A lease is a contract between you and the Landlord that you will rent a property for a certain amount of time. Common leases are for 6 months or 1 year.
If you move out before the lease is up, you are breaking the lease. You can expect the Landlord to pursue you for lost rent, advertising costs, damages, and so on.
The term ‘lease’ is not used in the Residential Tenancy Act. A lease is the same as a “fixed-term tenancy” which is what The Act calls it. This is what the Residential Tenancy Guide states:
“A tenant who ends a fixed-term tenancy early without the Landlord’s agreement can be held accountable for any loss incurred by the landlord, such as rent or advertising costs to re-rent the unit. The Landlord is obliged to limit any potential loss by actively trying to rent the unit.”
Tips when trying to break a lease:
If you are a Tenant who is trying to break a lease, you should give your Landlord as much notice as possible. Explain your reasons and be honest. Try to understand the situation from your Landlord’s point of view. He or she relies on the rental income to pay the mortgage, and they are being told that you plan to stop paying him/her that income. It would probably be good to offer your help to the Landlord in finding a new Tenant. Most of the time, if you were a good Tenant and the Landlord believes that the property will easily rent out again, you should be okay. However, if your Landlord has trouble finding a tenant to take over immediately, or if your Landlord loses any rent during the remainder of your lease term, you may be responsible for paying the difference.