What kind of Tenancy do I have?

Hannah Williams

Tenancies aren’t one size fits all – there are different types of tenancy agreements that you may have. The most common being periodic tenancy or fixed-term tenancy. It is important that you understand the unique set of rules that accompany your tenancy prior to signing the agreement.

Periodic Tenancy

Periodic tenancy agreements have no end date. They will continue until either the tenant or the landlord gives written notice to terminate it.

Fixed-term tenancy

A fixed-term tenancy lasts for a set time period – for example, one year. The tenancy agreement must disclose the length of the tenancy, although there is no restriction on how long they can be.

A fixed-term tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy upon expiry (unless both parties agree otherwise).

If you have a fixed-term tenancy, you cannot give the notice to end the tenancy early. Both the landlord and the tenant must come to a mutual agreement if you wish to end the tenancy earlier than the agreed date (as per the agreement). This must be put in writing and clearly state what is being agreed to. We recommend that both parties keep a copy of this document for their records. 

More on ending a fixed-term tenancy early.

Short Fixed-Term Tenancy

If your fixed-term tenancy is 90 days or less, it does not become periodic when the term ends. You cannot use a short fixed-term tenancy as a trial period. 

If the landlord and tenant agree (in writing) that the tenancy won’t extend past the 90 days, the tenancy is exempt from the rules around market rent, increasing the rent after making improvements, and giving notice to end the tenancy. 

However, if the short-term tenancy will extend further than 90 days, the usual rules apply. 

Ending A Fixed-Term Tenancy Early

In some instances, a landlord may charge the tenant a fee for ending the tenancy prior to its end date. Please note that this fee must be an accurate reflection of their actual and reasonable costs – e.g. the cost to advertise for new tenants. 

Suggested Article: Ending a Tenancy | Bond Refund.

As per the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020, from the 11th of February 2021, landlords are required to consider all requests from their tenants to assign the tenancy and must not decline the request unreasonably. 

Landlords do however have the ability to include reasonable conditions that the tenant must meet. Subletting can also occur with mutual agreement. 


FAQ

Can you end a periodic tenancy agreement? 

You can give notice to end your periodic tenancy at any time after the tenancy agreement has been signed – even if the tenancy has not started yet.

What is the maximum length of a periodic tenancy? 

A periodic tenancy has no fixed end date. If one side wants to end the tenancy, they will need to provide written notice to end it. 

Will my fixed-term tenancy become a periodic tenancy? 

Your fixed-term tenancy will become a periodic tenancy upon expiry (unless both parties agree otherwise). In this instance, the terms of the original tenancy agreement will remain – this includes any terms about rent. 

Exception: Short-Term fixed tenancy agreements (90 days or less) will not become periodic upon expiry unless both the tenant and landlord agree. 

Do I need to give notice if my fixed-term tenancy is expiring? 

In most circumstances, Landlords should give 90-days notice to end the fixed-term tenancy at expiry. They will also need a specific reason.

For a tenant to end their fixed-term tenancy at expiration, they must provide at least 28 days’ notice prior to the expiration date. 

How many days’ notice is needed to end a periodic tenancy? 

Landlords must give at least 90 days’ written notice in most circumstances

Tenants must give at least 28 days’ written notice. 

Can my landlord prohibit assignment in my tenancy agreement? 

A landlord can no longer prohibit assignment in the tenancy agreements for any new tenancy granted from 11 February 2021.