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End a rental lease early in Canberra?

By PoPo - 29 May 2013 7

Just wondering what your experiences are in terms of leaving a rental earlier than the lease end.

So I’ve been living in a place for about 1.5 years. We signed on for another year lease in Feb (should’ve asked for month to month I know…)

Recently, we found out there may be an opportunity for me which would require me to move overseas. It begins in December.

I would like to avoid having to pay the rent from December to Feb if possible so. Just wondering can anyone give me any advice on the best course of action to take?

I can give my landlord 5 months notice (which is now till December). I have noticed though that the homes in my area have dropped in rental yield a little bit and the market is probably a little down so I think they’ll struggle to get the same rate as we’re paying.

I have a good relationship with my landlord – they’ve always fixed things quickly and been reasonable. Even so, I’m sure they’ll try to get the same rate because it’ll be us that’ll be stuck paying it if they don’t find anyone.

So the question is what alternatives do I have?

It says on here that we have to pay re-letting costs of up to one week and that we have to pay the 2 months remaining. However, the landlord must make a reasonable attempt to find a new tenant.

What does reasonable attempt mean? If they have 5 months to find someone and they don’t find anyone, can that be a reasonable attempt? Are there any alternative arrangements? If they find someone willing to pay a lower rate, can I offer to pay the difference until the lease ends? Can anyone share any experiences they have had with ending a lease early?

What’s Your opinion?


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7 Responses to
End a rental lease early in Canberra?
poppy 4:09 pm 09 Jun 13

Shinigami_Josh said :

Look here
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/rentingAdvice/tenancy-factsheets/Ending-a-Tenancy-and-Breaking-a-Lease

Once you have broken your lease you do not need to pay anything further (you may be held liable for compensation that may be the lost rent but this would have to go to the rental tribunal)
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=36383&Q=

Whilst a tenant can always “stand up for their rights” and refuse to compensate a landlord for anything (including break lease, failure to leave property clean, etc) without a tribunal order – I would suggest this is a bad move unless you feel you have solid grounds for believing you have a right to terminate the agreement early and/or the landlord is being unreasonable and refusing to negotiate when you have made a reasonable offer of compensation, or the landlord is not taking reasonable steps to re-let the property. As a landlord I would not hold it against a tenant whose rental history indicated they had broken a lease, but I sure would if the tenant had been unreasonable and just refused to pay anything without going to tribunal. You can always try to negotiate a pro – rata cost of re-letting fees and advertising given that you are only two months away from the end of lease (where the landlord would have to pay the full cost anyway), and you will have been there two years at the end of your lease thus saving the landlord potential re-letting fees at least once. By making this offer you will have shown that you have been reasonable if you do end up going to a tribunal.

The fact that you are giving 5 months notice by the way does not really help. Ask any landlord/agent, there is absolutely no point advertising the property for rent 5 months out. Renting is not the same as selling. 4-6 weeks before the property will become vacant would be the maximum time that it would be worthwhile advertising and showing people through. In many cases tenants are turned off when the property is not vacant and it won’t be re-let until the current tenant moves out.

Shinigami_Josh 10:34 pm 08 Jun 13

Shinigami_Josh said :

Look here
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/rentingAdvice/tenancy-factsheets/Ending-a-Tenancy-and-Breaking-a-Lease

Once you have broken your lease you do not need to pay anything further (you may be held liable for compensation that may be the lost rent but this would have to go to the rental tribunal)
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=36383&Q=

I would also say that a lot of leases in canberra have posting clauses for ending early if posted away from canberra, look in yours for one of them.

http://www.tenantsact.org.au/

found the link
http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1997-84/current/pdf/1997-84.pdf
section 8 second half 1 b
“A tennancy agrement can be terminated if the tenant is posted away from Canberra in the course of the tenant’s employment—by the tenant giving the lessor at least 4 weeks written notice. “

Shinigami_Josh 10:29 pm 08 Jun 13

Look here
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/rentingAdvice/tenancy-factsheets/Ending-a-Tenancy-and-Breaking-a-Lease

Once you have broken your lease you do not need to pay anything further (you may be held liable for compensation that may be the lost rent but this would have to go to the rental tribunal)
http://www.tenantsact.org.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=36383&Q=

I would also say that a lot of leases in canberra have posting clauses for ending early if posted away from canberra, look in yours for one of them.

http://www.tenantsact.org.au/

gungsuperstar 9:16 pm 29 May 13

farout said :

gungsuperstar said :

When you’re on a periodic tenancy, the landlord has to give you 6 months to vacate if it’s for no reason, 3 months if they wish to do work to the property and the work requires the property to be untenanted, and 2 months if the landlord or a member of their immediately family will be living in the premises.

No.
If there is a periodic tenancy, the lessor may serve on the tenant a notice to vacate for the following periods on the following grounds:
(a) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to live in the premises;
(b) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely believes the lessor’s immediate relative intends to live in the premises;
(c) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely believes an interested person intends to live in the premises;
(d) 8 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to sell the premises;
(e) 12 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to reconstruct, renovate or make major repairs to the premises and the reconstruction, renovation or repairs cannot reasonably be carried out
with the tenant living in the premises.

Take this guys advice.

My memory sucks arse.

farout 2:07 pm 29 May 13

gungsuperstar said :

When you’re on a periodic tenancy, the landlord has to give you 6 months to vacate if it’s for no reason, 3 months if they wish to do work to the property and the work requires the property to be untenanted, and 2 months if the landlord or a member of their immediately family will be living in the premises.

No.
If there is a periodic tenancy, the lessor may serve on the tenant a notice to vacate for the following periods on the following grounds:
(a) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to live in the premises;
(b) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely believes the lessor’s immediate relative intends to live in the premises;
(c) 4 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely believes an interested person intends to live in the premises;
(d) 8 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to sell the premises;
(e) 12 weeks notice if the lessor genuinely intends to reconstruct, renovate or make major repairs to the premises and the reconstruction, renovation or repairs cannot reasonably be carried out
with the tenant living in the premises.

gungsuperstar 12:44 pm 29 May 13

Why did you sign a new lease? You don’t have to ask for month-to-month – that’s the default position in the ACT after an initial 12 month lease. When you’re on a periodic tenancy, the landlord has to give you 6 months to vacate if it’s for no reason, 3 months if they wish to do work to the property and the work requires the property to be untenanted, and 2 months if the landlord or a member of their immediately family will be living in the premises.

I’ve heard an increase in landlords or their agents trying to get people to sign additional leases, and unfortunately too many people think they need to do it – DON’T! After that initial 12 months, the Residential Tenancies Act begins to favour the tenant. Don’t give that up!

In December, I suspect you’ll be stuck paying rent until end of January during the rush, on top of being required to help pay for advertising the property.

harvyk1 10:20 am 29 May 13

The trick here is to let your landlord know as early as possible, so they can start advertising the property as early as possible / reasonable.

Be prepared to cover the costs of re-advertising (up to a maximum of 1 weeks rent) and generally help the landlord re-tenant the property (eg make the property open for inspection when the landlord has ppl who are interested).

Be prepared to pay out the difference between the rent a new tenant will pay and your rent (so say your rent is $400pw, and the new tenant only pays $350pw. You will be liable for the remaining $50 per week from the day you move out to the date the lease would have otherwise ended / 26 weeks whichever is the shorter period.

Don’t let your landlord attempt to force you to stay (I once had a landlord that was under the assumption that by refusing to take the key they could keep the lease going, the tribunal was extremely harsh on the landlord for that little stunt).

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