MONTH-TO-MONTH VS FIXED-TERM
A periodic tenancy does not have an agreed upon end date. The tenancy continues on a monthly basis until either the tenant or landlord gives proper notice to end the tenancy.
Ending the Tenancy
You are required to give 1 full month’s written notice. For example, if you want to move out on July 31st, you must give written notice by no later than June 30th. See our page on Moving Out for more information. Remember that service provisions also apply when giving your landlord written notice.Your landlord may end a month-to-month tenancy for various reasons, but also must give you proper notice in writing. See our page on Evictions for more information.
Raising the Rent
Your landlord may raise the rent by the allowable annual amount (set out in the Residential Tenancy Regulation) once every 12 months. The rate is established each year based on the formula = inflation + 2%. See our Rent Increases page for more information.
Sometimes tenants are allowed to temporarily transfer their tenancy agreement to a new tenant. For example, if a tenant would like to travel for a few months but not end their tenancy, they can their landlord for permission to allow a new tenant (e.g. friend or family member) to live in their unit and pay rent until their return. See our page on Sublet and Assignment for more information.
For month-to-month tenancies, tenants must get their landlord’s written permission before subletting, and a landlord is not required to allow a sublet.
A fixed-term tenancy, often referred to as a “lease”, has a specified start and end date. The tenancy agreement should state what will happen at the end of the term. The possible outcomes at the end of the term are:
- The tenant may remain in the unit and the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy.
- The tenant is required to move.
- The tenancy agreement says that the tenant must move out at the end of the term, but the landlord allows the tenant to stay if they sign a brand new tenancy agreement
If the fixed-term tenancy agreement does not specify what will happen at the end of the term, it is presumed to continue on a month-to-month basis.
Ending the Tenancy
Unless your landlord has breached (not followed) a material term of the tenancy agreement, you are not allowed to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed-term. A material term is a term so important that a breach of that term would mean the tenancy could not reasonably continue.
It is important to understand what your agreement says about what happens at the end of the fixed-term. If your agreement does not require you to move out at the end of the fixed-term, you must give one full month’s notice if you intend to move out at the end of the term. If your agreement does require you to move out at the end of the term, then you have already established the move out date and do not need to give your landlord written notice.
You and your landlord may end the tenancy early if you both agree in writing. You should use the Residential Tenancy Branch’s Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy form.
If you do not fulfill your legal responsibilities as a tenant, your landlord can issue you a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent or a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause. They are not, however, allowed to issue you a Two Month Eviction Notice for Landlord Use of Property.
By signing a fixed-term tenancy agreement, you are entering into a legal contract to pay rent until the end of the term. If you are unable to pay rent, or decide to move out early, you may face significant financial consequences. For example, if your landlord is unable to rent your unit to someone else, or if they are only able to rent it at a lower rate, you could be responsible for the losses they incur.
If you need to end your fixed-term tenancy early, see our page on Breaking a Lease for more information.
Some fixed-term tenancies have a liquidated damages term. This is a term that says that the tenant must pay a certain amount of money if they end their fixed-term tenancy early. The amount is meant to be an estimate of the costs the landlord will incur by having to re-rent the unit (advertising costs, showing the unit to prospective tenants, etc.), and is usually not allowed to be an automatic forfeiture of the security deposit.
Raising the Rent
Some fixed-term tenancy agreements require the tenant to move out at the end of the term. If this is the case, the landlord will usually require the tenant to sign a new tenancy agreement if they wish to continue living there. Because this may be considered a brand new tenancy, the landlord may be allowed to set the rent at any new amount. TRAC does not support this practice, as it can be used as a strategy to avoid the rent control provisions set out in the Residential Tenancy Act. If your landlord tries to do this, we would love to hear from you – give us a call!
Some fixed-term tenancy agreements state that the tenancy will continue on a month-to-month basis at the end of the term. If this is the case, your landlord is only allowed to raise rent by the allowable annual rate, which is established each year based on the formula = inflation + 2%. See our page on Rent Increases for more information.
Sublet and Assignment
Sometimes tenants are allowed to either temporarily or permanently transfer their tenancy agreement to a new tenant. See our page on Sublet and Assignment for more information.
Landlords may not unreasonably deny a tenant the right to sublet or assign a rental unit if is the tenancy agreement is for a fixed-term of at least 6 months. However, you are still required to get your landlord’s written permission before subletting or assigning. Your landlord is allowed to issue a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause if you sublet or assign your unit without their permission.
Acceleration Terms Not Allowed
An acceleration term is a term in a fixed-term tenancy agreement that requires the tenant to pay all remaining months’ rent if they end their fixed-term tenancy early or breach a term of the agreement. This is illegal. According to Section 5 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), a landlord is not allowed to avoid or contract out of the RTA.