How to Break a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement in NZ

A tenancy agreement is not usually broken but if it is both parties need to agree on the terms and conditions in place. These can vary as can the reasons for the breaking of the contract.


Breaking a fixed term tenancy agreement usually begins with one party approaching the other and if it can be agreed a document with the details and dates needs to signed and given to both parties in order to terminate the tenancy agreement. This only concerns the person or people who are on the tenancy agreement, no one else who may live at the property.

If there can’t be an agreement made between the two parties, the Tenancy Tribunal may get involved but only if there is valid reason. For example, if the Body Corporate doesn’t allow dogs in the building but your tenant has a dog living there.

As a tenant you may get the Tenancy Tribunal involved if you suddenly suffer from extreme hardship, for example losing your job and are unable to continue paying rent, and can’t find adequate work within a timely manner. Tenants may also take up rent increases with the tenancy tribunal should it be unrealistic.


Good day, Andrew Murray here. From, The Apartment Specialist. Talking about, How to break a fixed term tenancy agreement. Now, generally that happens when one of the parties-- either the landlord or the tenant will approach the other. And request to break the fixed term tenancy.

Now, what has to happen here is both parties have to agree. Otherwise, you simply can't break a fixed term tenancy. Now, what'll happen is, lets say, the landlord wants to break it. And they'll go to the tenants and go, "Look, I'd like you [leaving?] this early because of..." whatever reason. And the tenants will have to agree to that. And, certain things might take place, i.e, I may give you some compensation or I'll help you find a new place. That kind of thing.

Now, when an agreement actually occurs then, basically you write a document down. And it has to be very very clear. With all the parties signing the document. And agreeing upon the terms. And putting in all the dates. And making sure that the landlord and the tenants both have a copy. Now, a lot of people sort of ask, "Well, does everybody in the place have to agree?" Well, no they don't. Only the people on the tenancy agreement. Because they're the actual tenants. If there's anybody else staying in the property... well, that's irrelevant.

Okay? So that's an important fact you have to know. Now, so a fixed term tenancy can't be broken. Well, strictly speaking the Tenancy Tribunal actually can. Okay? But that's not really normal. But I'll go through the reasons or the ways the Tenancy Tribunal can actually break a fixed term tenancy.

Now, one is a body corporate rule. And a body corporate rule is put in place that effects a tenant i.e you no longer can have pets in the apartment complex and the tenant has a pet. Or that gives you the option to be able to break the fixed term tenancy. Because, it's going to affect the tenant greatly because there's nowhere for them to put their pet. Number two is extreme hardship.

So if the tenant-- their situation-- maybe they lose their job, puts themselves in extreme hardship. And, that hardship outweighs the hardship faced by the landlord. Well then, the tenancy agreement in theory can be broken. Now, number three is, if the rent is increased by a very large amount which is going to create hardship for the tenant. Well, that's another reason.

But, that's a tough one that one. Now number four, is if the rents increase is unreasonable i.e the rent is increase is way above market rent. There aren't any other apartments or dwellings in that condition and in the same area that are remotely near the price that the landlord is asking for. Then, the Tenancy Tribunal could argue that that fixed term agreement could be broken.

But strictly speaking, a fixed term tenancy can't be broken unless it comes under those four reasons that I just mentioned. Anyway, I hope that helps. Andrew Apartment Specialist. Cheers

If you have any questions, flick me an email at [email protected] or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to answer your queries.

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How to Break a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement in NZ