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Early Termination of a Lease by a Landlord

As a Landlord it’s important to know that signing a fixed term agreement with a tenant means that there are very few reasons for you to terminate the agreement.  Unless a tenant is somehow in breach of the terms of the lease, as a landlord you really do need to honour your agreement. If you wish to end the arrangement at the end of the fixed term agreement then you need to give 30 days’ notice before the date that the lease is due to end.

When the tenant is in breach of the agreement

If the tenant is in breach of an agreement (for example, they are not paying their rent) then you are able to give 14 days’ notice of termination of the agreement.

Selling the property

Sale of a property is not a legal reason to terminate an agreement before the end of a fixed agreement.  

Periodic agreements

A periodic agreement is a tenancy for an indefinite period.  When a fixed term agreement ends, if neither party has given notice, then you and your tenant will automatically move to a periodic agreement. It does not change the rights and responsibilities of either you or the tenant, but it does mean that you can serve a termination notice if you wish to end the tenancy or sell your property.  The legal time frames are:

  • 90 days’ notice if you wish to end the agreement with no grounds.
  • 30 days’ notice if you are selling your property.

When no minimum notice is required

Under the following circumstances an agreement can be ended with no minimum notice:

  • the premises has been destroyed or is wholly or partly uninhabitable 
  • the premises ceases to be legally usable as a residence 
  • the premises is being acquired by compulsory process (e.g. by the RTA) on the death of the sole tenant.

Any notice of termination must:

  • be in writing
  • be signed and dated by your agent
  • be properly addressed to the tenant
  • give the day on which the residential  tenancy agreement is terminated and by which the tenant is required to vacate
  • where appropriate give the reason for the notice
  • If being delivered by post, you need to allow an extra four days from the date you post it before the notice period begins.

Ask your property manager for more information about your rights and responsibilities. The Department of Fair Trading also has information for landlords on their website.

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