Leases are a binding contract between a tenant and a landlord and breaking a lease is a breach of this contract.  Despite this breach, you may find yourself with a valid reason for needing to break your lease – such as moving to another city.

If you are in this situation, we want to help you try to avoid – or at least minimize- penalties from your landlord.  The best way for you to do this is to:

  • familiarize yourself with your province’s necessary legal requirements to terminate a lease
  • know whether you have a “Fixed” or “Periodic” term lease.  A Fixed Term is a lease with a specified end, while a Periodic Term is a lease that runs month-to-month, week-to-week or other pre-determined time
  • be sure to provide your landlord with as much notice as possible
  • wherever permissible offer to help finding a replacement tenant

Each province has different regulations pertaining to leases or tenant agreements, and how to cancel a lease.

British Columbia

  • Before the end of a fixed term lease, it is the shared responsibility of the landlord and tenant to renew or terminate the tenancy agreement.
  • To cancel your lease, you must give one rental month’s notice in writing to the landlord the day before the rent is due.
  • If you give written notice to terminate your fixed term lease prior to its expiry date, you may be held accountable for the landlord’s re-rental costs and lost rent.
  • Upon termination of your lease and within 15 days of your vacating the property, your landlord must either return the security deposit plus interest or obtain your written consent for deductions to the deposit.
  • You must not assign or sublet the apartment, unless the landlord has agreed in writing. You should provide all information about the new tenant for the sublet or assignment in writing. The landlord must have a valid reason not to allow you to sublet. Although the landlord has the right to approve the assignment or sublet, they cannot arbitrarily withhold consent.

For additional details, you can also refer to British Columbia’s rental board website.

Also check out our article ”How to cancel my lease” that deals with detailed steps to follow.