Ending tenancy early

Question from Timothy updated on 24th June 2019:

I have bought a house and are finishing my year long tenancy early. The letting agents are re-advertising to re let the place so we can get out of our tenancy. However, they have put the rent up $15-20 which makes the property over priced therefore hard to re-let which is disadvantaging us... Is that legal ?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act a fixed term tenancy can only be ended early by mutual agreement between the tenant and landlord; the landlord is not obliged to agree to end the tenancy early. From what you have said, I am assuming the tenancy agreement will remain in place until a new tenant is found and then a new tenancy agreement will be entered into.

When advertising a property in the private rental market, the landlord is free to set the rent at a level they believe will be accepted by prospective tenants. Tenancy Services does have a market rent tool on their website (tenancy.govt.nz) which will give you an indication of market rents in your area. If you agree to end the fixed term tenancy early, the landlord can also seek reasonable costs from the tenant that were incurred while finding new tenants.

For more information on ending a fixed term tenancy early or other tenancy related issues, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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