How do you terminate a rental lease agreement?
Having to terminate a lease agreement is something you dread occurring if you own a rental property.
In a perfect world, every rental experience would go smoothly – but if you’re experiencing hassles with a tenant and want to take steps to terminate their contract, discuss this with your property manager and educate yourself on your rights.
When do you have the right to terminate?
As an owner, you have the right to give notice to end a rental agreement (whether fixed or periodic) or take a matter to court if:
- Your tenant is behind in rent payments.
- Your tenant fails to keep their part of the tenancy agreement, other than rent arrears.
- The premises are destroyed or become uninhabitable.
- The expiry date of the fixed term is approaching and you do not wish to renew the agreement.
If your tenant is behind in their rental payments, you must provide a written notice that outlines this breach of agreement and requests payments to be made in full. If the payment is not made, you are entitled to terminate the agreement and if necessary enforce the termination through the court.
For issues other than rent not being paid that are in breach of the rental agreement, your property manager must advise your tenant in writing of the problem. They then have 14 days to rectify the issues you’ve raised. If after 14 days the problem isn’t resolved, you can take steps to terminate the agreement.
If you are in the unfortunate situation that your premises have been rendered uninhabitable through a natural disaster, you must provide seven days notice of termination.
Alternatively if you are dealing with a problematic tenant and their fixed-term lease is coming to an end, you can choose to end the tenancy on the expiry date. In this instance, you must provide the tenant with a minimum of 30 days written notice of your intention to not renew the agreement. A periodic tenancy can be terminated with the required period written notice.
Managing your property is a complicated process and understanding the law is paramount. If you’d like more information about where you stand in a rental agreement, contact a REIWA property manager to see how they can assist.