Communication During Notice Period Negotiations Highlighted in Tribunal Case

June 2024

Read Time: 3 Minutes

In a recent Tenancy Tribunal case a tenant has been ordered to pay two weeks' extra rent as the conditions for a two-week notice period had not been met. The case highlights the importance of communication during tenancy notice period negotiations. 

The case, brought to Tribunal in February, looked into whether an agreement was reached between the tenant and landlord regarding the notice period for ending the tenancy. While the tenant believed she could provide two weeks' notice, and the landlord seemed to initially agree, the landlord later asked for an additional two weeks' rent. The Tribunal agreed four weeks’ rent was required.

A Breakdown of Communication 

It was established that the tenant had given the landlord two weeks’ notice terminating the tenancy. At the time, the landlord had replied that four weeks’ notice was standard “but happy to try and fill the flat within that period if you are happy with that.” The tenant interpreted the landlord’s reply to mean that he agreed to her giving two weeks’ notice to end the tenancy. 

Subsequently, the tenant only paid two weeks' rent under the tenancy termination notice she had given and refused to pay four weeks' rent, saying she was not liable for the extra two weeks' rent due to the agreement. However, the landlord argued that as they had not found a replacement tenant in time, she was required to pay the extra two weeks' rent.

Tribunal Findings 

The Tribunal found that although the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) requires tenants to give four weeks' rent it is possible for a landlord to waive this right voluntarily and agree to only two weeks' rent. However, in this instance the Tribunal found the wording of the landlord's response amounted to an agreement to accept two weeks’ notice conditional on the landlord finding replacement tenants who could move in before or at the end of the two weeks. As the landlord could not find tenants in that timeframe the original tenant was liable to pay two extra weeks’ rent. 

What Can We Learn from This Case? 

This case shows that clear communication on both sides is imperative when negotiating a notice period outside the RTA.  

Read the full case and find out more about the RTA.

Other Interesting Tenancy Tribunal Cases 

At Crockers, our property managers keep a keen eye on Tenancy Tribunal cases and how the law is being interpreted. 

Read our write ups of these recent interesting cases: Landlord’s Place of Residence Exclusion Not Applicable in Tenancy Tribunal Case, Tenant Refunded Almost $60,000 After Illegal Tenancy and Landlords Fined Following Invalid Termination Notices. 

If you’d like some further advice on renting out your property contact our Property Management team on or call for a chat on 09 623 5952.


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