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Ask the RTA

Autumn 2017

One of my house mates, who is a co-tenant on the tenancy agreement, has moved out and left us (the other tenant and me) to pay his share of the rent. What can we do about the situation as neither of us can afford to pay the extra rent?

Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act), all tenants named on the tenancy agreement are under legal obligation to pay the rent. If one tenant moves out, the same amount of rent still needs to be paid. Although the RTA offers a dispute resolution service, we do not conciliate between co-tenants. It is best to talk directly with the tenant who has left and also talk to the property manager/owner about options.

If agreement is not reached, it is up to the remaining tenants to seek financial compensation from the tenant who has moved out, or find a replacement tenant. If the remaining tenants want to end the tenancy, there are time frames to give notice and, if you end a fixed term agreement early (break lease), the property manager/owner may seek compensation.

It is important to resolve this matter urgently to avoid falling behind in rent, which would be a breach of the tenancy agreement. If this occurs, the property manager may issue a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) giving you 7 days to pay the rent. Failing to rectify the breach may result in a Notice to leave (Form 12) being issued. If you want to end the tenancy on the grounds of excessive hardship, you can apply directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). It would be up to you to prove excessive hardship.

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