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Ontario|Landlord & Tenant
434 Can a tenant move out when there is a lease? If a tenant breaks their lease, they can be held responsible for paying the rent up to the end of the lease. However, they may also have the option to sublet or assign their unit and avoid having to pay the landlord for the remaining months of the lease.
- Subletting rulesIf the tenant only wants to move out temporarily they can arrange to sublet their unit. Subletting is when a tenant rents out their unit to another person for a period of time that is less than the length of the lease. The original tenant is responsible for collecting the rent from the sub-letter, and ensuring it is paid to the landlord. If a tenant rents on a month to month basis, they can only sublet the unit for less than one month and not for any longer period of time, or the tenant and the sub-tenant may lose their rights to the unit.
If a tenant wants to sublet their unit, they require the landlord's approval. However, the landlord must have a good reason for refusing a sub-tenant. If the landlord refuses a sub-lease, or does not reply to the request within seven days, the tenant can apply to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal to determine if the sublease should be allowed.
- Assigning a lease: transferring it to someone newIf tenants want to move out before the lease expires and do not want to return, they can assign their lease to another person, who will then become the tenant. Assigning a lease transfers all the tenant's rights and obligations to another person. The new tenant, called the assignee, will be required to pay the same rent that the original tenant was paying, and the terms of the original lease will apply.
If tenants want to assign a lease, they are first required to make a written request for the landlord's approval. If the landlord refuses or does not reply, the tenants have two choices: they can end the lease or apply to the Tribunal to approve the assignment. If the tenants want to end the lease, they have 30 days from the day the assignment request was made to give notice to the landlord. The notice must be 30 days before the tenant will move, which is normally the last day of the month.
To apply to the Tribunal to have a sublet or assignment approved, a tenant can obtain forms from the nearest Tribunal office where the forms must be filed together with a small application fee. A copy of these forms must then be delivered to the landlord.
For additional information on sub-lets and assignments, you can call the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal information line. Tenants who need assistance with this application can contact a local legal clinic. These numbers are listed in the Blue pages of the telephone book.
For more information about tenancies, refer to other sections of Legal Line©.