What You Need to Know About Ending Your Tenancy Early

Ending Your Tenancy Early

For homeowners in Canada, it might be enticing to find the perfect rental property. However, how would you handle the situation if you needed to terminate the tenancy contract earlier than expected?

Well, you might have family emergencies, new career prospects, or even health concerns urging you to terminate the contract early. You should know that it’s not that easy to go for a premature tenancy ending without shelling out penalties. Your landlord should be ready to negotiate, and you need to carry out the necessary paperwork. 

Besides, if you have purchased tenant insurance for a longer term, you would be wondering what you should do with it. Read more as we dig deeper into the nuances of ending tenancy early.

How leases work in Canada

Ending Your Tenancy Early

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Many people in Canada make arrangements to live in rented homes. A typical rent or lease agreement lasts for one year. When you sign the agreement, make sure that the monthly amount of rent, the date of the scheduled payment, and the cost of other services like bills, parking, and storage are accounted for. Besides, the landlord might ask you to deposit a security amount.

After the initial year, most leases work on monthly contracts. This implies that a tenant might not agree to go for another yearly contract. However, if a tenant wishes to stay in the same premises after the lease period, it is imperative to notify the landlord.  

What can happen if you break a lease in Canada?

Ending Your Tenancy Early

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As a tenant, you should be aware that property leases are contracts that require you to commit the payment over a specific period. Therefore, if you fail to provide the notice or break the contract early, you might be liable to pay the rent till the contract ends. 

For instance, if you have signed a lease for one year, agreeing to pay $2500 a month but leave four months before the year ends, you need to pay the remaining $10,000 even if you do not reside in the property. Also, the property owner may forfeit the security deposit.

Legally ending a tenancy early: How to go about it?

Under any condition, you should provide a written notice to the landlord if you are willing to vacate the property early. Here are some provisions under which you can legally terminate your tenancy agreement.

1. Talk out the situation with the landlord

Ending Your Tenancy Early

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If your landlord understands your urgency and agrees to your decision to move out early, you will have an easy way out. However, you need to come up with a good reason to leave the home. 

For instance, you may land a lucrative job in a different city or need to take care of your family residing abroad personally. If the landlord understands enough, you can terminate the contract early. However, you should have a written contract of termination to be on the right side of the law.

2. Sublet the rental property

Sometimes, landlords would allow you to sublet the property to another party, at least for the period till which you had initially agreed to stay in the property. Therefore, you might talk to your landlord and lease the property to another party. 

In case you need to terminate the lease contract early, you need to find a subtenant. While the lease would remain under your name, you can rent the home to the new party. This type of deal would be perfect when you are absent temporarily and have plans to return after a certain period.

While the responsibility of paying the rent would go to the subtenant, you would be liable to collect the same and hand it over to the landlord. Besides, you need to ensure that the lease terms are not violated, and no damage is done to the property. You will need written approval from your landlord if you are interested in subletting your property.

3. Assigning the lease

Ending Your Tenancy Early

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If you are willing to leave the rental property earlier for good, you should use a lease assignment. Therefore, you can assign the lease to another party. They would, in turn, become the tenant and have to shell out the rent to the landlord. 

Moreover, they need to abide by all the norms of the lease agreement. For this, you need to seek permission from the landlord through a written request. Besides, there might be additional formalities involved, depending on the territory or province you reside in.

4. Seek help from the tenant board

At times, you might not be satisfied with the kind of approach the landlord has for tenants. They might not fulfill their legal obligations, ignoring necessary maintenance and repair works. In these cases, it would be wise to get across to the tenant board of your province and pitch for early termination of the agreement.

In this case, you might point out the potential health hazards you are facing due to the owner’s negligence. This might include withholding of essential services, harassment, electrical wiring issues, or water damage. Make sure to furnish photographic evidence when you approach the Landlord and Tenant Board.

5. Victims of domestic or sexual abuse

Ending Your Tenancy Early

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If you happen to be a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, you have the right to terminate the lease early. However, you need to qualify for the shortened period of notice. To qualify, you should have adequate proof of the abuse from someone related or unrelated to your blood. 

In these cases, you need to explain why staying on the premises would not be safe for you. These norms vary slightly from one province to another. In general, the tenant needs to fill up a legal firm and provide a statement on signing to the landlord.

How can you get back the security deposit from the landlord?

The landlord would be entitled to pay back the security deposit when you legally terminate the contract early. However, if a tenant sublets the property to another party, this norm would not be applicable. 

The reason is, if any damage occurs to the property, the landlord would still hold you responsible. In these cases, the landlord would assume that you would return to the property after a certain phase. Therefore, you won’t get back the security deposit.


Remember, tenancy norms might be confusing and depend on the province you are residing in. Therefore, you should have a word with the specialists if you are not sure how to proceed with ending tenancy early. Also, it would be wise to go for tenant insurance that would keep you financially secure. Take care to maintain a written copy of all the communications you make with the landlord. Visit Live Enhanced for more details.

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