Northern Territory Termination by Landlord

The landlord can only terminate the tenancy agreement under certain circumstances, which are listed below. Landlords should ensure they use the correct notice and abide by the minimum notice periods.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

When can the landlord terminate the agreement?

The landlord can terminate the tenancy agreement under certain circumstances, which are listed below. The exact process that the landlord and tenant should follow will depend on the reason for termination. Read the information below carefully to see which process you should follow.

When the landlord terminates the tenancy, the tenant generally has two options:

  1. Accept Termination — the tenant can accept the termination and move out by the termination date. The tenant must continue to pay rent until the agreement is terminated.
  2. Dispute Termination — alternatively, the tenant can dispute the termination. The tenant should ensure that they have a good reason for disputing termination, such as the landlord’s grounds not being valid. The first step in disputing termination should be to discuss and negotiate with the landlord. If this is not successful in resolving the issue, the tenant can dispute the termination at the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT).

Terminating at end of fixed term

The landlord can terminate a fixed term tenancy at the end of the fixed term by giving the tenant a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement.

The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination. The termination notice can be given before the end of the fixed term, however the termination date must be at the expiry of the fixed term.

Terminating a periodic tenancy agreement (or after end of fixed term)

The landlord can terminate a periodic tenancy (or a fixed term agreement after the end of the fixed term) by giving the tenant a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement. The landlord should use this means of termination if there no specific grounds for termination such as the tenant breaching the agreement.

The landlord must give the tenant at least 42 days notice of termination.

Tenant Breaches Tenancy Agreement (not including unpaid rent)

If the tenant has breached a term of the tenancy agreement, the landlord has 2 options, depending on their preferences and the nature of the breach:

  1. Give Notice to Remedy Breach — in most cases, the landlord should use this option. It provides an opportunity for the tenant to fix the breach and for the tenancy to continue. If the breach is not fixed, the landlord can still seek termination. This option should be used unless the breach is very serious or cannot be fixed. See below for more information on the process.
  2. Apply Directly to NTCAT for termination order — in cases where the breach is very serious, cannot be fixed, or the tenant has caused injury or damage, the landlord can apply directly to the Tribunal for a termination order. The Tribunal will only make an order if the breach is sufficiently serious to justify termination. See below for more information.

Option 1: Give Notice to Remedy Breach
If the tenant has breached a term of the tenancy agreement, the landlord can give the tenant a Notice to Remedy Breach. In the notice, the landlord must give the tenant at least 7 days to fix the breach (or at least take steps to do do to the landlord’s satisfaction).

If the tenant does not fix the breach (or take satisfactory steps) within the required period, the landlord can apply to the Tribunal for a termination and possession order. Any application made by the landlord must be within 14 days of the end of the remedy period given to the tenant. The Tribunal will make a termination and possession order if the landlord’s notice was valid and the breach has not been fixed.

Option 2: Apply Directly to NTCAT for termination order
In particularly serious circumstances where the tenant has breached the agreement, the landlord can apply directly to NTCAT for a termination and possession order. The landlord can apply directly to NTCAT in the following situations:

  1. Serious Breach — the tenant has committed a serious breach of the agreement that justifies termination. A breach will be sufficiently serious if it cannot be reasonably fixed or has caused significant loss to the landlord.
  2. Serious Damage to Premises — the tenant (or a guest of the tenant) intentionally or recklessly caused serious damage to the premises, or is likely to do so.
  3. Injury to Landlord or nearby person — the tenant (or a guest of the tenant) has intentionally or recklessly caused personal injury to the landlord or any person in the vicinity of the premises.

Tenant fails to pay rent

If the tenant does not pay rent on time, the first step by the landlord should be to give an informal reminder to the tenant. If the rent remains unpaid and is at least 14 days overdue, the landlord can then take formal action by giving the tenant a Notice to Remedy Unpaid Rent.

In the notice, the landlord must give the tenant a period of more than 7 days to repay the overdue rent. If the tenant does not pay the overdue rent by end of the period listed in the notice, the landlord can then apply to NTCAT for a termination and possession order. The landlord must make the application within 14 days of the end of the repayment period allowed to the tenant. The Tribunal will make a termination and possession order if the landlord’s notice was valid and the rent has not been repaid.

Premises is flooded, unsafe, or uninhabitable

The landlord can terminate the agreement using a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement for any of the following 3 reasons:

  1. Flooding — the premises cannot be accessed because of flooding for a period of more than 3 days.
  2. Health or Safety Threat — if the tenant was to continue to occupy the premises, there would be a threat to:
    • the health or safety of the tenant or members of the public, or
    • the safety of the landlord’s property.
  3. Uninhabitable — the premises has become uninhabitable. This means that the tenant can no longer live at the premises because it has deteriorated or been damaged so much that no person could reasonably be expected to live there.

The landlord must give at least 2 days notice of termination to the tenant.

Termination of agreements for ‘Drug Premises’

The landlord can terminate the agreement using a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement if the premises has been declared a ‘Drug Premises’ by a court according to the Misuse of Drugs Act. The landlord must give the tenant at least 14 days notice of termination.

Terminating employment-related tenancy agreements

If the landlord and tenant entered a tenancy agreement as a condition or benefit of employment, then the landlord can terminate the tenancy agreement provided 2 conditions are met:

  1. The employer has terminated the tenant’s employment, AND
  2. The employer has notified the tenant that their employment has been terminated.

The minimum notice period for termination of the tenancy depends on the reason for the tenant’s employment being terminated:

  • if the employment contract was terminated because of a breach by the tenant — notice period for tenancy agreement: at least 2 days from termination of employment.
  • if the employment contract is terminate for any other reason — notice period for tenancy agreement: at least 14 days from termination of employment.

Hardship to Landlord

The landlord can apply to NTCAT for a termination and possession order if they would suffer ‘undue hardship’ if the tenancy continued. The reason for any hardship must not have existed before the landlord entered the agreement.

Proving ‘undue hardship’ is difficult. The landlord must be experiencing significant disadvantage due to circumstances beyond their control. Moreover, the hardship must usually be significant. For example, the landlord has become bankrupt or has no other reasonable form of accommodation than the rented premises.

Unacceptable Behaviour by the tenant

The landlord (or any other affected person) can apply to NTCAT for a termination and possession order if the tenant does any of the following things:

  • Illegal use of premises — if the tenant uses (or permits) the premises to be used for an illegal purpose, such as illicit drug production or storage, or running an illicit brothel or casino.
  • Repeated nuisance — if the tenant has repeatedly caused (or permitted) a nuisance on or from the rented premises. A nuisance can include excessive noise, unsavoury smells, or anti-social behaviour.
  • Interference with peace/privacy of neighbours — if the tenant has repeatedly caused (or permitted) interferences with the reasonable peace or privacy of people living in the immediate vicinity of the rented premises. Interferences with peace and privacy can include harassment, verbal or physical intimidation, unnecessary interruptions, trespassing, or excessive noise, smell, or light.

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These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.