new rental provider. If the real estate agent’s name was on the bond lodgement form, nothing changes.

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