Real Estate

Ontario tenant requests to break lease early; giving 60-day notice

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  • Feb 20th, 2020 8:01 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 23, 2008
3784 posts
1057 upvotes

Ontario tenant requests to break lease early; giving 60-day notice

Just a question to Ontario landlords out there.

My Ontario tenant has a fixed 1-yr lease. We are about six-months into the lease term.
The lease is Sep15-2019 to Sep14-2020
On Feb 13, he requested to move out on April 30 or May 31 at the latest. That means he's giving well over 60-days notice.
He's been a good tenant. We've had a good quiet relationship. No news is good news.

From what I've researched, as long as he gives me over 60-days notice, and I (the landlord) agrees to the termination date, there is no grounds for penalty against him, is my understanding correct?

As an Ontario landlord, I don't think I should fight this as I'm aware the law is not on my side, and there is a great risk of lost opportunity.
I'm not trying to be an a$$hole about it, but it appears too easy for a tenant to break a legal contract with zero repercussions. The standard Ontario lease agreement which was used, does not mention anything about possible penalties. Breaking a lease early puts additional stress, work, and risk on the landlord, even though the point of a proper 1-yr contract is to allow the landlord to relax a little bit for that year. Would be nice if the landlord was compensated a little for the additional troubles incurred.

any opinions or experience ?
15 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
3547 posts
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Toronto
SomeOtherDude wrote: Just a question to Ontario landlords out there.

My Ontario tenant has a fixed 1-yr lease. We are about six-months into the lease term.
The lease is Sep15-2019 to Sep14-2020
On Feb 13, he requested to move out on April 30 or May 31 at the latest. That means he's giving well over 60-days notice.
He's been a good tenant. We've had a good quiet relationship. No news is good news.

From what I've researched, as long as he gives me over 60-days notice, and I (the landlord) agrees to the termination date, there is no grounds for penalty against him, is my understanding correct?

As an Ontario landlord, I don't think I should fight this as I'm aware the law is not on my side, and there is a great risk of lost opportunity.
I'm not trying to be an a$$hole about it, but it appears too easy for a tenant to break a legal contract with zero repercussions. The standard Ontario lease agreement which was used, does not mention anything about possible penalties. Breaking a lease early puts additional stress, work, and risk on the landlord, even though the point of a proper 1-yr contract is to allow the landlord to relax a little bit for that year. Would be nice if the landlord was compensated a little for the additional troubles incurred.

any opinions or experience ?
Repercussions are entirely up to you. If you don't agree to end the lease early (no matter how much notice he gives), then you can sue for damages in small claims court. Though I imagine in most cases the losses you experienced vs cost/time/hassle to go through small claims court and collect any funds even if you win, may not be worth it.

As landlord if you don't want to allow lease termination, you must allow the tenant to find an assignment for the lease. You would be able to also screen any tenant brought to you and accept or reject on a case by case basis.

If you flat out refuse to accept an assignment, the lease can legally be cancelled by tenant.

Since he's given you such long notice, your best option is to mutually agree and use that time to find a new tenant so you don't have a vacant unit. There are no penalties you are allowed to charge to tenant in this case. But piss off the tenant (even if he's in the wrong) may cause them to do something stupid like damage your unit before they leave.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 8, 2007
7902 posts
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Way Out of GTA
I prefer they give me as much notice as possible and then it gives me time to screen to the best possible replacement tenants. It also allows me a rent lift if rents have moved up. If I used a service like a realtor and had payed a commission then yes I’d feel out of pocket.

I’ve let good tenants out and I’ve let bad tenants out (don’t want them in my property). I’d say it’s part of the business and don’t get too worked up about it. Many landlords think they sit back and just let the cheque’s roll in. And without a doubt there’s some real nasty issues that come up. 3.5 months notice is very favourable in this case. Looking for some sort of penalty just seems a bit d-bag.
"It is in times of great fear or greed that the most opportunity exists."
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 23, 2008
3784 posts
1057 upvotes
its simply a business at the end of the day, and the goal is to earn as much FAIR money as you can.

Pretty much anything with bigger $$$ in life has repercussions when you break a contract. E.g. Cancelling an airline ticket, ending a car lease early, ending a mortgage early, ending cell phone plan early, etc. A contract is simply a commitment and its a bad thing to break it. I wish I, as a landlord could break the contract so easily too !
In this case, the tenant has been good - so I'll work with him (as if I had a choice!) , but still its not cool to dump this on me.

I just don't think its d-bag - its just not the norm. If the standard Ontario lease had a penalty written into it, I don't think tenants or landlords would be complaining.
Deal Expert
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Oct 26, 2003
32362 posts
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Winnipeg
I thought landlords in Ontario is trying to kick tenants out so they can jack up the rent, seems to save you the effort.
Deal Addict
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Mar 23, 2011
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With the shortage in units, you should have no problem finding a new tenant. Tell your current tenant that you are ok with him leaving, provided he is flexible about letting you show the unit before he leaves. This was you can get someone in quickly.
Alex
Jr. Member
Jun 15, 2015
118 posts
127 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
What's the problem here? I'd be SO happy if my tenants give me notice to move out anytime. Some of them are paying 75% or less of market rent.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2010
2558 posts
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I really don't see any problem here. This is good tenant (as per your words) and he's given you more than adequate time to get another tenant without suffering financial loss.

As other mentioned, it works out pretty well for both of you.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
10340 posts
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Edmonton
SomeOtherDude wrote: its simply a business at the end of the day, and the goal is to earn as much FAIR money as you can.

Pretty much anything with bigger $$$ in life has repercussions when you break a contract. E.g. Cancelling an airline ticket, ending a car lease early, ending a mortgage early, ending cell phone plan early, etc. A contract is simply a commitment and its a bad thing to break it. I wish I, as a landlord could break the contract so easily too !
In this case, the tenant has been good - so I'll work with him (as if I had a choice!) , but still its not cool to dump this on me.

I just don't think its d-bag - its just not the norm. If the standard Ontario lease had a penalty written into it, I don't think tenants or landlords would be complaining.
There IS a "penalty written into" the contract. Legally, they're liable for the entire lease period that they agreed to. If they leave before that, you can pursue them for damages (lost rent, expenses in getting another tenant, etc). Any penalty that was formally written into the lease agreement would be just as difficult to collect as the remaining rent and/or damages.

C
Newbie
Feb 18, 2020
5 posts
1 upvote
Given that you're in Toronto I would let them out and up the rent a bit. You should easily be able to find a new tenant without a vacancy period and because you're letting your tenant leave, it should be easy to show the unit.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 23, 2008
3784 posts
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divx wrote: I thought landlords in Ontario is trying to kick tenants out so they can jack up the rent, seems to save you the effort.
Rental rates didn't really move in the past 6-months

Now, if I had an old tenant from 2017, then yea I'd be happy for him to move out!
Member
Nov 10, 2014
257 posts
251 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Sounds like the tenant is giving you ample time to find a new tenant and wants to end the tenancy amicably. I personally would agree to end the tenancy early, and start screening new tenants instead of having the tenant find someone to takeover the lease. Going through the LTB and/or small claims court for things like this is a massive waste of time and attention. It is also very possible that you won't have any vacancy and/or damages that you can collect from this tenant in the first place.
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 26, 2005
9728 posts
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Toronto
Unfortunately, our 1 year lease is as strong as toilet paper.

Unless you are willing to go to court to get back something, that 1 year agreement is toothless.

Also, i found out that tenants can file a harassment form and get out of the lease within weeks. Not harassed by landlord, but by anyone near them. And you cannot tell anyone, do anything, etc. No court will touch it.

Finding new tenants:. Don't know about you, but I've found trying to find good tenants are very difficult, even in this climate.

Just basic checks fail. Many are Airbnb wannabe in disguise.

If you post such a high rental price, all you will attract are Airbnbs which is illegal
Deal Addict
Dec 4, 2016
1750 posts
801 upvotes
Do you really want your tenant to find the absolute worst replacement tenant from hell on kijiji, and force you to justify why the replacement is not good enough?

You didn't get a professional tenant, so count it as a win. Start advertising.

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