Outside of extraordinary circumstances (please see Rights and obligations), the only legal way to get out of a lease is to sublet or transfer your lease. In certain cases, such as Joint tenancy, there may be restrictions on the right to sublet or transfer the lease.
If you are unable to sublet or assign your apartment, you are still responsible for paying rent for the duration of the lease, even if you are no longer residing in the apartment. The landlord can take legal action against you if you fail to pay the monthly rent until the end of the lease, and you could be held responsible for not only the outstanding rent, but also any legal fees the landlord may have incurred.
|Sublessor||The tenant who sublets to the sub-tenant.|
|Sub-tenant||The person to whom the tenant sublets the dwelling.|
|Assignor||The tenant who is assigning his lease.|
|Assignee||The person to whom the tenant assign the lease.|
Subletting applies when the person who signed the lease intends to vacate the unit for a short period of time and expects to return to it afterwards. Under a sublease, the landlord is not obliged to agree to an extension of the current lease with the sub-tenant.
If the sub-tenant wishes for any reason to file a claim with the Régie du Logement, it must be done by the person that holds the lease and not the sub-lessor.
While the landlord should be notified as to who will be sub-letting the unit, and for how long, it is the person who holds the original lease who should work out the arrangement with the sub-tenant.
- Start by placing an advertisement. You can use the Off Campus Housing Useful Links section for a list of other housing related sites.
- Draft an application form to get the prospective sub-tenant to fill out, in order to do a background check and get a sense of their ability to pay the rent and maintain the dwelling. (You should ask for: their name, present address, reason for living in Montreal (study, work, etc.), and employment information).
- Once you find the right person, send your landlord a notice of sublet.
- You should sign a contract with the sub-tenant -- you can buy a standard lease form and fill it out as if you are the landlord and the person is your tenant, or you can draft your own contract.
Lease transfer or assignment applies when the person who signs the lease does not intend to return to the apartment. The person hands over all his rights to the new tenant. Lease transfer releases the original tenant from all rights and responsibilities for the apartment, as of the date of the assignment.
When a lease is assigned, the new tenant assumes all the legal rights and responsibilities for the apartment and can take action against the landlord directly.
If you plan to assign the lease at the end of the school year, you will be unable to leave your possessions there during the summer, except by permission of the new tenants. Your rights to the unit are rescinded as soon as the assignment takes place.
- Start by letting the landlord know about your intentions to assign the lease.
- Place an advertisement for a lease transfer. You can use the Off Campus Housing Useful Links section for a list of other housing related sites.
- Once you find the right person, complete the Notice to Assign Your Lease
- The landlord has 15 days to give you an answer and can only refuse with a valid reason. Legally, a landlord may only refuse to give consent to a lease assignment for a serious reason (e.g. the new tenant will be unable to pay the rent). The reason for refusal must be communicated to the tenant within 15 days of receipt of the notice to sublet or assign.
- The Assignment of Lease Agreement is between you and the new tenant and you must give the new tenant a copy of your lease along with the Agreement of lease assignment.
In your search for a sub-letter, beware of email sublet scams! Always trust your instincts if something seems too good to be true. While the details of any scam can vary, many scams in recent years have shared the following characteristics:
- The interested "sub-letter" responds very quickly to your ad.
- He doesn't ask to see pictures, nor does he ask any questions about move-in dates -- he seems extremely accommodating.
- He will offer money right away in the form of a (fraudulent) MONEY ORDER, MONEYGRAM, or BANK DRAFT, but will send more than the required amount.
- The bank will hold the money order (or other form of payment) for 5 days, but the sub-letter will pressure you to wire-transfer the balance in the meantime. He might claim they accidentally overpaid and that they urgently need you to return the extra amount. Common reasons are “my boss owes me money,” or “I need it for my plane ticket to Montreal.” DO NOT give them any money out of your own pocket.
Report any email scams to McGill’s ICS Service Desk through their website, where you can also search “Student housing fraud” in their Knowledge Database for more information on email scams.