Early cancellation of the lease by the tenant

Most lease contracts have only one yearly term (aka "anniversary date", "deadline").

This clause being restrictive for the tenant, the law gives him the right to break the contract without having to pay the rent until the yearly term; if the following conditions are met:

  • solvent tenant must be introduced to the lessor, meaning that the candidate's income must be sufficient to pay the rent and utilities (which shall not exceed 30% of the gross monthly income), also an "attestation de non-poursuite" (a legal document stating one is dept-free) must be provided
  • the new tenant must be willing to take over the lease on the same terms (duration, rent, etc.)
  • the lessor has no reasonable grounds to refuse the candidate (overcrowding, carrying on an activity which would disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood or the standing of the building).

The termination of the lease shall be sent by registered mail, signed by all the tenants appearing on the lease, with a notice of at least one month for the 15th or the end of the month.

The lessor has a period of one month to verify the solvency and morality of the candidate. In practice, this delay can be greatly shortened if the submitted application is complete; ten to twenty days may then be sufficient.

In case of a refusal, the lessor must provide the reasons without delay.

If the lessor decides to refuse a candidate that dully fulfills the conditions set out above, the exiting tenant should be released.

It is strongly recommended to present at least three candidates' files and ask them to confirm their interest in writing. In order to fulfill the law, the exiting tenant must gather the documents required by the lessor for any application (copies of identification, the latest three pay slips or a salary certificate, as well as the "attestation de non-poursuite") and hand over everything directly to the lessor, together with the application form.

It is essential to have a monitoring of the situation until the contract is signed by the new tenant.


FAQ

Q: When should I send my termination letter?
A: Ideally as soon as you know the desired termination date, but at least three or four days before the 15th or the end of the month preceding the termination date.

Q: What should I do if it is already the 15th or the last business day of the month?
A: Your letter can be hand-delivered to the régie/landlord, asking for a receipt/signature.

Q: What happens if the candidate withdraws at the last moment and does not sign the lease?
A: The exiting tenant is still responsible until the lease's term; it is hence advised to submit several candidates.

Q: Can I terminate my lease in advance even during the first year of the lease? 
A: Yes, it is possible to do so as soon as the lease begins.

Q: How and when should I look for one or more replacement tenant candidates?
A: As soon as you know the date for which you want to cancel the lease.

You should first send your offer through the CAGI's Housing Exchange Program. You should also ask the régie to publish the offer on its own website. It is in both parties' interest; however remember that you will be the one in charge of the visits.

To increase the odds of quickly finding a replacement tenant, you can also place a paid advertisement through a dedicated website.

Finally, word of mouth, sharing the information with your colleagues, friends and neighbors can be very effective.

Q: To which extent should I accept people visiting my accommodation?
A: The tenant has an obligation to facilitate visits, even if the lease was terminated by the lessor. 

Q: What should I do if I am out of town or unavailable?
A: You can land the keys to the concierge or a trusted person who will be willing to take care of the visits for you. You can also offer one or several grouped visits with specific timings, for example Thursday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm or every Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm.

Q: When precisely am I officially released from my obligations?
A: Once you receive a written confirmation from the régie (or landlord) mentioning your release date. A verbal declaration, or promise from a candidate, is not sufficient.

 

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