Scenario 5: Your housemates are trying to kick you out and…

(A) You are a co-tenant

As a co-tenant, you have the same legal right to stay in the place as the other tenants. Legally, your housemates cannot ask you to leave unless they apply to NCAT for an order terminating your tenancy. NCAT will only make such an order if it is appropriate to do so in the ‘special circumstances of the case’.

However, if you don’t get along with your housemates, it’s pointless making yourself and the others unhappy by staying there. If you decide to move out, see Scenario 2 (if you’re on a periodic agreement) and Scenario 3 (if you’re on a fixed term agreement).

(B) You are a head tenant

If the lease is in your name, then you are the head-tenant and your housemates whose names are not on the lease can’t insist that you leave. If you want to stay, you will have to try to work things out — in the end, your housemates may decide to leave themselves. If you decide to leave, you will either have to terminate the agreement and give appropriate notice to your landlord and housemates (see Scenario 2 if you’re on a periodic agreement or Scenario 3 if you’re on a fixed term agreement) or transfer the agreement to the remaining housemates (see Looking for a New Housemate).

Get a copy of a transfer agreement form here.

(C) You are a sub-tenant with a written agreement

If you’re a sub-tenant and your head-tenant wants you to leave, the head-tenant must give you the correct written notice. If you have agreed to stay in the house for a fixed term, generally the head-tenant cannot kick you out until the end of the fixed term with 30 days written notice. If you’re on a periodic agreement, the head-tenant is required to give you 90 days written notice.

If you have breached the lease, you can be kicked out with only 14 days written notice; it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re on a fixed term or periodic agreement. If you are being asked to leave because you have breached the lease, the notice should give the reason and details for the termination, for example, you’ve damaged the house or done something illegal in the house.

Once the head tenant gives you a termination notice, you may leave at any time before the termination date. This means if you find a suitable place to move into before the end of the notice period, you can give your head tenant written notice and end the tenancy.

If your head tenant doesn’t give you a written notice, you should ask for it. The notice period should start from the date you receive the letter.

If you don’t leave by the notice date, your head tenant can take you to the Tribunal for a termination order.

(D) You are a boarder/lodger

Boarders and lodgers have very little protection. Though the legal position may be unclear, from a practical perspective boarders and lodgers can be evicted with very little notice. If you have a written agreement make sure you check it to see if they are giving you the correct amount of notice. If there is no agreement about notice, then the landlord should let you stay until the day that you have paid rent up to.