Can a tenant end a fixed-term tenancy early?

Steve Ulenberg asks:
(updated on Tuesday, October 02nd 2007)

We have a tenant on a fixed term tenancy (it runs for another 11 months)who wishes to terminate early. Could you please advise what the position is & process as it seems to me the tenant is committed for the remaining 11 months. Thankyou

Our Experts Answer:

Fixed-term tenancies are for a specific length of time and cannot be ended with notice. They can be ended early by the mutual agreement of all of the parties to the tenancy agreement, or by assigning the tenant’s interest in the tenancy to someone else (this can only be done with the consent of the landlord). If you do not agree to end the tenancy before the fixed-term period, your tenant will have to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to seek an early termination. The Tenancy Tribunal may terminate a fixed-term tenancy where there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The Tribunal may also terminate the tenancy where the landlord or tenant has suffered a serious unforeseen change in circumstances which would cause them hardship to continue with the tenancy, and greater hardship than would be caused to the other party by ending the tenancy early. Where the tenancy is ended early by order of the Tribunal, compensation may be awarded to the other party. For more information on the Tenancy Tribunal hearing process, contact the Department of Building and Housing at 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62) or visit our website: www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.




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