How A Tenant Can End Their Tenancy

Table of Contents

A tenancy agreement is legally binding and it can only be ended in a number of ways. If you are a tenant and you wish to terminate your tenancy, you must take certain steps to prevent any legal issues. This article will talk about how a tenant can end their tenancy. Keep on reading!

The Process of Ending a Tenancy

Any tenant that is looking to end their tenancy must give the landlord a Notice of Termination. This will state the required period of notice. As a tenant, you can only end your tenancy if the landlord has breached their responsibilities and a reason must be given. The notice period is a function of the tenancy duration:

  • If the tenancy runs for less than 6 months, you give a notice period of 28 days.
  • If the tenancy runs for more than 6 months, but less than a year, you give a notice period of 35 days.
  • If the tenancy runs for more than a year, but less than 2 years, you give a notice period of 42 days before your tenancy can be ended.
  • If the tenancy runs for more than 2 years, but less than 4 years, you give a notice period of 56 days.
  • If the tenancy runs for more than 4 years, but less than 8 years, you give a notice period of 84 days.
  • If the tenancy runs for more than 8 years, you must give a notice period of 112 days.

Breach of Responsibilities

As stated earlier, you can only terminate a legally binding tenancy agreement if the landlord has breached their responsibilities. First, you must write to the landlord, highlighting the breach of responsibilities. Then, a reasonable amount of time is given to resolve this issue.

If this problem is not addressed, then you can decide to end your tenancy, giving the landlord a notice period as mentioned earlier. If there is a very high risk of injury or danger due to the landlord’s negligence in their responsibilities, then you only have to give the landlord a 7 days’ notice.

However, there are certain requirements you must take into consideration anytime you wish to serve a valid notice of termination. Some of these include the following:

  • Make sure that the notice you give is in writing.
  • Make sure the required period of notice – as listed above – is given.
  • In the notice, ensure that you include the reasons for terminating your tenancy.
  • If you wish to sublet the space, ensure that you refer to the checklist for landlords as you take on the role.
  • Make sure that the notice is served on time. However, you don’t necessarily need to send a copy to the Residential Tenancy Board.
  • You should also mention that any problem related to the validity of the notice may be referred to the Residential Tenancy Board within 28 days of the notice receipt.
  • Ensure that you sign the notice of termination.

A shorter notice period than required may also be given by a tenant if there is an agreement with the landlord to do this at the time the tenant seeks to end their tenancy. Yet, if no agreement is reached with the landlord and the rent is left dwelling without the tenant serving a notice of termination, the landlord may be entitled to the rent for the notice period that should have been appropriately given. It is also possible for a landlord to be entitled to retain a portion of or the entire deposit to cover this amount.

The Process of Ending a Tenancy

As a tenancy draws to an end, the tenant and the landlord must agree on a final inspection of the space. This inspection includes all the items and utilities that were provided when the tenant moved in. Through this inspection, any damage beyond normal wear and tear can be identified.

An agreement must be reached between the tenant and the landlord on how the property can be cleaned. All accounts related to utilities, including electricity and gas, should be closed. Then, the tenant must provide contact details to ensure that the landlord can forward any correspondence.

More importantly, as a tenant, moving out effortlessly while preventing any legal issues requires you to embrace the following checklist:

  • Ensure that you provide a valid channel for communicating with your landlord with respect to moving out details, including the return of the deposit.
  • Make the property as clean as possible.
  • None of your belongings should be inside the property once your tenancy ends.
  • If necessary, remove rubbish
  • Make sure that you pay – in full – your rent and other utilities.
  • Do a meter reading.
  • There should be no damage that is beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Make sure that the utility bills are transferred back into the landlord’s name.
  • You can also create a list that includes the condition of every single item in the property. Ensure that the landlord signs this to verify this agreement. Properly check the plumbing fixtures, cupboard doors, and appliances to ensure that they are in good working condition.
  • You can make a video or take various photos that show the conditions of the property before the end of the tenancy.
  • Inspect with the landlord (or their representative) before the financial inspection to ensure that any issue can be duly rectified.
  • Do a final inspection with the landlord (or their representative).
  • When vacating, return all the keys.
  • To prevent any kind of dispute, all written records should be properly kept.
  • Leave a forwarding address.


A tenancy agreement outlines all the relevant terms and conditions that govern your tenancy in the property. Anytime you have reasons to terminate your tenancy, especially when the landlord ignores their essential responsibilities, you need to take the right steps to prevent all kinds of legal issues. Yet, it is worth stressing that before you move out, as listed in the aforementioned checklist, ensure that everything you found in the property when you move in is in good working condition as you end your tenancy.


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Marla Coffin

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