How do I end my fixed term tenancy agreement?

Sue Parsons asks:
(updated on Thursday, September 25th 2008)

I recently lost my job and can no longer afford to pay the rent on my house. It is a fixed term tenancy with another 8 months left on it. I have lived in the house for the previous 5 months and only got behind on rent when I lost my job within the last month. Is there any way I can get out of my tenancy without having to pay for the rest of the years rent? I am currently a couple of weeks rent in arrears, but this amount is the same as the bond I paid. I would rather cut my loses now, but if I have to continue paying for the rest of the year I will struggle on until I get evicted. Also, what happens if I get evicted?

Our Experts Answer:

I suggest that you begin by discussing your situation with your landlord. A fixed term tenancy can be ended by mutual agreement, with the conditions of early termination being agreed by the parties. Your landlord may be willing to discuss ending your tenancy early in the circumstances. You may also be able to assign or sublet your tenancy, depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement.

Your ongoing responsibility for the rent and other costs you may incur in assigning or subletting your tenancy will depend on the terms of your tenancy agreement and the agreement reached by you and your landlord. If you are unable to reach a suitable agreement with your landlord about ending your fixed term tenancy, then you may wish to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the term of your tenancy reduced. The Tenancy Tribunal could end a fixed term tenancy early if there has been an unforeseen change in the applicant.

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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