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Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44876
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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Hello, I am a tenant currently renting a unit in Melbourne

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Hello, I am a tenant currently renting a unit in Melbourne since December 2012. Last week I was contacted by the real estate agent who manages the property advising that the landlords wish to sell the unit, although my tenancy will be secure until my lease expires in Feb 2014. The agent and landlords have since visited the unit and have advised that they wish me to keep my house rabbit outside and for me to co-operate with the real estate agent who wishes to photograph the house and bring prospective buyers through while providing me with the legal 24 hours notice before a visit. I have had a bad experience in the past having had underwear removed from cupboards and handled by a stranger during an open inspection of a rental property. so I was distressed to hear this news. I have contacted my insurance agency who confirm my contents insurance will not cover theft in the instance of people entering the home for open day inspections. I also suffer from severe depression and anxiety and the stress of this situation, plus the possibility of redundancy due restructuring in my workplace, has impacted upon my mental well-being and made me feel very vulnerable. I wish to break my lease and find a new place to live, however I am obliged to pay rent until Feb 2014 unless the landlord agrees to terminate my tenancy earlier. I have found information on the Tenants Union of Victoria's website advising that my landlord could give me a Breach of Notice duty if I refuse to rehouse my rabbit, which could potentially mean I am able to break the lease earlier if I refuse to comply with it (and receive a Notice to Vacate). But my question is: are there any legal grounds in which I can get out of the lease based on mental health grounds or will I be forced to endure staying there feeling unhappy and unsafe? I would be very grateful for any advice you can offer. Thank you, Shoshana.
Good Afternoon,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question.

If you are provided with a breach notice, the landlord will have a right to terminate the lease if you do not rectify the breach, but it does not mean that you will not be liable to pay rent.

The landlord is obligated to try and find a new tenant, but until they do you will need to pay rent to the landlord.

Have you advised the landlords and the agents that you feel uncomfortable allowing strangers into your home and that you would like to be allowed to terminate the lease and move elsewhere?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Leon,


Thank you for your assistance. In answer to your question, I have not yet written to my landlord and agent about wanting to mutually negotiate an early end date to my lease. I intend to do this tomorrow, however wanted to find out what rights (if any) I have in this scenario. I am doubtful whether the landlord will agree to terminate early given that they may well experience difficulty in finding a new tenant with the house on the market to be sold. However they do need my co-operation in order to make the house as marketable as possible, eg, for me to keep it clean and tidy for prospective buyers. Am I correct in understanding from your response that if I am given a breach notice or a note to vacate the house, that I am still liable for rental payments until the end of my fixed term contract?


thanks Shoshana

Good Evening

Yes that is correct. You are still liable until the end of the lease, even if you have breached it.

So they can chase you for the money and they will also keep your bond.

Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Leon, one last question. Is there nothing in property law that says a tenant can end a fixed term lease for "humanitarian reasons" - such as being moved interstate for a job halfway through a fixed term lease, or in the situation of myself, having depression and anxiety and not being able to face strangers in and out the house. Or is the only way to get out of a lease early with mutual agreement from the landlord? It seems to me as if the law is very much in favour of the homeowner and the tenant doesn't have many rights in this situation.

thanks again.

Good Evening

Did you lease have an early termination payment listed in it?

You are bound for the whole term of the lease.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, it didn't. Okay, thanks for your help.

Good Evening Shoshana

You are very welcome and thank you for using my services.

If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.

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