Know the rules around ending a tenancy

This is the third and final article in a three-part series where we discuss the key 1 October 2022 tenancy law changes relating to renting with pets, repairs and ending a tenancy.

In this article, we look at the changes around ending a tenancy in Queensland. A list of helpful resources is provided at the end of this article.

What has changed around ending a tenancy?

A property manager/owner can no longer end a tenancy ‘without grounds’ and must provide the tenant/resident with a valid reason for ending a tenancy. Grounds for ending a tenancy are outlined in the Rooming and Residential Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act), which have been expanded to include a broader variety of reasons.

A tenant/resident can still end a tenancy without grounds. Alternatively, parties can also mutually agree in writing to end a tenancy agreement early or without grounds. This agreement should be recorded in writing.

How can a property manager/owner end a tenancy agreement?

Under the new legislation, a property manager/owner must provide grounds for ending a tenancy. Grounds for ending a tenancy include the ending of a fixed term agreement; preparing a property for sale; or if the owner or a close relative is moving back into the property.

If the tenant/resident is on a fixed term agreement, some grounds can be used to end the agreement early, while others can only be used at the end of the tenancy. A full list of grounds the property manager/owner can use to end a tenancy can be found in Ending a tenancy for managing parties fact sheet.

How can a tenant/resident end a tenancy agreement? 

The tenant/resident can end a tenancy without grounds at the end of a fixed term tenancy agreement or during a periodic agreement, providing the correct notice is given.

Tenants/residents may also be able to end a fixed term agreement early, if they have grounds under the Act. The tenant/resident must provide the correct notice period to end a tenancy.

Under the new legislation, all previous grounds for ending a tenancy remain in place and the following new grounds have been added:

  • the property is not in a good state of repair
  • the property manager/owner has failed to comply with a repair order
  • a co-tenant passes away
  • if it’s student accommodation and the tenant is no longer a student.  

A full list of grounds a tenant/resident can use to end a tenancy can be found in the Ending a tenancy for tenants/residents fact sheet.

If a property manager/owner wants to end a tenancy because a fixed term agreement is ending, when should they issue a Notice to leave? 

A Notice to Leave (Form 12 or R12) can be issued for the end of a fixed term tenancy up to one day prior to the end of a fixed term tenancy without the tenancy reverting to a periodic tenancy. To ensure the notice is valid, the property manager/owner must give the correct type of notice and correct notice period.

Good communication is important and, where possible, the property manager/owner should speak to the tenant/resident before issuing a Notice to leave. We recommend the property manager/owner give the tenant/resident as much notice as possible.

What happens if the tenant/resident wants to end a tenancy due to domestic and family violence? 

If a tenant/resident believes they can no longer safely live in a rental property due to domestic and family violence (DFV), they can complete a Notice ending tenancy interest (domestic and family violence) (Form 20). 

A tenant/resident experiencing DFV can end a tenancy agreement early, providing they give seven days’ notice to end a tenancy. They can leave before seven days, but they are responsible for paying rent until the end of the seven day notice period.

If the tenant/resident experiencing DFV lodged a rental bond for the property, they can submit a Bond refund for persons experiencing domestic and family violence (Form 4a) when they leave. This form can be used to request a refund for their portion of the bond.

Visit the Domestic violence in a rental property webpage for more information.

What happens if a property manager/owner and the tenant/resident disagree about ending a tenancy?

We understand that trying to find a new rental property in a tight rental market can make ending a tenancy a stressful and challenging experience, especially for tenants/residents. The RTA encourages all parties to understand each other’s circumstances and communicate openly and respectfully.

If there’s a disagreement about ending a tenancy, the tenant/resident and property manager/owner should try and talk to each other and come to a solution in the first instance. If they can’t come to an agreement, either party can apply for free RTA dispute resolution.

If no agreement is reached through dispute resolution, the RTA will issue a Notice of unresolved dispute. The person who requested dispute resolution can then apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a decision.

Useful resources  

You can find out more about the 1 October 2022 legislation changes on the RTA’s rental law changes resource webpage.   

If you’d like to learn more about ending a tenancy under the new legislation:  
•    read our ending a tenancy fact sheets for managing parties and tenants/residents 
•    watch our ending a tenancy short video (2.15mins)  
•    watch our ending a tenancy webinar (39.51min) 
•    listen to our podcast episode about ending a tenancy (7.20min) 
•    read our ending a tenancy webpage.   

Original publication on 16 Dec 2022
Last updated on 16 Dec 2022

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.