1 Comments Commercial law, litigation, contracts, IP, property law
Sadly the agent is not wrong - residential tenancy usually requires the tenant to peacefully vacate the premises at the end of the lease which includes returning all the keys. Your action amount to abandonment of the lease premises. See http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/rtaraa2008420/s355.html
What I recommend:
1. do not admit in writing or verbally that you owe anything or you do anything wrong - this weakens your situation.
2. Your options (from amicable to more adversial):
a. communicate with the agent:
- telephone (do not leave this in writing) that you do not admit to any fault, but wish to pay a reasonable sum to settle this;
- if this is agreed, document the arrangement in a deed of settlement;
- how much is this settlement sum? - presumably the cost to have a locksmith to enter, any issues in the property that require addressing, 1 month rent + period of rent till a new tenant is found;
- the landlord wishes to resolve this too so there may be some leeways in negotiations.
- pro: matter is resolved definitely.
b. adverbial - ignore the agent's communication
- until a tribunal order or a judgment is made against you you are not liable for any alleged debt;
- the landlord is required by law to mitigate damage - in other words the landlord has to do all that is reasonable to find a new tenant;
- if you are interstate and not contactable it may make making a claim more difficult for the landlord;
- your tenancy record will be negative if this is not resolved however;
- pro: not need to pay unless a claim is sucessfully made against you con: matter is not resolved until the limitation of the claim (6-8 years).
Consider seeking a lawyer to assist.