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.
- You cannot give notice during a fixed term lease. A fixed term lease expires automatically.
- Depending on the term of the lease, the following different written notices are required:
- Year-to-year lease: three month’s notice.
- month-to-month lease: one month’s notice
- Week-to-week lease: one week notice.
- The security deposit plus interest must be returned to you at the end of the tenancy. If the landlord wants to keep some or all of the deposit, they must apply to the Residential Tenancies for permission.
- Requests to subletting are permitted and need not be in writing.
For additional details, you can also refer to Nova Scotia’s rental board website.
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations — Residential Tenancies
Service Nova Scotia & Municipal Relations
Mail Room, 8 South, Maritime Centre
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Toll-free within Nova Scotia: 1-800-670-4357
Department of Community Services — Housing and Repairs:
Addresses of Residential Tenancies offices across the province:
Also check out our article How to cancel my lease that deals with detailed steps to follow.