Tenants & Landlords

Ending a Residential Tenancy Agreement

If the landlord is happy for the tenant to stay on after the fixed term has expired and the tenant wishes to stay on, no notice is required. The tenancy continues on the same terms as a periodic agreement. This means the tenant continues leasing the property under the same terms and conditions of the lease agreement they originally signed.

Under no circumstances can you terminate a tenancy during the fixed term unless:

  • both the landlord and tenant make an agreement to end the tenancy which is not a regular occurrence, and is not a break lease issue, but something that could happen if both parties agree; OR
  • there is a breach of the agreement, such as rental arrears or damage to the property.

To terminate a tenancy the following notice periods must be given in writing:

Landlord Notice Periods

  1. If the premises have sold after the fixed term has ended and vacant possession is required by the buyer under the terms of the sale contract, the landlord is required to give the tenant a minimum of 30 days' notice in writing. The termination notice may only be issued once the property has unconditionally exchanged.
  2. If the lease has expired and the landlord wants the tenant to vacate, they must give the tenant a minimum of 90 days' notice in writing. The tenant can leave anytime within the 90 days and does not have to give their own formal notice to the landlord. In addition, the tenant only has to pay rent until they return vacant possession of the residence to the Agent.
  3. If the landlord does not want to renew the lease, they must give the tenant a minimum of 30 days' notice in writing. Notice can be given until the final day of the fixed period.
  4. Rental Increase: An agent must give the tenant a written notice specifying that the rent is being increased and the amount payable. The notice must be given a minimum of 60 days before the amount payable.

Note: Termination Notices can be hand delivered to the mail box of the other party. This provides a speedy way to deliver the Notice instead of having to wait 4 business days for mail delivery. Whilst it is not legislatively required, it is recommended as best practice, that you confirm the delivery of any notice to a tenant's mailbox, with a text or email.

Tenant Notice Periods

  1. If the tenant wants to vacate the property after their lease expires, they are required to give the landlord a minimum of 21 days' notice in writing.
  2. If the tenant does not want to renew the lease, they must give the landlord a minimum of 14 days' notice in writing. Notice can be given until the final day of the fixed period.
  3. Breaking of a lease

    If the tenant wants to end their tenancy agreement early, they should give as much notice as possible in writing giving the date they intend to leave and ask for the agent to help find a new tenant.

    Under the Act, there are four specific situations when a tenant can break a fixed term lease without penalty. These include:

    1. if they accept an offer of public housing
    2. if they need to move to a nursing house
    3. if the landlord puts the property up for sale without telling the tenant before the lease was entered into, or
    4. where a co-tenant is the subject of a final AVO barring them from the premises.

In these situations, the tenant can give 14 days' notice to end the tenancy and is not liable to pay any compensation or other amount to the landlord.

Under the new laws, parties to a tenancy agreement have the option of including a break fee in the lease. The break fee applies if the tenant breaks the lease before the end of the fixed term period. The exception to this is the four specific situations mentioned above.

The amount of the break-fee is set under the new laws:

  • In the first half of the fixed term period it is 6 weeks rent
  • In the second half of the fixed period it is 4 weeks rent.

If there is no break fee in the lease, the tenant would still be liable to compensate the landlord for any loss, which resulted from them breaking the lease early. For example, they may need to pay rent until the landlord or agent can find a new tenant.

Upon the death of a tenant, the tenancy can be terminated at any time by the tenant's executor, any other legal personal representative, or the landlord. In these situations the estate will only be liable to pay an occupation fee until vacant possession is given to the landlord. The occupation fee is an amount equivalent to the rent.

Notice prior to entry

The amount of notice the landlord/agent must give to the tenant depends on the reason for entering the premises.

In addition to reasons below, the landlord/agent, can access the property at any time for any reason if the tenant consents, which may also include agreeing to a shorter period of notice.

Reason Notice Required
To inspect the premises (no more than four times per year) At least 7 days written notice
To do ordinary repairs or carry out maintenance At least 2 days notice
To carry out urgent repairs, such as fixing a burst water pipe, a gas leak or a blocked toilet None
To comply with health and safety obligations, such as installing smoke alarms At least 2 days notice
To obtain a property valuation (no more than once in 12 month period) At least 7 days notice
To show a prospective tenant (only permitted in the last 14 days before the existing tenancy is due to end) Reasonable notice on each occasion
In an emergency None
If you have tried to contact the tenant and been unable to do so and have reasonable cause for serious concern about the health or safety of the tenant or other occupants None
If you reasonably believe the premises have been abandoned None
To show the premises to prospective buyers 2 weeks written notice before first inspection. Subsequent inspections as agreed with the tenant or, if there is nothing agreed, no more than 2 inspections per week, with 48 hours notice each time
In accordance with a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal order As determined by the Tribunal