Break Lease (Ending a Tenancy Early)

If a tenant needs to end an agreement early, they need to be aware of their legal responsibilities, and the costs need to be carefully weighed up before making a move.

When you sign a fixed term agreement, you are signing a legal contract under which you agree to maintain the premises and rental payments for an agreed minimum period. If you terminate your tenancy and leave before the end of the fixed term agreement, you may be liable to pay compensation to the Lessor for reasonable costs as a result of breaching the contract.

Please note Standard Term 7 of the Form 18a – General Tenancy Agreement, and sections 419 to 421 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, compensation may be sought for loss of rent and expenses for the period from vacate until a new tenant is found, or the end date of the lease; whichever comes first.

How to Break your Lease

It is highly recommended that you discuss your circumstances with your property manager if you find yourself in a situation that may require you vacate the property before your lease expiry date.

Your property manager may be able to discuss your circumstances with the Owner and you may be able to come to a mutual agreement regarding terminating your tenancy early.

As per the Act, tenants are required to give a minimum 2 weeks notice, in the approved form, of their intention to vacate the premises.

What are Reasonable Costs?

Subject to the Lessor’s instructions, compensation may be sort for:

  • Payment of rent until another tenancy is secured
  • Repairs, Cleaning, Lawn & Garden Maintenance, etc
  • Break Lease Fees, such as real estate agents’ administration fees (Letting Fee, etc)
  • Advertising expenses to re-let the property

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

“What happens when I move out and there isn’t another tenancy secured?”

As per Standard Term 37 of your General Tenancy Agreement, the property is required to be returned in the same condition it was in at the start of tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. Additionally, Standard Term 38 requires all keys and remotes are returned in good working order.

Although a final inspection will be carried out upon handover, compensation costs for any matters such as garden/lawn maintenance and/or cleaning whilst the property is vacant can be sought from you in addition to the Break Lease Fees, as the property is required to be maintained. The vacate inspection does not end your obligations.

The Vacate Inspection

The vacate inspection is typically completed within 3 business days of when the keys are returned to the agency.

To prevent scheduling conflicts, if you would like to return the keys before or after the Notice expiry, please advise your property manager.

During the vacate inspection, the agent will compare the condition of the property to the Form 1a – Entry Condition Report.

Your Property Manager will complete a Form 14a – Exit Condition Report, documenting the condition of the property during the time of inspection.

This report will be forwarded to you as soon as possible after the inspection has been completed. A copy of the report with photos will be provided on your Tenant Portal.

Please Note: not all items noted on the report will require your attention, as the report is also provided to the Owner. If you are unsure, ask your PM for clarification.

If there are any items on the report that you disagree with, you are required to forward your concerns and comments in writing to your property manager within 24 hours so the matter can be discussed with the Owner.

Meraki Property Management offer 24 hours for the tenant to return to the property to rectify any outstanding items noted on the Exit Condition Report; however, we are not obligated to do so in accordance with the Act.

The opportunity is offered to assist with obtaining a full bond refund.

However, it is imperative that all tenants understand that failure to meet their obligations is a breach of their agreement and may result in the Owner seeking compensation for loss of rent and any costs incurred.

Important contacts for Domestic Violence:

Organisation Contact Details
DV Connect (for women) 1800 811 811
DV Connect (for men) 1800 600 636
Tenants Queensland 1300 744 263
Women’s Legal Service 1800 677 278
Elder Abuse Prevention Unit 1300 651 192

Excessive Hardship

In the case of excessive hardship, the tenant can make an urgent application directly to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), without participating in RTA dispute resolution, to end the tenancy agreement.

The legislation does not define “excessive hardship”as this is dependent on individual circumstances and must be ruled on by an adjudicator at QCAT.

The tenant should attend the QCAT hearing with the necessary documents to support their claim of excessive hardship. If excessive hardship cannot be proven the tenant may be responsible for compensating the Owner, as advised above.

A person who suffers domestic violence in a rental property has rights under tenancy law, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.

If someone in a rental property is experiencing domestic violence they can apply to QCAT to:

  • remove the name of the person who has committed an act of domestic violence from the tenancy agreement
  • be listed as the tenant
  • end the tenancy agreement, or
  • prevent their personal information being listed in a tenancy database where a breach of the agreement is a result of the actions of a person who has committed an act of domestic or family violence.

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