TenantsTips / Australia / How do I end my Tenancy Agreement?

How do I end my Tenancy Agreement?

Tenancies by their very nature do not last forever, so what happens when you want to end a tenancy? It depends largely on individual circumstances and the reason for the termination of the agreement.

TenantsTips takes a look at the procedure for ending a tenancy agreement.

How do I end a tenancy agreement?

Providing there are no discrepancies over your agreement ending a tenancy is fairly straight forward. The procedure for ending a tenancy is outlined below.

 

  • Put your termination notice in writing, with the appropriate notice period.
  • Ensure that the landlord has received the notice.
  • Remove your belongings. Clean the premises and leave them as they were when you moved in. General wear is not considered as damage. It is a good idea to take photos as evidence of the condition of the premises.
  • Invite the landlord/agent to inspect the premises and complete the final condition report. (They do not have to do this before the time when you hand in the keys).
  • Attend the landlord inspection, if possible, and obtain a copy of the report for your records. If necessary you can complete the final report yourself, without the landlord/agent’s signature.
  • Lock up the premises. Hand back the keys to the landlord/agent and get a receipt for them. Here the tenancy ends because you have given vacant possession and you may not re-enter the premises.
  • Claim the bond. You can claim the bond without a landlord’s cooperation. To do this you need to apply to NSW Fair Trading as soon as possible.

 

What is a termination notice?

A termination notice is a notice given by to your landlord stating that you wish to end the tenancy agreement and vacate the premises. The termination notice must be in writing, signed by you and set out the following information:

 

  • The premises concerned.
  • The day on which you intend to leave the premises.
  • The ground for the notice (if applicable).

 

You must properly ‘serve’ the notice on the landlord/agent. A notice can be ‘served’ in person or mailed at to a landlord’s business or residential address. If you ‘serve’ a notice by post you must allow an additional four days for delivery time. It is advisable to keep a copy of the notice for yourself and record how and when you sent or delivered it.

How much notice should I give?

How much notice you are required to give depends on the type of agreement you have and whether there are any grounds for the notice. A fixed-term agreement is for a specified period (e.g. 6 months). A periodic agreement is one where the fixed-term has expired or no fixed term is specified. If you are unsure, refer to your tenancy agreement.

Are there exceptions to the rule?

Yes, there are a number of occasions where the usual procedure does not apply.

Immediate notice:

If the premises become severely damaged or unusable (other than due to a breach of the tenancy agreement), cease to be lawfully usable as a residence or are appropriated by a compulsory process you can give immediate notice to terminate your agreement.

Extraordinary grounds:

A 14-day termination notice can be served on a landlord before the end of a fixed-term agreement on any of the following grounds:

 

  • A place in social housing has been granted to you.
  • You accept a place in a sheltered accommodation facility or you need care in an aged-care facility.
  • It is the landlord’s intention to sell the property and they failed to inform you of this before entering into the tenancy agreement.
  • A person who shares the property has been excluded from the premises by a final apprehended violence order.

 

The landlord is not entitled to compensation from you for ending the agreement early.

Serving a termination notice:

A 14-day termination notice can be served if the landlord has breached the agreement.

Applying for a termination order:

You can apply to the CTTT for an order to terminate an agreement. This will end the rental agreement and specify the day on which it will end. Applications must be made within 3 months of the breach. The CTTT may make a termination order if it finds that the landlord breached the tenancy agreement and the breach is sufficient to justify termination. The CTTT may decide not to end the tenancy if it decides that the landlord has fixed the breach or has taken steps to fix it.



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