As a landlord, you want to ensure your property is always tenanted. In some instances, the reasons tenants vacate is out of your control, and when it comes to breaking the lease, it can tend to get complicated and confusing. When faced with this situation it is essential to know your rights and obligations as an owner so that you can correctly approach the issue. It is also important to have good communication with your management agency to ensure you are acting quickly to get your property tenanted again. Here is everything you need to know as an owner about a break lease from our Head of Property Management, Kristie.
The General Tenancy Agreement (GTA) that tenants sign when they accept the property is a legally binding document. This means that if the agreement is broken, some type of compensation will need to be paid. In this instance, compensation may be money that is owed to the landlord, loss of rent until the owner finds a new tenant or even advertising and re-letting fees. If the tenant lodges the notice of intention to leave (Form 13) without any grounds, compensation will most likely have to be paid to the owner.
There are a few ways a tenant can apply to break their lease.
- Firstly, both the tenant and the owner may mutually agree (in writing) on a date to end the agreement early.
- The tenant can also provide the owner/managing agency with a Form 13. After receiving this, the owner/managing agent will then agree on compensation. When negotiating compensation it is important to remember that as a landlord, you are legally required to reduce the costs associated with breaking the lease. According to the GTA, a landlord is legally required to mitigate loss during the re-letting process. For example, this could be reducing the rent within the first 2 weeks of re-advertising. This is extremely vital to recognise, not only is it a legal obligation, if not followed correctly it can be extremely detrimental to you as a landlord. When a property is put up for rent in a break lease situation, the rent per week cannot be increased either.
- Approve the transfer of the tenant’s interest in the property. If they have paid a bond, they will need to fill out a change of bond contributors form.
- Lastly, the tenant can apply for a break lease on the grounds of hardship. This is done through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
Once everything has been processed, compensation has been agreed upon, and dates have been finalised; it is vital that you get the property advertised as soon as possible. Throughout this process, it is important to have constant communication with your property manager. This will give you the chance to get updates on how the property is tracking, if applications are coming in and if there is any feedback from prospective tenants. Some extra tips that will ensure you are re-leasing the property as soon as possible are:
- Don’t make it too hard to find a new tenant – things, like increasing the rent or knocking back potential tenants for no reason, will just have your property tenantless for longer. It is essential to understand the urgency of this matter and to act on it quickly.
- Have a chat to your property manager about ways you can get a tenant ASAP – this may be offering an incentive such as a week’s free rent or even reducing the rent (which may be legally applicable).
KRISTIE SULCS – HEAD OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
07 3202 3040
Determined, dedicated and driven, Kristie is someone you want on your team. With a passion for property management, Kristie loves building positive relationships with all her clients and is always exceeding expectations. With almost a decade of experience in the industry, Kristie will take the stress out of owning an investment property and ensure she meets all your needs.
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