Receiving a Notice to Vacate

Sections in this chapter:

What is a Notice to Vacate?

A Notice to Vacate is a conversation, letter, email, SMS or Whatsapp message from your landlord (or their lawyer) in which they state that they have cancelled your lease and that you must vacate the property by a certain date. If you breach the conditions of your lease your landlord is entitled to cancel it and ask you to leave.

If you receive a letter from your landlord telling you to leave your home, this does not mean you are evicted! You cannot be evicted without an order of court.

Receiving a Notice to Vacate does not mean you must leave your home. You can still engage with your landlord to try resolve any issues between you, such as paying any outstanding rent. If you cannot resolve your issues, you may need to go to court. Going to court can be expensive and time-consuming. It is always recommended to settle any disputes without going to court.‌

Can I challenge a Notice to Vacate?

Many notices are unfair or unlawful. If you feel the notice your landlord gave you was unfair, you should point it out to them. If your Notice to Vacate is unfair or unlawful, you should make a complaint at the Rental Housing Tribunal.

If any of the following points apply to your Notice to Vacate, you have grounds to challenge it:

Breaching the conditions of your lease

Below is a list of common breaches of lease conditions. Look at your own lease to see what conditions it contains:

  • Not paying your rent
  • Intentionally causing serious damage to the property
  • Using illegal substances on the property
  • Using the property for non-residential purposes (running a business from your home)

Take Action

Check that your Notice to Vacate is lawful

Receiving a Notice of Vacate does not mean you are evicted! Check the signs of an unlawful Notice to Vacate section above to see if your Notice to Vacate is lawful.

If your notice is lawful:
Proceed to step 2: Set up a meeting with your landlord
If your notice is unlawful:

Set up a meeting with your landlord

Set up a meeting between you and your landlord to discuss your Notice to Vacate. It is best to communicate by email, SMS, or WhatsApp, because there is an automatic record of your conversation. If these options are not possible then you can use a phone call or a face-to-face conversation.

If your landlord agrees to meet:
Keep a record and proceed to Step 3: Meet with you landlord
If your landlord does not agree to meet:

Keep a record of any attempts you made to engage. This will serve as evidence to strengthen your case if the matter ends up going to court.

Meet with your landlord and try to resolve the issues

Engage meaningfully with your landlord and highlight the particular details of your situation. If there are issues like outstanding rent or property damage, use this time to resolve them.

If you resolve the issues:

Congratulations, you can continue living in your home! Keep a record of the terms of your new agreement for future reference.

If you cannot resolve these issues:

Engage with your landlord and negotiate a suitable timeline to move out OR seek legal advice and await the delivery of a Notice of Motion by a sheriff.

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Engaging with your landlord