Terminate a Lease Without Triggering Legal Issues


While leases are legally binding contracts, there are ways to terminate a lease while avoiding financial penalties or getting sued by your landlord. LegalShield is here to help you exercise your renter rights, so you break your lease in a way that avoids legal problems.

Avoid financial penalties when breaking a lease

Renters have significant rights under provincial and federal law and in some cases have valid reasons to terminate a rental agreement early.

Terminating a lease without following the rules can land you in court and cause negative financial impact. A personal plan from LegalShield allows you to speak with a lawyer about your specific situation. All for as little as $32.95 per month.

On this page

  • Read your rental agreement
  • Communicate with your landlord
  • Reduce financial damages by finding a new renter
  • Create a win-win termination offer
  • Have a lawyer handle lease termination for you

Read your rental agreement

The first step in successful lease termination is to read the lease. However, leases often contain legal terminology or language which is difficult to understand.

  • Has your landlord failed to maintain the property or provide a safe living environment such that you can terminate without penalty?
  • Does the document list reasons for which you’re allowed to break your lease?
  • Are there any specific financial terms or penalties discussed?
  • Be on the lookout for terms like “early release” or “sublet” to find all of your options.
  • Take note of any language that dictates how much notice you need to give, as you’ll need to follow those rules.

A lawyer with experience in this area of law can help you decide on the best course of action. Rather than stress and guess, get a personal legal plan from LegalShield. You can be on the phone with a provider lawyer and will have 24/7 emergency access for covered legal emergencies.

Renters: Communicate with your landlord

While most landlord and tenant relationships are different, it’s generally a good idea to communicate your intention to terminate your lease sooner rather than later. While landlords may not be happy to hear the news, they typically appreciate the chance to minimize lost rent.

Prepare for this conversation by getting legal advice from a lawyer experienced in this area of law. Lawyers can help you understand the terms of your lease and any applicable laws and recommend the best way to communicate with your landlord.

Our members get unlimited consultation with their lawyers for as little as $32.95 a month. The lawyer can write letters or call your landlord on your behalf for no additional fee.

Create a win-win termination offer

Many leases spell out the penalty for breaking a lease early. It’s common to have to pay two or three months rent and forfeit your security deposit. Remember to read your lease to better understand your options and the potential financial impact of each one.

In the right situation, having a lawyer call to negotiate or write a lease termination letter on your behalf can get even better results than handling the situation on your own.

With an early lease termination you may still be required to meet your lease conditions as to the cleanliness and maintenance of your unit, particularly if the landlord is showing the unit to possible renters. Be sure you properly document everything, including the final inspection. If possible, have your own witness there who could later testify to the condition of the premises when you vacate. It is important that you have evidence of the condition of the premises when moving out. A landlord may seek to hold you liable later or refuse to return all or part of a deposit based for alleged problems.

Have a lawyer handle your lease termination

The information on this page, along with our lease checklist, may be all you need to successfully terminate your lease early.

However, if you’re confused by your lease terms or unaware of the rights you have under provincial and federal law, working with a lawyer can make everything go much smoother. A LegalShield provider lawyer can help you avoid extra financial penalties, lawsuits and unnecessary stress.

Get legal support to end your lease

LegalShield offers the most affordable way to have a lawyer on your side.