Notice Required when Vacating
When the fixed term period of the agreement is due to run out, a tenant can give 14 day notice to end the tenancy. This notice can be served up to and including the last day of the fixed term and must be in writing.
Once the fixed term period has ended, a tenant is required to give at least 21 day notice.
Breaking of a Fixed Term Lease
If a 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 landlord (or agent) to help find a new tenant.
A landlord can claim compensation for any loss they suffer as a result of a tenant ending the agreement early. Some of the costs a tenant could be liable for include:
- Rent until new tenants move in or the existing agreement runs out (whichever happens first)
- A re-letting fee when the property is let by an agent who charges the landlord a fee for finding new tenants and
- Advertising costs
If the tenant wants to exercise their options when signing the lease, the following requirements will apply:
- Rent must be paid wither up until a new tenant is found or the expiry date of the lease, whichever comes first, plus other fees occur by the owner.
- If the fixed term is for 3 years or less, 6 weeks rent if less than half of the term, or 4 weeks in any other case.
The landlord also has a duty to keep the tenant’s loss to a minimum and make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant.
There are four specific situations when a tenant can break a fixed term lease without penalty. They are:
- If they accept an offer of public housing
- If they need to move to a nursing home
- If the landlord puts the property up for sale without telling the tenant before the lease was entered into, or
- Where a co-tenant is the subject of a final AVO barring them from the premises
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 amount of the break fee is set out under the new laws.
If there is no break fee in the lease, then the tenant is liable to compensate the landlord for any loss as above.