Ending a lease agreement
At the end of the tenancy a landlord is responsible for:
You cannot end an agreement solely because of a tenant's:
- marital status
- health - eg physical or intellectual disabilities
- mental health
This is discrimination and carries a maximum fine of $1,000. The Equal Opportunity Commission have information specifically for landlords about discrimination.
Ending a fixed term agreement
If you want a fixed term tenancy to end on the date specified on the lease agreement you should inform the tenant that the lease will not be renewed. It is recommended that you give at least four weeks' notice in writing to the tenant.
Ending a periodic agreement
If you want a periodic agreement to end for no specific reason, you must give the tenant at least 90 days written notice to end a periodic agreement. For an alternative version of this document contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) tenancies branch.
You can give the tenant 60 days' written notice if you need the property because:
- you or your immediate family plan to live there
- major renovations are planned
- demolition is planned
- the property has been sold and the contract specifies the property will be vacant.
Tenants ending a lease agreement
Tenants ending a periodic lease agreement
The tenant must give you written notice of either 21 days or one rental period (whichever is longer) that they will be leaving. If the tenant gives you less notice it is up to you whether you accept it or not. The tenant remains responsible for meeting all the conditions of the lease agreement up until the date they leave.
Tenants ending a fixed term lease agreement
If the tenant wants to leave a fixed term agreement before the end date they must negotiate this with you. If you do not agree but they leave before the end date they can be liable to pay you compensation for:
- loss of rent until the property is relet
- pro-rata advertising costs
- a proportion of the reletting fees if you are using a real estate agency.
You are obliged to relet the premises as soon as possible if this happens.
If continuing a tenancy agreement would cause the tenant undue hardship they can apply to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal requesting that they consider ending the agreement before the specified end date.
Tenants breaching the conditions of a lease agreement
If a tenant has breached the conditions of their lease agreement you can issue them with written notice to either remedy the breach or the agreement will end and they will have to leave the property.
You can issue a notice if the tenant has:
- not paid or only partially paid rent
- caused or permitted damage to the property
- breached any other condition listed on the lease agreement.
A serious breach includes things like putting the safety of others at risk - eg you or their neighbours, or causing serious damage to the property. If this occurs you can make an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to end the tenancy immediately without having to give the tenant any other notice. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
Tenants causing a nuisance
If a tenant or someone in their household has interfered with or the peace, comfort or privacy of their neighbours - eg noise problems, or has used or allowed the property to be used for illegal purposes, you or their neighbours can make a section 90 application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal requesting that the tenancy ends. For an alternative version of this document contact the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
Unpaid or only partially paid rent
The tenant must be more than 14 days behind in their rent before you can give them written notice to remedy the breach. You must give the tenant at least seven clear days to pay the arrears in full. When counting days you do not take into account the day the tenant received, or is expected to receive, the notice. If the rent is not paid within the timeframe specified in the notice, the tenant must be given at least one further day to leave the property. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
Any other breach
For any other breach, other than rent arrears, you must give written notice to the tenant of at least seven clear days for them to remedy the breach. If the breach isn’t remedied within the timeframe specified in the notice the tenant must be given at least a further eight days to leave the property.
If the tenant believes that they have not broken the conditions of the agreement, or that they have remedied the breach by the date stated on the notice, they can make an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to have their tenancy reinstated.
How to issue notice to a tenant breaching the lease agreement
To issue a tenant notice for a breach of the lease agreement:
Step 1 - Complete a written notice to remedy the breach. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
Step 2 - Give the notice to the tenant and keep a copy for your records. This gives them seven days to remedy the breach. If the notice was issued due to rent arrears the tenant has one further day to leave the property. If the notice was issued for any other reason the tenant has eight further days to leave.
When completing this form:
- include the phrase 'and all other occupants' after the tenant’s name to protect you in case there is anyone living in the property that you may not be aware of
- be very specific with regards to what the breach is and how it can be remedied
- make sure all the information is correct
- make sure you have given the tenant the required number of days notice.
Working out the dates for notices
When working out the date for a breach to be remedied or for the agreement to end you do not take into account the day the tenant received or was expected to receive the notice.
If you handed the notice to the tenant, the next day is the first day to be counted.
If you posted the notice to the tenant or put it in their letterbox you should take into account when it can be assumed it will be delivered to them - eg posted the notice on Friday the first day to count is the following Tuesday. If the Monday is a public holiday, the first day to count is the following Wednesday.
If the tenant has not remedied the breach but refuses to leave the property you can apply to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to have them evicted from the property.
Eviction is the legal process to force a tenant to leave a property. It is also referred to as vacant possession. A tenant can only be evicted at the order of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal. Only a bailiff enforcing an order of the Tribunal can evict a tenant.
You can apply to have a tenant evicted if:
- you have given them notice to remedy a breach that they didn’t comply with
- a fixed term tenancy has expired and the tenant did not move out
- the tenant has given you written notice but has not moved out on the date they specified.
How to apply for vacant possession and the eviction of a tenant
To make an application for vacant possession and the eviction of a tenant:
Step 1 - Complete an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal and request vacant possession on this form. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
Step 2 - Lodge this with the Residential Tenancies Tribunal together with any supporting documentation - eg copy of the lease agreement, rent records or any written notices.
Step 3 - Pay the $38.25 application fee either in cash, by cheque or through a one-off direct debit payment.For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
You may be exempt from paying the application fee if you are:
- a full time student, or
- a concession card holder.
Complete a proof of exemption form and return this to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal. For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.
If you are able to demonstrate financial hardship you may be able to have the fee waived. To apply complete a request to waive the fee and return this to CBS.
Once this form has been lodged you will be notified of the date for a Residential Tenancies Tribunal hearing.
For information on what to do with belongings a tenant has left behind - see property condition and maintenance.
Landlords breaching the conditions of a lease agreement
If the tenant believes you have breached a condition of the lease agreement they can give you seven days' written notice to remedy the breach or the agreement will end.
If the breach is serious - eg they believe you have placed their safety at risk, they can apply to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to end the tenancy without giving you any other notice.
If the Residential Tenancies Tribunal finds that you have breached the conditions of the agreement you may be required to pay compensation to the tenants - eg removal costs.
What to do if the tenant has abandoned the property
If you are satisfied that your tenant and all other possible occupants have left the property you can take possession of the property.
If you are unsure whether the tenant and all other possible occupants have abandoned the property you can apply to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal requesting an order that the property is declared abandoned and for vacant possession.
Once this application has been lodged you will be notified of the date for a Residential Tenancies Tribunal hearing.
On this siteProperty condition and maintenance
DownloadsExample of written notice to remedy the breakExample of an application to the Residential Tenancies TribunalInformation about the Residential Tenancies Tribunal application feeFormula for advertising and reletting fees
For an alternative version of these documents contact CBS tenancies branch
. Information about section 90 applications
For an alternative version of this document contact the Residential Tenancies Tribunal
LegislationResidential Tenancies Act 1995