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Residential leases and month-to-month tenancies

Residential leases will usually tell you for how long your tenancy is fixed. When you first sign a lease, the fixed-time period assigned to the lease is usually one year, but it can be less or more.

However, what happens when your fixed-time period expires?

If your residential lease expires and you haven’t given written notice within the appropriate notice period that you intend to leave, then the tenancy usually becomes a month-to-month.

The month-to-month term can vary by province or territory: sometimes it’s bi-weekly and often there is no requirement that a new lease be signed.

After fixed-term residential tenancies are ended and they become month-to-month tenancies or bi-weekly tenancies, it’s easier to end a tenancy. However, notice periods under fixed-term tenancy leases are usually longer than for fixed-term leases.

Residential tenancy rules and regulations are guided by the province or territory in which you reside and it’s those rules that have to be followed when it comes to residential issues and leases.

Here are a few examples as to how expiring leases are handled from province/territory to province/territory:

Alberta

In Alberta, usually after the fixed-term lease has expired it turns into a month-to-month lease.

After the lease turns into a month-to-month lease, if the tenant wants to end the tenancy, he or she has to give at least one month’s written notice before the end of the tenancy month.

Quebec

In Quebec, residential leases are automatically renewed with the same terms if the landlord does not give the tenant proper written notice, as set out by law, for changing the conditions or termination.

Manitoba

Manitoba seems to deviate from the norms as to what happens to a fixed-term residential lease when it expires.

If the tenancy is for a fixed-term, then the landlord is obligated to give the tenant a renewal agreement three months before the term ends. If no renewal agreement is offered by the landlord and the tenant chooses not to end the tenancy, the lease is automatically renewed for another fixed-term.

However, a tenancy could become month-to-month if the tenant:

  • Doesn't sign and return a new tenancy agreement or a renewal to the landlord;
  • Doesn't move out of the unit; and 
  • Pays rent, which the landlord accepts, after the current tenancy agreement ends.

Yukon

In Yukon it’s unclear how renewal of fixed-term leases that have expired are handled as Yukon’s Landlord and Tenant Act does not specifically address automatic renewals.

If there is a dispute in regards to your lease renewal you should contact a lawyer.

Read more:

Lease Renewals CMHC

Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets CMHC