Real Estate

Need advice on breaking a lease (Ontario)

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  • Mar 22nd, 2022 2:27 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Mar 5, 2022
5 posts
6 upvotes

Need advice on breaking a lease (Ontario)

Hi,

I'm looking for opinions on whether we are technically:

We entered into a lease with my landlord in Ontario around October 2021. Early this year, we (after evaluating the ever increasing property prices around here, decided to purchase a new home. We are closing on this home in mid-May.

As a result, we verbally informed our landlord (in February) and wrote an email note (in early March) requesting that he allow us to assign the unit to another tenant. After not hearing back for 7 days, we proceeded to send over the N9 form indicating our desire to terminate the lease shortly after we close on our new home.

Thereafter, the landlord texted and informed us that he would like to find his own tenants but expected us to cover the cost of the (tenant side) realtor, and any vacancy that would result from it.

Although we were willing to cover the realtor cost as a courtesy, the landlord first claimed they would be able to take legal recourse (since they believed our contract was not entered into in good faith to begin with), and then requested we pay the equivalent of 1 1/2 months' rent to exit the lease.

I went in and double checked the tenancy act, and per s.95(4) , we were already within our rights to send the landlord the notice of termination (dated at least 30 days forward) having expressed our intent to assign the home via email, and waiting 7 days thereafter. Also, the landlord subsequently expressed via text message that he would like to find his own tenants.

Based on this, I believe we are already in the clear (legally) and that the landlord has no grounds to sue us for damages.

Would anyone knowledgable in this area of law be able to comment on whether we are already off the hook, and leave in May without needing to pay anything by way of damages to the landlord?

(due to his attempt to "extort" us, I'm inclined to leave without paying the realtor fee which I had intended to do as a courtesy)
22 replies
Member
Sep 23, 2011
493 posts
788 upvotes
Vaughan
Your landlord spent time and money on getting you. You are trying to bail shortly after and calling them extortionists...
Newbie
Mar 4, 2021
90 posts
84 upvotes
Then what's the point of signing the lease? How would you feel if someone else decided who should or should not live in your house?
Newbie
Dec 25, 2021
48 posts
89 upvotes
Both of the above posts don't seem to realize how it is in Ontario (skewed in favor of the tenant). While this is definitely something you should speak to a lawyer about, in Ontario, you can serve the N9 if:

The tenant can use this notice to end the tenancy if the tenant asked the landlord for
permission to assign the rental unit to someone else, and the landlord refused. The
termination date must be:
• at least 28 days after the tenant gives the notice to the landlord if the tenancy is daily
or weekly,
• at least 30 days after the tenant gives the notice to landlord if the tenancy is anything
other than daily or weekly.
The termination date does not have to be the last day of a rental period or the last day of
a fixed term


Just IMO but I'd be comfortable leaving and like my chances if he took you to court. I also definitely wouldn't pay for their realtor, you did what was required, the law is in your favor. People have to keep in mind what they think the laws should be, and what they actually are.
Member
Sep 23, 2011
493 posts
788 upvotes
Vaughan
fmrrecoemployee wrote: Both of the above posts don't seem to realize how it is in Ontario (skewed in favor of the tenant).
Read the comments... There is no legal advice there, just calling out the OP who is reneging on his contract and calls the other party "extortionist".

Also I am a tenant and I do realize that the laws are skewed towards me in Ontario. Stuff like that makes searching for a place and applying for it like a cavity search because the landlords are scared to land a "pro".
Deal Fanatic
Apr 25, 2006
7967 posts
3105 upvotes
Lol op can make the life of the landlord a living hell, instead, landlord trying to get the tenant to cough up free money.

Landlord is a POS. Don't give in. Feb is PLENTY of time for the landlord to get going on finding a tenant for MAY. That is 90 days notice.

Like please.... really at comments above. Op was willing to cover some fees too!

8 months is better than 0 months and missed payments. Oct - May...
"If you make a mistake but then change your ways, it is like never having made a mistake at all" - Confucius
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
4454 posts
2690 upvotes
Toronto
Saniokca wrote: Read the comments... There is no legal advice there, just calling out the OP who is reneging on his contract and calls the other party "extortionist".

Also I am a tenant and I do realize that the laws are skewed towards me in Ontario. Stuff like that makes searching for a place and applying for it like a cavity search because the landlords are scared to land a "pro".
OP didn't renege on anything, and is acting perfectly reasonable here. They offered to find an assignment to take over their lease, which is perfectly legal to do and happens all the time. The landlord refused it for no good reason. So the tenant has every legal right to then end the lease, and the landlord gets their wish to find a new tenant themselves.
Jr. Member
Sep 27, 2020
125 posts
83 upvotes
noyak100 wrote: Hi,

I'm looking for opinions on whether we are technically:

We entered into a lease with my landlord in Ontario around October 2021. Early this year, we (after evaluating the ever increasing property prices around here, decided to purchase a new home. We are closing on this home in mid-May.

As a result, we verbally informed our landlord (in February) and wrote an email note (in early March) requesting that he allow us to assign the unit to another tenant. After not hearing back for 7 days, we proceeded to send over the N9 form indicating our desire to terminate the lease shortly after we close on our new home.

Thereafter, the landlord texted and informed us that he would like to find his own tenants but expected us to cover the cost of the (tenant side) realtor, and any vacancy that would result from it.

Although we were willing to cover the realtor cost as a courtesy, the landlord first claimed they would be able to take legal recourse (since they believed our contract was not entered into in good faith to begin with), and then requested we pay the equivalent of 1 1/2 months' rent to exit the lease.

I went in and double checked the tenancy act, and per s.95(4) , we were already within our rights to send the landlord the notice of termination (dated at least 30 days forward) having expressed our intent to assign the home via email, and waiting 7 days thereafter. Also, the landlord subsequently expressed via text message that he would like to find his own tenants.

Based on this, I believe we are already in the clear (legally) and that the landlord has no grounds to sue us for damages.

Would anyone knowledgable in this area of law be able to comment on whether we are already off the hook, and leave in May without needing to pay anything by way of damages to the landlord?

(due to his attempt to "extort" us, I'm inclined to leave without paying the realtor fee which I had intended to do as a courtesy)
If he didn't reply you are in the clear. They might prefer a registered letter but they always side with the landlord and his eventual reply shows he got your email. Given you bought you can safely tell him to pound.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2316 posts
1102 upvotes
Alberta
noyak100 wrote: Hi,

I'm looking for opinions on whether we are technically:

We entered into a lease with my landlord in Ontario around October 2021. Early this year, we (after evaluating the ever increasing property prices around here, decided to purchase a new home. We are closing on this home in mid-May.

As a result, we verbally informed our landlord (in February) and wrote an email note (in early March) requesting that he allow us to assign the unit to another tenant. After not hearing back for 7 days, we proceeded to send over the N9 form indicating our desire to terminate the lease shortly after we close on our new home.

Thereafter, the landlord texted and informed us that he would like to find his own tenants but expected us to cover the cost of the (tenant side) realtor, and any vacancy that would result from it.

Although we were willing to cover the realtor cost as a courtesy, the landlord first claimed they would be able to take legal recourse (since they believed our contract was not entered into in good faith to begin with), and then requested we pay the equivalent of 1 1/2 months' rent to exit the lease.

I went in and double checked the tenancy act, and per s.95(4) , we were already within our rights to send the landlord the notice of termination (dated at least 30 days forward) having expressed our intent to assign the home via email, and waiting 7 days thereafter. Also, the landlord subsequently expressed via text message that he would like to find his own tenants.

Based on this, I believe we are already in the clear (legally) and that the landlord has no grounds to sue us for damages.

Would anyone knowledgable in this area of law be able to comment on whether we are already off the hook, and leave in May without needing to pay anything by way of damages to the landlord?

(due to his attempt to "extort" us, I'm inclined to leave without paying the realtor fee which I had intended to do as a courtesy)
Technically you are on the hook for the lease but the landlord has to do everything in their power to mitigate their losses. Which means they have to act in good faith, and you as tenants have to have the home in “showing” condition. Since you guys are asking to leave at the end of May. It should be enough time to find another tenant at the same price.

Look at it another way, what would you expect if the landlord tried to cancel the lease early on you?
Last edited by abc123yyz on Mar 22nd, 2022 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2316 posts
1102 upvotes
Alberta
rob444 wrote: OP didn't renege on anything, and is acting perfectly reasonable here. They offered to find an assignment to take over their lease, which is perfectly legal to do and happens all the time. The landlord refused it for no good reason. So the tenant has every legal right to then end the lease, and the landlord gets their wish to find a new tenant themselves.
I’m not a landlord but common sense would dictate that you would want to extensively vet any people living in the property because you have a vested interest. The current tenants won’t care about the “quality” of the assignment tenants, they will just the first person they can.
Newbie
Dec 25, 2021
48 posts
89 upvotes
abc123yyz wrote: I’m not a landlord but common sense would dictate that you would want to extensively vet any people living in the property because you have a vested interest. The current tenants won’t care about the “quality” of the assignment tenants, they will just the first person they can.
100% fair which is why typically the landlord will say no, they want to find their own tenants. At which point the current tenant can serve the N9. If a tenant asks to assign, the landlord can:

A. Say yes
B. Say no with a solid reason, (they can't just say no, as under the LTB the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent to an assignment). They would still have to allow the tenant to find another tenant to take over
C. Say no and allow the tenant to end the lease so they can relist the unit themselves

The landlord has chosen option C, which is what I would choose. I don't think I would call what the landlord is doing extortion, as it's easy to see where they're coming from and why they would be frustrated, but OP has followed the proper steps and should win any claims court appearance if the landlord goes that route (which I doubt)
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
19639 posts
18183 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
So the tenant can't hold their end of a 1 year lease signed months ago and calls the landlord an extortionist. You're essentially backing out of a contract and screwing the landlord but are insulting him. I also think he's likely right in thinking this was the plan all along. Knowing it would be harder to find a place if you told a landlord you were actively looking for a house to buy, you said nothing. Just my viewpoint on the situation.

Luckily OP is in Ontario and could literally tell the landlord to kiss his ass and that would be it.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2021
1377 posts
2213 upvotes
I think paying the full realtor fees would be reasonable. That's 1 full month of rent + tax by the way, so more or less what they're asking for.

Not sure why you would only pay the buyer side of the realtor fees, both would have to be paid by your landlord to find a new tenant.

Not gonna comment on the "legal", there are many levels of "legal" you can opt for but at the end of the day you get to choose what kind of person you want to be.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 5, 2022
5 posts
6 upvotes
Thank you for the comments everyone.

To clarify, landlord is asking for 1 1/2 months of rent + the buyer side realtor fees we had offered to cover. He himself is a realtor so only one side of the realtor fee is applicable for him. We are high earning professionals, and reasonable people. We would have arrived at a win-win arrangement if the landlord had asked nicely. Instead, he decided to try and intimidate us by saying "I don't care how much this costs, but I'd take you to court over this" yada yada and that is really what irked me and makes me want to retort with "sure, I'm going to pay nothing. Try going to court over this".

Also, this was a home that was listed for sale at the same time that it was listed for tenancy. We were very upfront that we will likely be purchasing a home in 2022 before we signed the lease. From the landlord's standpoint, we were probably the ideal kinds of tenants since we wouldn't be living here long term, giving him an option to sell the home without dealing with tenant hassles.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2020
3005 posts
3619 upvotes
Couple people here either missed the detail, or don't understand, the tenant has certain rights to assign to another tenant.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
4454 posts
2690 upvotes
Toronto
abc123yyz wrote: I’m not a landlord but common sense would dictate that you would want to extensively vet any people living in the property because you have a vested interest. The current tenants won’t care about the “quality” of the assignment tenants, they will just the first person they can.
And the landlord is indeed allowed to vet the assigned tenants. They can do background, credit and reference checks, and even charge the current tenant fees for doing so. If they have a reasonable grounds to reject the assignment, they can legally do it. Current tenant can only void the lease within 30 days if the landlord rejects assignment unreasonably (which is ultimately up to interpretation of the LTB).
JayLove06 wrote: So the tenant can't hold their end of a 1 year lease signed months ago and calls the landlord an extortionist. You're essentially backing out of a contract and screwing the landlord but are insulting him. I also think he's likely right in thinking this was the plan all along. Knowing it would be harder to find a place if you told a landlord you were actively looking for a house to buy, you said nothing. Just my viewpoint on the situation.
You and all other landlords know perfectly well tenants signing a 1 year lease have a valid legal right to assign it at anytime. This has been a rule for a long time so nobody should be acting shocked and appalled when tenants actually do it. The only thing the OP is doing is essentially following the RTA rules and nothing more. Landlord here obviously doesn't understand the rules, which is sad considering they're a realtor.

Whether you think the RTA is justified here on assignment rules is a whole other issue you can raise with the LTB or Ontario govt if you feel strongly enough.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
19639 posts
18183 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
rob444 wrote:
You and all other landlords know perfectly well tenants signing a 1 year lease have a valid legal right to assign it at anytime. This has been a rule for a long time so nobody should be acting shocked and appalled when tenants actually do it. The only thing the OP is doing is essentially following the RTA rules and nothing more. Landlord here obviously doesn't understand the rules, which is sad considering they're a realtor.

Whether you think the RTA is justified here on assignment rules is a whole other issue you can raise with the LTB or Ontario govt if you feel strongly enough.
They have that right, so what? It’s not shocking either but that isn’t the point. OP is following the rules but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a douche move. The landlord has the right to move their kid in there a couple months into a lease. “Take it up with the LTB if you feel so strongly” Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

As I said, tenant can do whatever they want as the rules basically allow them. They can also not follow the rules, no biggie. Tenant can stop paying rent and nothing the landlord can really do about it.

I have no issue with the landlord wanting to find their own tenants and no issue with the landlord calling them out either.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2021
1377 posts
2213 upvotes
noyak100 wrote: Thank you for the comments everyone.

To clarify, landlord is asking for 1 1/2 months of rent + the buyer side realtor fees we had offered to cover. He himself is a realtor so only one side of the realtor fee is applicable for him. We are high earning professionals, and reasonable people. We would have arrived at a win-win arrangement if the landlord had asked nicely. Instead, he decided to try and intimidate us by saying "I don't care how much this costs, but I'd take you to court over this" yada yada and that is really what irked me and makes me want to retort with "sure, I'm going to pay nothing. Try going to court over this".

Also, this was a home that was listed for sale at the same time that it was listed for tenancy. We were very upfront that we will likely be purchasing a home in 2022 before we signed the lease. From the landlord's standpoint, we were probably the ideal kinds of tenants since we wouldn't be living here long term, giving him an option to sell the home without dealing with tenant hassles.
That changes things. If he's a realtor then he doesn't even need to pay buyer side fees, he has all the tools he needs to find a tenant for more or less free, and he has the skills to.
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 5, 2022
5 posts
6 upvotes
JayLove06 wrote: They have that right, so what? It’s not shocking either but that isn’t the point. OP is following the rules but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a douche move. The landlord has the right to move their kid in there a couple months into a lease. “Take it up with the LTB if you feel so strongly” Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

As I said, tenant can do whatever they want as the rules basically allow them. They can also not follow the rules, no biggie. Tenant can stop paying rent and nothing the landlord can really do about it.

I have no issue with the landlord wanting to find their own tenants and no issue with the landlord calling them out either.
Which part of this is the "douche move"? Yes, we did sign a one year contract but life happens and plans change. We provided a lengthy notice period, and offered to mitigate the landlord's damage by finding tenants to take over the remainder of the lease at our expense, but the landlord declined this option (as is his right). Since the landlord is taking agency of the process of finding and vetting his own tenants, why should we pay for the vacancy that may ensue from the landlord's own tardiness in finding tenants? In this sense, what is lawful is also what is reasonable.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 14, 2003
10931 posts
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Mississauga
I've never seen a case actually go to trial that was worth it for either side. The landlord may threaten, but they won't take you to court. It's too much of a hassle and there's tons of costs AND they don't have a great case. If you're really worried, talk to a lawyer.
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