Early termination of the lease and exit inventory

When you have to leave your accommodation at the end of your contract/mandate, or if you move during your stay, you must always pay attention to :

  • the termination conditions for terminating the lease early,
  • at the exit inventory to check the general condition of the accommodation with the lessor.

Early termination of the lease by the tenant

Most contracts have a single annual term. As this clause is restrictive for the tenant, the law gives him the right to leave his accommodation without having to pay the rent until the contractual due date provided that the following conditions are met :

  • a solvent replacement tenant must be proposed to the lessor, which means that his income must be sufficient to pay the rent and the charges (which must not exceed 30% of the gross monthly income) and that he is not subject to prosecution for indisputable debts (the certificate of non-prosecution is the means of proof),
  • the new tenant must be willing to take over the lease under the same conditions (duration, rent, etc.),
  • the lessor must not have a reasonable reason to refuse the candidate (over-occupation of the premises, exercise of an activity which would disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood or the standing of the building).

Termination must be sent by registered mail signed by the co-signatories of the lease, respecting a notice period of at least one month for the 15th or the end of the month.

The lessor has a period of one month to allow him to check the solvency and morality of the proposed candidate. In practice, this period can be greatly shortened if the application file presented is complete, ten to twenty days should be enough to decide. In the event of a refusal, the lessor must state the reasons without delay. If he decides to refuse a candidate meeting the conditions set out above, the terminating tenant will be released.

It is strongly recommended to present at least three files from interested parties and to ask them to commit in writing. In order to prove that he has fulfilled the legal conditions, the departing tenant will provide proof of the situation of the replacement tenant(s) (copies of identity documents, the last three salary slips or a salary certificate as well as the certificate of non-prosecution) to forward them directly to the lessor with the application form. It is essential to have a follow-up of the situation until the signing of the lease contract by the new tenant.

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.

The exit inventory is an inspection

On the day of the surrender of the premises, once the outgoing tenant has emptied the dwelling of its furniture, the lessor or his representative usually carries out an inspection.

It should be noted that most agencies organise, before the final inventory of fixtures, a preliminary inventory, where the outgoing tenant will be informed of the steps to be taken so that the final inventory of fixtures takes place in good conditions. and no surprises. The tenant has every interest in attending in order to avoid any dispute relating to the state of the apartment.

This inspection stems from art. 267a para. 1, 2 and 3 of the Code of Obligations, under which the lessor must check the state of the thing and immediately notify the tenant of the defects for which the latter is responsible.

Also remember to notify the various service providers (water, electricity, telephone, etc.) in order to terminate or update your various contracts. Refer to the “Announce your arrival” section for more information.

Other useful information for accommodation

Bank guarantee or surety
Private liability, household and legal protection insurance
Announce your arrival

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