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Can tenants break their lease too easily?

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Canadian Realestate Magazine | 16 Dec 2014, 09:30 AM Agree 0
Most landlords get their tenants to sign a minimum one-year lease. But what most landlords don’t realize is that these agreements don’t hold much weight. In Ontario, tenants can break their leases with relative ease.
  • Mortgage Delivery Guy | 17 Dec 2014, 12:35 AM Agree 0
    In my opinion, the critical part is to perform due diligence on any potential tenants before making them sign your lease agreement. You can not rely on LTB. That's the truth.
  • Hans | 01 Jan 2015, 02:32 PM Agree 0
    As a landlord my biggest mistake has been in giving the struggling families a chance to improve their lives with a fresh start. Only to find out later that they (Most) only care about themselves and treat my property with disrespect . As a consequence I have become a little more hardened. Helping new tenants now means providing good housing for good people that meet all the proper criteria and no more mister nice guy from me!
  • dcw | 17 Jan 2015, 12:02 PM Agree 0
    I totally agree with the first comment. Do your homework and get a good tenant. The lions share of 'rights' obviously lies with them. That is why precious little rental stock has been built in the last 40 years which in the end doesnt benefit tenants
  • John | 22 Jan 2015, 07:06 PM Agree 0
    The LTB is a joke. This socialist way of limiting landlords makes no sense in our market.
  • Troy Thompson | 01 Feb 2015, 10:10 AM Agree 0
    Due diligence is obviously critical in selecting tenants and anyone that does not have a thorough screening system is bound to have headaches eventually. Having been a reader/investor for years one thing that I think that gets neglected is the skill of assessing applicants beyond the paperwork. My fulltime job is in clinical healthcare and we are constantly conducting assessments on clients. I think that skill has served me well within our real estate portfolio as we are able to notice small interpersonal issues that may arise. For example, we once had an applicant arrive for a showing - she and her partner had well-paying jobs, solid credit, etc but my "interpersonal alarm bell" or "red flag gut instinct" was going off. When they were perusing the home I looked outside and saw that they had left two very young children in their van with the door open. I am certainly not judging that choice but it did leave me thinking "how responsible is this couple?", and we opted to select another candidate. So all that being said, homework and due diligence remain essential, but you also need to develop and trust a "spidey sense" when evaluating tenant candidates.
  • Jon | 20 Feb 2015, 09:27 AM Agree 0
    In addition to a landlord's refusal to allow the tenant to assign tenancy, the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board also may allow a tenant to break their lease for the following reasons.

    If the Landlord:

    • unreasonably withholds consent to assign or sublet the rental unit,

    • is not maintaining the rental property,

    • unlawfully enters the rental unit,

    • alters the locking system without giving the tenant replacement keys,

    • withholds or deliberately interferes with a vital service,

    • interferes with the tenant’s reasonable enjoyment of the rental property, or

    • harasses the tenant.

    If the tenant applies, they would have to prove to the Board that ending the tenancy is a reasonable remedy.

    Sadly many feel the Landlord Tenant Board is very biased against landlords and even if the reasons to terminate tenancy are not valid, the adjudicators will likely side with the tenants. Many Ontario landlords now simply rent month to month as a one year lease offers little protection to them. In fact a paralegal has stated one year leases can make an eviction even more difficult for landlords to obtain.

  • kevin | 10 Jan 2016, 08:46 PM Agree 0
    I'm looking to brake my lease and l know how to do this ,I would love to stay but when the landlord is just a cheap ass and tells me to update his own house cuz I'm living here not ,if I break something or want something above the normal I would be glad to pay for it
    landlord 95 %of them are cheap slum lords and if they walk out on your lease then think what you (landlords) done wrong
  • sergerybrin | 11 Jan 2016, 01:14 AM Agree 0
    Most of the tenants sign the lease agreement but don't apply laws for this.According to laws,a tenant cannot break lease easily.Landlord must have to aware form those type of tenants and try to get good tenant for your apartment.
  • lilly | 12 Jan 2016, 07:58 PM Agree 0
    I am having the problem where, my boyfriend works nights and most times i am alone at night with our 16 month old daughter. There has been so many times where I have done things that the super attendants should be doing, but they refuse to. I have swept and cleaned hallways, i have shovelled snow around the garbage bin where it was not in my lease that i had too, and they just expect it of me. My daughters light in her room went out and it wasn't a bulb, it took him a month before he finally got his ass over to fix it, took them almost two months to fix our bathroom door that was broken before we moved in and he said he'd have it done before we were living there and it didn't happen. All while every time we see them we remind them and they go "oh ya next weekend" and then nothing. Last night a guy came into our apartment (there are six units) he was drunk, screaming and yelling, banging on the walls and on doors and they didn't do anything. didn't come out, didn't call the police. I called the police because it was 12 at night and i could not sleep and did not feel save with this man out in the hall. Then he goes into his unit puts bacon on the stove and passes out. The fire alarm in his unit was going off and no one in the fregin place woke up, or went to see what happened. I once again finally called the cops and once the fire fighters got here they had to break down his door and there was smoke EVERYWHERE, the apartment could of burnt down. It pisses me off they do nothing, the whole time this happened they were either sleeping or just in there apartment. Considering i heard all of this on the other side of the building you cannot tell me they didn't hear it while it was happening in their hallway and outside their door. The fact that something could of happened to my daughter or my pets and they didn't do anything...if i hadn't of called the whole side of our building could be gone right now and that guy would of died from the smoke. Living here stresses me out beyond the max, we have five months left but i cannot wait that long and not after the scare of last night, i don't even feel safe here anymore unless i'm on guard 24/7 cause no one else here does anything. I don't know if this is just enough cause to end my lease or not, but if not I'm almost willing to just take the heat and leave.
    • EFH | 24 Jan 2016, 08:47 PM Agree 0
      As the article says, you can assign your lease to someone else to take over for the lease. If the landlord accepts, you can get out of they lease. If they refuse your assignee, your lease is then released from you. If they dont answer within 7 days of your notice for subletting, you can break the lease. Please, as a tenant you MUST read the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17 T
      There is no excuse these days to be unaware of your rights. Take ownership of your circumstances and be empowered.
  • LifeIsntConstant | 26 Jan 2016, 10:48 AM Agree 0
    The problem with year long leases is that even responsible people's lives change. My job moved me from out west to east. I had to break my lease, I felt terrible but the commute from Calgary to Peterborough just isn't feasible. Now I feel guilt again because I happened to find a house that is perfect but my lease isn't up for 6 months. I feel like trapping people into an apartment is rather archaic. I get it that piece of mind is nice to have and re-posting is difficult but the reality is people's lives change. People get married, divorced, have kids, new jobs or transfers and dealing with these things is hard enough without worrying about paying X months of rent on top of it.
    • Michael | 01 Mar 2016, 10:23 PM Agree 0
      How would you feel if you moved out West for your new job, and after 3 months into your two year contract, you got let go, because even in business things change. Is this fair to you? You have bills to pay! do landlords. What is the point of having a lease if it is meaningless.

      Should a landlord be able to kick you out because his brother lost his job and needs a place to stay? No, because he signed a lease with you. THAT'S WHAT LEASES ARE FOR!!!!!!!
  • sara | 05 Feb 2016, 10:23 AM Agree 0

    I moved in to my place where I rent and I signed a one year lease on October 30 2015 there have been a lot of problems in this place and my husband and I wrote down everything that needed to be fixed down the first day we moved in, it is now February 5th 2016 and not one thing has been fixed or even talked about since we handed the request to have this stuff fixed, what can I do to get this fixed? or am I able to break my lease?

  • Jordan | 28 Feb 2016, 03:18 PM Agree 0
    We asked out landlord if we could break our 10 month lease on our basement suite and he acknowledged that he has a new lease with a new tenant who has also paid a damage deposit, does this mean we still have to assign our remaining 10 month lease to his new tenant? Does this mean we are still liable for our remaining 10 month lease even if the new tenant moves out within the next 10 months? Does the Landlord have the right to hold out damage deposit until our original lease is up in 10 months?
    Help we are newbies and struggling students but want to do the right thing.

    Thank you
  • | 21 Jul 2016, 04:20 PM Agree 0
    If you thought you might suddenly need your property, you shouldn't have allowed someone else to live there. And no, you can't say the same thing for tenants because people having a place to live is far more important than renting being your source of income and typically tenants have no other option. Being a landlord is your only source of income? Then be aware of and prepared to deal with the laws associated with that.
  • Kathleen | 04 Sep 2016, 08:51 PM Agree 0
    I welcome anyone's professional advice.
    I co-signed a lease with my sister and we just moved in Aug 27th. She did a runner in Tuesday Aug 30th and said good luck paying all the bills. I informed the property manager even prior to her leaving that she was planning this.
    They keep telling me, I will be ok.
    This whole situation is just ruined and I want out. I am advertising the apt with the incentive of 6 weeks free rent; not many takers.
    I want to be as honest as I can, I can't afford the unit on my own.
    I am prepared to take my lumps, but I refuse to be responsible for my sister's share.
    How bad is my situation?
  • Scott | 05 Sep 2016, 10:14 AM Agree 0
    @ Kathleen, it doesn't appear very good.

    I am not a lawyer and these are my personal opinions and thoughts. Bear in mind, I only have your side of the story.

    I have a couple of suggestions. Visit the local university if it has a

    legal faculty and see if they have a free clinic. Explain the situation and ask what you can/should do.
    Some provinces also have a residential tenancies branch (nuts, this isn't the right agency...) That you can discuss the situation with. The RTB is more for tenants and landlords but they should be able to refer you to a resource that can help you.

    Is this month, September, paid for? If so, you have the month to figure this out. If the rent is 100% due this week and you only have your 50% share available, pay your share *in full and on time* and give the landlord your sister's contact information. She signed the contract, it's *HER* responsibility to come up with her share. That said, I have a sinking feeling that if she can't be found or refuses to pay, you may have to pay 100% of the rent, at least til you find a roommate or get a different opinion from a lawyer.
  • RW | 04 Nov 2016, 09:00 AM Agree 0
    My ex and I decided to part ways about 1.5 months into our 1 year lease. We are trying to find subletters or "assignees" but it seems to be a pain. I thought companies understood generally when this type of thing happens
  • | 22 Mar 2017, 04:43 PM Agree 0
    I am an ideal tenant. Single, middle-aged, female college professor, with phenomenal references checked thoroughly by the landlords/owners of the flat I currently rent in their turn-of the century home in Hamilton.

    Sadly, because I was in a rush to rent last fall, I did not check the landlord references. For this, I am now paying. The house has no insulation between my second floor and the tenant who caused me grief by creating a great deal of noise, although mostly before 11pm. I have suffered undue stress exacerbating a preexisting medical condition and have secured documentation from a therapist and an MD, should I require it for moving out early.

    The landlords have not "intervened" in stopping the noise upstairs in fear of the tenant, who had threatened to do damage to their property, nor have they called the police to report the threat, preferring to "throw me to the wolves" as they perceived a vulnerable, albeit responsible tenant. The noisy tenant has moved recently, but I have been told that there are no guarantees that the new tenant will respect the need for quiet in a non-insulated floor/ceiling shared by our flats.

    I am currently experiencing some medical issues and simply do not have the psychological nor physical strength to look for a place and move, yet the landlords are not in agreement to allow me to break the lease under the circumstances.

    Friends have suggested getting legal assistance, but few lawyers will deal with what fall under the jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal - ie. it simply won't pay them enough to get involved.

    I feel that I am between a rock and a hard place. Can anyone offer any constructive advice which does not include the L & T Board, with which I am familiar.
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