The legality of getting out of a lease is a common concern for tenants and landlords alike. Most landlords have to abide by the rule of a one-year lease in Ontario, which is more of an agreement between the tenant and the landlord than some iron-clad document it is often perceived as. So they are more flexible and subject to changes than you might think.
Terminating a lease before the period stipulated therein can indeed be pretty nerve-wracking, especially for first-time renters. But an educated and informed perspective about the various legal issues and laws that the lease is bound by is all it takes to realize how much easier it can be.
In this article, the specialists from Surex have conveyed thoughts on how to get out of a lease in Ontario.
When can you do it?
Usually, when a tenant has a tenancy agreement or lease where they agreed to rent a unit for a specific period, they cannot break the lease until it ends. However, there may be an exception provided that:-
- The landlord agrees with breaking the lease.
- The landlord agrees to assign the unit to another tenant
- File to end your lease immediately if the landlord doesn’t respond within seven days of asking to have your lease passed on or assigned.
- Get the Landlord and Tenant Board to issue an order to end the agreement early since the landlord has not upheld their obligations under the act.
Apart from the legal issues and personal reasons for ending the lease early, you might also want to leave if it is no longer possible to continue living in the unit for various reasons such as:-
- The location and incidents have posed a threat to your life and safety.
- Living conditions are poor because the landlord refuses to do repairs.
- Your landlord is harassing you.
The above cases and any similar cases are a direct claim towards the landlord for not fulfilling the requirements on their end of the agreement, and you can file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to break your lease early.
If your landlord does not meet the requirements of the lease, then you can end it early by right. However, to make this happen, you need to understand the specifics and have an idea about the requirements of ending a lease before its due date.
Lease termination for landlords
Termination of the lease is not only for tenants and is subjected to landlords as well. Tenants that have caused property damage or have been a source of disturbance for other tenants are liable for an eviction notice of 20 days.
Landlords must also give tenants a notice of 60 days in advance if they or a family member wishes to move in. Similarly, if the landlord decides to convert the rental property into another building or wants the unit emptied for repairs, a notice of 120 days is required.
A good landlord that understands how easy it can be to break a lease may be more accommodating. Also, if you offer to assist your landlord in helping to find a new tenant to pass on the lease to, you can increase your chances of getting to end your lease early.
Assignment of tenancy
A tenant might wonder “how to get out of a lease Ontario?” However, the landlord might not wish for the same. In such cases, the tenant can ask the landlord to let them transfer the tenancy. In short, the tenant can ask to transfer the right to occupy the rental unit to another person or tenant. It is called the assignment of the tenancy.
It means that all the rights and obligations of the previous tenant shall be transferred to the new one. The new tenant will now be bound to fulfill all leasing conditions and the payment of rent. However, before all this, the previous tenant first requires the landlord’s approval through a written request.
In case of an agreement
If the landlord agrees to the conditions of the assignment and is willing to rent the unit out to another person? Here, the tenant can look for someone to assign the lease to and ask the landlord for their approval. The landlord has the right not to accept the person recommended by the existing tenant as the new tenant, but they must have a good reason to do so.
The landlord can also charge the tenant for the costs that went into assigning a new tenant, such as running a credit check on the person. But a landlord cannot overcharge a tenant more than what the actual costs are.
In case of refusal
How to get out of a lease Ontario if the landlord refuses to let the tenant assign the unit, or does not respond within seven days of the request to assign? They can directly end their tenancy. A tenant can do so by submitting a Tenant’s Notice to Terminate the Tenancy (N9) to the landlord within 30 days of when the original request was made.
Suppose there is any disagreement between the tenant and the landlord over refusing to accept the person the tenant wishes to assign the unit to or having a discourse over the costs spent. In that case, they can reach the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to resolve the matter.
We hope you now have the answer to “how to get out of a rental lease Ontario?” It can be uncomfortable for many tenants and may not be perceived favourably by landlords to break a lease before the due date. The main reason behind this can be the inexperience and ignorance of the process.
However, if you’re a tenant, various laws and regulations work more in your favour and protect the tenants’ rights, whether you are an existing one or an upcoming one.
Can landlords keep the security deposits for breaking the lease?
No, landlords cannot collect a damage deposit for breaking the lease, nor can they use previous rents to pay for damages, if any.
Is early notice required for lease termination?
Tenants that have a daily or weekly tenancy have to give their landlords’ notice at least 28 days before the lease ending date. In all other cases, this duration is 30 days, which may vary depending on the frequency of your renting.