In some circumstances, a tenant may seek to break a fixed term agreement and vacate the rental property before the end date of their tenancy agreement. The Residential Tenancies Authority always encourages tenants and property managers/owners to communicate early and often in the lead up to the tenant vacating.
Rent is payable while the tenant remains in the property as outlined in their tenancy agreement. If the tenant gives notice to leave, vacates and hands the keys in before the end date of a fixed term agreement, they may be liable to pay compensation for loss of rent until the premises are re-let. The tenant may or may not be charged for other associated reasonable re-letting costs incurred by the property manager/owner, such as advertising costs.
With any claim for compensation, the property manager/owner has an obligation to mitigate losses, for example, by advertising early and finding a new tenant within a reasonable timeframe. How the compensation or loss of rent is paid should be negotiated between the tenant and the property manager/owner. This may be done on a regular basis until the property is re-let or in a lump sum at the end of the tenancy.
In some instances, the parties may agree to deduct these costs from the rental bond. If the tenant is paying compensation for loss of rent for a long period of vacancy, the tenant may request evidence of mitigation actions carried out by the property owner/manager, including what steps are being taken to promote the property and the number of inspections carried out. A high level of communication during this time will help both sides understand their responsibilities and reach an agreement on any compensation being paid between the parties. In the situation of excessive hardship, such as loss of employment or domestic and family violence, the tenant can make an urgent application directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to end the tenancy without penalty or further costs. Remember, should a property manager/owner wishes to terminate a fixed term agreement early, the tenant can seek compensation. This may include a financial contribution to moving costs. More information about ending an agreement early can be found on the RTA website.