Ensure you never miss an issue of the
real estate business bulletin
Attorney-general warns tenants they may be liable for lost rent

Attorney-general warns tenants they may be liable for lost rent

by Staff Reporter 0 comments

Increased vacancy rates and an overall decline in the ACT rental market have led to a number of tenants being hit with unexpected costs when they break their residential lease.

With property owners increasingly forced to lower rent to entice replacement tenants, the blunt message from Attorney-General Simon Corbell is that it's up to the present tenants to pay the difference, as reported by The Canberra Times.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants could be compensating the owner for up to 25 weeks after they terminate their lease, plus the cost of readvertising the property until a new tenant is found.

Although the situation has existed since 1997, the declining rental market has thrust it back into the spotlight.

An ACT Tenants Union spokeswoman said enquiries about breaking a lease were one of the top two categories of enquiry, particularly in relation to advertising costs and rental payment.

She said many tenants were unaware of the provision, leading to confusion and surprise when they terminated their lease and found themselves suddenly paying double rent.

''It’s a strange situation where the market is both beneficial for tenants but also has difficulties for tenants, particularly if they are made redundant in this current job market,'' she said.

Real Estate Institute of the ACT chief executive Ron Bell said declining rental prices in Canberra have only recently been felt by real estate agents and owners.

''Twelve months ago people were just walking in and saying 'I can’t afford this' and then walking straight out – there was quite a lot of that,'' he said.

The attorney-general's clarification comes just one month after the ACT government announced a wide-ranging review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, which was welcomed by the Tenants Union and remains open for community input until September 12.

Attorney-general warns tenants they may be liable for lost rent
lawyersweekly logo
promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
Listen to other installment of the Real Estate Business Podcast
reb top 100 agents 2017

The REB Top 100 Agents ranking is the foremost ranking of agents in Australia. It has set the bar for excellence in Australian real estate. To be ranked as an REB Top 100 Agent is the standard real estate professionals strive for. See the full 2018 ranking here!

featured podcast

featured podcast
An industry where the resilient succeeds

Tim Heavyside believes that a strong support team and good foundations are paramount to success in the real estate industry, and with regu...

View all podcasts

Would you consider working for Purplebricks or a similar 'DIY' model?

Yes (7.2%)
No (80.9%)
Perhaps - make me an offer (12%)

Total votes: 209
The voting for this poll has ended on: July 13, 2018
Do you have an industry update?