Breaking the Agreement

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Write to the landlord to tell them you want to leave. Give them as much notice as possible. Try to get their consent in writing. If the landlord does not consent, you can still end the tenancy by vacating the premises and handing back the keys. However, the landlord can apply to CTTT for orders that you have abandoned the premises and for compensation.

Compensation to the landlord
The landlord may consent to you breaking the agreement without having to pay them compensation. If so, get their undertaking in writing. If your tenancy agreement specifi es a break fee, this is the amount you will have to compensate the landlord (see below). If the CTTT makes an order that you have abandoned the premises, it may order you to compensate the landlord for any loss (including loss of rent) caused by the abandonment. The landlord must take all reasonable steps to mitigate (minimise) the loss however. They are not entitled to compensation for any loss that they could have avoided by taking those steps.

Stop paying rent on the day you vacate the premises and hand back the keys. Any claim by the landlord for lost rent after this day is a claim for compensation which can either be negotiated between you and the landlord or decided by the CTTT. Break fees (where one is specified in the agreement) For fixed-term agreements of 3 years or less, the break fee is:

  • an amount equal to 6 weeks rent, if less than half of the fixed term has expired, otherwise
  • an amount equal to 4 weeks rent.

The same applies to fixed-term agreements of more than 3 years unless the tenancy agreement specifies a break fee of another amount.

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Information supplied courtesy of the Tenants Union of NSW

Further information and advice for NSW tenants can be sourced from www.tenants.org.au