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Moving out of a Place

Whether you’re graduating or just need a change of scenery, preparing to move out of your current place is a common experience for Toronto tenants.

If you have a 12-month lease

In Ontario, tenants legally need to provide 60 days’ notice to their landlords before moving out at the end of their 12-month lease, or to end a month-to-month lease.

The simplest way to communicate your decision to move out is to stay for your full lease period and give your landlord at least 60 days’ notice before the lease ends. This means you continue living/paying rent for the full amount of time agreed upon in your lease (usually 12-months).

Example: If you are on a 12-month lease that started September 1st, you must let your landlord know of your intention to move out by July 1st or earlier. You must then move out by the end of the 12-month period, on or before August 31st.

If you are on a month-to-month lease

In Ontario, after one year has passed from the lease start date, your lease automatically renews and rolls over to a month-to-month lease. Just like coming to the end of a 1-year lease, you still are required to give 60 days’ written notice if you wish to end your month-to-month lease.

Thus, if you are on a month-to-month lease and wish to move out for September 1st, you must give notice to your landlord by July 1st or earlier and be moved out before or on August 31st.

Your Moving Day Checklist

Moving out involves a lot of moving parts! This checklist can help you prepare for the big day.

  • Decide what comes next
    • As tenants only need to give their landlords 60 days’ notice before moving out, it might be difficult for you to secure a place before giving your landlord proper notice. We suggest you use our tips on finding a place to assist with the process.
  • Make arrangements with your landlord, including...
    • Giving your landlord proper notice
    • Being respectful about how you leave as you may need your landlord as a reference in future
    • Being reasonably accommodating to your landlord if they wish to do showings of your unit to potential tenants
    • Discussing any potential repairs or maintenance that your landlord may need to do upon your move-out. Your landlord cannot charge you for regular wear-and-tear on the unit, but if you have caused any significant damage, you will most likely be financially responsible. 
  • Moving can be hectic! Make a master list of everything you need to do and keep it handy to jot down things that occur to you later on. This could include...
    • Book movers or confirm with friends. There are many movers around the GTA. The Ministry of Consumer Services has created a great list of tips on hiring movers (external link)  and blogTO has a list of some of the best movers in Toronto (external link) . Don’t be afraid to ask for estimates before booking one service. You can also ask any friends or family if they’re available to help, but be prepared to return the favour! Be sure to provide food and beverages to keep them energized and as thanks for their help.
    • Arrange storage. If you need a place to store your stuff before moving, consider renting a storage unit. We recommend using Find Storage Fast (external link)  to compare and book cheap self-storage units across Canada.
    • Notify service providers (e.g., internet, hydro, insurance) so service is relocated at the right time
    • Arrange mail-forwarding (external link)  or manually update your mailing address (banking, driver’s license, any mail subscriptions, credit cards, your MyServiceHub account, family and friends)
    • Keep records of all your moving expenses in case they can be reported on taxes
    • Book the elevators in your present and new building if applicable
    • Collect boxes. Ask your local grocery / department stores / pharmacies if they have extra boxes, or you can buy them at a Canadian Tire or other hardware store. If you anticipate moving multiple times, you may want to splurge on large re-usable plastic bins!
    • Purge as you pack. Take this opportunity to donate or get rid of anything you don’t want or use. Items such as clothes, books, and furniture are always appreciated at local charities or shelters.  
    • Plan to use up as much of your food as possible, especially frozen items
    • Make a day-of moving list
    • Start packing! Everything should be packed by the day of your move in clearly labelled boxes or bins.
  • For the day of your move
    • Pack a specially-marked and easily accessible box that contains the essentials for your first night in the new place (such as toiletries, pajamas, clean sheets, a change of clothing and snacks).
    • Make sure you have packing tape, scissors, a permanent marker, a water bottle, a phone charger and phone numbers for all involved (including the movers and your landlord) handy. Make sure the landlord and movers also have your phone number.
    • Create a schedule of who will be doing what.
    • Have an inventory of what you’re moving; knowing the number of boxes will help avoid anything getting left behind!
    • Make sure to head back after all your stuff has been moved out and clean up! You should leave the place in a reasonable level of clean, with no garbage or visible dirt in the premises.

Legally Moving Out Early

If you are on a 12-month lease but wish to move out before those 12-months are up, this is called breaking your lease. As a lease is a legally binding contract, you cannot just give notice and move out; if you do, it is likely you will be held responsible for paying rent until the end of the rental period.

You need to follow one of the following legal ways to move out early:

  • Talk to your landlord about your situation and see if they will allow you to end your tenancy early. This is also the strategy we suggest if you have missed the 60-day window to give proper notice about moving out at the end of your lease.
  • Talk to your landlord about assigning your place to a new tenant—it is best to ask in writing and to keep a copy of your request. Assigning a unit means that you move out of the unit permanently and transfer your tenancy to another person who fulfils the rest of your lease and pays rent directly to the landlord. All the terms of the original lease remain the same, including the rent amount and included services/utilities until the end of your original lease, at which point the new tenant can renegotiate the terms with the landlord. If you assign your tenancy, you do not have the right to move back in, and you are not responsible if the new tenant causes damage or owes rent. Your landlord can refuse to let you assign to a particular person, but only for a good reason. For example, the person caused problems for a landlord in the past, such as damaging property or not paying rent.
  • Talk to your landlord about subletting your place to a new tenant if you intend to only move out temporarily and return to live in the unit before the lease is over. It is important to understand how subletting works, as your name remains on the lease and you will be responsible if that person causes damage or does not pay all the rent.
  • Give notice if your landlord refuses to let you assign at all or does not give you an answer within 7 days. If this is the case, you can give your landlord a  (PDF file) Tenant's Notice to Terminate the Tenancy (Form N9). You must give your landlord the notice no later than 30 days after you asked if you could assign your place. In this situation, the usual rules about the timing of your notice do not apply. The termination date you choose does not have to be the end of the term or a rental period, and you only have to give the notice to your landlord at least 30 days before the termination date.
  • Get the Landlord & Tenant Board to end your tenancy if you are experiencing harassment or another other urgent reason to move out. See the next section on what the Landlord & Tenant Board can assist you with.

Unfortunately, tenants can sometimes experience negative living conditions. Your safety is a priority, so we encourage you to utilize this information and get in contact with TMU Counselling if you are experiencing a housing emergency.

Moving to escape domestic or sexual violence or abuse

If you need to move because you, or a child living with you, have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse, you might be able to give your landlord just 30 days’ notice. You can give this notice at any time. You do not have to wait until the end of the lease or rental period.  

We strongly encourage you to get in contact right away with TMU Counselling to explore potential emergency housing options in the meantime.

To give your landlord notice in this situation, follow these steps:

  1. Complete a Landlord and Tenant Board form called  (PDF file) Tenant’s Statement about Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse
  2. Instead of using the Tenant’s Statement you can give your landlord a copy of a court order, if there is one. The court order (external link)  must be either a restraining order from family court or a peace bond from criminal court, either made in the last 90 days.
  3. Complete  (PDF file) Form N15 — Tenant’s Notice to End my Tenancy Because of Fear or Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse.
  4. Your last step is to give these papers to your landlord.

Make sure to protect your online privacy (external link)  when downloading these forms or looking for information about dealing with domestic violence.

Applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board to end your tenancy

You can ask the Board to let you move out early if your landlord:

  • harasses you,
  • refuses to fix serious repair problems,
  • enters your apartment illegally,
  • changes the locks and does not give you a key,
  • interferes with the heat, water, electricity, or other utilities,
  • does other things that make it unpleasant to live in your apartment, or
  • is unreasonable when you ask to assign or sublet.

You can also ask the Board for other solutions to your problem. Try to get legal advice if you are applying to the Board.

We strongly discourage you from trying to get evicted as a way to move out early.

Tenants who throw loud parties or stop paying rent in hopes that their landlord will give them an eviction notice run the risk of…  

  • Potentially not being evicted at all, but rather being given an order by the Landlord & Tenant Board to force you to pay your rent and/or for any damages you or your guests caused.
  • Getting sued. Even if your landlord evicts you, they might still want you to pay their expenses of looking for another tenant or to pay for lost rent if they cannot find another tenant right away. Your landlord could sue you for this in Small Claims Court after you move out, and a judge might force you to pay if they believe you got evicted on purpose in order to get out of your responsibilities.
  • A bad credit report. Your landlord could report your overdue rent to a credit reporting agency. This can affect your credit rating and make it harder in the future for you to rent a place or get a loan.

Learn more about Eviction laws (external link) .

A room full of boxes