Darwin Community Legal Service

Breach notices

A breach notice is a legal document that lets the other person know that they are in breach of the law and your tenancy agreement. By giving your landlord or real estate agent a breach notice, you are giving them a final opportunity to correct whatever problem they have failed to do

How can a breach notice help me?

Giving your landlord or real estate agent a breach notice can be a useful way to get them to do something you have been asking them to do. Please read the following document that will help explain the breach notice form to you: Breach Notice Explained

What do I write in the breach notice?

When giving someone a breach notice, you must first clearly state what the problem is that the landlord or real estate agent is in breach of. You must then write a date, that is no less than 8 days, by which time the agent or landlord must to resolve the breach. If they fail to do so, you may make an application to the NTCAT to have the matter resolved within 14 days from the date you have written (see Going to NTCAT for more information) The relevant breach notice is Form 4B which is available here.

NOTE: it is important that you read the relevant factsheet or obtaining information BEFORE sending a breach notice.

In what circumstances can I send a breach notice?

Below are 3 common examples of when a breach notice may be used. Please note, that these examples are only a guide and are not to be used instead of legal advice.

  1. Repairs: Suzie has been asking the real estate agent for months to repair the air conditioner. A number of tradesmen have come to look at it, but no one has fixed the problem.Suzie keeps asking the real estate agent when it will be fixed but they avoid her questions and give unhelpful responses.A broken air conditioner is considered an ordinary repair under the law. Therefore, if the air conditioner has not been fixed within 21 days of when Suzie first notified the agent, she can send a breach notice.In that breach notice Suzie needs to give the agent 8 days by which the air conditioner needs to be fixed. If the air conditioner is still not working, Suzie can apply to NTCAT for an order for the repairs to be made and possible compensation. NOTE: it is important for Suzie to tell the agent about the repair in writing. That way she can provide this as evidence at the NTCAT that the agent knew about the air conditioner not working.
  2. Security Concerns: Jamila has been worried about the broken security screen at her back door. The lock has broken, and someone could easily force the door open. She has asked her landlord to fix it but so far nothing has been done. Last week her next-door neighbour was broken into and Jamila is worried she will be next.The landlord needs to take reasonable steps to maintain the locks and ensure Jamila’s property is reasonably secure. Jamila can send the landlord a breach notice to make sure the landlord does something about the broken lock and security door.If the landlord does nothing within the date specified in that breach notice, Jamila can go to the NTCAT for an order that the door and lock be fixed.
  3. Access and Privacy: Robin’s landlord often comes onto the property unannounced. When Robin asked the landlord to please stop, the landlord replied, “it’s my property, I’ll do whatever please”. Robin feels he has no privacy and cannot relax at home for fear the landlord might show up at any moment.Robin has a right to peace and quiet enjoyment of the property, without interference from the landlord. The landlord may only enter the property for specific reasons, such as collecting rent, and must obtain Robin’s permission before entering.Robin can issue the landlord a breach notice to stop the landlord from coming on to the property without Robin’s permission.

 

Darwin Community Legal Service 2018: Non-profit community groups have permission to reproduce parts of this publication as long as the original meaning is retained and proper credit is given to DCLS, as the publisher.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is a guide to the law in the Northern Territory. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your particular legal issue. The information contained in this factsheet is current as at October 2018.