Guide for Tenants Breaking Lease Early in Ontario
The legality of breaking a lease is a common concern among tenants. Ending a lease early in Ontario can be one of the most nerve-wracking things a renter can do, especially if it’s your first time renting.
If you’re a tenant thinking of breaking a lease in Ontario, this article will give you some guidance on your rights and responsibilities.
Most renters and landlords don’t want to break a lease in Ontario, but this can be done more easily than one might think. One of the key elements of breaking a lease in Ontario is to educate and inform yourself about the legalities.
As a general rule, most landlords require a one-year lease in Ontario. In broad terms, this lease is an agreement between the tenant and landlord that sets the term of rental.
However, if a tenant is determined to break a lease early in Ontario, they are much more empowered than they might think. These leases aren’t the ironclad documents that they are sometimes viewed as. In a sense, these leases are often more accurately considered to be agreements than legally enforceable contracts. They are subject to several conditions which make them flexible. By extension, ending a lease early in Ontario is a fairly straightforward task. Landlords can be sensitive to tenants breaking leases, but that’s understandable.
Tenant Breaking a Lease in Ontario: What the Residential Tenancies Act Says
The Residential Tenancies Act is the law governing rental properties in Ontario. If you’re thinking of breaking your lease in Ontario, you should read it to understand the applicable law. It’s a fairly dense document, but most of it is laid out in plain English. Any landlord or tenant should educate themselves by reading this document, whether they plan on getting out of a lease in Ontario or not. There is a section describing under what situations a tenant can break a lease in Ontario.
Getting Out of a Lease in Ontario: When Can You Do It?
Basically, you can break your lease when the landlord doesn’t uphold the requirements of the lease or the landlord accepts you passing your rental off to someone else. You can also break your lease early when the landlord accepts, but that’s more straightforward than some of the other situations surrounding ending a lease early in Ontario. If your landlord agrees to let you break your lease, you simply do so. This is one of the reasons that you should at least consider talking to your landlord if you’re wondering how to break a lease in Ontario. A landlord familiar with how easy it is to break a lease early in Ontario might be accommodating. If your landlord isn’t receptive, you have other options for breaking a lease in Ontario.
One fact about ending a lease early in Ontario is that if you apply to have your lease passed on to someone else, your landlord has to respond. If they don’t respond within 7 days, you can file to end your lease immediately. This is another example of a surprisingly powerful tenant situation. If your landlord is ignorant of their responsibilities, you can take advantage of your new knowledge to help to end your lease early.
If your landlord doesn’t uphold the requirements of the lease, you also have a lot of power to end it early. The Residential Tenancies Act is a good guide to understanding what those requirements are. Basically, the landlord needs to make sure the rental abides by building health, and housing standards. Some of the requirements of the landlord are subject to the lease you’ve signed, so make sure you understand the specifics of the lease before you approach this type of lease ending situation.
Landlord’s Perspective on Ending a Lease Early in Ontario
Now that you know a bit more about your rights as a tenant, it might be worth considering communicating with your landlord before breaking your lease in Ontario. A good landlord might be willing to accommodate your situation. After all, landlords want good, long-term renters in their properties. If you assist the landlord in finding a replacement tenant that meets their rental requirements, you’re much more likely to be able to end your lease early. This approach should be tempered by your relationship with your landlord. If they’ve been accommodating in the past, they might be more likely to allow you to end your lease early.
If you look at the situation from the perspective of the landlord, this approach makes even more sense. Since landlords are interested in the rental unit being filled with a paying tenant, they should be open to you breaking your lease by finding a replacement tenant.
It’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act because there’s no guarantee that your landlord is familiar with the legislation. In fact, inexperienced landlords might be surprised about how easy it is to end a lease early in Ontario.
By choosing to be informed, you’re in a much better position to understand what it takes to get out of a lease early in Ontario. If you’re renting in another province, make sure to review the relevant information about breaking your lease.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can landlords keep security deposits for breaking lease Ontario?
Landlords cannot collect a damage deposit, or use your last month’s rent to pay for damages. They also cannot use your last month's rent to cover damages.
How much notice is required to terminate a lease in Ontario?
If you plan on ending your lease without breaking it as outlined above, you need to give your landlord 30 days’ notice before the end of your term. Your term length depends on whether you rent monthly or annually.
Can a landlord have a ‘no pets’ stipulation in your lease?
No. The Residential Tenancies Act outlines that any lease that includes a no pets clause is void and unenforceable.