Termination where the Landlord has breached the Tenancy Agreement

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A tenant has a right to claim compensation for any breach of the tenancy agreement by the landlord. In certain circumstances the tenant may also elect to terminate the tenancy if the breach is serious enough. The breach must be fundamental to the tenancy agreement. The Standard Terms (cl 90) provide two options for termination if the landlord has breached the tenancy agreement.

  1. ACAT Order Terminating the Tenancy The tenant may make an application on the grounds listed above. If ACAT agrees that the breach justifies termination, it may order that the tenancy terminate within a specific notice period (detailed in each Section). This period may be waived if ACAT is convinced the tenant would suffer significant hardship unless the agreement terminated immediately, and that the hardship would exceed that of the landlord.
  2. Tenant’s Notice of Intention to Vacate The Standard Terms set out procedures (cl 91):
    a) The tenant must give written notice that the landlord/agent has 14 days to remedy the breach if it is capable of remedy (sign, date, and keep a copy of this notice).
    b) If the landlord remedies the breach within that 14 day period, the tenancy will continue.
    c) If the landlord does not remedy the breach within the time specified, or if the breach is not capable of remedy, the tenant can give 14 days notice of intention to vacate (sign, date and keep a copy).
    d) The tenancy agreement then terminates on the date specified by the tenant.
    e) Rent is payable to the date in the notice or the date the tenant vacates, whichever is later.
    f) If the landlord remedies the breach during the notice period, the tenant may withdraw the notice or terminate the tenancy on the date specified in the notice by vacating the premises on that date.

Once the landlord has received the Notice of Intention to Vacate, cl 84 gives them two options:

  1. a) Accept the notice and accept that the tenancy shall end on the date nominated in the notice; or
    b) Apply to ACAT for confirmation of the tenancy agreement, an order for compensation, or both. A notice of intention to vacate may not protect the tenant from liability if ACAT decides the breach did not justify termination, or that the breach did not occur.

Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of ACT

Further information and advice for ACT tenants can be sourced from

www.tenantsact.org.au