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

Moving out

On this page find out information on the condition you should leave the property in when you move out, final inspections, getting your bond back, goods left behind, disconnecting utilities and forwarding your mail.

When your rental agreement (lease) finishes

Be sure when you are planning to move out that you know when your rental agreement (lease) finishes and how long you need to pay the rent.

Your rental agreement finishes when you leave the property and hand in the keys. You need to pay the rent until the end of your notice period, or longer if you still have the keys after that time. Make sure you hand in the keys as soon as possible after you have moved out.

Ending a rental agreement

For information on what you need to do when you want to end your rental agreement (lease) see our page Ending your lease.

Its topics include:

  • Giving notice
  • Applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to end an agreement early
  • Ending an agreement by agreement or consent
  • Transferring your agreement to someone else: see also our Lease transfers and subletting page

If you want to end your agreement before the end of your fixed term and none of the options on our ‘Ending your agreement’ page apply to you, see our Lease breaking page.

 

Removing modifications

If you made any modifications to the property, such as installing picture hooks, you need to remove these and restore the property to the condition it was in before the modification was made, save for fair wear and tear.

There are some exceptions to this:

  • The rental provider (landlord) says restoration is not required, or
  • There is an agreement in place between you and the rental provider that restoration does not need to be done [section 64]

If an exception does not apply and you do not restore the property back to its original condition, the rental provider may make a claim against your bond, or a compensation claim for the cost of restoring the property at VCAT [section 64].

Note that sections in brackets, such as [section 64], refer to sections in Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Regulations in brackets refer to the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021. See the Resources section at the bottom of this page for links.

For more information see our Modifications page.

Cleaning

Agreements before 29 March 2021

When you move out, you are expected to leave the property in a reasonably clean condition [section 63]. Rental providers and agents often try to insist that renters must steam clean carpets or professionally clean the property. If the property is already ‘reasonably clean’ you do not need to do this, even if there is a clause in your lease that says you have to.

What is considered ‘reasonably clean’ can depend on how long you have lived in the property and what state it was in when you moved in.

If the rental provider wants you to do more cleaning than is necessary or tries to make a claim against you for costs for cleaning, see our pages Defending a compensation claim and Preparing to defend your bond at VCAT.

Agreements from 29 March 2021

A new term in the standard rental agreement form, used for all rental agreements from 29 March 2021, allows rental providers, in some circumstances, to require you to have the property professionally cleaned, or cleaned to a professional standard.

This only applies if:

  • The property was professionally cleaned immediately before you moved in, and you were told about this
  • Professional cleaning is needed to restore the property to the same condition it was in before the start of the lease, taking into account fair wear and tear [section 27C, regulation 12].

If these circumstances do not apply to your rental agreement you do not have to arrange for any professional cleaning, but you still need to leave the property in a ‘reasonably clean condition’ [section 63].

As a general rule, leaving the property as you found it, apart from fair wear and tear, remains a good guide.

If the rental provider wants you to do more cleaning than is necessary or make a claim against you for costs for cleaning, see our pages Defending a compensation claim and Preparing to defend your bond at VCAT.

Damage

You are expected to take care to avoid damaging the property and to take reasonable care to avoid damage to any common areas, such as in a block of units [section 61].

If the rental provider believes you have caused damage to the property, they could ask you to arrange for repairs or make a claim against you for costs for the damage.

It is important to note that if something is damaged through normal use, such as the carpet being worn down over time, this not ‘damage’. It is ‘fair wear and tear’ and not your responsibility to fix.

You are also not responsible for any damage caused before you moved in or after you moved out.

If the rental provider asks you to fix, or pay for, any damage, see our pages Defending a compensation claim and Preparing to defend your bond at VCAT.

It may be better to let a claim for damage go to VCAT. This is because VCAT can take into account depreciation and the age of the property in deciding if, or how much, you should pay if you caused the damage. This may end up costing you less than what the rental provider asked you for or less than the cost of any repairs.

Keep evidence

Photos and videos are helpful in showing the condition of the property. We recommend you take plenty of photos and videos throughout the entire property, both inside and out, before returning the keys, so you have evidence of the condition and cleanliness of the property when you left.

It is also a good idea to have a family member or friend look through the property so they can give evidence about its condition when you moved out, in case the rental provider tries to make a claim against you.

Final inspection

At the end of your agreement the rental provider, or their agent, needs to complete an ‘End of rental agreement’ condition report [section 35].

This must be done within 10 days of the end of your rental agreement. The rental provider or agent must give you a reasonable opportunity to be at the property at the time they inspect it and complete the condition report [section 35]. You should go to the inspection to make sure the rental provider or agent accurately fills in the condition report.

For more information on condition reports see our page Condition reports.

Your bond

You should start the process to get your bond back as soon as possible after you move out.

You can make a claim for your bond directly with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). To make your claim you do not need to wait for the rental provider, or their agent, nor do you need their agreement [section 411].

However, if you and the rental provider, or agent, agree about your bond being refunded to you, you can put in a joint claim, which may be quicker [section 411].

For more information on bonds, and who can make a claim for the bond, see our Bonds page.  If the rental provider wants to make a claim for your bond  see our pages Defending a compensation claim and Preparing to defend your bond at VCAT.

Goods left behind

If you left anything behind when you moved out, the rental provider, owner or agent need to keep them safe and take steps to get them back to you.

You should contact the rental provider, owner or agent as soon as possible to arrange a time to pick your things up. The longer you wait, the more likely there is a chance they could get lost, or you that you will be asked to pay for storage.

If any of your things are lost or damaged and the rental provider, owner or agent did not follow the law, you can claim compensation.

For more information see our page Goods left behind.

Utilities

Before you move out, you should arrange to disconnect all the utilities, like gas, water, electricity and telephone or internet.

Some rental providers and agents will tell you that the utilities need to stay on for a period of time after you move out, usually saying this is needed for the final inspection or to show the property to a new renter. You do not need to do this. You can, and should, arrange for the utilities to be disconnected on your move-out date. If you do not you could end up with a bill that includes charges for the next person who moves into the property.

Arrange for the disconnections in advance as some utility companies require notice for the disconnection. Electricity, gas and water companies usually need advance notice to book in a meter reading on your move out date.

There may be disconnection fees. Check with your utility companies about these.

Redirect mail

Arrange to have your mail redirected by filling out a form at any post office. There is a small fee for this service, and you will need some identification to prove you are the person whose mail is being redirected. You can also arrange the redirection on the Australia Post website.

Forwarding address

We recommend you leave a forwarding address, email address and phone number with the rental provider, or agent.

Also give the RTBA any updates if your email address or phone number has changed. You can do this via the authority’s website.

The address you give the rental provider or agent does not have to be your new home address—it could be a post office box or care of family or a friend.

If you do not provide a forwarding address, you may not receive any notices if the rental provider makes a claim for your bond or a compensation claim against you.

If the rental provider’s claim goes to VCAT, and you do not go to the hearing, VCAT can make a decision about your bond, and any other claim in the rental provider’s application, such as a claim for compensation, without you being there to give your own evidence.

RTBA website

Resources

Related pages

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