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Decisions of Interest: Liability for meth testing after lease break

Can you hold tenants liable for meth testing after a lease break? The Tenancy Tribunal has been inconsistent with their views on this matter. But this Decision of Interest suggests a fair middle ground approach.

Case Background:

In a recent Tenancy Tribunal case, a tenant requested to break their fixed term tenancy early with approximately 3 months remaining. The landlord agreed and after it was completed requested reasonable expenses to be paid including $645.23 for time and travel costs associated with the surrender of the tenancy and acquiring new tenants, $97.75 for advertising costs and $214 for a routine meth testing. The tenant claimed that the meth testing costs should fall to the landlord because was nothing in the tenancy agreement that requires the tenant to pay these costs.

Legal Authorities:

Section 44A allows a landlord to charge reasonable expenses to a tenant after a lease break has occurred if the costs are itemised.


In lease break, the landlord can seek payment for certain costs such as advertising without relying on the tenancy agreement, recovering them as compensation under Section 44A of the RTA.

This is because the landlord incurs these costs earlier than expected due to the early termination.

Although meth testing costs are not truly additional — since they would have been incurred at the end of the tenancy — they are brought forward.

Thus, the landlord faces an accelerated, but not extra, expense.

So, what was the outcome? And what approach does this Tenancy Tribunal Order recommend? 

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