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How much notice must one give a tenant to vacate a property that I want to buy in New South Wales?

Selling a property that is currently tenanted can be a complex process, especially when considering the notice period required for tenants to vacate. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the notice period varies depending on whether the tenant is under a fixed-term lease or a periodic (expired) lease. Understanding these regulations ensures a smooth transition for both landlords and tenants. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how much notice you must give to tenants in each scenario.

Notice Period for Tenants Under a Fixed-Term Lease

A fixed-term lease is a rental agreement with a set end date, typically lasting six months or a year. If you are selling a property with a tenant under a fixed-term lease, the situation can be more challenging since the tenant has a legal right to stay until the lease expires. However, certain conditions allow for the termination of the lease before its end date:

During the Fixed-Term Lease

  • Selling the Property: If you have a fixed-term lease and you wish to sell the property, you must honour the lease until it ends. The new owner will inherit the lease and must respect its terms.
  • Mutual Agreement: You can negotiate with the tenant to terminate the lease early. If the tenant agrees, you can set a mutually acceptable moving-out date.

Near the End of the Fixed-Term Lease

  • Notice to Vacate: If the fixed-term lease is nearing its end, you can give the tenant notice to vacate. In NSW, this notice must be given at least 30 days before the end of the lease. This gives the tenant adequate time to find alternative accommodation.

Notice Period for Tenants Under a Periodic (Expired) Lease

A periodic lease, or expired lease, occurs when the fixed-term lease period has ended, and the tenancy continues on a month-to-month basis. In this scenario, the notice period requirements differ:

  • Selling the Property: If you intend to sell the property and need the tenant to vacate, you must provide 30 days’ notice if a sale contract has been entered into and the new buyer requires vacant possession.
  • Without a Sale Contract: If there is no sale contract, you need to give the tenant at least 90 days’ notice to vacate without specifying a reason.

Steps to Provide Notice

  1. Written Notice: The notice must be in writing, specifying the date by which the tenant must vacate. This is essential to avoid any legal complications.
  2. Service of Notice: Ensure the notice is delivered to the tenant in a manner that provides proof of delivery. This can be done through personal delivery, post, or other agreed-upon methods.

Special Considerations

  • Negotiation: Always consider negotiating with the tenant. They may be willing to vacate earlier if offered an incentive, such as financial compensation or assistance with moving costs.
  • Legal Advice: If you are unsure about the process or face resistance from the tenant, seeking legal advice can provide clarity and ensure compliance with NSW tenancy laws.


Navigating the sale of a tenanted property in NSW requires careful attention to the type of lease and adherence to the notice periods mandated by law. Whether dealing with a fixed-term lease or a periodic lease, providing the appropriate notice and maintaining clear communication with the tenant can facilitate a smoother transition for all parties involved. By understanding these regulations, landlords can sell their properties while respecting tenants’ rights, ensuring a fair and legally compliant process.

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Marcus Gould LREA.
Director and Senior Buyers Agent.

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