tenancy break lease terms

What you need to know about tenancy break lease terms for periodic (rolling) leases.

June 03, 2022 – 6 minute read – Harriet Cotton

Unlike a fixed-term lease agreement, where there is a clear end date to a rental contract, a periodic or rolling lease has no set termination date until notice is given by either the tenant or landlord to conclude the rental.

While a fixed-term agreement has set financial penalties in place for tenants to adhere to should they break a lease within the term of a tenancy – more information about these terms can be found in our blog here. For periodic agreements, there are no financial penalties or “sanctions” for ending a lease. Simply, landlords or tenants must provide a notice which will determine the end date of the contract.

For landlords, if you wish to terminate a periodic tenancy agreement for no specified reason (“no grounds”), you are required to provide a tenant/s with 90 days’ notice as a minimum. This means that should you wish for the tenancy to end on the 31st of December, you would need to give the tenants a formal notice letter on or before the 1st of October to ensure you are adhering to NSW regulations. 

For tenants, they only have to give the landlord/managing agent 21 days’ notice for ending the tenancy on “no grounds” i.e. no particular reason or breach.

Tenancy break lease terms for periodic (rolling) leases
Reason for Termination of Periodic LeaseLandlord Notice PeriodTenant Notice Period
“No Grounds” (No Reason)90 Days21 Days
Breach by tenant of agreement14 daysN/A

It is important as a landlord that you are aware of these terms prior to agreeing to any rental moving onto a periodic arrangement.

Tenancy break lease terms for periodic (rolling) leases
It is heavily weighted in the tenant’s favour.

It is heavily weighted in the tenant’s favour, with 21 days’ notice required for the tenant vs. 90 days’ notice required for the landlord. Be aware of this and think about your plans for the property/yourself when agreeing to a periodic tenancy.

However, there are advantages of a periodic agreement too, notably that as a landlord you do have the right to give notice on “no grounds” which you do not when you are entered into a fixed-term lease.

An exception to the above would be that if at any time a tenant was ‘breaching’ the terms of the lease agreement the landlord or agent can issue them a 14-day termination notice. Conditions of breach could include but are not limited to pets being kept on the property without permission, refusal of access to the property, anti-social behaviour or criminal activity at the property.

Often there would need to be proof of attempts to manage and reason with the tenants in these situations, as should it go to tribunal there would need to be evidence in place of the breach itself and what has been done to manage it accordingly before serving notice.

The terms are slightly different for unpaid rent. A 14-day notice period for a “non-payment termination notice” can be given if the tenant has not paid rent after 14 days. However, should the tenant pay the rent within the notice period, the notice is then redundant and the landlord’s notice terms revert to 90 days.

Should the landlord wish to sell the property during a periodic term, this changes the notice requirements from both tenant and landlord as well as payment requirements from the tenant. For more information check out our blog on “Termination Terms when selling a tenanted property”.

As always, we recommend that you work in conjunction with your property manager when thinking about or wanting to terminate a periodic tenancy. Formal channels of communication must be used to avoid confusion and your property manager is there to guide you and manage these situations on your behalf.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Periodic Lease

What is a periodic lease?

A periodic lease continues on a rolling basis until terminated by either the tenant or landlord with notice, typically used when a tenancy extends beyond a fixed term​​.

What are the notice periods for terminating a periodic lease in NSW?

In NSW, tenants must give at least 21 days’ notice, while landlords must provide 90 days’ notice to terminate a periodic lease​​​​.

What are the grounds for termination of a periodic lease in NSW?

In NSW, grounds include lease agreement breach, non-payment of rent, the landlord’s personal use of the property, intent to sell, plans for demolition or renovation, or government acquisition​​.

What happens if a tenant fails to vacate by the notice date?

If a tenant doesn’t vacate by the notice date, the landlord can apply to NCAT for a termination order specifying the date the tenant must vacate​​.

What happens in the case of non-payment of rent?

For rent non-payment, landlords can issue a 14-day termination notice. If the tenant pays the due rent or follows a repayment plan, they are not required to vacate​​.