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21 Jul, 2020

Breaking a Lease: What to Know and How to do it?

Terminating a lease contract is the last thing a tenant wants to do, but surprisingly it is common for renters to break their lease due to a variety of reasons. A tenancy agreement is legally binding under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, and both the parties involved have obligations and responsibilities accordingly.

Breaking a lease is not ideal, but due to certain requirements, violations, or changes, it may be considered by a tenant. If you are a lessee seeking guidance for terminating your contract and moving out of your current rented property successfully, here is a complete guide. It has insights by expert realtors, real estate legal counsellors, and experienced removalists in Perth.

Although the process is complicated – the good news is it is not impossible because if the reason of the lessee is legally viable, sufficient notice is served or there is an understanding between the lessee & the landlord then an agreement can be terminated successfully. Read on to know more about breaking a lease, how to do it, and other related information.

Should You Break a Lease Agreement?

It is a common question most tenants have while considering the possibility of terminating a residential tenancy agreement prematurely. Pondering over going through with the termination is necessary because breaking a lease is not ideal and should only be done when the reasons are solid. Some of the reasons when a tenant should seek the removal of the agreement are mentioned as follows.

• Loss of steady income or financial problems
• Relocate for a job, medical issues or to become a primary caregiver
• The property is unsuitable for living
• Your life and those of your family is at risk
• The landlord is not fulfilling his/her responsibilities and violates the contract
• The lease agreement is causing you undue hardship

How Can You Terminate a Tenancy?

For tenants with periodic lease agreements serving a notice of 21 days only is required for ending the lease and no reason has to be needed for the termination. However, if it is a fixed-term lease agreement and you are sure about not continuing with it, the first step would be to talk with your landlord. Inform them about your intentions and the reasons for wanting to discontinue living at the rented property.

See if by mutual agreement the situation can be rectified to prevent the need for breaking the lease. If you have to move out and can’t stay, then communicate with the property owner and get their consent for termination of the agreement in writing. This solution usually involves paying some compensation to the landlord.

If the lessor is unwilling to terminate the lease, then your options are limited according to experts. In such a situation, the following actions may be taken.

• Move out of the property with the assistance of professional removalists in Perth and wait for the lease agreement to get over or for the lessor to relent whichever happens first. If this option is taken, then you will have to keep paying the rent and fulfil your responsibilities as a tenant until the lease period is completed or the property owner finds another tenant.
• The other option is abandoning the property without any notice or clarification which should not be done under any circumstances because your name can be put on the blacklist of the Residential Tenancy Database and you will still be liable for compensating the property owner.

When is Breaking a Lease not a Breach?

There are special circumstances when a tenant can seek termination of a lease agreement without breaching the contract or violating his/her responsibilities. They are mentioned as follows.

• The property is destroyed or severely damaged, making it impossible for the tenant to continue living in it.
• It is acquired by the government
• The real estate has become inhabitable. It can be due to poor maintenance, damage, or any other reason.
• The landlord has violated the terms of the lease agreement

If any of these reasons are the cause for ending the lease early for you may need to plan the move at short notice. Therefore, the assistance of professional removalists in Perth will be required along with the support of near and dear ones.

Should You Ask About Sub-Letting?

If you have to move out of the rented property early, you should talk to you landlord about subletting it to avoid breaking the lease and causing significant financial loss to the parties involved in the agreement. It is a viable option in case it is stated in your lease agreement that sub-letting is allowed. While subletting remember you will still be liable for completing the lease period and will have to take the responsibility of the new tenant.

If this arrangement can be made, then you can successfully move out of the rented property with the assistance of family members, friends, or professional removalists in Perth.

The Bottom Line

Breaking a lease is not ideal, and according to experts, tenants should make arrangements to complete the tenancy period. However, if the reason for breaking the lease is viable and necessary, then it can be managed, but the process is extremely challenging and complicated. Talk to your landlord for a compromise and see if you can successfully move out the property without substantial financial loss.