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When a tenant in Saskatchewan signs a lease agreement, they agree to abide by its terms for the entire time it’s active. However, there are times when a tenant will want to break this agreement. Their reasons may include:

  • Moving closer to a new place of work.

  • Moving out due to a relationship breakup.

  • Inability to continue paying rent.

  • Moving to serve in the military.

  • Moving out due to being a victim of domestic violence.

Breaking a lease is not a simple process. In most cases, the tenant will be financially and/or legally liable. This article covers the landlord-tenant laws in Saskatchewan that involve breaking a lease so that both parties can understand the process.

A Tenant’s Rights Under Saskatchewan Rental Laws

There are only two ways a landlord can regain possession of their property back from a tenant. The first is if the tenant decides to leave on their own. The second is if the tenant is removed by a sheriff from the Court of Queen’s Bench.

For the landlord to evict a tenant, the first thing they must do is serve the tenant with proper notice. The type of notice depends on the violation committed. This notice must state how many days the tenant has before the notice becomes effective.

Legal Justification for a Landlord to Proceed with a Rental Eviction

Under the Residential Tenancies Act of 2006, a landlord can evict a tenant for any of the following reasons:

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  • Failure by the tenant to pay their security deposit within thirty days of its due date.

  • Failure to pay rent on time on several occasions.

  • Having more occupants in the property than permitted.

  • Failure to pay municipal charges or breaching municipal bylaws.

  • Failure to comply with the Office of Residential Tenancies’ (ORT) orders.

  • Giving a prospective purchaser or tenant false information.

  • Repeatedly violating the terms of the lease agreement.

  • Causing excessive property damage.

  • Engaging in illegal or noxious activities.

  • Putting the landlord’s property at significant risk.

  • Seriously jeopardizing the safety, health, or lawful right of interest of the landlord, neighbours or other tenants.

  • Unreasonably disturbing or significantly interfering with the landlord, neighbours, or other tenants.

To evict a tenant, the first thing that a landlord must do is notify the tenant. The notice must be in writing and must include the date, the name of the landlord or their representative, the rental unit’s address, and the date when the tenancy ends. If the landlord is the one serving the tenant with the eviction notice, then they must include this approved form.

Serving a Two Months’ Eviction Notice in Saskatchewan

There are certain situations that can warrant a landlord to end a tenancy within a period of two months. One such situation is when a friend of a close family member wishes to move into the rental unit.

The landlord can also do this if they:

  • Are planning to repair, renovate or demolish the property.

  • Want to convert the property to a condominium, a housing co-op, or a non-residential property.

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  • Want to convert it so that a caretaker, a property manager, or a superintendent can live in.

A landlord must serve the tenant with a 2-months’ notice to move out. If the tenant doesn’t dispute the notice, then they are deemed to have accepted to move out by the time indicated. If the tenant disputes it, they will need to give notify their landlord of this within 15 days.

Once the landlord has served the notice, the tenant can always choose to end their tenancy earlier. In this case, they’ll need to give their landlord 10-days’ notice before moving out.

Eviction for Non-Payment of Utilities

A landlord may use Form 7a if a tenant owes for utility costs. This notice gives the tenant 15 days to pay these costs. If they fail to do so, the landlord may choose to end their tenancy by applying to the ORT for an order of possession.

Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent

A landlord may also serve a tenant a notice in Form 7 for rent that’s overdue by 15 days or more. For example, if the rent is due on the first day of the month, then the landlord can serve the notice on the 16th day of the same month.

If the tenant objects to this, then the landlord can apply for an order of possession from the ORT.

Serving a Notice to End Tenancy for Housing Program Use

A landlord can end a tenancy with one month’s notice for the following reasons:

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  • If the landlord intends to convert the property for use in a housing program

  • If the tenant is no longer eligible for a housing program

  • If the size or structural features of the property exceed the tenant’s requirements

This doesn’t, however, apply if the lease agreement is running for a fixed term.

Serving an Order of Possession

An Order of Possession is a document a landlord can use to force a tenant to move out. This legal order is issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch. A landlord can issue it to a tenant if:

  • Both the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing to end the tenancy.

  • The landlord has given the notice to end the tenancy.

  • The tenant is renting for a fixed term.

To apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies, a landlord must provide the following.

  • A copy of the lease agreement.

  • Proof that the Notice to Vacate was served to the tenant.

  • Properly completed form. That is, Form 9a or 9b.

  • A $50 application fee.

  • Include a copy of the rent ledger if for repeated late payments, or for rent overdue for more than fifteen days.

Tenants Asking for More Time

If the landlord wins the hearing, then the tenant will have no option left but to move out. They can, however, request the arbitrator to give them more time during the hearing. If the hearing date, for example, is set at midmonth, a tenant can ask the arbitrator to wait until the end of the month in order to issue the Order of Possession.

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Disclaimer: This blog shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Saskatchewan. If you still have questions or need further clarification, please consider hiring expert help, such as a professional property management company. GoodDoors Properties has the knowledge and experience that can help you navigate this situation.