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In a long-term lease agreement, most of the reasons and time frames for leaving a rental property are the same as a short-term lease. View:
Mutual agreement to end or shorten a lease agreement
At any point, tenants and landlords can mutually agree in writing to end a long-term lease early or reduce the number of years on the agreement.
If the landlord wants to sell the property
As with a short-term lease, if a landlord is selling a property that has a tenant on a long-term lease, they must state this in the contract of sale. The new owner must then take on the long-term lease agreement.
The landlord and tenant can agree to end the lease early, so that the property can be sold without a tenant.
If the landlord wants to move into the property
Unless the tenant agrees to end the lease early, the landlord must give the tenant 60 days’ notice to vacate, with the 60th day falling on or after the lease’s end date. This is the same as a short-term lease. For more information, view Landlord giving notice to vacate.
If the landlord or tenant cannot continue the lease due to hardship
The landlord or tenant can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to end the long-term lease early by providing evidence of any severe hardship, such as bank or income statements, or proof of a medical condition, to show they cannot continue the lease. For more information, visit Application by a tenant or landlord - VCAT.
Tenants experiencing domestic violence can also apply to VCAT to end the lease agreement early. For more information, view Family violence resources.
For other vacate reasons and timeframes, view Tenant giving notice of intention to vacate.
If the tenant wants to break the lease
View Clause 18 of Form 2 - Residential tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years (Word, 632KB).
If a tenant breaks a long-term lease – that is, the lease did not end early by mutual agreement or a VCAT order on hardship grounds - the landlord can ask the tenant to pay one month’s rent for every full year remaining on the long-term lease. This is capped at six years, so the maximum amount the landlord can ask from the tenant is six months’ rent. This is based on the rent amount the tenant was paying when they broke the lease. For more information, view If you do not give notice (if you break the lease).
Example only (outcome may differ in individual cases):
Lucy and Stefan sign a 15-year long-term lease agreement using Form 2, and decide to break the lease early. If Lucy and Stefan break their lease after nine years and three months the landlord can ask them to pay a maximum of five months’ rent, as there will be five full years remaining in the term of the lease. If Lucy and Stefan break their lease after five years, although there are 10 years remaining in the term of the lease, the landlord can only ask them to pay a maximum of six months’ rent.
The landlord must take all reasonable steps to re-let the premises, and cannot claim rent after the property is re-let. If the tenant believes they were paying rent after the property was re-let, they can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a ruling on the matter. For more information, visit Application by a tenant or landlord - VCAT.
Breach of duty
In a long-term lease, the landlord or tenant can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a compensation or compliance order for breach of a term in the long-term lease without serving a Breach of duty notice. You can still apply to VCAT for a compensation or compliance order after giving the other party a Breach of duty notice.
For information on breach of duty notices in a short-term lease, view When a tenant or landlord breaks the rules.