Ending a fixed-term tenancy

Question from Leanne updated on 8th March 2011:

Hi, we have tenants on a fixed term contract which rolled over in June 2010. We never intended to move back into the property as we live in a house provided by the school I work for. However due to my father recently passing away and my mother financially being unable to support herself on the pension where she lives we are looking to move back in and have my mother move in with us to support her. I am able to get out of my contract at work so that we can do this. From all I have read we seem to have no rights as owners of the home to give notice and move back in, unless the tenants agree. Is there any allowance given to home owners when their own personal situation changes? many thanks

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Fixed-term tenancy agreements cannot be terminated by notice. A fixed term can only be ended early by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant, or by the Tenancy Tribunal in certain circumstances (e.g. where there has been an unforeseen change in one party’s circumstances that will cause financial hardship that outweighs the financial hardship of the other party – the Tenancy Tribunal can also award compensation to the other party in this situation). I suggest you discuss the matter with your tenant(s) to see if you can reach an agreement to end the term early. The details of any agreement should be recorded in writing, preferably on the tenancy agreement. 

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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