There are several reasons why landlords may want to terminate tenancy agreements before the contract officially expires. They can’t just show up one day and demand that the tenant vacate the property immediately unless the renter violated a specific clause in the rental contract. Even then, it’s better for landlords to go through the right process of lease termination to avoid retaliation from a disgruntled former tenant.
When Can a Landlord Legally Terminate a Rental Agreement Early?
Landlords who want to terminate a tenant’s contract early and effectively evict them from a rental property have two ways to do so. They could terminate the lease agreement under a “for cause” reason or what is known as a “no fault” reason. Each situation will require the landlord to present a notice of termination to the tenant or the board that oversees these cases.
In most situations, the tenant will then have the option to appeal to the Landlord and Tenant Board in the Ontario tribunals or comply. If they feel that the lease terms were violated, or they were left without vital services for a time, their appeal case would be much stronger.
Before exploring that part of the process, though, it’s important to talk about what the reasons for eviction might be.
Examples of Legal “For Cause” Reasons to End a Rental Period Early
Issues with the payment of rent are the most common example of a “for cause” eviction. When the tenant causes damages to the property due to misuse, that’s also a common reason why landlords may want to terminate the contract early. There are instances when damages to the property can be unintentional, and those may not lead to a “for cause” termination, but they could end in a “no fault” case.
The landlord also has a right to file for a termination of tenancy if the tenants are disturbing other residents or constantly bickering with the property owner. If the owner suspects that there’s any type of illegal activity going on in the property, that can also lead to an early termination.
In these situations, it’s unlikely that the tenant will be able to collect their damage deposits, even if the lease period is not yet at an end. They may even be asked to pay reasonable costs to repair any damages they may have caused on top of forfeiting the security deposit fee.
Notice Requirements to End a Contract in “For Cause” Cases
Tenants who don’t pay the rent on time could receive as little as a 7-day notice to vacate the property. In most cases, there will be a 14-day grace period to vacate or settle the dispute. When damages are done to the property, the landlord will usually give the tenant a 10-day notice or 20-day notice, depending on the severity of the infraction.
It’s important to remember that in any of these cases, a landlord notice doesn’t have to lead to an eviction. Tenants will have the right to appeal within the notice period and could take the matter up with the Landlord and Tenant Board.
It’s also possible to settle the matter between the parties and continue under the same lease terms.
Legal “No Fault” Reasons to End a Lease Agreement Early
When the property management companies that run a few buildings want to renovate them, they could effectively evict their tenants to do so. The same principle applies if these companies want to demolish the rental unit.
Tenants who lose their jobs and live in a rental property paid for by their former employer will also have to leave the rental unit early. This doesn’t mean that tenants can’t remain in the building, but the lease agreement with their employer will be terminated. The tenant would then have to enter into a new contract with different lease terms while providing their own rent payments.
There’s also a clause in most tenancy agreements that allows landlords to end the lease agreement directly on the day that the original contract ends. This doesn’t necessarily apply as an early exit for the tenant but could still result in an eviction.
When a landlord doesn’t want to renew the lease agreement, they must notify the tenant in advance. They can’t just arrive on the day that the original lease expires and expect them to leave.
Proper Notice Requirements in “No Fault” Cases to End a Rental Period Early
In cases where the landlord wants to demolish the rental unit, tenants must be given a 120-day notice. The last day of the 120 days has to be the final day set on the standard lease form. The same 120-day notice has to be issued for renovations.
Renovations are unique because the tenant has the right to notify the property management company that they want to move back into the building after the project is complete. The landlord can’t deny the request if it’s presented in written form and on time.
When the landlord or new owner of the building wants to occupy the property, they have to provide a 60-day written notice. The tenant could appeal this decision within the 60-day notice time frame.
Former employees who lost their jobs and were under a daily or weekly tenancy lease agreement will be given a 28-day notice to vacate the property. Those under regular monthly tenancy have up to 60 days to leave the property.
Situations Where a Property Owner Can End the Lease Without an Eviction Notice
An empty rental unit can be recovered by the landlord without having to notify the former tenant. When there’s a mutual agreement set between both parties, the property management company can repossess the property on that day without formal eviction notice forms.
The last one is a bit of a different type of eviction that a landlord could apply. If the tenant violates a board order, the landlord could evict this person without an eviction hearing. In each of these eviction application cases, the property owner doesn’t have to notify the tenant, but they do have to let the Landlord and Tenant Board know what they plan to do.
What a Property Owner Can’t Do to Recover a Rental Unit
Changing the locks on a rental property without giving the board or tenant proper notice isn’t allowed. This is considered a bad faith eviction, and the tenant will be able to quickly challenge the eviction. The property owner can’t evict anyone before the legal notice period has expired.
In fact, it’s not within the landlord’s lawful rights to forcefully evict any tenant in Ontario. After proper notice, the eviction of a tenant from a rental unit has to be carried out by the right authorities. This will be the case even if the rental period has officially ended. It is always wise to consult with property management experts, when you have questions about your tenants.