There are certain situations where a landlord or tenant may be able to “break the lease” or end the lease early. If the tenant or landlord has committed a substantial breach of the residential tenancy agreement, a 14 day notice can be served to end the tenancy or an application can be made through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or Provincial Court Civil to end the tenancy. See our pages on Eviction Notices and Tenant’s 14 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy for more information.
If a tenant wants to break the lease early because of personal circumstances (i.e. lost job, relocating for work), the tenant should talk to the landlord and see if the landlord will consent to ending the lease early. Tenants could offer to help the landlord find a new tenant by advertising the suite online or in local community hubs. The landlord is under no obligation to consent to breaking the lease, but might be willing if the tenant agrees to help with advertising and making sure the suite can get rented. If the landlord agrees to break the lease early, the tenant should make sure this agreement is in writing and signed by the landlord to prevent any problems in the future. When a landlord will not agree to end a lease early, a tenant may want to consider subletting the property or assigning the lease. For more information, see our tip sheet If Your Employment Ends. Lost your job and want to know more about your rights? Visit CPLEA’s Rights at Work page.
A landlord cannot break a tenant’s lease and make a tenant leave the property before the end of the lease. A landlord can ask the tenant to consent to ending the lease early but the tenant is not obligated to do so.