A tenant can end a periodic tenancy agreement – more commonly known as a “month-to-month” tenancy agreement – by giving the landlord one-month notice no later than the day before the rent is due. For example, if you pay rent on the 1st of the month and would like to move out by May 31st, your notice must be received by your landlord no later than April 30th. Periodic tenancies can be established on a weekly, monthly, or other periodic basis, but month-to-month agreements are by far the most common type. Throughout this course, the terms “periodic tenancy” and “month-to-month tenancy” will be used interchangeably.
The Residential Tenancy Act requires a tenant’s one-month notice to be in writing, so avoid text and social media messaging. You must also consider the rules about service of documents when giving notice to end a month-to-month tenancy. For example, in the scenario above where notice needs to be received by April 30th, you would have to post your notice on your landlord’s door no later than April 27th, or mail your notice no later than April 25th.
Fixed Term Tenancies
A fixed term tenancy agreement – often referred to as a “lease” – is much more difficult to end on short notice, since it is a contract that lasts for a pre-determined amount of time. If you decide to move out before the end of your fixed term – known as “breaking a lease” – you could end up owing your landlord some money, especially if they have trouble finding a replacement tenant.
At the end of a fixed term tenancy, however, a tenant has two options:
- Follow the same rules for ending a month-to-month tenancy. For example, if you signed a one-year lease that ends on November 30th, your one-month written notice to move out should be received by your landlord no later than October 31st.
- Renew the tenancy on a month-to-month basis, or for another fixed term. If you and your landlord cannot agree in writing on how to renew the agreement, the tenancy will automatically continue on a month-to-month basis.