“Get me out of here!”
You’ve signed a Québec Lease, however you’re no longer able or interested in living in the apartment you signed for. Contrary to popular belief, a tenant may not break their lease by simply providing “notice” at any moment. There are only four specific situations in which the lease can be cancelled:
- A tenant is allocated a dwelling in low-income housing
- A tenant can no longer occupy the dwelling due to a handicap
- A tenant is a victim of spousal or sexual violence (please see the detailed article)
- An elderly person is admitted permanently to a residential and long-term care center or to a foster home
If the reason you wish to move out is simply that you have found a different place you would prefer to live in, remember that you may choose to transfer your lease to someone else if the apartment is in reasonable condition.
- If you and your landlord come to a verbal agreement to cancel the lease… MAKE SURE YOU GET IT IN WRITING!
- Write out a document which includes your name, address, term of your lease and a statement identifying your landlord and your mutual agreement to end the term of the lease, or print out a cancellation of lease form. Both parties must sign and keep a copy for themselves.
- In the event that the landlord neglects the responsibilities of the lease, the tenant still does not have legal grounds to “break” the lease. Often in situations where tenants have bedbugs or some other problem in the apartment that prevents them from remaining in the dwelling peaceably, they mistakenly think that they can abandon their lease. Unfortunately the tenant may not simply abandon the lease because of an uncomfortable situation; rather they are obligated to take the appropriate steps in solving the issues and seeking recourse from the Régie du Logement if the landlord is not fulfilling their duties. For more information about this please refer to How to write an Official Demand Letter.
- If you choose to remain in the apartment until the end of your lease, don’t forget to give adequate notice (usually 3-6 months before the term ends) so that the lease does not automatically renew.
My dwelling is physically unfit for habitation (e.g. the roof has fallen through, there has been a large fire, etc.), can I abandon my dwelling?