Ending an agreement early (breaking a lease)


Rental law changes introducing minimum housing standards came into effect for new tenancies (including renewed tenancy agreements) from 1 September 2023, and will come into effect for all remaining tenancies on 1 September 2024.

If a tenant or property manager/owner ends a fixed term agreement before the end date they are breaking the agreement. This is also known as breaking the lease.

A tenancy agreement is legally binding and can only be ended for certain reasons. If either the property manager/owner or the tenant breaks the agreement, compensation will probably need to be paid.

If the tenant or property manager/owner is experiencing excessive hardship (e.g. serious financial or health issues) they may make an urgent application to QCAT for an order terminating the agreement. However, QCAT may order compensation to be paid even if the agreement is terminated.


Money may be owed as a result of breaking the lease. This is considered compensation.


  • If the tenant breaks the lease, they may need to pay for the loss of rent until the property is re-let or until the end of the tenancy agreement. They may also have to pay reasonable re-letting and advertising costs.
  • If the property manager/owner breaks the lease, they may have to pay for the tenant’s moving costs.

Any compensation, or payment options for the amount, should be discussed between the tenant and the property manager/owner (this could include how the bond is to be paid out).

The property manager/owner must mitigate any loss associated with breaking the lease