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Ending a lease and notice periods

If you or the landlord want to end a lease, the amount of notice required will depend on the type of lease and the reason for ending it.

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Residential tenancy eviction update

The NSW Government plans to introduce a six-month transition out of the temporary COVID-19 rental eviction moratorium, which expires on 26 March 2021.

A six month transition period means COVID-19 impacted tenants who accrued rent arrears between April 2020 to March 2021 will not be subject to the standard tenancy eviction rules.

Find out more about the eviction moratorium transition.

Ending a lease is not the same as an eviction. It’s the termination of the rental agreement and gives notice to the tenant to move out of the property by a certain date. 

Notice periods

If you or the landlord want to end a lease, the minimum amount of notice required will depend on the type of lease and the reason for ending it.

While the restriction on evictions is in effect, your landlord will need to give 90 days’ notice when ending:

  • a fixed term lease (for a specific period of time) at the end of the term
  • a periodic lease (month by month)
  • a tenancy because of a breach of the tenancy agreement (other than for non-payment of rent).

The extended 90 days' notice won't apply if:

  • the landlord is experiencing financial hardship
  • you're behind in the rent and not affected by coronavirus
  • you've caused serious damage to the property or injury to the landlord, agent or neighbour
  • the property is being used for illegal purposes
  • you've threatened or abused the landlord, agent or another person
  • the landlord is selling the property.

If you owe money in rent or bills, the landlord can apply to keep part or all of the rental bond to cover the amount you owe.

If you don't move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have you evicted. Learn more about the eviction process.

Ending a lease early

You can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to end a fixed term lease early if you're experiencing financial hardship.

You may have to pay a fee to end your fixed term lease early, unless:

  • you've accepted an offer of social housing
  • you need to move into a nursing home or aged care facility
  • you were not told by the landlord before signing the lease that they were selling the property during the fixed term
  • you or your children are experiencing family or domestic violence
  • the property becomes listed on the loose fill asbestos insulation register during your tenancy, or it was already listed before your tenancy started and you weren't told.

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want to end your lease early, you can apply to the tribunal if:

  • your landlord refuses to participate in a formal rent negotiation process through NSW Fair Trading, or
  • you and your landlord cannot agree on a rent reduction or repayment arrangement that does not cause you financial hardship.

In these circumstances, the tribunal can limit the fee for breaking the lease early to a maximum of 2 weeks rent.

Ending a lease due to family or domestic violence

Call Emergency Triple Zero on 000 if you or your children are in immediate danger.

Call the Domestic Violence helpline on 1800 656 463 for free telephone crisis counselling and referral services.

You can end a lease immediately if you or your children are at risk of, or experiencing, family or domestic violence. This includes if you or your children:

  • have experienced a domestic violence offence during the tenancy
  • are protected by any type of domestic violence order
  • are protected by a family law injunction
  • have been declared by a health practitioner or other 'competent person' (such as a social worker or counsellor) to have experienced domestic violence.

You need to give the landlord or managing agent a domestic violence termination notice indicating the date you want to end the lease. You can download a template letter to help write a domestic violence termination notice at NSW Fair Trading.

You can end the lease the same day you give notice or at a later date.

The notice must also include one piece of supporting evidence, such as a:

  • certificate of conviction for the domestic violence offence
  • family law injunction
  • provisional, interim or final domestic violence order (DVO)
  • declaration made by a 'competent person' - this includes registered health practitioners, social workers and counsellors.

You do not have to give the notice to your landlord in person.

If you live in a boarding house

The termination notice period for boarding house residents affected by coronavirus who are behind in the fees has been extended to:

  • 60 days' notice (if no agreement could be reached because the proprietor has taken part in a formal negotiation process in good faith, but the resident has not), or
  • 6 months' notice.

This extension will be in effect until 26 March 2021.

You're eligible for the extension if your income has been reduced by 25% or more because you've:

  • either lost or had a reduction in income or employment due to coronavirus, or
  • had to stop working or reduce work hours due to coronavirus illness or carer responsibilities.

You'll need to provide documents showing your changed circumstances, such as:

  • proof of temporary or permanent job loss
  • bank statements or payslips showing your previous and current income
  • proof of any income support payments you receive or have applied for.

The termination notice period for other reasons is now 90 days except where the resident:

  • is behind in their fees and is not affected by coronavirus
  • has intentionally or recklessly caused or allowed serious damage to the premises or other residents' property
  • is using the premises for illegal purposes
  • has threatened or abused other residents or the proprietor.

 

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