Moving Out: How to End a Rental Agreement

Make sure you are informed about how to end a rental agreement.

Are you going to stay for the length of your agreement?

Refer to your original contract or lease. It should state an end date. If it is a contract you should be able to give notice to your landlord equivalent to the frequency that you pay rent that you are moving out on the end date. Sometimes contracts will have a clause about the fee for ending the agreement early. If it is a lease this amount of notice is either 14 days (fixed term agreement) or 21 days (continuing agreement). Notice should be in writing. This does not include text messages and may not include email. It is best to send this by letter. Allow 4 days extra for mail to arrive.

What if you want to leave early?

This will usually cost you lots of money. If you have a lease agreement you will usually have to pay four or six weeks worth of rent, depending on what percentage of the agreement you have already completed. Sometimes you can find someone to take your place in the agreement to avoid paying all of this money. The replacement person has to be a “reasonable” replacement. For example, they need to have a similar capacity to meet rental payments and a good rental history.

If you’re under a contract you may need to pay the equivalent of the rent up to the end of the contract. Sometimes you can find someone to take your place in the contract or start a new contract, but that is completely up to the landlord.

When am I considered to have left?

You have only completely left your accommodation when the landlord (not another tenant) has received all copies of all of your keys and other door locking devices (like swipe cards). You also have to provide “vacant possession” which means all of your belongings have been moved out.

What if I want to move out and my housemates want to stay?

You will need to find a replacement for yourself. If you are on the lease or contract have that changed before you go. If you are on the lease, regardless of whether you live there, you are legally and financially liable for the condition of the premises. Make sure you keep a copy of the new lease or contract to show that you are no longer on there.

How do I get my bond or deposit back?

After you have moved out take photos to show the condition of the accommodation. This is to avoid disputes with the landlord’s assessment of the condition of your accommodation after you moved out. The cost of any repairs or cleaning will come out of the bond or deposit. The rest of your bond (leased property) should be returned in the form of a cheque or electronic transfer from the Department of Fair Trading. Deposits placed on contracted properties are less regulated. Make sure you have your receipt to prove that you did pay it in the first place. If there is any dispute about getting back this money talk to an SRC Caseworker.

ASK ABE: Earning while on Youth Allowance – Student Income Bank

Dear Abe,

I am on a Youth Allowance payment and I also work a casual job with varying hours. Sometimes I receive the full payment just under $500, but other times I get much less than that. I heard that there is some sort of banking system that affects the amount of money I get, but I am very confused by all of this. Could you please explain why my payments vary?

Nursing Student

Dear Nursing Student,

The banking system you are talking about is Centrelink’s way of keeping track of the extra money you are earning. It is called the Student Income Bank. Each fortnight you are allowed to earn $427 without any reduction in your Youth Allowance. If you earn less than $427, the left over carries over to the following fortnight. For example, if you only earned $147 in the first fortnight, you will be allowed to earn $727 ($427 + $300) in the second fortnight. This process keeps going until you’ve accumulated a maximum of $10,600. Your Youth Allowance payment is reduced when you have earned more than your Student Income Bank. That is, by 50 cents in the dollar for amounts between $427 and $512, then by 60 cents in the dollar for income over $512. If you are unsure about whether you have been paid the correct amount, gather all your paperwork and talk to an SRC Caseworker about it.


Residential College Officers’ Report – Campus Safety

The University and Campus Infrastructure team have recently launched an imitative to examine the lighting and safety measures around campus, in a bid to increase campus security and the safety of students. A recurring issue for students who are on campus after dark has been the complete lack of sufficient lighting, especially on Western Avenue which students who live in the residential colleges and student housing have often cited as a significant issue. The SRC has participated for the past few weeks in campus ‘walks’ to determine these areas and Western Ave and the somewhat frightening after hours’ trek to St Johns and Sancta Sophia, have been noted as areas of great concern and a priority for the University thanks to the work of the SRC President and Vice President who were very vocal about this matter. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work on this issue.

Wom*n’s Officers’ Report – 2015 Recap

What a year! It is a pleasure to write my last Honi Soit report as Wom*n’s Officer.
2015 has undoubtedly been a huge year for the Wom*n’s Collective. It has been one of the most difficult, but rewarding years of my life. I have been lucky to have so much support from members of the Wom*n’s Collective, who have given countless hours of unpaid labour to our campaigns and initiatives this year.

The nature of collective organising is that there are always too many names to name, but there are two people that I must thank individually: Anna Hush – there is not one campaign or initiative I have run this year without your enthusiastic involvement. You have been the greatest source of support, wisdom and friendship. Julia Readett – not only did you commit completely to your year as Wom*n’s Officer, you guided and supported me through my term (and your honours year!) as well. You were there when I needed intra-Collective grievances resolved, to answer my questions and to assure me to continue as Wom*n’s Officer, even when I considered resigning.

The year has involved too many projects to list, so I will just draw attention to the ‘biggest’ ones I’ve been a part of. The University sexual harassment and assault campaign! We are nowhere near finished with this project, but we got a great survey that will continue this important conversation on an institutional level.

Our campaign against gendered violence! From the panel at Radical Sex & Consent Week, through to the workshop recently given by Karen Willis and the money raised in collaboration with the Sydney University Law Society (SULS), each event and initiative is something we should be proud of.

The feminist education workshops! Talking to students about intersectional feminism and introducing them to figures like Laverne Cox, Stella Young and Zadie Smith has been, and will continue to be, such a rewarding experience.

And of course, the tampon tax. We did not succeed, but to be on national television with the Wom*n’s Collective holding a giant tampon behind me and to get a ‘yes’ from a Liberal treasurer, was, to put it modestly, a moment I will never forget.

Activism by it’s nature is thankless, but I want to thank everyone who has worked with me this year. I look forward to a bright future of continuing to smash kyriarchy!

General Secretaries’ Report

Since our first meeting at ~6pm on March 4 2013, we have gradually sunk through the Hermann’s lawn to the SRC dungeon. Remarkably, this turned out to be productive. How productive, you ask?

Well, as your General Secretaries we delivered one of the best orientation handbooks in years and worked with SUPRA to produce a brand new publication distributed in the ACCESS showbags. We brought home the largest proportional increase in funding of all student organisation this year. We are proud to have used this increase to: expand the Legal Service to five days a week; fund the Casework Department to give financial advice; establish a resource pool for activists; increase funding to collectives; give the Honi editors a well-deserved pay rise; give a ~more reasonable~ amount to ‘the NUS’; and end up with a slight surplus. Throughout the year we had perfect attendance at Executive and Council meetings. In sum, we turned up and got stuff done.

To the students who will run the SRC next year: the easiest way to be an effective student representative is to forget your factionalism; use the incredible resources available to you, particularly the SRC staff; and spend more time doing things than you spend talking about doing things. Just because a project can’t be completed in your term does not mean it isn’t worth starting—the SRC needs a better long term vision. Students would benefit from wider engagement with the University policy process, more collaboration between the Executive and other representatives, and a group of Office Bearers willing to skillshare for a stronger student movement. Many of these things have happened this year, and we hope they continue to be prioritised for the benefit of students.

So we must now board the strike bus and ride off to the eternal picket. Farewell friends, comrades and those we lost along the way (Tony, SLS, optimism and Vitamin D).

For now but not forever, Unicorn Faction.

Acting President’s Report – Protecting the right to part-time study

At a recent Undergraduate Studies meeting, the Committee approved a request from the Sydney College of the Arts to remove the option of part time study for an offered honours course. When the faculty’s representative was asked why this was necessary given the necessity for part time study as an option on equity grounds, they the suspension of study rates were too high for their liking.

So there it is. Yet another stark reminder that we attend a university that is more concerned with how they rank in the latest international tertiary education poll (yes Usyd, we get it and there is no need for yet another Facebook status about it) than the welfare of its students. The importance of a part time study option for undergraduate students is well documented, yet the University of Sydney continues to drag behind on this part with faculties such as Law and Medicine only offering part time/reduce load study to students with exceptional circumstances at the Dean’s discretion.  The practise of applying to the Dean in and of itself can be incredibly daunting or intimidating for students who require part time study to complete their degree. It gives Deans the power to interpret ‘need’ as they see fit and gives
them absolute and unquestionable control over a student’s life. Part time study, particularly in coursework-heavy degrees such as Arts/Law or Medical Science/Medicine, the option for open part time study is crucial, as it means students are allowed to prioritise and comfortably work around work, health and other responsibilities over an arbitrary time frame of acceptable course completion.

The University of Sydney prides itself on being an institution that supports its students and gives them ‘flexible study options’ but a closer look at Senate and Faculty resolutions reveals this is not the case. In fact, Undergraduate classes have not run past 6pm in recent memory which makes most undergraduate study completely inaccessible for prospective students who are carers, live with a disability or are working. I know it’s hardly a shock to most of us that the University is caring less and less about the welfare and wellbeing of its students, but it seems the higher the University rises in the international ranks of tertiary education, the less they are trying to hide it.

They’re Picking on Me! Harrassment and Discrimination on Campus

The University is bound by state and federal laws, to protect you against harassment and discrimination. But what should you do
if you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against?

What is Unlawful Harassment?

The University’s Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy and Resolution Procedure defines “Unlawful harassment” as “any type of behaviour that:
the other person does not want; and
offends, insults, humiliates or intimidates them; and is either sexual, or targets them because of their race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, transgender, sexual preference or orientation (including homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and heterosexuality), disability, age, carers’ responsibility, political belief, lack of a political belief, lack of a particular political belief (including trade union activity or lack of it, and student association activity or lack of it), religious belief, lack of a religious belief, and/or lack of a particular religious belief; and
that, in the circumstances, a reasonable person should have expected would offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate.”

It then goes on to define Unlawful Discrimination. “Unlawful discrimination is any practice that makes an unlawful distinction between individuals or groups, so as to disadvantage some people and advantage others.”

What can you do if you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against?

Contact an SRCHelp caseworker. They can gather your information and act as an advocate for you to place a complaint with the Student Affairs Unit.

What if the bad treatment you receive is not technically harassment or discrimination?

The definition of harassment and discrimination is very specific. If you are being treated badly in another sense perhaps it is more like bullying or just unprofessional behaviour. This does not mean that it doesn’t count. It just means that your complaint would be framed in different terms to suit a different policy. SRC Caseworkers are still a good point of contact.

Who does this protect from?

Students are protected from other students, teachers (permanent, casual and contract), placement supervisors, and other contractors on campus.

Ask Abe – International Student Super & Tax Returns

Hello Abe,

My friend told me that I can get back the superannuation payments that my boss made while I was working here. I am going home to my country in December. What do I need to do?

Overseas Money

Hello Overseas Money,

The news on this is great for international students. If you worked here your boss could have paid money into a Superannuation fund for you. This is meant to be savings for your retirement, however, since it is unlikely that you will be here then, you can usually have it now. Of course there are conditions like your visa has expired or been cancelled and you have to be out of the country to apply. You’ll need all of the details of your Superannuation fund so keep copies of the statements that they send you. Go online to apply – Normally you will get your money about a month later.

Remember also, that you can fill out a tax refund from any wages you earned. Do this before you leave Australia. Again ask the Australian Tax Office for the forms you need.


Social Justice Officer’s Report

The Social Justice Officer position is in need of serious evaluation and amendment. The Office’s remit is nebulous and the number of Officer Bearers makes coordination difficult at the best of times. Furthermore, the position is seen as a joke.

When I took this role, I thought that something could be made of it. I was wrong. I recommend for the position to be amended so that only one person can hold the Office so that they can be held individually accountable. The functions of the Office should be clearly defined and expectations should be set. The position should not just be another line in the CV, but something of substance.

To give you an idea of what at present is involved in being a Social Justice Officer: Soon after being appointed I managed to gain access to the email account (who knew there was one?), and the messages had not been read. During my tenure I saw a Facebook page from the USYD SRC Social Justice Department sharing an event. I was joyful that it was active. However, there was no reply to my message querying who was running it. From the activity on the page I have surmised it is merely a front for Socialist Alternative and nothing more.

For next year’s Social Justice Officers, I can only wish you the best of luck that you may do better than this year. The bar has been set very low. Unless the position is significantly amended, I would recommend that it be abolished.

Hugs and kisses, Alex Eordogh

Environment Officer’s Report

Over the break a bunch of enviro members went down with the Australian Student Environment Network to the forests of East Gippsland in Victoria to visit blockades that are opposing logging, learn new skills and help save the forest through citizen science. They learnt new skills, surveyed for endangered species and searched for old growth trees. The collective also ran our first climbing workshop and explored our artistic side by submitting an artwork to the Verge festival to highlight the need for action at the upcoming climate talks in Paris this December.
The Paris talks represent the worlds last chance to gaet a binding international agreement to reduce emissions. Australia has an atrocious track record of attempting to derail such negotiations in the past, which is why we need to place enormous pressure upon the Australian government to be a constructive participant and up the woeful targets it has currently on the table. Recent modelling shows that the targets submitted by Australia and other nations still puts the world on track for 3.5ºC of warming by the end of the century. As a rich nation with high per capita emissions, Australia needs to do its fair share of the global effort by committing to steep emissions cuts and by providing funds to rectify global inequities so that poorer nations can meet their targets without entrenching poverty.

Sydney University can play a role in spurring this change. Thats why we are calling upon it to give fossil fuels the flick and divest before Paris. The Environment Collective will be supporting the People’s Climate March here in Sydney on the 29th of November at 1pm. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring everyone out onto the streets to tell the government and the world that it is time to act. To inspire you before the march, we will be screening Naomi Klein’s new documentary ‘This Changes Everything’, on the incompatibility of neoliberal capitalism and climate action. Stay tuned for details of this post exams event and more by by liking the Sydney Uni Enviro Collective page on Facebook.

Jay Gillieatt