How can I cancel a periodic tenancy?

Question from karina hay updated on 10th December 2008:

We have had tenants move in two weeks ago on periodic tenancy. Circumstances have changed and a family member is coming from overseas to stay for an extended time. Do we need to provide evidence of this. and if we give notice of 42 days whats the reasonable time frame for the relative to move in eg we want to get it re-carpeted before they come in so we want to get it a few weeks in advance. Is this reasonable?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act sets out the requirements to terminate a tenancy. The landlord may give shorter notice of 42 days to terminate the tenancy if they require the property for occupation by a family member. However the Act does not require the landlord to prove that the property will be occupied by a family member. There is also no specified period of time in which the family member must start living in the property. While it is not a requirement, I recommend that you talk to your tenant about your intention to renovate the property before your family moves in. This will help avoid any misunderstandings about whether your reason for giving 42 days’ notice is genuine. If you want your tenants to vacate the property sooner than 42 days, you will need to discuss this with your tenant. A tenant and landlord may mutually agree to end a tenancy early, but a landlord cannot oblige the tenant to vacate sooner than the minimum required notice period. If you and your tenant do agree that the tenant will move out sooner than 42 days, then I recommend that you record this agreement in writing.


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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