A fixed-term tenancy only lasts for the set amount of time on the tenancy agreement. It can be renewed or extended if the landlord and tenant agree.

COVID-19 legislation changes for fixed-term tenancies

Fixed-term tenancy terminations affected by COVID-19

Between 26 March and 25 June 2020, landlords were not able to terminate tenancies under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act. This includes fixed-term tenancies that ended during that period.

After 25 June 2020, landlords can give notice to not continue a tenancy at the end of the fixed term. It is important to note that the fixed-term tenancy may have converted to a periodic tenancy. This will have happened if:

  • the landlord was not able to give notice (due to the COVID-19 legislation) between 90 and 21 days before the end date of the fixed-term tenancy and
  • the tenant did not give notice to end the fixed-term tenancy, or
  • the tenant did not renew the fixed-term tenancy.

Ending a fixed-term tenancy that has converted to a periodic tenancy

For landlords

If a fixed-term tenancy has converted to a periodic tenancy, after 25 June 2020, landlords can give notice for it to end. In a standard residential tenancy, landlords are generally required to give a minimum of 90 days’ notice to end a tenancy without requiring a reason. For example, if the notice was served personally on 26 June, it would take effect on 24 September 2020.

For tenants

Tenants can give notice to end their periodic tenancy as normal by giving at least 21 days’ notice.

Different notice periods apply for different types of tenancies. See our online tool to find out more.

At this time, we encourage landlords and tenants to talk to each other, work together and take care of each other wherever possible. Try to come to an arrangement that suits everyone.

If a landlord gave notice before 26 March 2020

If a landlord gave notice to end a fixed-term tenancy before 26 March 2020 (when the COVID-19 legislation took effect), that notice is no longer valid, unless both the landlord and tenant agree otherwise. After 26 June 2020, landlords can issue a new notice to end the tenancy.

Fixed-term tenancies become periodic when they end

If the fixed-term is for longer than 90 days, the tenancy will automatically become a periodic tenancy when it ends. If the landlord or the tenant doesn’t want this to happen they need to give notice saying this. This notice must be given between 90 and 21 days before the end of the fixed term.

How to serve notices
Download a notice template

Renew or extend a fixed-term tenancy

If both landlord and tenant agree, they can renew or extend the tenancy for a further fixed term. This agreement has to be in writing and signed by both parties. A landlord does not have to renew or extend a fixed-term tenancy.

Sometimes the tenancy agreement says the tenant has the right to renew the fixed-term tenancy. In this case, if the tenant wants to renew they must tell the landlord in writing. They must do this at least 21 days before the end of the fixed term. The tenancy is then renewed for the same length of time as the original fixed term.

Ending a fixed-term early

A landlord or tenant cannot give notice to end a fixed-term tenancy early. They should both be very sure they want a fixed-term before signing the tenancy agreement.

Options for ending a fixed-term early

Short fixed-term tenancies

A fixed-term tenancy of 90 days or less is called a short fixed-term tenancy. If a short fixed-term tenancy comes to an end, it doesn’t automatically become a periodic tenancy. The tenancy will end and the tenant has to move out, unless they come to an agreement with the landlord.

If the tenant stays at the property for more than 90 days after the tenancy ends, it means that the landlord has given them a new periodic tenancy. This may not apply if the tenant has already made an agreement with the landlord.

About short fixed-term tenancies

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