Ending a rental tenancy

Whether because you simply wish to move on, or because there has been a breach of the terms of agreement, the correct way to end a tenancy is dependent on a number of factors.

When deciding how to move forward, you will need to take into account who is ending it, why they are ending it and whether you are on a fixed-term or periodic lease.

Procedure for tenants – There are many reasons you may wish to end your tenancy, most commonly because you wish to move on sooner than anticipated.

If you’ve made this decision, you need to be aware that while possible, it can also be difficult and costly to move forward depending on the kind of lease agreement you have.

Periodic agreement – The simpler of the two to end is the periodic agreement. If you are on a periodic agreement, you can end your tenancy without having to provide a reason. However, a minimum of 21 days written notice to the owner is required.

Fixed-term agreement – Breaking a fixed-term agreement is a bit more complex. To do this you need written agreement from the owner.

If an agreement isn’t reached, you need to think carefully about proceeding with the termination as it can be very costly.

It’s likely you will be liable to pay rent and upkeep expenses on the property, as well as any other reasonable costs incurred by the owner, until a new tenant is found or the original tenancy period concludes.

It’s also wise to note that fixed-term tenancies don’t automatically end when the period is up. You will still need to provide (or receive) 30 days’ notice.

Procedure for owners

Some reasons an owner may want to end a tenancy are;

  • if you are behind in your rent – the owner has the option to give seven day termination notice.
  • if you breach your tenancy agreement e.g. if you were to fail to provide access to the owner after they have provided you with the correct notice period, you would be advised in writing of the problem and then have 14 days to deal with the issue. If it isn’t resolved or fixed, the owner has the right to terminate your agreement.
  • if the home is destroyed or has become uninhabitable – the owner can provide seven days’ notice to terminate your agreement.

Periodic tenancies:

Owners can provide written notice of termination to tenants on a periodic tenancy if the property has been sold and the contract requires the property to be vacant at handover. In this instance, the owner has to provide you with 30 days’ notice.

If the owner decides to end the tenancy without providing any reason, a minimum of 60 days’ notice is required.

Fixed-term tenancies:

Similarly, as with tenants, owners who decide to end a fixed-term agreement must do so by written agreement.

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