Tenants are normally given a one-year lease by landlords. The rationale behind this is to give some satisfaction and some calm to such tenants, keeping them secure for the next 12 months in their properties. However, one that seems to have escaped the minds of landlords is that such one-year lease agreements have the tendency to be weightless. Ontario tenants have found it rather easy to break their leases without much hassle.
Although a lease agreement is deemed to be a binding contract between a tenant and a lessor, and such tenant is bound to comply with the terms held within, there is little or nothing that a landlord could do should a tenant decide to hit the road. This has left landlords shocked because on the face it, the law seems to be on the landlord’s side.
In technical terms, breaking a lease is not something that the tenant can just wake up and do.
Three circumstances are highlighted in which breaking one’s lease is permissible by the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. They are:
- The Board issues an order terminating the tenancy agreement early as a result of the landlord’s failure the meet certain obligations under the Act.
- The landlord agrees to the tenant assigning a rental space to another party.
- The landlord agrees to the termination.
Irrespective of the legislation put in place, the fact is that tenants can ignore their obligations and have no repercussions visited on them. Urbane tenants have succeeded in finding loopholes to their lease that permit them to neglect their commitments effortlessly.
One scenario could be a landlord’s refusal to accept a tenant’s request to cancel the lease. In such a case, the tenant may request an assignment, whereby another takes over their tenancy and such tenant is free from the lease agreement.
Most landlords are blind to the serious consequences associated with ignoring or turning down a tenant’s request for assignment.
Should a tenant fail to receive any response from the landlord within seven days of requesting an assignment, the tenant can file for termination of the lease within eight to thirty days from making the request.
Tenants could also strategically file for an assignment, with the full knowledge that their landlord will decline, using such refusal as a basis for their leave. Where the landlords accepts a request for an assignment, a tenant who assigns to a qw-month lease will not be held liable under the lease, as long as he provides a new tenant for the landlord.
The Residential Tenancies Act provides that landlords are meant to do whatever it takes to cut their losses should a tenant break his lease.
However, finding a new tenant is not a joyride. Countless hours will have to be spent in advertising the property, interviewing possible tenants and showing the house to interested people.
Although landlords have the chance to follow an unlawful tenant for damages in court, most landlords decide otherwise. They prefer hunting for a better tenant than to go through a stressful court process.
That may be considered a smart move. Probably the best way to prevent being victimized as a landlord by a tenant who broke their lease is by finding a better one.
Good tenants who agree to a one-year lease, are more likely than not, to stick to it.