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Landlord ending a tenancy

Where there is a breach by the tenant

A landlord can seek to end either a fixed term tenancy or a periodic tenancy if the tenant breaches the agreement [s 80].

The tenant may apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal(SACAT) to have a tenancy reinstated if the breach has been rectified or if the tenant does not believe that s/he has breached the agreement.

See also Breach of tenancy.

Where there is no breach by the tenant

Fixed tenancies

A tenant who has a tenancy for a fixed term has the advantage of secure tenure of the premises for the period of the term. The tenant can generally only be required to leave before the end of the term if they have breached a term of the lease.

Undue hardship

However, a landlord can apply to the Tribunal to end an agreement if the continuation of the residential tenancy agreement would result in undue hardship [Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 89]. The Tribunal may also make an order compensating the tenant for loss and inconvenience resulting, or likely to result, from the early termination of the tenancy.

Periodic tenancies - No reason

A landlord can end a periodic tenancy where there has been no breach without the need for giving a reason. At least 90 days notice (using Form 3) must be given [Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) ss 83(1),(3)]. This does not apply to a fixed term tenancy or to premises subject to a housing improvement notice.

Periodic tenancies - With reason

There are certain specific situations where a landlord can end a periodic tenancy (but not a fixed term tenancy) by giving only 60 days notice (using Form 3):

  • if the landlord requires possession of the premises because they are about to be demolished, or are to be substantially renovated; or,
  • so that the landlord or a member of the landlord's immediate family (e.g. spouse, child or parent) can live there; or,
  • to give vacant possession to a purchaser of the premises with whom the landlord has entered into a contract.

See Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) ss 81(1),(2). A landlord who recovers possession under the above circumstances must not grant a fresh tenancy without the Tribunal’s consent within six months of recovering possession.

If the landlord gives 60 or 90 days notice and the tenant decides to leave before the set date, the tenant must give at least twenty one days notice in writing of that intention to the landlord [s 86].

Order for vacant possession

If a landlord terminates an agreement and the tenant does not leave as required the landlord cannot evict the tenant but can apply to the Tribunal for an order of vacant possession of the premises [Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 93]. If the Tribunal grants the order it is enforced by a bailiff as soon as possible [s 99].

Landlord ending a tenancy  :  Last Revised: Mon Jan 20th 2020
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.