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Terminating a Residential Lease

By January 24, 2014January 20th, 2022Leases

So here’s the issue: you have a practice in a house, and someone lives on the upper floor as a tenant. You don’t want them there anymore. So what are your options?

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, a landlord can only terminate the tenancy in accordance with that Act. Read that again. That’s right. That’s what section 37(1) says: “only in accordance with the Act.”

So what does the Act say? Well, let’s go through some of the ways in which the residential lease agreement can be terminated, shall we? Remember: “terminating a residential tenancy” is different from “evicting a tenant”. You cannot evict a tenant unless you do so in accordance with the Act. And the Act says that you can only evict if the residential tenancy is terminated. Get it?

So let’s go..

Notice by Tenant

Here’s an easy one. A tenant may terminate the residential lease agreement at the end of a period of the tenancy (e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) or at the end of a term (e.g. for a fixed term of 1 year) by giving notice of termination: section 47. There are various rules under section 44 concerning the period of notice which the Tenant must abide by for giving notice.

Tenant Dies

Another easy way (unfortunately) is for the Tenant to die! If there are no other Tenants left in the rental unit, then the tenancy shall be deemed to be terminated 30 days after the Tenant’s death: section 91.

Agreement by Landlord and Tenant

Another easy way to terminate the residential lease agreement is for the Landlord and Tenant to have agreed to do so: section 37(3). Note, however, that any such agreement to terminate the tenancy is VOID if it is given at the time the tenancy agreement is entered into or as a condition of entering into the tenancy agreement: section 37(5).

Notice at End of Period or Term

A landlord can give a tenant notice of termination (in accordance with the Act) on the grounds that the Tenant has persistently failed to pay rent on the date it becomes due and payable: section 58(1)1. The date for termination specified in the notice must follow certain notice periods and be the day a period of the tenancy ends or, where the tenancy is for a fixed term, the end of the term: section 58(2). Section 44(4) of the Act specifies that, in the case of a fixed-term tenancy, the Tenant must provide the Landlord with notice at least sixty (60) days before the expiration of the date specified in the tenancy agreement. You may want to consider providing the Tenant with a draft notice of termination document. The notice should comply with the requirements set out in section 43 of the Act(e.g. identify the rental unit, state the date on which the tenancy is to terminate, be signed by the party, etc.).

Notice Before End of Period or Term

A landlord can give a tenant notice of termination (in accordance with the Act) for non-payment of rent lawfully owing under a residential lease agreement. The notice of termination is only effective after the 7th day (in the case of a daily or weekly tenancy) or after the 14th day (in all other cases): section 59. The notice of termination must set out the amount of rent due and specify that the Tenant can avoid the termination of the tenancy by paying, on or before the termination date specified in the notice, the rent due and any additional rent that has become due. If the rent (both arrears and additional rent) is paid before the Landlord applies to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the Tenant based on notice, then the notice of termination is VOID: section 59(3).

Landlord Needs Unit (Personally)

The Landlord can terminate a tenancy by giving notice (in accordance with the Act) if they, in good faith, require possession of the rental unit if they, their spouse, their children, or parents (among others) require it for residential occupation: section 48.

Demolition, Conversion or Repairs

The Landlord can terminate a tenancy by giving notice (in accordance with the Act) if they require possession of the residential unit to demolish it, convert it into something other than a residential premise, or do extensive repairs or renovations: section 50.

Termination for Cause

The Act outlines a number of grounds for terminating a tenancy by the Landlord giving notice on the grounds that the Tenant has done something wrong. This is called “termination for cause” and includes:

Income Misrepresentation
The Tenant knowingly and materially misrepresented his or her income or that of a member of his or her family occupying the rental unit: section 60.

Illegal Acts
The Tenant or another occupant of the rent unit commits an illegal act or carries on an illegal trade, business or occupation or permits a person to do so in the rental unit: section 61.

Undue Damage
The Tenant or another occupant of the rental unit or a person whom the Tenant permits in the residential complex wilfully or negligently causes undue damage to the rental unit: section 62.

Interference with Reasonable Enjoyment
The Tenant, another occupant of the rent unit, or a person permitted in the residential complex (which contains the residential unit) by the Tenant, substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the Landlord or another tenant or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the Landlord or another tenant: section 64.

Impairs Safety
The Tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the residential complex by the Tenant, acts or fails to act in a way that seriously impairs or has seriously impaired the safety of another person and that act or failure to act happened in the residential complex: section 66.

Too Many Persons
The number of persons occupying the rental unit on a continuing basis results in a contravention of health, safety or housing standards required by law: section 67.

Remember: there are notice requirements (time limits, content, etc.) that must be met. The Landlord may also need to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order evicting if the Tenant if they remain in the rental unit and have not rectified the situation (assuming it can be rectified!). If neither the Tenant or the Landlord terminate at the expiration of the term (in accordance with the Act), and the lease has not been renewed by either party, then the lease is DEEMED to have been renewed as a MONTHLY TENANCY agreement containing the same terms and conditions that are in the expired tenancy agreement: section 38.

DMC