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.
- Notice may not be given during a fixed term lease.
- You must provide a notice of termination at least 30 days before the end of the lease. The notice of termination must:
- Be signed and in writing and signed.
- Include the address of the rental premises
- Include the date when the tenancy is to terminate.
- The reason for the termination.
- If the notice does not meet these criteria or is not properly served, it is invalid and the tenancy continues.
- For a periodic tenancy (an agreement that does not specify a date of termination) written notices to terminate must be as follows:
- Weekly tenancy: at least seven days before the termination date stated in the notice.
- Monthly tenancy that has continued for less than 12 months, at least 30 days before the termination date stated in the notice;
- Monthly tenancy that has continued 12 months or more, at least 60 days before the termination date stated in the notice.
- The security deposit plus interest must be returned to you within 10 days of vacating the rental premises. If the landlord retains any amount, they must also submit an itemized statement of account for the amount being retained.
- Subletting is permitted with the landlord’s written consent.
For additional details, you can also refer to NWT’s rental board website.
NWT Rental Office
YK Centre East (formerly Panda II)
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0760
Northwest Territories Housing Corporation
This organization plays a role in public housing. See Web site for listing of district offices.
P.O. Box 2100
Also check out our article How to cancel my lease that deals with detailed steps to follow.