5. When your agreement ends
In general, a tenancy can last as long as the tenant wants to stay in the unit. In most cases, it will continue until:
- both people agree to end it,
- the tenant ends it by giving written notice,
- the rental officer ends it because there is a problem that can’t be fixed in another way, or
- there is a special situation that ends the tenancy agreement.
If the landlord and tenant agree in writing, they can end the tenancy on any day they choose. (s.50) The rental officer has to be involved if both people don’t agree, unless there is a situation covered in the Residential Tenancies Act that allows one person to end it.
After the tenancy ends, the tenant has to move out. If he or she stays in the unit, he or she owes rent, but this does not create a new tenancy agreement unless the landlord and tenant agree that it does. (s.67)
The chart below shows the amount of notice required of each party depending on the type of agreement in place. Contact the rental office if you have questions or need more information.
|Notice given by||Tenancy agreement||Notice required|
|tenant||monthly||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a month at least 30 days before that date. s.52(1)(b)|
|tenant||weekly||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a week at least 7 days before that date. s.52(1)(a)|
|tenant||term||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a term at least 30 days before that date. s.51(1)|
|landlord renting only residence in the NWT||monthly/weekly||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a rent period at least 90 days before that date. s.52(2)|
|landlord renting only residence in the NWT||term||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a rent period at least 30 days before that date. s.51(2)|
|subsidized public housing landlord||monthly/weekly that has been renewed pursuant to s.49(1)||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a rent period at least 30 days before that date. s.51(5)|
|subsidized public housing landlord||term||Written notice to terminate on the last day of a rent period at least 30 days before that date. s.52(1)(b)|
|subsidized public housing landlord||term of 31 days or less||No notice required. The tenancy agreement is terminated at the end of the term. s.51(4)|
|landlord, premises provided as benifit of employment||term or periodic||No notice is required. The tenancy agreement is terminated when the employment agreement is terminated.|
When the tenant wants to end the agreement
If the agreement has an end date, the tenant can end it on that date by giving 30 days’ notice in writing (s.51(1)).
Some tenancy agreements don’t have end dates. In these cases, the tenant can end the tenancy on the last day of the tenancy period by giving the landlord notice in writing. For a weekly tenancy agreement, the tenant has to give seven days’ notice. For a monthly tenancy agreement, the tenant has to give 30 days’ notice. (s.52(1))
The tenant can also file an application to the rental officer and ask for the tenancy to end earlier if:
The landlord has not done required repairs (s.30 (4)(e))
- The landlord withholds a vital service, like heat or water (s.33(3)(e))
- The landlord unreasonably disturbs the tenant (s.34(2)(d))
- The landlord has not done other things he or she is required to do (s.39(2)(e))
There are other unusual situations that will allow the tenant to apply to end the tenancy without proper notice or before the end of a term. Call the rental office for information.
The tenant can treat a notice of a rent increase as a notice to end the tenancy on the day before the rent would go up. In this situation, the tenant has to give the landlord written notice that he or she plans to move out. (s.47(4))
The chart below shows the types of notice that are required to end most tenancy agreements. Call the rental office if you have questions or need more information.
The rules are a bit different for unusual situations.
When the landlord wants to end the tenancy
If the landlord wants the tenant to move out, he or she has to make an application to the rental officer for the tenancy to end. This can happen if:
The tenant is repeatedly late paying the full rent (s.41(4))
The tenant fails to repair damage he or she caused. (s.42(3)(f))
The tenant repeatedly disturbs the landlord or other tenants. (s.43(3)(d))
The tenant has not done the things he or she agreed to do in the tenancy agreement. (s.31(2)(e)) and 45)
The tenant has overcrowded the unit. (s.45 (3))
The tenant has not kept the premises in a state of ordinary cleanliness. (s.45 (2).
There have been illegal activities in the rental unit (s.46(1) and (2))
The landlord needs the unit for his or her own family (s.58(1))
The rental unit has been sold and the buyers want to use it as their own premises. (s.58(1))
The landlord plans to demolish the building, change its use or make extensive repairs (s.59)
The government has ordered everyone to leave the building. (s.61(2))
In some situations, the landlord can ask the rental officer to end the tenancy with ten days notice or less (s. 54(3)):
The tenant has repeatedly and unreasonably disturbed the landlord or other tenants (s.54 (1)(a))
The tenant has not followed the rental officer’s order. (s.54(1)(b) and (d))
There is a serious problem that makes the landlord or other tenants unsafe. (s.54(1)(f)
The tenant has repeatedly failed to pay the full amount of rent or pay the rent on time. (s.54(1)(g)
When the tenancy is subsidized public housing
The rules about ending a tenancy in subsidized public housing are a bit different:
If there is an end date on the tenancy agreement, the landlord can end the tenancy on that date by giving the tenant 30 days’ notice. (s.51(3))
If the tenancy is for 31 days or fewer, it automatically ends on the end date. (s.51(4))
If the agreement is a monthly tenancy the landlord can end it at the end of any month by giving the tenant 30 days’ notice. (s.51(5))
If the tenant does not qualify for subsidized housing anymore, the landlord can ask the rental officer to end the tenancy agreement. (section 57(b))
There are other unusual situations that will allow the tenancy to be ended. Call the rental office for information.
If the rental officer has helped both people to settle a dispute, but one of them is not following the agreement, the rental officer can end the tenancy. (s.62.1)
If the tenant dies or gets very sick, the tenancy can be ended by the tenant or the tenant’s representative. (s.53(1) and (2))
If the rental unit is a benefit of employment and the tenant’s employment has ended, the tenancy agreement ends on the tenant’s last day as an employee. The tenant then has one week to move out of the unit and does not have to pay rent for that week. (s.56)
If the rental unit was provided to a student or staff member at a school covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, the tenancy can be ended when the tenant is no longer eligible to live there. (s.57)
If the landlord and tenant share a kitchen or bathroom and they cannot work out their differences, the tenancy agreement can be ended. (s.57)
When the tenant moves out, the landlord has to return the deposits and interest with an itemized statement within 10 days. The interest rate is set by regulation and published by the rental office. The landlord can keep all or part of the security deposit to cover unpaid rent or repairs, but has to give the tenant notice in writing. The rest of the deposit has to be returned to the tenant. The tenant has the right to dispute the landlord’s decision to keep any part of the security deposit. (s.18)
For tenancy agreements entered into on or after September 1, 2010, if there is damage to the unit, the landlord can keep part or all of the security deposit to cover costs as long as there were written inspection reports before and after the tenancy, with copies provided to the tenant. Within 10 days of the tenant moving out, the landlord has to give the tenant an itemized statement of repairs and rent arrears. Sometimes there is a lot of damage and the landlord needs more time to figure out how much the repairs will cost. In these cases, the landlord has to give the tenant an estimate within 10 days and a final account within 30 days. This can be extended to 45 days if needed. (s.18)
Sometimes a tenancy is terminated when a tenant abandons the unit. This happens if the landlord has reasonable grounds to believe that the tenant has left, or if the tenant doesn’t live in the unit, has not expressed an intention to continue living there, and the rent the tenant has paid does not cover the amount that is due.
Abandoned personal property
Sometimes the tenant leaves personal items in the unit. In these situations, if the personal items are worthless, unsanitary, or unsafe to store, the landlord can throw them away. If this is not the case, the landlord has to give the rental officer and tenant a list of the items. If the rental officer finds that the abandoned personal property is not worth the cost of storing it, then he or she may permit the landlord to sell or dispose of the property. If not, the landlord must store the items in a safe place for at least 60 days. If the tenant wants the items back, the landlord may only charge the tenant reasonable removal and storage fees. The rental office has forms that can help with this.
After 60 days, if the tenant has not claimed the items the landlord can ask the rental officer for permission to dispose of the property, or sell it if it seems to have some value. If the tenant owes the landlord money, the landlord can keep some or all of the money from the sale if the rental officer has ordered this. The rest of the money has to be given to the rental officer, who will hold it for the tenant for one year. (s.64, 65, 66)
Sometimes when a tenancy ends early, one person is responsible for the other person’s losses. In these situations, the person who loses money has to keep the costs down as much as possible. For example, the landlord may lose a month’s rent if the tenant abandons the unit. In this example, the landlord has to rent the unit again as soon as reasonably possible, to keep the tenant’s liability to a minimum. (s.5)
Evictions happen when the tenancy has ended, but the tenant has not moved out. There is no need for an eviction if the tenant has moved out.
The landlord makes an application to the rental officer asking him or her to make an order terminating the tenancy and ordering the tenant to leave. The landlord can also apply for an order to evict the tenant. The applications can be made together or at different times.
The rental officer will hold a hearing to hear from both people and will then decide if the order should be made. An eviction order has to be filed with the clerk of the NWT Supreme Court within six months. The landlord must give the writ of possession to the sheriff’s office to carry out the eviction. The sheriff will then take steps to put the landlord in possession of the rental unit.
- Abandoned Property
- Assignment & Subletting
- Application to a Rental Officer.pdf
- Information about the Residential Tenancies Act for landlords and tenants_2021.pdf
- Interest Rate Schedule 2021.pdf