Victoria 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.
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?
Tenants wanting to terminate their agreement must notify the landlord in writing using the Notice of Intention to Vacate form.
If you are a tenant and you want to end your tenancy, it is important that you do so in the correct way by using the Notice of Intention to Vacate and giving the correct notice period as listed below. If you simply break the lease by moving out and stop paying rent, then you will breach the agreement because you have abandoned the premises. This means that you may need to compensate the landlord for any losses. Therefore, to avoid breaching the agreement you should follow the correct procedures.
When can the Tenant terminate the tenancy?
The tenant can only terminate the tenancy under certain circumstances.
Terminating before the Tenant takes possession of the premises
The tenant can terminate the agreement immediately for any of the following reasons if they have not moved in yet:
- the premises is not in good repair
- the premises is not fit for human habitation
- the premises has been destroyed or is unsafe
- the premises is not vacant (i.e. there is someone else occupying the premises)
- the premises cannot be legally used as a residential premises
- the premises cannot be occupied for any other reason
Before terminating the agreement for any of the reasons above, the tenant should inform the landlord of the problem and allow them a reasonable period to fix it if possible. By doing this, the tenant can avoid any issues that may arise by termination. If the problem is not fixed in a reasonable period, then the tenant should go ahead with termination.
Terminating while the Tenant has possession of premises
The tenant can lawfully terminate the tenancy in these circumstances:
- Terminating a Fixed Term Tenancy: 28 days notice - the tenant can terminate a fixed term tenancy any time after the end of the fixed term. They must give the landlord at least 28 days notice. If the tenant terminates the agreement before the end of the fixed term, they will generally be liable to compensate the landlord for lost rent for the remainder of the fixed term. See below for more information about compensation. Also, if the tenancy agreement has a term specifying a minimum notice period, then the notice given by the tenant cannot be less than that period.
- Terminating a Periodic Tenancy: 28 days notice - the tenant can terminate a periodic tenancy at any time, so long as they give the landlord at least 28 days notice. Remember, after a fixed term tenancy that continues after the fixed term automatically becomes a periodic tenancy. Also, if the tenancy agreement has a term specifying a minimum notice period, then the notice given by the tenant cannot be less than that period.
- Termination by Tenant after Landlord gives Notice to Vacate: 14 days notice - if the landlord gives the tenant a notice to vacate for any of reasons listed below, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy by giving the landlord at least 14 days notice. Note: if the tenancy is for a fixed term, the termination date in the tenant’s notice of intention to vacate must be after the end of the fixed term. If the termination date is before the end of the fixed term, then the tenant will be in breach of the agreement and may be liable to compensate the landlord. The reasons that a landlord may have given are:
- construction, repairs, or renovations to the premises that require the tenant to move out
- the premises is going to be demolished
- if the landlord intends to use the premises for a different purpose, such as for business purposes
- the landlord, the landlord’s family, or a dependent of the landlord is moving into the premises
- the premises is going to be sold
- the landlord intends to terminate the agreement for no reason in particular
- Premises Destroyed or Unfit for Habitation: immediate notice - if the premises is completely destroyed, becomes unfit for human habitation, or becomes unsafe, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy immediately.
- Landlord does not comply with Tribunal Order: 14 days notice - if the Tribunal makes an order applying to the landlord but the landlord does not comply with it, then the tenant can terminate the tenancy. The tenant must give the landlord at least 14 days notice of termination. Examples of orders by the Tribunal include: pay the tenant compensation, fix a breach of the tenancy agreement, or refrain from behaviour that breaches the agreement.
- 3 Successive Breaches by the Landlord: 14 days notice - the tenant can terminate a fixed term tenancy by giving at least 14 days notice if the following 2 conditions are met:
- the landlord has breached any of the following obligations 3 times (the landlord must breach the same obligation 3 times):
- duty to provide the premises vacant and in a reasonably clean condition
- duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that the tenant has quiet enjoyment of the premises during the tenancy agreement
- duty to maintain the premises in good repair
- duty to replace an appliance, fitting, or fixture for supplying water with a replacement meeting water efficiency standards
- duty to provide locks and keys for all external doors and windows
- on the first two occasions that the landlord breached the obligation, the tenant must have given the landlord a Breach of Duty Notice (see the Rights and Obligations during Tenancy page for more information about breaches).
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.