Courts and Tribunals Tasmania

Tenancy - Property Owners

Abandoned PremisesCourt Powers
Ending a TenancyNotice to Vacate
Repairs to Property
Security Deposit Appeals
Urgent TerminationVacant Possession

Under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 the Magistrates Court has responsibility to hear disputes and to make orders dealing with all residential tenancy matters. These are dealt with in the Civil Division as a Minor Civil Claim.

This leaflet is intended to assist property owners in their dealings with the Court and sample claims are available to help you provide the information needed by the Court.

Courts Powers

Under the Residential Tenancy Act the Court may make orders for:

  • vacant possession
  • payment of arrears of rent
  • compensation for destroyed or damaged property
  • termination of a tenancy
  • uphold or dismiss appeals from the Residential Tenancy Commissioner

Ending a Tenancy - section 37

Residential tenancy agreements (RTA) can only be ended by one of the following:

  • agreement by both parties
  • the owner giving the tenant a Notice to Vacate
  • the tenant giving the owner a Termination Notice
  • by court order
  • by a tenant abandoning the rented premises

Urgent Termination of Leases - section 41

You may apply for an order for urgent termination of a tenancy agreement (there is no 14 day waiting period) if the tenant has or is likely to cause either or both of the following:

  • serious damage to the premises or contents
  • physical injury to you or another party or occupant of the premises

Simply saying that the tenant may injure you or the property is damaged will not be enough to satisfy a Magistrate that the problem is urgent. Your claim should include details of any threats, damage, or physical injury, together with dates they were made or occurred. 

Notice to Vacate - section 42 

(sample Notice to Vacate )

A Notice to Vacate may be served if either of the following occur:

  • the tenant has failed to comply with any provision of the RTA
  • the RTA has expired, and expired less than 28 days before the Notice to Vacate is served

A Notice to Vacate must give 14 clear days' notice. An example of 14 clear days' would be a Notice served on the 1st of the month with advise to the tenant to vacate by the 16th of the month.

If the RTA is not for a fixed period and the premises are to be sold, renovated or used for a different purpose, 42 days clear notice must be given.

To be valid, a Notice to Vacate must also contain:

  • the date of serving the notice
  • the tenant's name
  • the owner's name
  • the address of the rented premises
  • detailed and valid reasons for wanting to end the agreement (see example)
  • the date on which the notice takes effect

If the notice is not filled out completely and all the information included then it will be invalid and the tenancy will not be ended.

Application for Vacant Possession Order - section 45

If the tenant has not vacated the property after getting a notice you can make an application to the Court for vacant possession. To be valid the application must be served on the tenant a reasonable time before the Court hears the Application.

A copy of any written tenancy agreement must be provided to the Court.

The Court may make an order if (and only if):

  • the notice was properly given (and had all the required information in it)
  • the reason for the notice was genuine or just
  • vacant possession has not been delivered
  • the application has been served

Return of Security Deposit, Appeals - section 30

Property owners and tenants may appeal to a magistrate against a decision by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner about the return of a security deposit. The appeal must be made within 7 days of the Commissioner's decision.

The appeal must be made against the tenant (not the Commissioner). Details of the dispute and the reasons for the appeal must be given. It will be a new hearing which allows you to call witnesses and present any other evidence.

Abandoned Premises and Property - sections 46, 47 and 48

You may apply to a magistrate for an order:

  • declaring that a tenant has abandoned the premises  
  • permitting the sale of tenants goods with a value of $300 or more

The application for an order must contain:

  • a copy of any written tenancy agreement
  • confirmation that neither a notice to vacate nor a notice of termination has been served
  • details of the goods to be sold and their estimated value

Order for Repairs to Property - section 32

Applications for Repairs are made to Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.  More information is available on the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website.