Breaking a lease early

If you want to break a fixed term tenancy lease early you are responsible for paying the loss of rent for the remaining time on the lease - or until the premises are relet.

Fixed term leases are usually for six or 12 months. 

You may also have to pay fees to an estate agent for breaking your lease early. 

Giving notice

You should talk to the landlord or agent to see if you can terminate without penalty. 

You should give the landlord or agent as much notice as possible so they can find a new tenant before your departure date. 

The new tenant must be approved by the landlord. 

Landlord responsibilities

The landlord must take all reasonable actions to find another tenant. 

If the landlord doesn't agree to the early termination and another tenant cannot be found, they can keep your security deposit to cover loss of rent and other costs to find a new tenant.

After a new tenant has been found, the landlord can apply to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal within three months for compensation of loss of rental income and other costs.

If the amount claimed is more than the security deposit held, they may also seek compensation. 

Hardship

You can apply to the tribunal to terminate the contract under hardship if both of the following apply:

  • the continuation of the tenancy would result in undue hardship to the tenant
  • the circumstances of hardship had not arisen before the time the agreement was entered into.

For more information, contact NT Consumer Affairs.

Last updated: 27 June 2017