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  • 27 Feb 2024
  • 3 min read
  • By Samara Bedwell

Managing the break lease process: a guide for property managers

break lease, property management

As the real estate market continues to evolve, so do the challenges faced by property managers. One such challenge is managing the break lease process effectively, ensuring a smooth transition for all parties involved. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of handling the break lease process in Queensland and offer guidance to help you navigate this situation with confidence.

Understanding the break lease process

Before we dive into the specifics, let's briefly revisit what a break lease entails. A break lease occurs when a tenant prematurely terminates their lease agreement before the fixed term ends. This could arise due to various reasons, such as a change in circumstances, job relocation, or personal preferences. As a property manager, it is essential to be well-versed in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act) to effectively manage the process.

Open communication with the tenant

Maintaining open lines of communication is key when a tenant expresses their desire to break their lease. Promptly respond to their request and arrange a meeting to discuss the situation. It's important to understand the tenant's reasons for breaking the lease and address any concerns they may have. Open dialogue can often lead to mutually beneficial solutions, such as finding a suitable replacement tenant or negotiating a compromise that satisfies both parties.

Review the tenancy agreement and legal obligations

Thoroughly review the tenancy agreement including the special terms to identify the provisions pertaining to breaking the lease. In Queensland, tenants who wish to break their lease are generally responsible for compensating the lessor for any financial losses incurred due to the early termination. This may include paying rent until a new tenant is secured, advertising costs, and reasonable reletting fees. Ensure that the tenant is aware of these obligations and discuss the potential financial implications upfront.

Actively market the vacant property

Once the tenant has officially notified their intention to break the lease, it's essential to proactively market the property to minimise any financial losses for the lessor and outgoing tenant. Advertise the property through various channels. Conduct regular inspections to showcase the property to potential tenants and expedite the reletting process. By actively seeking a replacement tenant, you can mitigate the financial impact on both the lessor and the outgoing tenant.    

Screening new tenants

When potential replacement tenants express their interest in the property, ensure that you conduct thorough screening procedures to maintain the property's integrity. Perform background checks, contact references, and assess their suitability as tenants. Once a suitable candidate is found, facilitate the necessary paperwork to enter into a new tenancy agreement and ensure a seamless transition. Keep all parties informed about the progress to instil confidence and transparency throughout the process.

Finalising the break lease

As the break lease process nears completion, ensure all legal documentation is in order. Terminate the existing lease agreement with the outgoing tenant, ensure that they have formally completed the RTA Form 13 to end the tenancy. Perform a comprehensive final inspection of the property. Handle the return of the tenant's bond (if applicable) in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) guidelines. Promptly address any disputes or outstanding matters to finalise the break lease process successfully.

Maintaining professionalism and empathy

Throughout the break lease process, it's vital to maintain professionalism and empathy. Understand that unexpected situations can arise, and tenants may find themselves in difficult circumstances. By approaching the process with understanding and empathy, you can foster positive relationships and preserve the reputation of both the lessor and your agency.

Handling the break lease process in Queensland necessitates knowledge, organisation, and effective communication. By following these simple steps, property managers can navigate this process with confidence, minimising financial impact, and maintaining strong relationships with both tenants and lessors. Stay informed about the latest legislative changes and industry best practices to ensure that you continue to provide exceptional service in a trying real estate market.

Related: Find out about renewing leases here.

Want to read more articles? Browse our property management section here.

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