What are the rules for terminating a lease?

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Rudolphe ABEN

What are the rules for terminating a lease?

The manner in which a lease is terminated depends on the type of agreement and the status of the party seeking to cancel it. In a lease with no fixed end date, the tenant may vacate the premises by giving two or three months' notice. Termination of the lease by the landlord is only possible for cause. In this case, there are very specific guidelines on how the request must be made and how much notice must be given.

When can the landlord legally terminate the lease?

If the tenant is at fault, the landlord has the right to terminate the lease without notice; this is called "settlement" rather than "termination". This action must be accompanied by legal action; if a justice of the peace determines that there has been a breach of contract, the agreement will be dissolved. A judge may require a notice period even if no agreement was originally reached. The length of this period is left to the discretion of the judge.

However, it appears that eviction on substantial and real grounds is conceivable even in the case of a trustworthy tenant. This option is used, for example, when important maintenance work must be done but no one can safely reside there at the same time.

Finally, it is important to note that open-ended leases still allow for termination for personal reasons, but only with six months' notice. This justification is used when the purchaser plans to live in the unit permanently or temporarily, for example when taking in family.

Cancelling a Lease: Procedures to Follow

If you want to terminate your lease for any reason, the process is the same and requires complete seriousness. To begin with, a formal letter of termination must be given to the tenant; it is not enough to send an email or make a phone call. You must use a delivery confirmation service to send it. This letter must provide an explanation of your decision and the rationale for it. Put your sincerity in writing if asked.

Finally, be sure to provide a reference to the relevant section of Article 12, paragraph 3 of the Law of September 21, 2006, which states that a lease may be terminated for personal reasons. By invoking this justification without citing the applicable law, you risk having your letter declared null and void, which would only further delay the procedure.

The tenant has the right to ask the Justice of the Peace for an extension of time after being informed of your decision. The hearing will be notified to all interested parties and will take place no later than one year after the original expiry date. If the tenant does not comply and remains in the unit after the expiration of the time limits, the judge may request a forced eviction.

It is important to consider all facilities when ending the lease, even if the process is rushed or if the agreement to end the lease was reached informally. Finally, don't forget to return the security deposit on time.