COVID-19 Ending a fixed-term tenancy agreement

This publication is for: 
Landlord / lessorProperty industry

Publication last updated 19 March 2021.

Background

Under the temporary COVID-19 tenancy laws, you cannot issue a notice to terminate a fixed-term tenancy agreement with an expiry date that falls within the emergency period from 30 March 2020 until 28 March 2021. Instead, the agreement will continue as a periodic agreement, unless the parties agree to another fixed-term.

Once the emergency period ends, the ordinary tenancy laws apply, and either a landlord or tenant can issue a 30-day notice of termination at the end of the fixed-term agreement under section 70A of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA).

Need help with counting days?

Please see the Tenancy chart 1 - Service of notice of termination for fixed-term tenancy agreements flowchart. 

Fixed-term agreements ending on or before 28 March 2021

If the fixed-term agreement ends on, or before, 28 March 2021, you cannot issue a 30-day notice to terminate. You either need to agree on another fixed-term with the tenant or the arrangement rolls over into a periodic agreement. If the agreement becomes periodic and you want to terminate the tenancy, you can issue the tenant with a 60-day notice of termination. You can only issue this notice on or after the day the agreement becomes periodic, even if this day is before the end of the emergency period. If you enter into a new fixed-term agreement with the tenant that expires after 28 March 2021, you can issue a 30-day notice of termination, even if this notice is issued before the end of the emergency period. Remember, there is no minimum time for a fixed-term agreement. Therefore, if the original fixed term is due to expire just before the end of the emergency period, you may want to consider renewing the tenancy agreement for a short period, so the new end date is after the end of the emergency period and you can issue the 30-day notice. This option is only available if the tenant agrees to the shorter fixed-term.

Fixed-term agreements ending after 28 March 2021

If the fixed-term agreement ends after the emergency period, a landlord or tenant can issue the other with a notice of termination at least 30 days before the end of the agreement. You can issue this notice during the emergency period, provided the agreement's expiry date is after 28 March 2021. If the fixed-term agreement is due to end soon after the end of the emergency period, you may choose the in-person or email delivery options to ensure you meet the service delivery requirements. Visit our using rental notices page for more information.

If a periodic agreement is in place

If there is a periodic agreement in place, you can issue a 60-day notice of termination of the tenancy during the emergency period, for a date after the emergency period.

Which form do I use to give notice of termination?

Landlords should continue to use the Form 1C to terminate either a fixed-term or periodic agreement, even if the notice is to be given during the emergency period.

What if the tenant does not vacate the premises?

If a tenant does not vacate the premises under a notice of termination, landlords can apply to the Magistrates Court to seek an order for possession of the premises. The application must be made within 30 days from the day after the date the tenant was required to vacate.

COVID-19 related debt and tenancy databases

A landlord cannot add a tenant's personal information to a residential tenancy database in relation to any rental arrears during the emergency period, being 30 March 2020 to 28 March 2021, due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19.

Sample scenario

Larry the landlord had a fixed-term tenancy agreement with Tina the tenant. The fixed-term agreement expires on 1 March 2021, before the end of the emergency period.

Larry can either allow the fixed-term agreement to roll over into a periodic agreement on 2 March 2021 and issue Tina with a 60-day notice of termination on that same day. This means the tenancy will end and the tenant must vacate on 2 May 2021.

Alternatively, Larry could negotiate a one month lease extension with Tina, making 1 April 2021 the new expiry date of the agreement. Larry can issue a 30-day termination notice on 1 March 2021, meaning the tenant now must vacate the premises on 2 April 2021.

Consumer Protection
Fact sheet
Last updated 29 Mar 2021

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