Tenant rights and responsibilities - what to do if you need to leave before the lease expires

A situation may arise where you find yourself having to move somewhere else before the rental agreement at your current residence has expired. Whether you have been transferred to a different location for work or you have decided to buy a new home, you will still be responsible for paying the rent you owe your landlord for the remaining time that is on your lease.

If you find that you have to move early and break the rental agreement for any reason, it will most likely be necessary to find someone that can sublet the property. Subletting is when you find another person to make a legal arrangement with to take your place in renting the property you are currently trying to move out of. The person that you find to rent your place will have to agree to live there, pay rent and be respectful of all the requirements laid out in the rental agreement.


When you are subletting the rental property you are planning to move out of, you still share some of the responsibility to the landlord, meaning that you are responsible for the actions of the person who sublets your place. This responsibility extends to damages caused by the sublessee as well as non-payment of rent. It is important that you find someone you can trust to pay rent on time and take care of the property until the end of the lease period; they should be responsible so you don’t have to worry about them causing any problems with your landlord or the property in any way.

Before you can sublet the rental property you are in to anyone, you have to first get the permission of your landlord. Landlords cannot deny a request to a sublet, unless the new prospective sublease does not meet the necessary requirements. You will also want to keep in mind that landlords cannot legally charge you a fee for subletting the property or force you to disallow your search for a new person to sublet the property. Specifics pertaining to subletting are different, depending on the province or territory, so you will need to check the laws in your area before you take any sort of action. Refer to the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets.

Another option that you have if you need to break the rental agreement and move out early is to think about talking to your landlord about finding someone to take over the rental property to find someone else to take over your lease. This is a legal process where there is a transfer of obligations and responsibility from yourself to another person. The new tenant that moves in will take on all of the responsibilities outlined in the lease you signed, eliminating all of your liability risk. You will have to get your landlord’s permission to assign your lease though, and there may be legal fees associated with doing so.

TIP: Charge to subletor

When you are subletting, you cannot charge the sublease more than the amount you paid for rent. You can charge the person renting the property less, but you will have to make up the difference so the landlord gets the full amount that is detailed in the rental agreement.