I want to know how to end my rental agreement

If you have a Notice to Vacate, you are allowed to leave by the termination date on the Notice.

This is not your only option. If you want to stay in your home, use Dear Landlord to explore your options to request a payment plan from your landlord.

I’ve got a Notice to Vacate – how can I stay in my home?

What are my options if I want to break my lease?

Breaking your lease or ending your rental agreement looks different depending on whether you are on a fixed term agreement or periodic agreement.

Regardless of being on a fixed term or periodic agreement, there are some instances when you can give your notice (or less notice) and not be liable for lease break costs. You can give 14 days’ notice of your intention to vacate when:

  • you require special or personal care that you cannot get at your rented property
  • you have accepted an offer of social housing
  • you are going into temporary crisis accommodation
  • you have a disability and your rental provider has refused a request to make reasonable alterations.

It is recommended that you use the Consumer Affairs Victoria form to tell your rental provider that you intend to leave.

I’ve already got a Notice to Vacate and I want to end my rental agreement

If you want to leave, you can vacate the property by the termination date specified on the Notice to Vacate. Your rental agreement will end on the termination date.

If you want to leave sooner than your termination date, if you received a Notice to Vacate from your rental provider for one of the below reasons you only need to give 14 days’ notice of your intention to vacate:

  • Repairs
  • Demolition
  • Property to be used for business
  • Property to be occupied by the rental provider or rental provider’s family
  • Property to be sold
  • Premises required for public purposes
  • End of fixed term rental agreement of not more than 5 years

Ending a periodic rental agreement

If you want to end your periodic agreement, you can give a Notice of Intention to Vacate to your rental provider. The Notice of Intention to Vacate must give at least 28 days’ notice of your intention to vacate. You can give 14 days’ notice in some instances, which are listed above under What are my options if I want to break my lease.

It is recommended that you use the Consumer Affairs Victoria form to tell your rental provider that you intend to leave.

You will not be liable for any lease break costs if you are on a periodic rental agreement and end the rental agreement by giving 28 days’ notice.

Ending a fixed term rental agreement

As a general rule, if you have a fixed term agreement you can’t leave before the end of that fixed term without being liable for lease break costs. There are some exceptions to this including if you need to break the rental agreement due to family violence or financial hardship. Read more about this further below.

You can give 14 days’ notice in some instances, which are listed above under What are my options if I want to break my lease.

If you are not experiencing financial hardship or family violence or have another reason to vacate as listed above, you can choose to leave without having to issue a Notice of Intention to Vacate. However, your rental provider is allowed to ask for compensation for any losses associated with you leaving, for example lost rent, re-advertising costs and letting fees. Read more information from Consumer Affairs Victoria about potential lease break costs.

I need to break my fixed term lease due to severe hardship

If you wish to end your fixed term rental agreement before the end of the fixed term, you can apply to VCAT to end your agreement if you have suffered an unforeseen change in circumstances and would suffer severe hardship if you were required to stay in your home.

VCAT may make an order terminating your fixed term agreement if the severe hardship you would suffer is more than the hardship your rental provider would suffer if you end the agreement early. You will not be liable for any lease break costs if you end your rental in this way. Take a look at our FAQs page for more information about your options to get legal help.

I need to break my fixed term lease due to family violence

If you need to end your fixed term rental agreement because you are experiencing family violence, you can apply to VCAT. VCAT may make an order to end the lease and you will not be liable for any lease break costs.

If this is your situation, apply for help from Justice Connect by completing a short online application. See other FAQs for other free legal help available to you. You can also speak to VCAT’s dedicated family violence support worker.

There is more help available if you are experiencing family violence. Safe Steps is open 24/7 – you can call them on 1800 015 188 or web chat (Mon to Fri, 9am to midnight)

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