Can a Landlord Break a Lease in Ontario, Canada?

Can a Landlord Break a Lease in Ontario, Canada

Can a Landlord Break a Lease in Ontario, Canada?

Are you renting a property in Canada and wondering if a landlord has the right to break a lease? This article explores the legal landscape in the provinces of Ontario to provide you with the information you need.

In this article, we’ll dive into the specific conditions under which a landlord can break a lease, the reasons allowed in each province, and the notice requirements that must be followed.

Understanding Lease Agreements in Canada

Lease agreements are legally binding contracts that outline the terms and conditions under which a property is rented. From a legal standpoint, lease agreements provide protection and clarity for both parties involved. 

They establish the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant, preventing misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

Typically, lease agreements in Canada include essential information such as:

  • The names and contact information of both the landlord and the tenant.
  • The address and description of the rental property.
  • The lease term specifies the start and end dates.
  • The rent amount, including payment frequency and due dates.
  • Any utility or maintenance responsibilities, outlining who is responsible for which expenses.
  • Restrictions and rules regarding pets, smoking, and other important guidelines.
  • Security deposit details, including the amount and conditions for its refund.
  • Procedures for terminating the lease agreement.

It’s important for landlords and tenants to carefully review the lease agreement before signing it to ensure that they fully understand and agree to its terms and conditions. Landlords and tenants to keep copies of the signed lease agreement throughout the duration of the tenancy for reference and documentation purposes.

Tenant Rights in Ontario

Tenants in Ontario have specific rights that protect them during their tenancy. These rights ensure that tenants can enjoy a safe, secure, and comfortable living environment.

Right to Quiet Enjoyment

One of the fundamental tenant rights is the right to quiet enjoyment. This means that tenants have the right to peacefully and uninterruptedly use and enjoy their rental property without interference from the landlord. Landlords cannot enter the premises without proper notice, except in emergency situations. To protect this right, tenants should be aware of the notice requirements for landlord entry and respond accordingly.

Right to Privacy

Tenants also have the right to privacy within their rental property. Landlords must respect their tenants’ privacy and cannot enter the premises without proper notice or without a legitimate reason, such as emergency repairs. Additionally, landlords cannot excessively monitor or invade their tenants’ privacy unless there are specific legal obligations or exceptional circumstances.

Maintenance Standards

Landlords have a legal responsibility to maintain the rental property in a habitable condition. This includes ensuring that the property meets health and safety standards, performing necessary repairs, and providing essential services, such as heat, hot water, and sanitary facilities. Tenants have the right to a safe and well-maintained rental unit, and if landlords fail to meet these obligations, tenants have recourse to seek appropriate remedies.

Other Tenant Rights

Along with the aforementioned rights, tenants also have additional rights granted by provincial legislation. These can include protections against discriminatory practices, the right to challenge unfair rent increases, and the right to receive proper notice before termination of the tenancy. Familiarizing themselves with these rights allows tenants to understand their legal entitlements and take appropriate action when necessary.

If a landlord intends to break a lease, understanding tenant rights is crucial for both parties involved. By being aware of their rights, tenants can assert and protect themselves, ensuring a fair and lawful resolution.

Allowed Reasons for Breaking a Lease in Ontario

When it comes to breaking a lease in Ontario, there are specific circumstances in which a landlord can legally terminate the agreement. Here are some of the allowed reasons:


  • Non-payment of rent: If the tenant consistently fails to pay rent on time, the landlord has grounds to break the lease.
  • Property damage: If the tenant causes significant damage to the property beyond regular wear and tear, the landlord may have the right to terminate the lease.
  • Landlord’s personal use: If the landlord requires the premises for their own use, such as moving in themselves or accommodating immediate family members, they can break the lease.
  • Illegal activities: If the tenant engages in unlawful activities on the premises, the landlord can terminate the lease.
  • Health and safety concerns: If the property poses health and safety risks due to issues like mould, pests, or lack of proper maintenance, the landlord may have grounds to break the lease.
  • Significant breaches: If the tenant consistently violates the lease agreement or breaches important terms, such as subletting without permission or causing a disturbance, the landlord can pursue lease termination.


Learn the details of tenant eviction in Ontario.

Notice Requirements for Breaking a Lease in Canada

When it comes to breaking a lease, landlords in Ontario are required to follow specific notice requirements to ensure compliance with the relevant tenancy laws.

Ontario Notice Requirements

In Ontario, landlords must also provide written notice to the tenant, but the required notice period may vary depending on the reason for termination.


  • For non-payment of rent, landlords must provide at least 14 days’ notice.
  • For breach of the tenancy agreement, landlords must provide at least 20 days’ notice.
  • If the landlord intends to occupy the rental unit personally, they must provide at least 60 days’ notice.
  • The notice must include the reason for termination and the termination date and provide information on the tenant’s rights and options.


Failure to comply with these regulations may result in legal consequences and potential liability for the landlord.

Tenant Remedies and Compensation

If your landlord breaks a lease unlawfully, you have tenant remedies available to protect your rights. These remedies can help you seek compensation for any inconvenience or financial losses you have incurred due to the landlord’s actions.

Potential Remedies

When a landlord unlawfully breaks a lease, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation. These may include:


  • Reimbursement for moving costs: If you are forced to move due to the landlord’s breach of the lease agreement, you may be eligible to claim reimbursement for your moving expenses.
  • Compensation for inconvenience: You may be able to seek compensation for the inconvenience caused by the landlord’s breach, such as the disruption to your living arrangements and the stress it has caused.
  • Rent refund: In some cases, you may be entitled to a refund of the rent you paid for the period after the lease was unlawfully terminated.

Seek Legal Advice

If you believe your landlord has breached the lease agreement, seeking legal advice to understand your rights and the potential remedies available to you is essential. A lawyer specializing in tenancy law can provide guidance and help you navigate the process of seeking compensation.

Remember to document all relevant evidence, such as correspondence with the landlord, photographs of any damages, and receipts for expenses incurred. This documentation will support your case and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Tenant Notice Requirements for Breaking a Lease

When tenants need to break a lease in Ontario, it is crucial to understand the notice requirements to ensure legal compliance. By following the proper procedure, tenants can minimize potential conflicts and protect their rights. Here are the key guidelines:

Provide Written Notice

To initiate the lease termination process, tenants must provide written notice to their landlord. The notice should clearly state the intent to break the lease and the proposed termination date. It is advisable to send the notice via registered mail or email to have a delivery record.

Timeframe for Notice

In Ontario, the notice period is generally 60 days, although it may differ depending on the circumstances. It is crucial to check the specific regulations in each province.

Content of the Notice

The notice to terminate a lease should include essential information to ensure its validity. It should clearly state the tenant’s full name, address of the rental unit, lease commencement date, proposed termination date, and contact information. It is best to keep the notice concise, straightforward, and professional.

Tenants should also take care to review their lease agreement for any additional notice requirements specified by the landlord. Adhering to these requirements will help ensure that the notice is legally sufficient.

Retain Proof of Notice

It is crucial for tenants to retain proof of the notice provided to the landlord. This can be achieved by keeping a copy of the written notice and any proof of delivery, such as a registered mail receipt or email confirmation. These records can be invaluable in case of any disputes or misunderstandings.

By following these tenant notice requirements for breaking a lease in Ontario, tenants can navigate the process smoothly and minimize potential conflicts. It is always advisable to consult the tenancy laws specific to each province and seek legal advice if needed.

Breaking a Lease Amicably in Canada

When circumstances arise that require either a landlord or a tenant to break a lease, it is always preferable to do so amicably. Both parties can avoid unnecessary disputes and legal complications by approaching the situation with open communication and a willingness to find a mutually beneficial resolution.

Here are some tips and strategies for breaking a lease amicably:


  • Early communication: As soon as one party realizes they need to break the lease, it is important to inform the other party promptly. This allows for sufficient time to discuss the situation and explore potential solutions.
  • Open negotiation: Landlords and tenants should be willing to negotiate and find a compromise that works for both parties. This may involve agreeing on a reasonable timeline for the lease termination or discussing the possibility of finding a new tenant or subletting the property.
  • Document agreements: Once an agreement is reached, ensure that all the details are documented in writing and signed by both parties. This will provide clarity and help prevent misunderstandings in the future.


Remember, breaking a lease amicably not only helps maintain a positive relationship between the landlord and tenant but also minimizes the financial and emotional stress that can arise from legal conflicts. By working together and prioritizing effective communication and negotiation, both parties can achieve a smooth and respectful resolution.

Legal Assistance and Resources

Seeking legal assistance or further resources when it comes to breaking a lease in Canada? You’re in luck. There are various options available to both landlords and tenants who may need professional guidance or additional information. Here are some valuable resources to consider:

Legal Professionals

  • Lawyer Referral Services: Contact your local Bar Association for access to lawyer referral services. These services can connect you with experienced lawyers who specialize in tenancy and lease agreement matters.
  • Tenant Lawyers: Search for reputable tenant lawyers in your area who have expertise in lease-related issues. They can help you navigate the legal complexities and provide personalized advice.

Government Agencies in Ontario

Landlord and Tenant Board (Ontario): The Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario offers resources, forms, and guidelines pertaining to tenancy disputes, including breaking a lease. Their website is a valuable source of information for both landlords and tenants.

Tenant Advocacy Organizations in Ontario

  • Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA): The FMTA is an organization that advocates for tenants’ rights in Ontario. Their website offers valuable resources, publications, and assistance for tenants facing various tenancy-related challenges, including breaking a lease.

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In conclusion, it is crucial for both landlords and tenants in Ontario to have a clear understanding of the conditions under which a lease can be legally broken. 

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