Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you may find you need to break your lease and move out of your rental property earlier than planned. For example, you might have to relocate for work, perhaps your financial situation has changed, or you are going through a relationship breakdown.

It happens, things change, but if you need to end your lease early there is a right way to do it.

If you have a periodic tenancy agreement, things are pretty simple. You can end the agreement without a reason, you just have to give at least 21 days’ written notice.

If you have a fixed term lease and need to move out before the lease is due to end, the first thing you should do is speak to your property manager to discuss your obligations and seek the owner’s consent (through the property manager) to end the lease without further payment. You will need to get their consent in writing.

Unless otherwise agreed, you will be required to continue with your lease obligations until the end of the tenancy.

Be aware that when you break a lease the property owner will want to be no worse off and can claim financial losses that are a direct result of the break. They do have an obligation to take reasonable action to minimise such losses.

Examples of the types of costs that come with a break lease claim include, but are not limited to: rent, gardening, pool maintenance, advertising expenses associated with finding a new tenant, and the unexpired portion of any leasing fee charged by the property manager to the property owner.

These costs may be claimed until a new tenant moves in or the original tenancy expires. The property owner is required to take all reasonable steps to find a new tenant as soon as possible.

You must also give the property owner a forwarding address.

There is an exception to these rules. Tenants affected by family violence can give a minimum seven days’ notice for both fixed and periodic tenancies and move out immediately. They must provide evidence and the required notice of termination.

If you find you need to break your lease and want some guidance, contact REIWA’s free Information Service on 08 9380 8200 or email (business hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).

Sourced from REIWA