That should be fairly simple, right? Well, you’d think so… but the reality is there are lots of small things that determine how and when you can terminate your lease.
Termination of lease really depends on your contract
The easiest option is when we sign an indefinite contract. In that case, if rent is paid on monthly basis, we can terminate the agreement 1 month before the desired end date. Other than this, the usual notice period is 3 months. But let’s not kid ourselves, no one signs indefinite contract for an apartment anymore!
So, most importantly, we should look at the situation when the agreement is for a definite period of time. In Poland it is usually one year.
- If you want to terminate your lease on the earlier agreed date – that’s absolutely fine. You might leave a friendly note to your landlord that you are moving out, but even if you don’t your contract terminates automatically on the agreed end date.
- What if you signed the agreement for a year but would like to move out after, say, 8 months? Check if in your contract you and your landlord agreed to a possibility of you terminating the contract before its expiry. In case not, I’ sorry but you cannot do it. That is you can obviously move out, but you have to pay the rent for the full period of lease. Try to see if you can find someone to live there instead of you… maybe your landlord will go for it!
- If in your contract it is stated that you may terminate it before its expiry date, make sure you understand (and if needed negotiate) the conditions: a notice period (usually 1 or 3 months, where if the expiry date is 31 December, you have to give notice on 30 November the latest) and deposit (some landlords will want to retain the deposit as a compensation for shorter lease).
Termination with immidiate effect
There are only two situations in which you as a tenant can terminate your contract with immidiate effect – a notice period is not applicable even when your lease doesn’t assume such option.
- The apartment or the building is in such state that it’s no longer safe for tenants to live there (e.g. collapsing walls, mould);
- By mutual agreement – you don’t want to live there, your landlord doesn’t want you to live there either. Usually in such case you would be required to find someone to fill in for you.
Can a landlord terminate the contract?
Yes, they can! It’s just that their options are pretty limited. Your landlord can give you one month notice if you:
- Destroyed the apartment or disturb the peace of other habitants of the building and didn’t change your behaviour despite being given a notice;
- You are late with rent or other payments at least three months;
- You sublet the flat without your landlord’s permision;
- The building in which the flat is located will be demolish.
Interestingly, your landlord have to give you 6 months notice in case they terminate the agreement because they want to move back to their flat.
How to terminate your contract?
Whether it’s you or your landlord, termination of lease should be communicated in writing. There is only one difference: your landlord is required to give you a reason why they want you to move out. It’s different for a tenant; unless you want to move out with immidiate effect you really don’t have to say a word about why you’re doing it!
Now, depends on how friendly you are with your landlord, it’s sometimes sufficient to write an e-mail to them; I would recommend though a formal notification sent by e-mail and / or certified letter. Let me know if you’re looking for a template; I can give you the wording!