The Midlas Tenancy team deals with a high number of cases involving people who want to end their fixed term tenancy agreements early. A fixed term tenancy means the lease is signed and has a beginning and end date. Standard agreements tend to be for 6 or 12 months
You don’t need permission to break a lease but you could be charged a fair amount of money for doing so. You should be aware of these costs before deciding to try and end your lease.
The law that regulates people renting in WA is called the Residential Tenancies Act.
The Act sets out some circumstances when a lease can be broken (e.g. the sale of the property, or it being destroyed by fire or otherwise made uninhabitable, or on hardship grounds. )
Other than those circumstances, terminating early can cost you money under general contract law. The owner or the real estate agency are legally allowed to charge you certain costs unless the written contract says something different. They can charge you e.g. a “breaking the lease fee”-, usually equal to one or two weeks’ rent. The explanation for this fee is a little complicated but it relates to the fee the owner would pay to engage the services of the agent to manage the property. Other charges tenants could face are advertising costs to find a new tenant and final inspection fees. You can also be charged for the rent due on the property up until a new tenant moves in, even if you have moved out. You are legally responsible for anything to do with the property until a new tenancy is created.
The owner/real estate agents are bound by law to minimise costs and should make every effort to find a new tenant as soon as possible. The tenant can also try to find someone who wants to move in and rent the place but the owner or real estate agent would have to agree.
If you are thinking of breaking your lease why not give Midlas a call and talk to a Tenant Advocate. It could save you money and also save you more than a little stress.