Lease Agreement
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Tenants should make every effort to honor their rental lease agreements or tenancy agreements, but understand that rental agreement early termination may be necessary in some cases, or breaking a fixed term agreement may incur additional charges.

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes even the most well-intentioned people have to break their leases early because they need to move for work, family, or other reasons beyond their control.

Nonetheless, tenants can keep costs to a minimum and improve communication and cooperation among parties by planning ahead. The landlord may charge a week’s rent until a new tenant moves in.

How about an early lease termination?

Yes, it is possible to terminate a lease, though doing so may be difficult and expenses incurred as a result.

When it becomes apparent that the agreement must be terminated early, it is in everyone’s best interest to begin making preparations as soon as possible in order to provide as much advance notice as possible to the parties involved.

How much do you charge to get out of a lease early?

In Australia, lease termination is not subject to a set fee, but tenants who do so will incur the following expenses:

  • Costs associated with renting out the property again are manageable.
  • Ad prices that are reasonable (if incurred)
  • Damages for eviction and rental payments (until a new tenant is found or until the end date of the agreement, whichever happens first).
  • The landlord shall use best efforts to re-let the premises and shall not be entitled to any rent for any period following re-letting.
  • The lease isn’t technically broken until the tenant has left the property, so the landlord isn’t obligated to advertise it until then.
  • However, he adds, “most agencies will act on this immediately because advertising the property as soon as possible is in the best interests of both parties.”
  • “Advertising should not be commenced as there is still a binding agreement in place if there is any doubt as to what date the tenant will give up vacant possession.”
  • All the details about your rights as a tenant, including those related to the termination of your lease, should be included in your tenancy agreement.
  • You can find helpful online calculators and notice templates on the websites of residential tribunals, such as the amount of money you can expect to pay and how much time you have to give your landlord before you can move out.
  • How to terminate a lease, state by state
  • Conditions for terminating a lease vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Tenants can typically apply to terminate a lease early without incurring a penalty if extenuating circumstances exist.
Lawyer
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Australian Capital Territory

21 days notice is required. See if a “break fee” is mentioned in the lease you’re considering breaking. If this occurs, you will be responsible for paying the equivalent of six weeks’ rent if you are less than halfway through the lease, or four weeks’ rent if you are more than halfway through the lease.

If the landlord can find a replacement tenant within a certain time frame, they may be able to negotiate a lower break fee. Without a break fee clause, you could be responsible for up to 25 weeks of rent, or the remainder of the lease term, plus any re-letting expenses.

New South Wales

A 14-day notice is required. Early termination fees for leases in New South Wales vary depending on when the lease was signed.

If your lease was signed prior to March 23, 2020, Six weeks’ rent may be due if you break the lease before the midpoint, and four weeks’ rent may be due if you break the lease after the midpoint.

Even if there is no specific provision for a break fee in the lease, you may still be responsible for paying rent until a replacement tenant is found, as well as any associated costs, such as advertising and a letting fee.

If your lease signing date is after March 23, 2020

For leases with terms of less than three years, the landlord may charge a termination fee. Place this at:

  • If you are less than one-quarter of the way through your lease term, you must pay four weeks’ rent in advance.
  • If you are between the quarter and halfway point of your lease, you owe three weeks’ rent.
  • If you are paying between 50 and 75 percent of the lease, you owe two weeks’ rent.
  • If you are more than 3/4 of the way through the lease, one week’s rent.
  • Leases longer than three years typically require tenants to cover the costs of the landlord’s loss of income, as well as any advertising costs and a letting fee.

Northern Territory

A 14-day notice is required. If you break a fixed-term lease in the Northern Territory before the end of the lease term or until the property is re-rented, you may be obligated to pay rent through the end of the lease term or until the property is re-rented. 

As an additional possibility, you may be asked to cover the costs associated with finding a new tenant.

Queensland

A 14-day notice is required. Rent loss until the property is re-let or the end of the tenancy agreement, as well as re-letting and advertising expenses, may need to be covered.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal will consider your request to terminate the lease early due to financial hardship, but you may still be required to pay any outstanding rent or other fees to the landlord.

South Australia

28 days’ notice is required. If you break your lease in South Australia, you’ll have to pay the remaining rent due until the unit is re-rented, as well as any costs associated with advertising and finding a new tenant. 

You may still be required to pay the difference until the end of your lease term, even if the landlord or real estate decides to lower the rent in order to quickly find a new tenant.

Apartment Building
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Tasmania

A 14-day notice is required. When you break a lease for a set period of time, you may be responsible for paying rent until the lease expires or a new tenant is found. Expenses associated with re-renting the property may also be incurred.

Victoria

For a notice of 28 days, Rent for the remaining lease term (or until a replacement tenant is found) plus advertising fees and a re-letting fee are due upon termination of the lease. 

If you break a multi-year lease and give less than six months’ notice, the landlord can charge you one month’s rent for each year left on the lease, up to six months’ rent.

Western Australia

There is a 30-day notice period. You may have to keep paying rent and any necessary upkeep fees until a new tenant is found or your lease expires.

The question is, “What if you don’t pay up?”

Don’t assume that you can just walk away from a rental property without paying a penalty. The landlord may add your name to a tenant blacklist if you vacate the property while still owing rent. 

If a property manager finds your name in a tenant database, they are much less likely to approve your rental application. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, to find a new place to live in the future.

Posted by Outside Contributor

From time to time, we are glad to feature outside authors who contribute to BizzMarkBlog with their insights and experience. This is one of those features.