Tenancy Advice - Breaking a Lease

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Tenancy Problems - Breaking a Lease

Q: We want to end our fixed term tenancies agreement early. We have a liquidation damages fee of $500. We have 7 weeks’ notice we can give them. After paying this liquidation fee are we out of our lease at that point?
A: You will want to check out the archives at apartmentguide.ca on this. The term liquidated damages is borrowed from commercial lease structures. It represents a predetermined amount one party agrees to give up in the event of a breach. The Residential Tenancy Act does not recognize any authority for a landlord to impose a penalty, which is what liquidated damages have been found to be. A landlord can only be awarded actual damages, and it is incumbent on him to show these are actual damages suffered. If you break the lease, and take the air on the landlord, he must move to mitigate his losses - he must diligently try to re-rent the joint in a similar condition and at a similar rent. If he is successful, he can lodge a claim in arbitration (dispute resolution) for his actual damages, which will likely be advertising costs, maybe some cleaning costs, etc. But - he can only expect to be granted the damages he can prove - not that which he dreams about or conned somebody into agreeing to when the tenancy began. If you take the air on him now, and he can't re-rent the joint despite his best efforts, you'll be on the hook for what you contracted for - which is the rent up to the end of the term.


 
 

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