How Can a Tenant End a Lease

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 20 May 2015 01:05

Renting a property, like every other way of living, has its pros and cons. Generally it is convenient for those who work or study away from their homes or those who simply want to move out of their parents’ house.

Normally, a person ends a tenancy when the rental period is over. However, there are occasions in which you have the right to end a lease earlier. This can be due to many reasons – relocating earlier than expected, having problems with the landlord or with the rented property, etc. Regardless of the situation, a tenant should always discuss such matters with his landlord before taking action or else he may face legal penalties.

Make sure to follow the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) rules for ending your current tenancy to ensure full compliance with the current legislation. When you want to move out, you need to provide your landlord with a written, signed notice in which you must indicate the address of the rental unit and when you plan to move out.

This notice should be given to your landlord at least one full month before end of of your lease. Your end of tenancy notice must be provided on the day of the final rental payment, in order to be effective on exactly one month after that. Keep in mind that if you've signed a fixed term tenancy agreement, the notice cannot take effect before its end. In some cases, when a tenancy agreement requires you to vacate the property at the end of the fixed term, there's no need to give a notice to your landlord, as you'll be obliged to move out in any case.

How Do You Notify Your Landlord of the Move?

You have to legally serve the end of tenancy note to the landlord, which can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can either hand the notice to the landlord, his agent or the building manager. Presenting the notice in person rather than sending it via mail or email is recommended. Consider giving the document in the presence of a witness to ensure no disputes over whether or not you've actually given it. Keep in mind that the notice is legally served the moment you've handed it over.

What Should You Do if You Can't Find the Landlord to Serve the Notice?

Image the following scenario. You've prepared your end of lease notice but the landlord is nowhere to be found - he doesn't pick up the phone, doesn't answer your voice mail, etc. What can you do in such cases? If you're unable to find the landlord and serve the notice in person, there are several things you can do:

  • You may serve the notice to an adult who lives with the landlord.
  • The notice can be handed to an agent of the landlord.
  • You can attach the notice to your landlord's front door. According the current legislation, your notice is legally served three days after it's been attached to the landlord's door. This means that if you plan to move out on August 31st, the notice must be attached to the landlord's door on July 27th.
  • You can mail the notice (which will be deemed legally served in five days after sending it. Consider sending the notice by registered mail, as you may use the receipt as prove afterwards.

Once you've managed to send and serve the documents, make sure to record the date, time and method of service. Also list the name of the person, who served the notice, if mail, as well as the address to which it was sent.

Issues with the Landlord and the Rented Property

If a landlord is not diligent and he does not follow his responsibilities you should discuss this matter with him before seeking legal help and advice. In many cases a landlord will simply agree to break your lease so that you can end your tenancy earlier. Make sure to get written mutual agreements to prevent legal disputes.

 Unfortunately, there are occasions in which your landlord will not be willing to cooperate. If this is the case, you have the right to discuss the matter with the Landlord and Tenant Board – the institution that can resolve tenancy related disputes. You basically have to prove to the LTB that your landlord has violated the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). If you want to resolve the issue by moving out of the property earlier than your contract states, you also need to prove that this is the most appropriate way to solve the problem.

You Need to Move Out of the Rented Home Earlier

Moving out of a rented property than expected is a common situation. It can be due to relocating because of a new job, moving out with a loved one, etc. Again, you should prompt your landlord that you want to end the lease earlier. If he is reluctant to let you go you have a few options to consider:

  • Finding a new tenant to replace you – You have the right to suggest a new tenant for the remaining time of the contract. If your landlord agrees, get his approval in writing.

  • Subletting the property - Subletting your rented home means moving out for a period of time and letting someone else live there until you return. Keep in mind that you will still be the official tenant and you will be responsible for the rent and the lease.

Whatever your reasons are, you should always look for a mutually acceptable way to end a lease. Make sure to also take care of the end of tenancy cleaning before you leave the rented property. Many landlords in London consider this a must and they will not return your safety deposit unless you have cleaned their property thoroughly.

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