Ending an occupancy

The rules for ending an occupancy agreement are different from those for ending a residential tenancy agreement.

If you want to end the occupancy

Your occupancy agreement should set out the amount of notice you are required to give before you end your occupancy agreement and move out.

If it does not, you should give notice equivalent to the period of your occupancy fee (so, for example, if you pay weekly, you would give one week’s notice). In some cases, such as where the proprietor has seriously breached the agreement, you might give less notice. There are no occupancy principles about the termination of occupancy agreements by residents.

If you paid a security deposit, ask the proprietor to return it to you. The proprietor may deduct from it any debts you owe for unpaid occupancy fees and utility charges, and any damage you may have caused. If the security deposit is not returned to you within 14 days of the termination of your occupancy, or you dispute any deductions made from it by the proprietor, you can apply to the Tribunal to resolve the dispute.

If the proprietor wants to end the occupancy

Your occupancy agreement should set out the grounds for termination (because you are entitled to know why your occupancy may terminated (occupancy principle 9)), and the period of notice for each ground (because you are entitled to know how your occupancy may be terminated (occupancy principle 9, in Schedule 1 of the Boarding Houses Act 2012 (the BH Act)).

The specific amount of the notice may vary depending on the ground, and may vary between occupancy agreements, but in any case must be ‘reasonable’ (occupancy principle 10).

Also, the proprietor’s termination notice must be in writing (occupancy principle 10).

If you receive a termination notice from the proprietor and you do not want to leave, you may be able to apply to the Tribunal under the provisions for ‘occupancy disputes’ (section 32). Consider whether any of the following examples of occupancy dispute applies:

  • The termination relates to terms of your occupancy agreement that are inconsistent with the occupancy principles;
  • The termination notice is not in writing;
  • The termination notice does not say why the occupancy is being terminated;
  • The amount of notice is not reasonable.

If you are still at the premises when the notice period ends, you may be evicted by the proprietor. The proprietor does not need to apply to the Tribunal or court to evict you; they can do it themselves and, if you resist, they may use reasonable force to evict you. The proprietor can also ask the police to evict you; if you refuse, you may be guilty of an offence (Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW)).