What To Do When Tenants Break Their Lease Early in Calgary (Alberta)?

Tenants Breaking Lease Early

As a landlord, you’ve worked hard to ensure your investment property stays rented. But what happens when your tenant wants to break their lease early? Suddenly that dependable income isn’t as much of a sure thing as you expected. In cases where renters seek to step out of their lease before the allotted time, knowing your options can be a helpful way to handle the issue tactfully and professionally.

From this publication, you will learn about breaking a lease in Calgary (Alberta) and how to proceed in this case.

Reasons for Ending a Lease

In certain circumstances, either the tenant or the landlord may find themselves unable to fulfill their obligations outlined in the lease agreement.

You might wonder: “Can a tenant terminate a lease early?” Conversely, as a landlord, you may inquire if it’s possible to terminate a lease. The answer to both questions will be yes.

Tenants may contemplate the legal methods of terminating a lease. Fortunately for landlords, there are specific legal grounds for lease termination in Alberta:

  1. Breach of agreement. If either the landlord or tenant fails to uphold their responsibilities as outlined in the lease, this can legally warrant termination.
  2. Tenant relocation. While some provinces may not recognize finding alternative housing as a valid reason for terminating a lease, in Alberta, Canada, it is an acceptable basis for ending a tenancy.
  3. The landlord initiated termination. A landlord can choose to terminate the tenancy for legitimate reasons, provided proper notice is given.

The reasons for breaking a lease in Calgary can vary, the important thing is to know how to proceed.

Fixed-Term Lease Termination

Ending a fixed-term lease is straightforward since the end date of the tenancy is predetermined in the lease agreement. In such cases, there is no requirement to formally notify the tenant of the lease termination. However, it’s considerate to provide a reminder to the tenant before the agreement concludes.

Periodic-Term Lease Termination

Landlords have the authority to terminate a periodic tenancy. This could occur if the landlord or their family member intends to occupy the property.

Another scenario could be if the landlord intends to sell the rental property, with the new owner planning to move in. In this instance, the tenant cannot continue residing in the rental unit. The new owner must also request the landlord to issue a written notice to the tenant regarding the termination of tenancy.

Alternatively, the tenant may be required to vacate if the landlord intends to convert the rental home into a non-residential unit.

In cases where major renovations are necessary, such as converting the property into a condominium unit, the tenant must be informed in advance. In such circumstances, a notice of lease termination should be provided at least a year in advance.

Minor renovations such as repainting, changing floor coverings, or routine maintenance do not constitute valid reasons for breaking a lease in Alberta.

Ending a Lease Early with Proper Notification

Typically, tenants are obliged to provide at least 30 days’ notice before vacating the rental property. This allows the landlord ample time to secure a new tenant.

The 30-day notice should be issued at the start of the month, and rent for that month must be paid accordingly. In certain situations, the tenant may be liable for rent payments until the lease or agreement expires if the unit remains unoccupied.

Serving the Move-Out Notification

In the province of Alberta, required notices must be delivered either in person or via registered mail. If direct contact is not feasible, a notice can be conspicuously posted on the rental premises.

As a last resort, notice can be transmitted electronically, such as via email, provided there is also a physical copy of the notice available.

If the tenant is not located in the rental unit or is exhibiting evasive behavior, the landlord can choose to provide the notice to another adult residing with the tenant.

Alternatively, the landlord can visibly post the notice on the rental premises to ensure the tenant receives the information.

In situations where delivering a notice to vacate cannot be accomplished through the aforementioned methods, sending the notice electronically is permissible. However, the recipient must have the capability to print a copy of the notice.

Tenant Breaking Lease Early in Alberta: What to Do?

If the tenant breaks the lease early in Alberta, do not panic, but listen to the advice of the experts at GIL Property Management.

Down to the Brass Tacks

According to the Government of Alberta website, tenants in a fixed-term lease are required to pay their rent during the entire term as long as the landlord has not breached their responsibilities. That means even if they aren’t living there anymore, they must continue to pay while the landlord actively seeks an equally suitable replacement. That is, however, unless they agree with their landlord. Keep in mind, as the landlord you are not legally obligated to agree to their terms or even negotiate. Fixed-term leases are fairly cut and dry in this respect.

Find a Way to Work Together

That being said, you’ll likely find it easier to work with your tenant to find a mutually beneficial solution. Find out exactly when they are planning to leave, how much notice they have given you, and what they may be willing to do to come to an arrangement. If they have a great history with you, it’s almost always worth it to try and work it out. For example, you may ask that they help advertise the property so that it can be filled as soon as possible. Even if they are willing to be cooperative showing the place to potential replacements can be a huge help. Any of these understandings should be put down on paper if both parties agree to them.

Alternatives to Breaking the Lease

When an agreement can’t be reached and you need someone in the unit without a blip in your income, there are still options. Again, these are entirely dependent on whether you agree to them, but they are still worth considering. For example, you may allow the tenant to sublet the property or assign the lease. This ensures the property is still inhabited, and you are still getting monthly rent, with the bonus that you don’t have to go through the work of finding someone to move in.

It can come as a surprise when your tenant approaches you to break their lease early, but you do have a handful of viable options to help mitigate any losses. For advice on how to be when breaking a lease in Calgary, Alberta, and to partner with an experienced property management company, contact our team today!