Leasing or Renting

How much notice do I have to give to get out of my lease?
When you sign a fixed term tenancy agreement (lease) you are committing to stay for the full term. If your circumstances change and you want to move out before the end of the fixed term there are potential costs involved. There are some circumstances where a fixed term agreement can be terminated early without penalty. Refer to the section `Breaking the agreement without penalty´ below. Costs you may have to pay Breaking your tenancy agreement during the fixed term can be costly. You may have to pay:
  • rent until a new tenant takes over or the fixed term period ends, whichever occurs first, and
  • a percentage of the advertising costs and the agent's reletting fee (if the landlord uses an agent).
For example, if you break the lease 9 months into a 12‑month tenancy there is 25% of the lease remaining, so you would expect to pay 25% of these amounts. If you need to end your agreement early you should give as much notice as you can. The landlord or agent must take all reasonable steps to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible. The more you can do to help, the less you may have to pay. You should make it as easy as possible for the landlord or agent to show the premises to potential new tenants. If you are concerned that it is taking a long time to find a new tenant, you can check that the landlord or agent is trying to relet the property. Check the agent's website and their list of available rental properties. The landlord and agent must try to keep your costs to a minimum. For example, if they do anything to make it harder to find a new tenant (such as asking for a higher rent or unreasonably rejecting potential tenants) you may not have to pay the full amount they are asking. Once the new tenant is found the landlord or agent will request payment for the amount you owe. If you don't pay or if you disagree with the amount, the landlord or agent will usually claim from your bond or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Be aware that if you owe more money than the bond your name could be listed on a tenancy database. Such listings can make it difficult to rent again anywhere in Australia.

Optional break fee You and the landlord can agree to include a break fee clause in the additional terms of your tenancy agreement. The break fee is a penalty you agree to pay if you move out before the end of the fixed term. If the fixed term of the agreement is for 3 years or less the break fee is:
  • 6 weeks rent if you move out in the first half of the fixed term
  • 4 weeks rent if you move out in the second half of the fixed term.
If the fixed term is for more than 3 years and you and the landlord agree to include a break fee clause, you can agree on the amount and write it into the agreement. Where there is a break fee in your agreement that is all you have to pay if you move out early. However, if the landlord or agent find a new tenant quickly it does not mean that you will get any of the break fee back. It is a fixed fee.
No, the landlords insurance covers the building and public liability, but not the contents.
Consider taking out home contents insurance. It will cover your belongings in case of theft, fires and natural disasters. The landlord's building insurance, if they have it, will not cover your things.
The Tenant

TICA is the Largest Tenant Screening Service in Australia. Over 6,500 members access TICA's databases to enquire on tenancy applicants.

TICA allows Debt Collection Agencies and related persons for the purpose of locating individuals.

TICA members may report tenants to our Tenancy History Database (subject to State legislation). TICA complies with the Australian Privacy Principles.

A favourable tenancy history and a good track record is one of the most important references an individual can have in the renting sector. It stands to reason that each individual is responsible for their own actions. Individuals can dictate their own future by their past actions.

Property managers assess a tenancy application on the applicants ability to pay and maintain the rental property they are applying for.
Rental Bonds Online (RBO) is a service to lodge, manage and refund rental bonds easily and securely online. From 30 January 2017, property agents and self-managing landlords must be registered with RBO. Agents and landlords must also offer the service to tenants as the first option for lodgement of their bond.

RBO provides a fast and convenient way to:
  • Lodge, view and claim residential rental bonds online without having to send cheques and paper forms.
  • Receive email and SMS phone notifications confirming what is happening with a rental bond.
  • View notifications and key tasks awaiting your action within RBO.
If you require the tenant to vacate you must give them a termination notice. The notice must:
  • be in writing
  • be signed and dated by you or your agent
  • be properly addressed to the tenant
  • give the day on which the residential tenancy agreement is terminated and by which the tenant is required to vacate
  • where appropriate, give the grounds/reason for the notice.
You can write your own notice or use the model termination notice provided by Fair Trading.

The minimum period of notice you can give the tenant to vacate is:
  • 14 days – if the tenant is 14 days or more behind with the rent or has committed some other breach of the tenancy agreement
  • 30 days – if the fixed term of the agreement is due to end
  • 30 days – if the premises have been sold after the fixed term has ended and vacant possession is required by the buyer under the terms of the sale contract
  • 90 days – if the fixed term period has expired and no new agreement has been signed.
These notice periods are designed to give tenants reasonable time to find another rental property. If they can find a property sooner they can move out at any time without having to give you any formal notice. Except where notice has been given for the end of the fixed term, the tenant's responsibility to pay rent ends from the date they hand back possession, not the end of the notice.
There is no minimum notice period required if notice is given on the grounds of:
  • the premises being destroyed or wholly or partly uninhabitable
  • ceasing to be legally usable as a residence
  • being acquired by compulsory process (eg. by the RTA)
  • on the death of the sole tenant.
After you issue a notice you can issue another notice on a different ground if necessary. For example, if you issue 90 days notice to terminate a periodic tenancy without a reason, and the tenant then doesn't pay rent for 14 days, you can issue a non-payment of rent notice.
If your landlord notifies you of their intention to sell the property during the fixed term of your tenancy, you can end your agreement, without having to compensate the landlord for the early termination, by giving at least 14 days’ notice. However, this does not apply if before you entered into the tenancy agreement, your landlord disclosed the proposed sale to you for which a contract for sale was prepared.
Yes, you can sell your property whilst it has a tenant in it but you are required to notify your tenant of your intention to sell.  If the tenant is in a fixed term lease, they can give 14 days notice to end the tenancy agreement, without having to compensate you for the early termination. If the property is for sale at the time of leasing and this has been disclosed to the tenant before entering into the tenancy agreement, the tenant cannot end their lease without penalty.
Only if the landlord agrees in writing and the tenant then has this written approval – often details regarding pet registration, age, names, and photos may be required
You can move into your new rental property as soon as the lease is signed, the bond paid and receipted, and 2 weeks rent is paid.  The keys will then be photo copied and signed out to you the tenant.
No
During a fixed term agreement of less than 2 years the rent cannot be increased, unless a term has been added to the agreement saying it can.

During a fixed term agreement of 2 years or more the rent can be increased at anytime (so long as 60 days notice is given) but cannot be increased more than once in any 12 month period. 
The keys are collected from our agency once the lease is signed and the bond and rent paid
  • Pay your rent on or before the due date, and always remain in advance.
  • Maintain the property in a clean state so when routine inspections are conducted by the agents they can provide a good report to the landlord.
  • Keep in contact with your agent if you get into difficult situations.
  • Report faults with the property promptly and in the manner which, the property manager has advised.
  • Avoid being abusive even if a property manager can't see your point of view.
  • Do not sub-let without your property managers appropriate written approval.
  • Provide the adequate and proper notice when vacating the property in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act of your state.
  • Avoid confrontations with neighbours.
  • Avoid loud and disruptive parties.
  • Abide by the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement.
  • Keep all documentation in relation to the rental such as – rental receipts, tenancy agreements, rental bond claims, condition reports and any other information that may be required in the future.

In any investment there is a risk and fear factor. In the property market, defaulting tenants are something that every landlord fears.

The greatest risk and fear factor for landlords is that of a tenant not paying their rent or damaging the property.

The facts are that default tenant’s place a financial burden on landlords.

Many landlords do not realise that they have rights and protection systems available to them.

A lot like credit checks when applying for a loan or credit card, TICA provides tenancy history checks when tenancy applicants apply for rental properties.

TICA has over 6,000 members covering every State and Territory throughout Australia accessing its databases and default tenancy control systems to seek the latest information on tenancy applicants.

Members of TICA can register default tenants within its Tenancy History Database warning other Real Estate Agents and placing themselves in a position to re-coupe any outstanding money owed by default tenants.

Tenants come from various sources.  All prospective tenants are shown through the property with the property Officer, at no time are keys given out.  If the tenants are interested in the property they are provided with an application form.  This is filled in, signed by them and 100 points of ID collected.  This, along with previous rental history, Tenancy Database TICA checks and your approval, allow an educated overview of each prospective tenant.  You get to make the final decision with the help of the information gathered by First National Real Estate Property Officers.