If you're a tenant who has received a notice to vacate from your landlord, it can be a stressful and difficult time. However, it's important to know your rights as a tenant and take appropriate action to protect them.
In this short explainer we'll discuss what a notice to vacate is, when it is used, what it looks like, and tips on how to protect your rights and avoid being unlawfully evicted.
My landlord is trying to evict me, what should I do?
As a tenant, you have certain legal rights, and it's important to understand them when you receive a notice to vacate . Read your lease agreement carefully, and reach out to an attorney or local housing rights organisation for guidance on what your landlord can and cannot do in terms of eviction.
What is a notice to vacate?
A notice to vacate is a legal document that a landlord can give to a tenant, informing them that they must leave the rental property by a specific date. It can be issued for various reasons, such as failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, or damage to the property.
What does a notice to vacate look like?
A notice to vacate can be a conversation, letter, email, SMS, or Whatsapp message from your landlord (or their lawyer) in which they state they have cancelled your lease and that you must vacate the property by a certain date.
How long should the notice period be?
The notice period given by your landlord can not be shorter than the one provided in the lease agreement. It normally ranges from 20 to 30 days. In some cases the lease agreement may stipulate longer notice periods of more than 30 days. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which regulates residential lease agreements states that notice periods may not be less than 20 working days.
How do I respond to an Notice to vacate ?
Respond to the notice to vacate promptly in writing, within the specified timeframe, to avoid being automatically evicted. This can give you more time to negotiate with your landlord or prepare for a hearing.
Should I seek legal advice?
Although at this stage it is not required for you to have a legal representation if you're unsure what to do next, it's wise to seek legal advice from an attorney or legal rights organisations that specialise in tenant rights. They can advise you on your legal options and represent you in court if necessary.
Am I still able to file a complaint to the Rental Housing Tribunal?
Even after you have received a notice to vacate, you can file a complaint with the Rental Housing Tribunal if you have a dispute with your landlord. They can investigate the matter and order your landlord to take corrective action, such as fixing maintenance issues, refunding rental deposits, or terminating leases in some cases.