Where a renter wants to leave the premises, it is important to establish whether the residential rental agreement is fixed term or periodic.
If the agreement is periodic, the renter must provide the residential rental provider with a 28 days’ notice of intention to vacate (s 91Z). In certain circumstances a renter only needs to provider 14 days’ notice however (see s 91ZB).
If the agreement is fixed term and the renter wishes to vacate before the end of the term, a notice of intention to vacate has no effect unless the residential rental agreement allows for early termination and the notice is in accordance with that term (s 91ZA). A renter who leaves the rental premises early under a fixed term residential rental agreement will be treated as having abandoned the rental premises under s 91F and they may be liable to pay the residential rental provider compensation under s 210 RTA.
There are also a number of specific rights that allow a renter to validly issue a notice of intention to vacate and leave the rental premises in circumstances where:
a fixed term lease of more than five years does not comply with the standard form (s 91ZC);
the rental premises are destroyed or unfit for human habitation (s 91ZD);
the residential rental provider has failed to comply with a Tribunal order (s 91ZE); and
For renters, notices of intention to vacate must be in writing and signed (s 91ZZN). The notice must be served in accordance with section 506.
Note: Parties to residential rental agreements may apply for a reduction or termination of the fixed term agreement where due to an unforeseen change in circumstances, they will suffer severe hardship if the term is not reduced or terminated and that hardship is greater than the hardship the other party would suffer if it were reduced or terminated (s 91U). For more information see Reducing a fixed term rental agreement due to hardship. Where the renter is a victim of family violence, special provisions apply and can enable the early termination of a rental agreement without out any compensation being payable to the rental provider (see Family Violence Provisions)
For renters, the notice must be in writing and signed (s 91ZZN) (s 318). The notice must be served in accordance with section 506.
Equivalent provisions apply to rooming house residents (Part 3, Division 10, Subdivision 3), caravan park residents (Part 4, Division 9, Subdivision 3) and Part 4A site tenants (Part 4A, Division 1, Subdivision 4).