Frequently asked questions
Vacating the Property
Is it possible for me (tenant) to break my Tenancy Agreement early?
Although it is possible to break your agreement early, you may be eligible for extra costs if you do. For example, if you break your contract during a fixed term, you may need to pay rent until a new tenant takes over or the fixed term period ends (whichever one occurs first).
IMPORTANT: the landlord must take all reasonable steps to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible. The more you can do to help your landlord find a replacement, the less costs you will potentially need to pay. You can check to see whether your landlord is advertising the property by searching the property address on Sydney's rental websites (eg., domain.com.au, realestate.com.au, gumtree.com.au, flatmatefinders.com.au, find.accommodation.mq.edu.au).
If you do not believe that your landlord is making a big enough effort in finding a replacement, you should contact the Department of Fair Trading. Some examples of this include making it harder for someone else to move in (eg., increasing rental costs or unreasonably rejecting potential tenants), not advertising the property online, or rejecting help from you to assist them in finding a replacement. In these cases, you may not need to pay the full amount outstanding. Please visit the following website for more information - Department of Fair Trading.
BREACH BY THE LANDLORD:
If your landlord has not complied with the terms outlined in your tenancy agreement, you may be able to end your agreement early without financial penalty (eg., if the landlord fails to keep the property in good condition/ fails to repair broken items). In this case, you should give 14 days notice of termination to your landlord. If they disagree with your reasoning for termination, they can submit an application to the Tribunal (Dept of Fair Trading) for review.
Alternatively, you can apply to the Tribunal yourself without giving notice. You will need to provide the Tribunal with evidence that the breach of contract justifies your early termination. For more information, please visit the above website.
ENDING THE AGREEMENT WITHOUT PENALTY:
- You can provide 14 days notice for early termination without financial penalty if: 1) You have accepted an offer of social housing (e.g. from Housing NSW); 2) You need to move into an aged care facility or nursing home (not a retirement village); 3) You have obtained a final apprehended violence order against somebody you were living with; 4) The landlord has put the premises on the market for sale, and you were not told before signing the lease that a contract for sale had been drawn up
- You can provide 21 days notice for early termination without financial penalty if you have a fixed term agreement of more than 2 years and you have been given a rent increase notice
If you give notice for any of these reasons, then you are able to end the agreement early without having to pay any compensation or other costs to the landlord.
Any tenancy agreement can be ended at any time if the landlord and tenant mutually agree.
For more information, please visit the following website for more information - Department of Fair Trading.
Can I (landlord) break the Tenancy Agreement early? How much notice is required?
You must provide the tenant with a written termination notice if you wish them to vacate the premises early. This letter should be written in clear language, be signed and dated, and have the reason, and date of required departure included on the notice.
You must give the tenant the following notice periods:
• 14 days – if the tenant is 14 days or more behind on their rent, or has committed a breach of the tenancy agreement
• 30 days – if the fixed term of the agreement is due to end
• 30 days – if the premises has been sold after the fixed term has ended and vacant possession is required by the buyer under the terms of the sale contract
• 90 days – if the fixed term period has expired and no new agreement has been signed.
There is no minimum notice period required if:
• The premises is destroyed or wholly or partly uninhabitable
• The premises is legally unusable as a residence
• The premises is acquired by compulsory process (e.g. by the RTA)
• The sole tenant dies
Please note - the above notice periods are aimed to help the tenant find alternate accommodation. If the tenant finds another property sooner than this, they can move out at any time without giving any formal notice.
For more information, please visit Department of Fair Trading.
What happens if the tenant refuses to leave?
You should contact the 'Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal' for a possession order within 30 days after the vacation date specified on the termination notice. Please note - you cannot forcefully evict the tenant, or change the locks of the property. If the Tribunal grants the landlord with a possession order, the tenant will be given a final date to move out. If the tenant has still not moved out by this time, the landlord can obtain a warrant for possession from the 'Tribunal’s Registry' and have it enforced by the Local Court Sheriff’s Office.
For more information, please visit the following link - Fair Trading.
Should I (tenant) give notice if my Tenancy Agreement is due to end/ has already ended?
IMPORTANT: if you wish to break your contract early, please read the post titled 'Is it possible for me (tenant) to break my Tenancy Agreement early?'
ENDING YOUR AGREEMENT AT THE END OF A FIXED TERM:
You should provide your landlord with at least 14 days notice if you want to end your tenancy at the time your agreement is due to run out. This notice can be given up to and including the last day of the fixed term.
ENDING YOUR AGREEMENT AFTER THE FIXED TERM:
If you have not yet signed another lease with your landlord, you should provide at least 21 days notice if you want to end your tenancy after the fixed term has already ended. This notice can be given at any time and does not have to line up with the rent payment cycle. You must pay the rent up to and including the day your notice ends and you vacate.
GETTING NOTICE FROM YOUR LANDLORD:
If your landlord serves you with a termination notice you can move out any time before the notice ends without having to give your own notice.
For more information, please visit Department of Fair Trading.