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Early Termination of Tenancy Agreements

One of the deterrents for some landlords to rent their property is the uncertainty of what they can do if a tenant terminates the lease early, or if the tenant skips out on the lease all together. 
This post will discuss some of the options that you may have, if such occurs in your agreement with your tenant.

There can be a plethora of reasons that a tenant may want to end their lease early. Below are a few of the most common that we have dealt with:

Job Transfer:
Tenants may enter into a one year lease with full intentions of fulfilling the term, however life can change and they may need to take advantage of new job opportunities. A tenant may lose their job as well, which in turn could make them unable to pay the full rent. If this occurs we suggest possibly compromising with the tenant for a lower rent until they find a new job, and creating a re-payment plan for the outstanding rent that the tenant is owing due to job loss. 

One of the tenants on the lease moves out:
Whether it's roommates, a divorce occurring, or a break up; the tenant wanting to stay may not be able to uphold the lease agreement financially, should another tenant leave. 

Unhappy (whether justified or not) with the premises:
We have had some tenants want to end their lease early due to issues on the property or in the condo building they are renting. Some can stem from unruly neighbours or strata, other reasons have been due to tenants justification of unhappiness with the property. 

There is a gray area as to if the tenant is in their rights to end the lease early, it mainly comes down to the mutual agreement between you and the tenants that the lease can end.

Lease Break Fee:
As property managers, we have a lengthy addendum added onto all of our tenancy agreements discussing the financial burden the tenant will bare, should they terminate the lease early. The tenants are aware of this as they sign the addendum prior to the tenancy starting. This ensures that we are able to recover some financial loss from the termination of the lease, to a certain extent.

Although it is legal for the tenants to find a sublet to fulfill the remainder of their lease agreement, we do not recommend proceeding with this option for multiple reasons:

- Should the tenant find a sublet, they are now the temporary landlord of the person subletting per se, and will be responsible for any financial losses or damage the sublet may do to the unit. This makes it difficult for you, as a property owner, to be in complete control of your property and the lease.

- The Residential Tenancy Branch states that landlords may not reasonably deny a sublet, however what the RTB deems as reasonable is very vague. The tenant may sublet the property to someone who you may not deem responsible enough to live in your property and fulfill the lease.

If it comes to the tenant either subletting or breaking the lease, we suggest the latter, as it will give you the opportunity to find a new suitable tenant on your terms, and not on the previous tenants terms with subletting.

It can be difficult and costly to hold a tenant to a lease agreement, as the process to recover loss in financials can go through small claims court, and, if the tenant moves out of the unit with no notice, it can be time consuming and costly to find their new address. 

Our specialized team of property managers know how to get the best result in circumstances with early lease termination, and are knowledgeable on how to handle it appropriately. If you have any questions regarding this, or are dealing with a tenant ending a lease early currently please contact us via the following:


We specialize in Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Burnaby, and Port Coquitlam Property Management Services.