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Breaking a 2 year lease early in Ontario, Canada

ForarForar #432Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
edited May 2014 in Help / Advice Forum
Long story short, my girlfriend and I have broken up. We both signed for a 2 year lease at the start of last July, so we still have a good 13 months left on it.

I need out.

I imagine "go find a lawyer" is the first and best advice, but I thought that I'd put up a thread to simmer overnight to see if anyone has had similar issues and could start pointing me in a good direction.

I'm not looking to duck out. I just want to give 2 months notice, pay up, and get out.

She and I had communicated that we couldn't live together indefinitely, but apparently I wasn't clear enough that I needed to get into my own space and pronto. I started looking for apartments, brought some boxes home, and when she came in and noticed them, made it clear that was something I was working on. While we hadn't set it down clearly that we'd be out by August, I've come to realize I'm not going to make it that far. Hell, I want to be out by the first week of June.

So, what to do? This isn't just some minor thing; things were rocky for months and then I found out in mind March she cheated on me with 2 guys. Yes, I'm an idiot for even trying to make it work for a month following that (mid april), but now it's mid May and I'm not going to stick it out any longer than I have to.

Help H&A, I want to flee, feel trapped, and cannot afford to pay another $900 per month on top of my own rent and bills.

First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
Forar on


  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    First of all, you should carefully read over your copy of the lease to see if there are any clauses that deal with early termination. Second, does your ex plan to stay in the apartment by herself (or whatever), or is it a joint move out?

    Generally, you (as in, you and her, jointly) will be responsible for the remainder of the lease. If you just want to move out and she doesn't, then you can try to get your name removed from the lease (your landlord will have to agree to this). Keep in mind that even if you leave and she says that she will take care of everything, if she laters fails to pay, you will still be responsible for the rent if your name is still on the lease.

    If you both want out, you should approach your landlord regarding this. Even if your lease doesn't have any early termination clauses, a lease can still be ended early if all parties agree to it. They'll probably want a few months rent in exchange for this, however. They are also under no requirement to do so and are fully legally able to demand that you abide by the terms of the agreement, though.

    You could also look into sub-letting the apartment, where you basically find a replacement tenant on your own to assume the remainder of your lease. Your landlord also has to agree to this. All in all, a lawyer is generally helpful in negotiating an early termination, but don't expect to get out of this without either dropping a fair amount of cash or having to do a fair amount of leg work to find a subletter.

    Edit: Here's an overview article you may wish to read:

    Blarghy on
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2014
    Thank you.

    While it's potentially possible for either of us to hold the place down on our own, it would be highly ill advised financially, so it was always in the cards that we'd have to go eventually. The question was whether or not the land lord would let us walk with 2 months notice, or would require us to honour the lease in full, which would likely mean subletting.

    I'm fine with the former, and am willing to lose the next 2 months (June plus July, the latter of which is already paid for) to walk. The latter requires more communication and cooperation than I feel we're capable of managing. And while she was screaming at me tonight, she pointed out that if I left and she stayed while my name was on the lease, I'd be responsible for the rent as much as she was. She threatened me with that, and I get that there are risks here.

    I'm hoping to get my name off the lease, but I'm not sure how that works when there are two people present.

    I was hoping to keep this civil, but it seems to be getting uglier as time goes by, and I'm hoping the landlord understands my predicament. I know they aren't obliged to, but these are fairly extenuating circumstances.

    My first step is going to be talking to the landlord and hoping that they understand the position I'm in. I'm not expecting it, but it's my first step.

    Forar on
    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    typically (at least in the U.S.) there is some type of clause in a rental lease where you pay a penalty if you break it early; this might be 2-3 months past date of move out, or it might be more.

    if you are both on the lease, the non-landlord-option would be to negotiate with her directly; i.e. look, neither of us wants me staying here, what would you want from me in exchange for taking over my portion of the lease?

    hold your head high soldier, it ain't over yet
    that's why we call it the struggle, you're supposed to sweat
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Before you talk to her again, since that doesn't exactly seem to be going swimmingly, if your landlord is even a little bit a reasonable person you should talk to him and just.. ask what your options are. He may stick to the letter of the lease, or he may be willing to bed a little. That's more likely if there's some demand in the area and you're willing to pay a penalty.

    Basically, it sounds like you can't really talk to each other at the moment, so you should talk to him. You're going to have to anyway, and he can answer all these questions for you.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Also maybe see if you can find someone interested in taking the flat straight away. If you're able to present the Landlord with the offer of another tenant right away, then he's going to be much more inclined to be flexible with you.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I'm hoping he understands just how bad the situation has gotten, and while I'd never intentionally do damage to a property, surely he and his wife have a vested interest in getting angry, frustrated people out and having happy, relaxed tenants in.

    I think in Ontario we're held to the full duration of the lease, but if that's the case, we can just sublet. Now, I'm willing to pay June and July as noted, which would give her 10 weeks or so to find a place and move out, such that we could get people in. It may be less than ideal, but it seems pretty damned reasonable to me.

    He's coming over tomorrow on an unrelated matter, and her blow up at me was tied to this (I'd forgotten why that was even happening, thought it was somehow tied to her having spoken to him about this, which was a massive misjudgement).

    The way I see it, if they let us out with 2 months notice, we're done. If they want us to sublet, we need to be out at a reasonable time frame (say... 2 months) and we try to get someone in, possibly leaving us on the line for the place while it's empty. If we get the sublet option and she just decides not to go anywhere for a couple extra months or seasons, I just want to have some kind of recourse or understanding how I might avoid subsidizing her rent for possibly the next year.

    Talking to him is definitely going to be the first step, and if they agree to let us out I can't see her arguing it (but again, she's kind of getting spiteful and ugly, so I'm not ruling anything out yet).

    Guess I'll find out what he has to say in 9 hours or so.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
  • MyiagrosMyiagros Registered User regular
    Talk to the landlord. I had a break up years ago with 3 months left on the lease. It was in a school area so it was pretty easy for them to fill the apartment, you can either find a sublet yourself and hope that the landlord approves them, or try getting the landlord to fill the spot. I ended up not having to pay the remaining months and got my "last" month rent back which I had paid when I first moved in.

    iRevert wrote: »
    Because if you're going to attempt to squeeze that big black monster into your slot you will need to be able to take at least 12 inches or else you're going to have a bad time...
    Steam: MyiagrosX27
  • Kilgore TroutKilgore Trout Registered User regular
    I'm in Ontario and also trying to get out of a lease so I've been over the rules a few times. You should have an easier time with this than I will (I have to move for work so I'm currently trying to get out of my lease without two months notice). I am not a lawyer, but I am a government employee so am used to doing very basic interpretation of laws and regulations.

    There is nothing in the Residential Tenancies Act that will force you to stay in the unit regardless of what happens. Speaking with your landlord about the situation is the best first step. The fact that you are giving the full 60 days notice should give him plenty of time to find a new tenant. His motivation will be that if he refuses to let you out early, then you have the right to sublet your unit. A direct tenant is usually preferable to a sub-letter.

    If you are in a University or College town, there should be no problem finding another tenant in two months.

    In the event that the landlord won't let you out, you might want to get in touch with the Landlord and Tenant Board to see what options you have.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Thank you for the advice. Thankfully, after a night to sleep on it and a few terse conversations, we both seem to finally be on the same page, and have an arrangement worked out regarding how this will all go down. In turn, I've found a new apartment in my old neighborhood, and will be moving there next weekend (driver availability kept it from being this one).

    It's not entirely done with, but things have gotten immeasurably better over the last few weeks, and having a light at the end of the tunnel has done great things for my outlook.

    Crashing at a friend's place for 3 days probably didn't hurt either.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Make sure you take that friend out to a fine steak dinner or more appropriate yet equally opulent manner of thanking them. Having that safe place is important.

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