Gerard Windle & Mary Jane Dumbrell Broker,Salesperson
Ottawa, ON Phone: 613-236-5959 Mobile: 613-788-2107 Fax: 613-788-2115 Email Gerard Windle & Mary Jane Dumbrell

How a Tenant can end Tenancy


How much notice does a tenant have to give if they want to move out?

When a tenant decides to move, they must provide a written notice of termination to the landlord. In most cases, this is a 60-day notice. The termination date must be the last day of their rental period or their lease, even if this is more than 60 days.

For example, if it is a monthly tenancy that begins on the first day of each month and the tenant gives the landlord notice on June 15th, the termination date would be August 31.

In the case of a weekly tenancy, the tenant must give the landlord at least 28 days notice before the last day of the final week of the tenancy.
 
If the tenant pays rent on a daily basis, 28 days is also required.

 
Can a tenant break a lease?

Breaking a lease means that a tenant wants to leave their unit before their tenancy agreement is over.  For example, a tenant who signed a one year lease might want to leave their unit in the eighth month.
 
A tenant and landlord can agree to break a lease. It is best for both parties if this agreement is in writing and is signed by the landlord and the tenant. If the landlord is not willing to break the lease, the tenant has the right to assign the unit to a new tenant with the landlord's consent.

 
What is the difference between assigning and subletting a unit?

Assigning a unit means that the tenant moves out of the unit permanently and transfers their tenancy to another person.  All the terms of the original rental agreement stay the same – the amount of the rent and what services are included etc.   For more information about the rules for assigning a tenancy, see our brochure on How a Tenant Can End Their Tenancy.

Subletting a unit means that the tenant moves out of their unit for a specific period of time but the tenant plans to move back into the unit before the end of the tenancy. The person who moves in is known as a subtenant.  They are responsible to pay the rent to the original tenant who then pays it to the landlord.  A landlord cannot refuse the idea of subletting the unit, but they can refuse to allow the tenant to sublet to a specific person if they have a good reason.

How can a tenant sublet their unit? 

If a tenant has to leave their unit for an extended period of time but they want to return to it, they can ask their landlord for consent to sublet the unit.   For example, if a tenant’s job is being transferred to another city for six months and then they want to return to their unit, they might ask their landlord if they can sublet the unit. They must tell the landlord when they are leaving and when they will be returning to the unit, and they must get the landlord’s consent before subletting.

A landlord cannot refuse the idea of subletting a unit, but they can refuse a specific person if they believe the person is unsuitable.  However, if the tenant thinks that the landlord is being unreasonable in withholding their consent to sublet to someone, the tenant can file an application with the Board.
 
The application that a tenant may file is the
Application About a Sublet or an Assignment (Form A2).

What happens if a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without the landlord’s consent?

If a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without their landlord’s consent, it is an unauthorized assignment or sublet.  A landlord can file an application with the Board to evict both the tenant and the unauthorized occupant.  However, if the landlord does not file the application within 60 days of discovering the unauthorized occupant, the unauthorized occupant will become a tenant.


How a Landlord can evict a Tenant


What is the process for evicting a tenant?

In most situations, before a landlord can apply to the Board to evict the tenant, they must first give the tenant a Notice of Termination that tells the tenant what the problem is.  For some termination notices, the landlord must wait a specific number of days to see if the tenant corrects the problem before they can file the application with the Board. The number of days the tenant has to correct the problem is set out in the notice.  If the tenant does not correct the problem and/or does not move out, the landlord can file an application with the Board and in most situations a hearing will be scheduled.

At the hearing, the parties can appear in front of a Member of the Board.  The Member will listen to what each person has to say and then make a decision. 

If an eviction order is issued, it tells the tenant when they must be out of the unit. If they do not move out, then the landlord can file this order with the Court Enforcement Office. Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant who does not leave a unit as directed by an eviction order issued by the Board

Can a tenant be evicted without a hearing?

Yes, for some types of applications an ex parte order can be issued without holding a hearing. 

Can a tenant be evicted in the winter?

Yes. There is nothing in the Residential Tenancies Act that prevents a tenant from being evicted during the winter months.

For what reasons can a landlord evict a tenant?

There are different reasons for evicting a tenant.

For some reasons, a landlord can only evict a tenant at the end of the tenancy agreement (at the end of a lease) – in most of these situations, the tenant has not done anything wrong, but the landlord needs the unit back.

Other reasons allow a landlord to evict a tenant in the middle of their tenancy agreement or lease– these are generally situations where the tenant or someone the tenant let into their building has done something wrong.  For example, the tenant has not paid their rent or has damaged the rental property.

Information about the reasons for evicting a tenant are explained in the Board’s brochure, A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?

A tenant can be evicted for having a pet in their unit only if:

  • the pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit, or causing an allergic reaction, or
  • the animal or species is considered to be inherently dangerous. 

Even if the tenancy agreement has a ‘no pets’ rule in it, the tenant cannot be evicted just for having a pet unless the Board decides in an order that the pet is causing a problem, or that the pet is inherently dangerous.

Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?

No, a tenant cannot be evicted simply for having a roommate.  However, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants.  For example, if the roommate is making a lot of noise, damaging the unit, or there are too many roommates (overcrowding), the landlord can serve a notice of termination and apply to evict the tenant and any other occupants of the unit. 

Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord wants to use the unit themselves?

Yes, a tenant can be evicted if a landlord "in good faith" requires the unit for:

  • their own use,
  • the use of an immediate family member, or
  • the use of a person who will provide care services to the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family, if the person who will be receiving the care services lives in the same building or complex. 

Once the landlord gives the tenant a notice terminating the tenancy for this reason, they can apply to the Board for an order evicting the tenant.  However, a tenant can only be evicted at the end of their tenancy and only if the Board issues an eviction order.

Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord sells the house and the purchaser wants to move in?

Yes, but only if the rental complex has three or fewer residential units.

A tenant can be evicted if a landlord has agreed to sell the rental property, and the purchaser requires the rental unit for:

  • their own use,
  • the use of an immediate family member, or
  • the use of a person who will provide care services to the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family, if the person who will be receiving the care services lives in the same building or complex. 

Once the landlord gives the tenant a notice terminating the tenancy for this reason, they can apply to the Board for an order evicting the tenant.  However, a tenant can only be evicted at the end of their tenancy and only if the Board issues an eviction order.

Can a tenant be evicted for something that their roommate or a guest they allow into the rental unit does

Yes, a number of the reasons for eviction are based on problems caused by an occupant of the unit (someone that the tenant lets live with them), or a guest that the tenant lets into their building.  So, for example, if a tenant’s guest punches a hole in the hallway wall, the landlord could give the tenant a notice of termination and, if the problem isn’t resolved, make an application to the Board to evict the tenant.

What can a tenant do if the landlord gives them a Notice of Termination?

The tenant should first read the notice to see why and when the landlord is asking them to leave. They may wish to talk to their landlord about the notice and see if the problem can be worked out. If the problem isn’t worked out, the tenant can:

  • talk to their landlord about the notice and correct the problem as outlined in the notice (if the notice was given because the landlord believes the tenant did something wrong); or
  • leave the unit as requested by the landlord; or
  • stay in the unit and see if the landlord files an application against them with the Board.  If an application is filed, the tenant can go to the hearing and tell the Member about the situation.

A tenant may also wish to phone the Board’s call centre to learn more about the eviction process and/or get some legal advice from a lawyer or legal clinic.

A tenant has the right to stay in their unit until the Board issues an eviction order based on an application filed by the landlord. A tenant cannot be legally evicted without an eviction order from the Board.


Abandoned Unit


If the tenant didn’t give notice that they were leaving, but the landlord believes the tenant has left the rental unit - can the landlord change the locks and re-rent the unit?

The landlord should make a reasonable effort to contact the tenant to determine if they have in fact left the unit (for example, by writing the tenant or calling them, if the landlord has the tenant’s number).

If the landlord believes that the tenant has abandoned the rental unit, then the landlord may apply to the Board for an order ending the tenancy. Although this is not mandatory, if the landlord re-rents the unit without having the Board confirm that it is abandoned in an order, and the tenant has not really left, the tenant could take legal action against the landlord.

The application form that landlords can use is the Application to Terminate a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant (Form L2)

What can a landlord do with property that is left in the unit after the tenant has moved out or has been evicted?

This depends on a number of things such as how and when the tenant moved out, and why they moved out.  There are special rules a landlord must follow before disposing of abandoned property.  For information about the rules, you should contact the Landlord and Tenant Board.