When it comes to tenancy and break-leases, most people believe that the power lies exclusively in the landlord’s hands, and the costs incurred are always to the account of the tenant. However, this is not always the case. There are times when the tenant calls the shots with the assistance of the courts, and the landlord is left carrying the loss. Baxton Property Management in Hobart discusses what happens when a tenant ends the lease because the landlord hasn’t kept his part of the bargain.
The Tasmanian residential tenancy regulations call for shared obligations when it comes to the rental property agreement. And if the landlord is seen by the courts in the island state to have not stuck to the bargain, he or she is brought to task with the same diligence as tenants are when they break the agreement.
Penalties for Breaking the Agreement Vary
The only difference is in that when the tenant breaks the rules they usually have more to lose, and many more ways to lose it. These can include being evicted from their home, or affect the amount of the security bond they can claim back at the end of the lease. And then there’s the possibility they may be blacklisted as a tenant if their infringement of the agreement was serious enough. The landlord only stands to lose out on the costs of finding another tenant, and the rent in the interim.
It’s all about the official rights and obligations of the two parties as outlined in the Australian Residential Tenancy Act of 1997, and most disputes revolve exclusively around the landlord’s refusal or slow response to tenants’ calls for repairs. And this happens often enough that the majority of Australian tenants’ claim they often don’t report the need for repairs, preferring to live with the problem, rather than risk the repercussions.
Yet the landlord’s chief obligation is to keep the rental property structure and utility supply in the same state of repair and functionality it was in when the lease started – just as it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the premises tidy and clean, and to avoid damaging any part of it.
When the Landlord Fails To Keep to the Bargain
If the landlord continues to ignore requests for repairs or doesn’t do so within the times prescribed by the law, and the faults that need repair are serious enough, the tenant can apply for a court order terminating the lease. The grounds for doing so are that the landlord or his agent has, by failing to carry out repairs caused (or is likely to cause) physical injury to those living in the rental or its neighbouring property, or serious damage to the rental or neighbour’s property and the contents, If the court terminates the lease, vacant possession is immediately returned to the rental property owner and the tenant is not responsible for any of the costs incurred in finding a new tenant, or for carrying the rent till one is found, or the lease expires.
If the court should decide not to terminate the lease, the next best option for a tenant is to issue the landlord with a written Notice to Terminate. This can only be done if the landlord has breached any part of the tenancy agreement, or has not conducted repairs within 28 days of being told that they are necessary.
It requires a notice period of 14 days, during which the tenant must continue to live in the rental and pay rent unless the landlord has accepted the notice to terminate. The landlord can contest the notice in court, can deal with the breach, or carry out the repairs within that period, so making the notice invalid, and if the tenant has moved out, he or she can find themselves considered to have abandoned the premises and be liable for some of the landlord’s costs.
Among the services offered by professional Property Management companies like Baxton in Hobart, with their decades of collective experience, can take a lot of the stress out of disputes that arise between rental property owners and their tenants, by handling the situation objectively and professionally. They also know the correct process to be followed when these disputes can’t be solved with negotiations. Contact Baxton by visiting their site.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
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