Getting Out of a Lease

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Renting an apartment and moving in with someone is like an exciting, new adventure. It’s fun to set the space up, decorate, get to know one another and settle into a new routine.

However, after the honeymoon phase, reality often sets in and you start to realize that you are not at all compatible. You decide that you are no longer happy living together and that you need to look for a new place to live.

The challenge of making a decision to part ways is that you and your roommate are committed to a lease. It’s possible that you still have six months, or more left in the contract. If neither of you is interested in keeping the apartment and searching for a new roommate, you need to discuss with your landlord what your options are. Some companies in Manitoba do not allow subletting, however, they are required to allow leases to be assigned.

You are probably wondering what the difference is between assigning a lease and subletting? With an assignment of a lease, the tenants that have the lease agreement are the ones to advertise and show the rental unit.

If new tenants are found, they still need to go through the approval process of the landlord or management company. Once approved, the new tenant takes the unit as is and the remainder of the lease is assigned to them. There is generally a small administrative fee for this process (approximately $75).

Here are some tips to help with the assignment process:

  1. Be flexible – Offer the person interested in your unit the option to move in early. A day or two before the end of the month, rather than on the first of the month can make a big difference.
  2. Advertise – Take good pictures of the rental unit and use classified ads and social media platforms to promote your unit. You might discover that your rental rate is at a lower amount than what current rent levels are in that building, as rent increases are not permitted during the term of the lease.
  3. Offer incentives – If you are really desperate to move on, offer an incentive such as a free month of rent or a discount off the first month to entice new tenants to take over the remainder of your lease.
  4. Understand the process – Get a copy of the policy regarding assigning a unit from your landlord. Share it with the prospective renters so that everyone involved in the process is educated on what the steps are to take over the lease.
  5. Don’t stop seeking renters – If someone is interested in your place and the lease terms, do not stop showing the unit to other interested parties. If the first prospect is not approved by the landlord, you may need to attract more prospects in order to complete the assignment. If you stop showing the unit when one party is interested, you may lose the momentum you had when your ads and incentives were fresh.

Vionell Holdings Partnership (VHP) provides rental housing and property management for an array of residential and commercial customers, including condominium management. VHP currently has over 4,000 units under management in Manitoba. For more information, please visit www.vhproperties.ca.