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Giving Notice to Move Out

A tenant who no longer wants to rent their place can end the tenancy in a number of ways.

If a tenant has a lease they can choose to not renew it when it ends. If they rent by the month or the week they can give notice that they are going to move out. In some cases tenants can give immediate notice that they are moving out. As well, a landlord and tenant can agree at any time to end the tenancy. To avoid future disputes, this kind of agreement should be in writing.

Leased Premises

Leased premises are leased to the tenant for a fixed period of time. A lease that is not renewed ends on the date stated in the lease. Generally, tenants cannot decide to end a lease before that date without the landlords' consent.

At the end of the lease, neither the landlord nor the tenant is required to renew the lease. The landlord must tell the tenant, in writing, whether they are willing to renew the lease or not at least two months before the end of the lease. This notice period gives the parties a chance to discuss future plans before the lease ends. The notice of intention must indicate whether or not the landlord is willing to renew the lease and, if so, on what terms.

Tenants who receive notice that the landlord is willing to enter into a new lease have 30 days to accept the offer. If the landlord has not received a tenant's acceptance within 30 days, the offer will be considered as rejected by the tenant. A landlord may withdraw an offer of renewal at any time before it is accepted. The tenant would then be required to move out at the end of the lease.

Victims of Interpersonal Violence

Tenants who are affected by interpersonal violence may be able to end a lease early if the continuation of the tenancy could pose a safety risk. Victims must obtain a certificate from Victims Services which then allows them to end a fixed term tenancy by giving 28 days’ notice to the landlord. For more information, contact Victim Services toll free at 1-888-286-6664.

Regular Notice

Regular notice can be given to the landlord in-person, mailed to the contact address the landlord gave the tenant or sent electronically.

If a tenant who rents by the week or the month wants to move out, they can give notice to their landlord. If the tenant rents by the month they must give one full month's written notice to the landlord. If the tenant rents by the week they must give one full week's written notice. The tenant must give notice no later than the day before the final rent is due. For example, if a tenant, who rents by the month, wants to move out on September 30, they must give notice no later than August 31. If the tenant doesn't give notice until September 1, they are legally required to pay October's rent.

The notice must be in writing and include the tenant's name, the address of the rental unit and the date the tenancy will end. If not enough notice is given, the notice will take effect once the required notice period has passed.

Notice for Cause

A tenant can give immediate notice to end the tenancy agreement if the landlord breaches a material part of the tenancy agreement, even if a lease has been signed. The notice should indicate what the breach is. For example, if the rental unit is in such bad repair that it is not livable. In this case the notice will be effective the day after the landlord receives it.

Before giving this kind of notice the tenant must give the landlord a reasonable period to fix the situation, if it can be fixed. The notice must be in writing and include the tenant's name, the address of the rental unit, the date the tenancy will end and the grounds for ending the tenancy.

Subletting

If a tenant wants to move out and have someone else take over the lease they need the written consent of the landlord. The landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent. A landlord can charge a fee of not more than $20 for considering, investigating or consenting to this change.

A tenant who sublets is still responsible to the landlord for what was agreed to in the lease. For example, they still have to make sure the rent is paid. Tenants who are considering subletting should consider the risks and take steps to protect themselves.

Property Left Behind

What steps the landlord can take when a tenant leaves property behind depends on the value of the property.

Property valued at less than $1,500

Property left behind by a tenant and valued at under $1,500 can simply be disposed of by a landlord if the landlord has made reasonable attempts to locate the tenant and the tenant…

  • cannot be located, or
  • has not made reasonable attempts to pick up their belongings

Property valued at $1500 or more

If a tenant leaves personal property valued at more than $1,500, the landlord must apply for an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) to deal with it. If the tenant cannot be located or does not make reasonable arrangements to deal with the property, the ORT can give the landlord an order that allows them to deal with the property. The landlord may then sell the property and put the money towards any rent the tenant still owes. For more detailed information, click here.

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