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Removal of consent of the tenant clause ‘absurd’

20 May 2014 Andrew Jennings

Changes to legislation in relation to showing prospective tenants through a property when a tenant wishes to break their lease have been called “absurd” by the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA).

The REISA has said the number one issue it is receiving at the moment is the situation of showing tenants through a property when a tenant wishes to break their lease, adding that the removal of the 'consent of the tenant’ clause has thrown the situation into disarray.

“Prior to the change in the law in March there was a blanket clause that included a rights of entry for the landlord, or agent, with the consent of the tenant,” a REISA spokesperson told Residential Property Manager.

“So if a landlord knocked on a tenant’s door, and the tenant said ‘yes, come on in’, it was absolutely fine. That consent to the tenant clause was removed from the new legislation, which now says you have to do specific things for rights of entry.”

The REISA said the most practical solution is that a tenant should inform a landlord in writing that they will be vacating the property before the end of the lease. 

According to the REISA, the landlord or agent should respond by a letter of acknowledgement that confirms the vacate date, the fact the tenant will be liable for break lease costs (if that is what is sought by the landlord) and that the landlord/agent will be showing prospective tenants through the property in the 28 days before that vacate date.

"Technically speaking, if somebody wanted to break their lease today and their lease expired at the end of the year, you could not really start showing tenants through until end of the year. How absurd is that? It has to change," the REISA spokesperson said.

The REISA said the only legal solution at the moment is for the landlord and tenant to vary the lease to make a new end date. However, it added this has issues relating to break lease costs - is the tenant responsible as they have not abandoned the property? - and the situation when the property manager still has not found a tenant by the agreed new date.

Removal of consent of the tenant clause ‘absurd’
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