Breaking a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement

How can i end a fixed term tenancy agreement early? Learn how to break a fixed term lease agreement legally and painlessly here.

RELATED: What is a Fixed Term Lease? - Introduction and Main Features

Breaking a Fixed Term Lease Agreement for Landlords

The very idea of a fixed term rental agreement (also known as tenancy for years) is that there is a pre-determined end date that you're not supposed to breach. Unlike other types of tenancy (e.g. month to month lease), you can't end the lease by just giving your tenant a written notice in advance. So what's a landlord supposed to do?

First thing on your to-do list: Check if your lease agreement has a break clause. A fixed term tenancy break clause example: "The tenant agrees that the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy after the first six months by giving the tenant not less than two months notice in writing to end the agreement."

In the example above, you're can break the lease agreement at the end of the 6th month by giving a written notice to your tenant 60 days beforehand.

If there is no break clause, then you may want to consider a surrender of tenancy where both parties agree to end the lease agreement mutually. Of course most tenants aren't going to do it for nothing. You'll most likely to have offer them a deal sweetener - Monetary compensation, reduced rent or even help in finding a comparable rental property.

If your main reason for ending a lease early is because you're stuck with a bad tenant (owes you rent or breaks your lease regulations etc.), then eviction is probably your best course for action - Click here to learn how to evict a tenant from your property.

Breaking a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement for Tenants

As always, look for a break clause in your lease agreement. For tenants there's a big catch here - Some break clauses only allow the landlord to end the lease early (see fixed term lease break clause example above) while other break clauses grant termination rights to both parties:

"The landlord or tenant can terminate this fixed term agreement at any time after six months by serving not less than 60 days written notice."

In the absence of a break clause, you consider an assignment of lease or subletting which involves getting someone else to take over the remainder of your lease. Remember to check your local sublet laws to see if you're allowed to assign or sublet your lease. If your law text doesn't mention anything, then your lease agreement will have the final say on the matter.

Failing that, your last option is to give your landlord a written notice to quit as early as possible and then vacate the rental property.

In this case, you're expected to continue paying rent until the end of the fixed term... unless your landlord is able to find a replacement tenant before that. If the landlord paid for the services of a property agent, you may have to cover part of the agent fees as well.

If your landlord is taking a long time to find a new tenant, be sure to check that he or she is advertising the rental property and giving all eligible tenant applicants a chance.

Types of Tenancy