When you serve notice, you can hand-deliver or send it to the other party, but you should allow time for the notice to be delivered.

How to serve notice

When you ‘serve’ a notice (ie give a notice to the other party), it can be either:

  • hand-delivered to the other party – either in person, by placing it in the letterbox or by attaching it to the door of the property in a prominent position, or
  • sent to the address for service listed on the tenancy agreement.
  • in addition to either of the above you can send the notice to a contact address, PO Box, email address or fax number that is listed on the tenancy agreement.

As the other party hasn’t actually been notified until they receive the notice, you must allow extra time for the notice to be delivered (sometimes called ‘service time’).

Service time

Tenancy law gives timeframes for when it considers notices to have been received. These times depend on how the notice was delivered.

  • If the notice is handed to the other party in person, it is considered received immediately.
  • If the notice is delivered to the premises and either left in the letter box or attached to the door in a prominent position, it is considered to have been received 2 working days after the date it was delivered.
  • If the notice is posted to the address or the Post Office Box, it is considered to have been received on the 4th working day after the date it was posted.
  • If the notice was sent to the email address or fax number after 5pm, it is considered to have been received on the next working day after it was sent. If the email or fax was sent before 5pm, it is considered to have been received on that same day.

These timeframes apply unless the person being served notice can show they don’t apply. Examples may be where the person receiving the notice states they received it earlier, or can prove that the post was delayed or not received.

Notice period starts the day after the notice is considered received

The notice period starts the day after the day the law considers it to have been received. This means that if the notice is received on a Thursday, the next day (Friday) will be the first day of the notice period.

For example, if a tenant posts their 21 days’ notice on Monday 2 March, it would be considered received on Friday 6 March (unless the landlord receiving the notice can prove otherwise). 21 days from Friday 6 March would be Friday 27 March (6 + 21 = 27). This means the tenant should state in their notice that the last day of their tenancy will be Friday 27 March.

The difference between a calendar day and a working day

Some timeframes are counted in calendar days (Monday to Sunday inclusive). Others are counted in working days (Monday to Friday).

Examples of timeframes counted in calendar days are:

  • notices to terminate a tenancy
  • notices to remedy a breach
  • notice of a rent increase

Examples of timeframes counted in working days are:

  • service time allowances
  • the landlords time to lodge a bond
  • notifying a change of address or other details

Some public holidays and provincial holidays are not counted as working days.

The Residential Tenancies Act (external link)  defines what isn’t counted as a “working day”.