Queensland Termination by Tenant

The Tenant can terminate the tenancy agreement under a number of circumstances, including the end of the fixed term and multiple or serious breaches by the landlord.

When can the tenant terminate the tenancy?

Under a fixed term tenancy, the tenant can only terminate the agreement before the end of the fixed term under the circumstances listed below. If the tenant does not have a specific reason for termination as listed below, then they can only terminate a fixed term agreement after the end of the fixed term (see below for more information). If the agreement is for a periodic tenancy, then the tenant is free to terminate at any time so long as they do so according to the legal requirements (see below for more information).

If the tenant has given the landlord a Form 13: Notice of Intention to Leave, but no longer wish to leave the tenancy, they can withdraw the notice if they do so before the ‘handover day’ (when the tenancy is listed to end in the Form 13), and if the landlord agrees in writing.

As a tenant, if you give the landlord a Form 13 or apply directly to the Tribunal (depending on the reason why you are terminating), you should generally not move out immediately. If you move out and stop paying rent, but the landlord successfully challenges the validity of the termination at the Tribunal, then you will be considered to have abandoned the premises. This may mean you are liable to compensate the landlord because you have breach the tenancy agreement (see below for more information about abandonment and compensation). Generally, the best option after giving a Form 13 or applying to the Tribunal is to wait until the landlord either accepts the termination or the Tribunal makes a termination order.

Termination for no specific reason

The landlord can lawfully terminate the agreement without a specific reason as follows:

  1. Terminating a Fixed Term Tenancy: 14 days notice - if the tenant does not have a specific reason for termination, they can give a Notice of Intention to Leave at any time. The ‘handover day’ (termination date) must be after the end of the fixed term. If the tenant moves out for no specific reason before the end of the fixed term, they may have abandoned the premises and be liable to compensate the landlord. The tenant must give the landlord at least 14 days notice of termination. The notice can be given before the end of the fixed term.
  2. Terminating a Periodic Tenancy: 2 weeks notice - if the tenant does not have a specific reason for termination, they can give a Notice of Intention to Leave at any time. The tenant must give the landlord at least 2 weeks notice of termination.

Termination for a specific reason

Depending on the reason for termination, the tenant should follow one of two different procedures:

For the reasons listed below, you must start by giving the landlord a Form 13: Notice of Intention to Leave. The situations where this procedure applies are:

  1. Failure to Fix Breach: 7 days notice - the landlord can give the tenant a Notice to Intention to Leave if the landlord has not complied with a ‘Notice to Remedy Breach’ within the time period allowed by in that notice. The tenant must give the landlord at least 7 days notice of termination. If the landlord fixes the breach before the handover day (termination date), then the tenant can waive the breach in writing and not terminate the tenancy.
  2. Noncompliance with Tribunal Order: 7 days notice - the tenant can give the landlord a Notice to Leave if the tenant has not complied with an order made by the Tribunal within the allowed period. The landlord must give the tenant at least 7 days notice of termination.
  3. Premises Destroyed or Unfit to Live in: immediate notice - the tenant can give the landlord a Notice of Intention to Leave if the rented premises has been destroyed or made unfit to live in. The destruction or damage must not have been caused by the landlord or tenant. The tenant must give the Notice of Intention to Leave within 1 month of the event. The Notice to of Intention Leave can have immediate effect meaning the tenancy is terminated straight away, however the tenant must be allowed a reasonable period to move out.
  4. Premises Acquired/Cannot be used as Residence: 2 weeks notice - the tenant can give the landlord a Notice of Intention to Leave if the premises can no longer be lawfully used as a residence or the premises has been compulsorily acquired by a government authority. The tenant must give the landlord at least 2 weeks notice of termination.
  5. Premises to be sold: 2 weeks notice - the tenant can give the landlord a Notice of Intention to Leave if within 2 months of the start of the tenancy agreement, the rented premises are advertised for sale or the landlord enters the premises to show it to a prospective buyer. The tenant must give the notice within 2 weeks after the end of that first 2 months. The tenant must give the landlord at least 2 further weeks notice of termination.

Under the following circumstances, the tenant must apply directly to the Tribunal for a Termination order. The tenant can also give the landlord a Form 13: Notice of Intention to Leave, however the Tribunal will notify the landlord of the tenant’s application. The situations where this procedure applies are:

  1. Failure to Fix Breach - the tenant can apply for a termination order if the landlord has not complied with a Notice to Remedy Breach within the allowed period because they have not fixed the breach. The tenant can apply for a termination order even if they have already given a Notice of Intention to Leave that they subsequently withdrew.
  2. Excessive Hardship - the tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if the tenant will suffer excessive hardship if the tenancy is not terminated. Excessive hardship means some kind of severe loss or suffering, such as if the tenant urgently needs to move to a different location and it would be very harsh to compel them to continue to pay rent on the premises.
  3. Landlord Seriously Damages Tenant’s Goods - the tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if the landlord intentionally or recklessly damages the tenant’s goods in a serious way, the landlord is likely to do so in the future.
  4. Landlord Injures Tenant or Occupant - the tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if the landlord intentionally or recklessly injures the tenant or anybody else occupying the rented premises.
  5. Co-tenant Seriously Damages Premises - a co-tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if another co-tenant intentionally or recklessly causes serious damage to the rented premises.
  6. Co-tenant Injures Tenant or Occupant - a co-tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if another co-tenant intentionally or recklessly injures the co-tenant making the application, or anybody else occupying the premises.
  7. Harassment, Intimidation, Verbal Abuse by Landlord - the tenant can apply for a termination order at any time during the tenancy if the landlord harasses, intimidated, or verbally abused the tenant or anybody else occupying the premises. The Tribunal will only make an order if the landlord’s behaviour justifies termination. The Tribunal is more likely to make an order if the behaviour is frequent or recurring, or if the behaviour is serious.
  8. 3 Breaches of same term - the tenant can apply for a termination order if the following 3 conditions are all met:
    1. the landlord breaches any of the following terms of the tenancy agreement 3 times within a period of 12 months
      • obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure the tenant has quiet enjoyment of the premises
      • obligation not to interfere in the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of the tenant
      • obligations to provide the premises in a clean condition, in good repair, and complying with health and safety laws
      • obligations to maintain the premises to be fit to live in, maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair, keep common areas clean, and comply with health and safety laws
      • obligation to not unlawfully enter the premises
      • obligations about paying rent
    2. after the first 2 breaches the tenant gave the landlord a Notice to Remedy Breach
    3. the landlord fixes the first 2 breaches within the allowed period in the Notices to Remedy Breach

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