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It’s important to be prepared for when your lease ends. Best-case scenario, your lease will be renewed, but it may not. This article will discuss the different types of leases, what happens if you receive a notice to vacate and how to leave early/break a lease.

Fixed vs non-fixed term lease

The major difference between a fixed term lease and a non-fixed term lease is that a fixed term lease has an end date. When you sign your lease, you and the owner will have agreed on a date. The smallest fixed term lease is 4 weeks.

A non-fixed term lease doesn’t have an end day. You can end this kind of lease with a Notice to Vacate. This is a letter advising you of the date you must leave the property.

Receiving a notice to vacate

The reasons a person may receive a Notice to Vacate include:

  • You and the owner have agreed to end the lease.
  • You, as the tenant, have given the owner a minimum of 14 days’ notice that you’re ending the lease and moving. By doing this you are responsible for paying rent until a new tenant is secured.
  • You have breached your lease or caused significant issues. Therefore, the owner is giving you a minimum of 14 days’ notice.
  • The owner has given you at least 42 days’ notice that the property is to be:
    • Sold,
    • Transferred to another person,
    • Significantly renovated,
    • Used as a home by a member of the owner’s family,
    • Or no longer used as a rental property.
  • A magistrate sends a court order to end a lease.
  • A loan institution (e.g., a bank) is selling the property to recover money the owner owes. In that situation you as the tenant should receive at least 60 days’ notice.

As someone with a fixed term lease you can also receive a Notice to Vacate if:

  • You and the property owner have agreed to end the lease.
  • You have breached your lease or caused significant issues. Therefore, the owner is giving you a minimum 14-day notice.
  • The lease is due to expire. The owner must give you 42 days’ notice but cannot issue sooner than 60 days before the end of the lease.
  • A magistrate sends a court order to end a lease.
  • A loan institution (e.g., a bank) is selling the property to recover money the owner owes. In that situation you as the tenant should receive at least 60 days’ notice.

To learn more about receiving a notice to vacate:

Tenants Union of Tasmania Fact Sheet – Eviction Notice Tenants’ Union of Tasmania (tutas.org.au)

Leaving Early/Breaking Lease

If you leave before your lease end date without giving Notice to Terminate or a suitable reason for leaving you are breaking your lease.

The owner can ask you to continue paying rent until your lease end date or until they find someone else to lease to. They can also ask you to pay for advertising costs.

Reasons a tenant can end a fixed lease without breaking the lease include:

  • The owner has breached the lease agreement by:
    • Not doing something they are supposed to.
    • Doing something they are not supposed to.
  • The owner has not done repairs within 7 days of you notifying them that the property needs repairs. Or they have done repairs, but not properly. This is if that tenant has not caused the need for repairs.
  • Your lease has ended, and you are moving. (You must give the owner a minimum of 14 days’ notice using a Notice to Terminate).
  • You and the owner agree to end the lease and sign an agreement/Notice to Terminate Agreement.

If you are going to break your lease the best way to do this is by:

  • Letting the owner know ASAP in written form.
  • Assisting the owner to find a new tenant.

Regardless of whether you are on a fixed or non-fixed term lease, you should notify your landlord ASAP. That way they can find someone to take over the lease.

To find more about breaking a lease:

Tenants’ Union of Tasmania Fact Sheet – Breaking the Lease Tenants’ Union of Tasmania (tutas.org.au)

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