Cold house - wanting out of fixed term

Question from jyotsna updated on 3rd September 2013:

I live in wellington and my house is getting very cold these winter days. We have a fixed tenancy but we want to move from this house as early as possible. I am a housewife and have a one-year old daughter, my husband is working. Can we terminate our fixed term tenancy? It ends in January 2014.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

A fixed-term tenancy is exactly that. It differs from a periodic tenancy which allows you to terminate by giving notice. With a fixed term both tenant and landlord have agreed a fixed date that the tenancy will end. There are essentially two ways that a fixed term tenancy can end, either by agreement between tenant and landlord or by a  Tenancy Tribunal order. Having a cold house is unlikely to persuade the Tenancy Tribunal that your tenancy should be terminated. It’s winter, and it’s a cold time of year. You might like to talk to your landlord about the cold house. Maybe something can be done about it (e.g. insulation, or more heating). Or you could run additional heaters. If you cannot resolve the issue, you have the final option of simply not renewing your tenancy when the current term expires. Most landlords are keen to keep tenants happy and warm, thereby ensuring longer tenancies. Have a go at talking to your landlord about it!

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