Tenants, property owners and managers wanting to end an agreement need to comply with the rules for ending a tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) and the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (COVID-19 Regulations).
From 30 September 2020, most of the changes that were introduced as a result of the COVID-19 emergency response for residential tenancies will no longer apply. The following temporary approved reasons for ending a tenancy agreement have been removed:
- the property owner or their immediate family needs to move into the rental property
- the property owner is preparing the property for sale or the property has been sold and vacant possession is required
- a tenant finds out the property is not in good repair upon moving in.
Notices issued on the above grounds on or before 29 September are still effective. The Residential Tenancies Practice Guide provides possible scenarios and examples of how the notice periods apply.
From 30 September 2020, when issuing a Notice to Leave (Form 12) or a Notice of Intention to leave (Form 13), property managers, property owners and tenants must provide approved reasons (including without grounds) and the relevant minimum notice periods as outlined in the Act.
Short term tenancy agreement for movable dwelling premises (in caravan parks) which end from 30 September can continue as planned, or be extended if both parties agree.
Tenants who have been significantly financially impacted and need to end their agreement early will still be able to do so under the COVID-19 Emergency Amendment Regulation which expires on 31 December 2020. Eligible tenants will only be liable for a maximum break lease penalty of one week’s rent (after giving the minimum notice period – generally two weeks). To be eligible, your household income has to have dropped by at least 75%, and you must have less than $5,000 in savings. For more information on lease breaks under the emergency regulation, read the Residential Tenancies Practice Guide.
Tenants who end their agreement early and do not meet the eligibility criteria may be liable for break lease costs and may need to pay compensation to the property owner.
From 30 September to 31 December 2020, tenants who are experiencing domestic and family violence and need to leave the rental property can end their tenancy agreement early with one week’s notice and not be liable for reletting costs incurred by the property owner.