Ending a lease can be a complex process, often filled with legal obligations and a not insignificant amount of stress. Whether you’re relocating for a new job, moving in with a partner, or needing to leave your rental for more urgent reasons, we understand that there are various factors that may contribute to you needing to terminate your tenancy agreement.
With this guide, our aim is to provide you with a clear roadmap to navigate this transition as smoothly as possible, while maintaining the professional boundaries essential in any landlord-tenant relationship.
Different tenancy types
There are two kinds of lease agreement and the kind you’re engaged in will determine the process for ending your tenancy, including the minimum notice required.
A periodic tenancy agreement is the easier to end of the two, largely because you don’t need to provide any reason to the lessor for ending the agreement. However, a minimum of 21 days written notice is required.
In contrast, breaking a fixed-term agreement tends to be a slightly more difficult process, largely because you also need to obtain the written agreement of the lessor. If you are not able to obtain the lessor’s permission to end your tenancy early but decide to do so anyway, the result can be very costly. You will likely be required to continue paying rental and upkeep expenses, as well as any other reasonable costs incurred by the lessor. This will be the case until a new tenant is found or your original tenancy period comes to an end.
Remember too, a fixed-term agreement doesn’t automatically end at the close of any given leasing period – you still need to provide notice of your intention to not renew your lease at least 30 days in advance.
Reasons to end a tenancy agreement
In the previous section, we looked at the general rules around ending different lease types. However, depending on your circumstances and the reason for ending your lease, you may be afforded more flexibility. The following are situations in which the standard rules for breaking a lease will cease to apply, provided you meet the relevant criteria.
If you are affected by family violence, you are able to give a minimum of 7 days’ notice to terminate your interest in a tenancy agreement – regardless of whether your agreement is periodic or fixed. To do this, you will need to provide your lessor with two things:
- A completed Notice of termination of a tenant’s interest in residential tenancy agreement on grounds of family violence (Form 2); and
- A recognised form of evidence, such as a signed (by a designated professional) official Consumer Protection Family Violence report – evidence form or a Family Violence Restraining Order.
Destruction of property
If the property you’re leasing is destroyed, seized under legal obligation, or becomes uninhabitable, you only need to provide two or more days’ notice. Again, this is the case for both periodic and fixed agreements.
Lessor violating tenancy agreement
If your lessor is not keeping to any of the terms of your tenancy agreement or is refusing to fix a problem, you can set about ending your fixed-term agreement by seeking a court order from the Magistrate’s Court.
If both the tenant and the lessor agree to end a fixed-term agreement early, they may do so by signing a mutual agreement. Make sure that this written agreement is coherent and that the signature of each party is clear.
Do you have a question about ending your lease? Get in touch with us today, we’d be happy to help you with your query.