Costs for ending a fixed term tenancy

ERIN asks:
(updated on Wednesday, July 08th 2020)

We are ending a fixed term tenancy in agreement with the landlord. We gave three months notice. She has an agent who will advertise the property and start bringing people in the next week or so. I know that we must pay reasonable costs to find new tenants but the landlord is asking one week's rent plus $330 which I think is for the advertising. I don't think she should be asking us for the week's rent. I think she is trying to recuperate the expenses she must pay in any case to the agent. What is reasonable in this situation?

Our Experts Answer:

If you have reached an agreement with your landlord to end a fixed term tenancy, this agreement should be in writing and detail any conditions you have both agreed to. Both the landlord and tenant should have a signed copy of this. The landlord may charge a fee, which should only be their actual and reasonable costs, such as the cost to advertise for new tenants.

Rent can only be charged during the tenancy, as a tenant pays rent for the right to live on a property. If you have agreed with your landlord to end the fixed term tenancy early, you will only need to pay rent up to the period of the agreed end date. You should not be charged rent after the tenancy has ended.

We’d suggest going back to both the landlord and agent to clarify this issue and ensure all details are written into your agreement. This will help if any disputes arise that you are unable to resolve.

For more information on ending a fixed-term tenancy early, see tenancy.govt.nz/ending-a-tenancy/ending-a-fixed-term-early/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

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