Leaving Early from Property and Landlord / Agent Not Responsive

Just wanted to get your thoughts.

Current property has end of lease till 16 May. So about 6 weeks left.

Moved to a new place as other property tenants left early. Due to current corona situation, we gave them a break and not charged any fees or bond as such for breaking early. All in good faith as it's understandable times. This is to explain why leaving early.

Either way, we contacted agents few weeks back expressing interest to leave by 19th April as personal reasons and circumstances. Agents said will get back to see if they can do anything with landlord and not charge break fees. Officially ends on 18th May.

Not really sure what to do next? Essentially paying for empty apartment. Not sure how much is the fees given it's so close to end of lease anyway. What happens if we stop paying rent?

Any advice would be great. It's odd that the landlord is silent and not responding. So we not sure where we stand.

Comments

  • +4 votes

    it's nice that you didn't charge your tenants a break fee.

    However, it doesn't sound like you're struggling financially, so not sure you're entitled/should get any breaks from your landlord. This isn't a free for all zone that tenants can choose to break leases early without the normal consequences, unless there's serious covid related reasons.

    and your landlord can withhold your bond and then take you to the tribunal for the remaining amounts you owe them.

  • +9 votes

    we h(g)ave them a break and not chan(r)ged any fees or bond as such for breaking early

    It's nice what you did for your tenants, however, if your landlord gave you the same "break", it's like a domino effect and your landlord is effectively the one who will cop the loss of that month's rent (by you moving out early and leaving the apartment empty) for a decision you've made for your own tenant.

    Paying unnecessarily for empty apartment.

    I'm not taking sides here, but I would argue that you're not "paying unnecessary". You're paying to fulfill an obligation you created when you agreed and signed the terms of the lease.

  • +5 votes

    They will keep the 4 week bond and then we need to shouldn't contest it?

  • +1 vote

    Spell check please

    • +1 vote

      No wonder previous landlord/agent unresponsive, terrible sentences.
      I thought OP is a tenant? Then OP becomes a landlord and “gave them a break” and not charge early fee/bond? Wtf

      •  

        Clearly he’s a tenant in his own house
        Tell the landlord to get f’d

        Or as Scomo said, sit down with the landlord in front of the mirror and come to a fair agreement

  • +3 votes

    As well as that, you could get a mark against your rental history making it harder to rent in the future.

  • +2 votes

    There is no guarantee the bond will be returned . Landlords/Real Estate Agents always seem to find a problem that cost the whole bond .

    •  

      Thanks. Let's see. Agent is nice guy as we have dealt with him for 3 years. Would be interesting to see how this ends.

  •  

    I gotta say in my experience I've never been given a reprieve on leaving a premise early I was contracted to. They always make me pay out my contract. If I 6 months out they'd still make me pay an extra month or two because landlords are greedy and real estate agents serve their landlord overlords.

    • +2 votes

      my experience I've never been given a reprieve on leaving a premise early
      They always make me pay out my contract

      Any honestly why should they? You entered a agreement to lease the place for 12 months. By 'breaking' the lease and letting you out early costs THEM money, as it sits empty, have to pay agent and advertising fees etc.

      Its also interesting that you have have had to break many leases, some 6 months early. Would seem a bit of poor planning from your side of things.

      People think that renting is just printing money, its not. Why do you think all these places are negative geared? ie the owner is losing money, not making money on them day to day, all in the hope the 'value' of the place goes up and that is when they cash out and make money.

      But then comes along COVID-19, house prices will take a 20-30% drop, so lots of owners will be underwater.

      •  

        Its also interesting that you have have had to break many leases, some 6 months early.

        Happened twice and one was due to buying a house. You can't really plan when that is going to happen. The right house might come to market tomorrow or in 18 months. The other was very exceptional circumstances you can't plan for.

        BTW I never said I was put out by any of this. I planned to pay my contractual obligations because I knew what they could do if they wanted to be hard arse. Unfortunately landlords in my experience are hard arses and see people/families as number on a spreadsheet.

        •  

          Fair enough then. Yes as soon as I started looking around to buy a place, I didn't renew/sign any 12 month leases offered and said I wanted month to month, so I wasn't stuck with a long lease left.

          Unfortunately landlords in my experience are hard arses and see people/families as number on a spreadsheet.

          Well these are 'investments' for most people, so yeah kinda see their viewpoint. As above, it does cost a owner/landlord money if you break a lease early. Agents charge a lease signing fee, fees to find tenants and a heap of other things, so the simple thing of getting a tenant in, costs them money. Plus if they let you out early and it sits empty for 1-3 months, thats money lost and the owner still has to pay the mortgage and outgoings etc.

          So yes it might appear as numbers on a spreadsheet, as thats what it really is.

          I'm always shocked at the amount of people who complain they can't get out of paying something when they signed up to it. Leases, phone contracts, car payments etc. If you're signing your name or agreeing to a contract, guess what people. You have to pay for all of what you agreed to. (not saying this is you, just a general statement).

          •  

            @JimmyF:

            if you break a lease early. Agents charge a lease signing fee, fees to find tenants and a heap of other things, so the simple thing of getting a tenant in, costs them money.

            I get that, but lots of landlords don't even want to bother with trying to go down that route. Again I don't mind paying while that is all organized and paying their out of pocket. But when they string you along for as long as they can just so they can kick their problem down the road isn't really in the spirit of good relations.

            This also goes for landlords that refuse to fix anything, or boot people out the minute they are forced to. Hasn't happened to me but family members. At their cost they found there was asbestos in a collapsed roof that the landlord refused to fix, as soon as it got reported they booted the tenants out. Had kids and everything. They were willing to stay or move out temporarily (at own expense) while it was fixed but no, booted and place was up for rent less than two months later.

  • +1 vote

    Not really sure what to do next? Paying unnecessarily for empty apartment. Not sure how much is fees given it's so close to end of lease anyway. What happens if we stop paying rent? They will keep the 4 week bond and then we need to contest it?

    You have a contract saying you'll pay rent until the 16th May 2020.

    You have asked to be released early. They haven't agreed to that from the sounds of it.

    Not much you can do but ask again and keep paying rent. If you stop paying rent, any rent owing will come out of your bond, and they can seek whatever else is owed from you directly.

    Then your failure to pay rent will be recorded on file, making it harder to rent in the future etc.

    Basically you chose to move early when you knew you had a lease till the 16th May. You should have got approval to leave/break lease early before renting something else.

    •  

      Good advice. Thanks

      •  

        Honestly you got a month left, just pay it and move on, learn for next time. You don't want to be flagged as a non payer if you you plan to rent in the future, as agents all share 'lists' on these things.

  • +5 votes

    You should have asked your landlord to waive the break fee before you waived the break fee for your tenants.

  •  

    Contact the agent again. Not unusual for them to forget to do something…

  •  

    "Any advice would be great. It's odd landlord is quiet and not responding."

    They may be waiting it out for 6 weeks, the lack of response is probably intentional. At worst, pay rent for 6 weeks, use some time to go through the house & make sure everything is clean & noted 100% ready to hand back. Give the keys back early so if they claim there are issues like cobwebs, you can use the time to do the small things that they may try to claim against your bond.

    Put in your intent to end your tenancy soon. By email, registered letter etc. Make it know you are leaving, as come end-of-lease they will probably claim you need to give 4 weeks notice as the lease is now monthly.

    Basically, do everything possible to follow the procedures for ending your lease.

    • +1 vote

      Thanks. This was very helpful. It looks like you need to pay 4 weeks rent for break lease fee on top of 4 weeks bond. So doesn't make sense to break as it's about 6 weeks left.

      •  

        …Then they'll probably try and charge advertising fees which could be 2 weeks value. It's just not worth it at this stage. Sorry to be repetitive, but their lack of response is a warning sign that when you hand your intent to end lease, do so in multiple ways..email, registered letter, fax and then keep the records as it worries me they may claim they did not receive it. (Just by their non-response now).

        However, you seem like a really great person that is honest & deserve great karma for how handle things.

        • +1 vote

          Thats good to know. I think best of trying to find someone short term for half price rent.

          • +1 vote

            @Yoman55555: That could cause it's own issues as you would be responsible for anything they do, including if they are still there when the lease is up.
            For the amount of time it takes to find someone you trust, and the small amount of time left, a week at the end to clean up for the handover, I doubt it's worth it.

  •  

    Should have found a property that aligned with your moving dates, leaving the agent in the dark and then expecting favours isn't very nice.

    •  

      Thank you for your comment. Nice of you to take the time to reply. I do appreciate it. However, there is no expectation obviously. Since when have real estate agents started giving favours :). Fellow ozbargainers in earlier comments have already given helpful advice. So this thread can be closed.

      Thanks again.

      •  

        In my experience a good agent will help the tenant as it's in everyone's best interests to keep on top of unplanned changes.

        If you had spoken to the agent about early lease break prior to moving, it might have helped them to help you.

        •  

          Yeah. We thought we had good agent but its interesting how people behave in these times. We have contacted 3 times and still waiting for hear back. Its odd not responsive. So, not sure whether he is doing to protect his interest (to secure some commission) or landlord has given instructions to not respond. But its ok. We potentially someone to rent the room at a heavily discounted rate :).

          I think we would be ok. This is all obviously not as planned.

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