What are a tenant’s rights and responsibilities regarding the early termination of their rental lease?

What are a tenant’s rights and responsibilities regarding the early termination of their rental lease?

EVERY year the REIWA Information Service receives thousands of calls regarding renting and property sales.

Residential asked for the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.

What are a tenant’s rights and responsibilities regarding the early termination of their rental lease?

Early termination of a rental lease, or a “break lease” as it’s more frequently known, is very common.

Break leases can occur for many reasons: The tenant may have found a rental that better meets their needs, be ready to purchase their first home or have simply had a change in circumstances.

When it comes to breaking a lease, how the tenant proceeds with this is dependent on whether they have a periodic or fixed-term lease.

A periodic lease has a commencement date with no defined expiry date.

This type of lease is straightforward to terminate.

The tenant simply needs to provide their landlord or property manager with 21 days’ notice of their intention to end the lease.

A fixed-term lease has a definite commencement and expiry date.

Breaking a fixed-term lease is significantly more complicated as there is no automatic right of termination.

To end a fixed-term lease, the tenant must seek the landlord’s permission via their property manager (if professionally managed).

In this instance, the tenant should give the owner as much notice as possible so they can find a replacement tenant before the break lease comes into effect.

After this time, tenants are responsible for paying rent and any maintenance expenses on the property until a new tenant is found or the original tenancy period has expired.

This can prove very costly, especially if there is a significant amount of time left on the lease.

Before breaking a fixed-term lease, you should thoroughly consider if it is absolutely necessary to terminate the lease early and whether you are in a position to cover the possible costs associated with doing this.

Members of the WA public who are dealing with a REIWA agent can direct their real estate queries and concerns to the REIWA Information Service on 9380 8200 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Note: the REIWA Information Service is closed from 23 December and reopens 2 January.