Can I cancel a lease and get my deposit back?
April 20, 2010 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Can I take advantage of the "cooling off" period to cancel a lease agreement and get my deposit back?

So I wanted to leave my current apartment because the rent was pretty high. I finished the lease and was basically on a month to month. I gave the required notice and immediately began looking for a place, and within 2 days I found a really nice place for about $180 less - $1200 instead of $1380.

It's less spacious, a little further from the supermarket, and twice as far form the street car, 8 minutes compared to 4 minutes. It does however, have a porch, and is the top floor of a house. I paid the one month security deposit by check and signed a 6 month lease agreement 4 days ago. So I told the landlords I found a place, and they asked me about it and I told them all the details.

Today, the landlords emailed me and said they were discussing the situation, and since they all go on long summer vacations, the easiest thing for them to do would be to drop my rent by $180 to $1200, and all they'd ask is that we stay until November, which is when they get back.

What I'd like to know is if here in Toronto I can take advantage of the "cooling off" period detailed here to call up the landlords at the new place and cancel the contract and get my money back, and stay where I am currently.

I certainly wouldn't mind opinions on the situation - should I stay or move - but what I'd really like to get for sure is whether or not I can cancel the agreement I made 4 days ago and get my money back.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From the Consumer Protection Act:

(2) This Act does not apply in respect of,


(g) consumer transactions regulated under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. 2002, c. 30, Sched. A, s. 2 (2); 2006, c. 17, s. 249; 2006, c. 29, s. 60.

This previous thread seems to agree: you're boned. It looks like the only thing in the Residential Tenancies Act is a five-day cooling off period for Care Homes only.

You could try to negotiate with the new landlord, to let you off the hook or to lower the rent, or the old landlord, to pay the penalties you'll incur if the previous negotiations fail, but I doubt either will be that accommodating.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2010

It sounds like that cooling off period is meant more for door-to-door sales / telemarketing contracts. See page 5 of their PDF guide.

You could call the Toronto Tenant hotline for a definite answer, but it doesn't seem it applies.
posted by CKmtl at 4:23 PM on April 20, 2010

Assuming the cooling off period doesn't work out, just talk to the new landlord. They might be reasonable and let you out. Don't be a dick when you do. Acknowledge the fact that you are obligated to them and that it would be a favor to you. Since it has only been 4 days they might be willing. Do that sooner rather than later.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 4:32 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

In all honesty, I'd bet there's a pretty good chance you'll get your money back if you're willing to be assertive enough. Most landlords wouldn't be thrilled to rent to someone who's already unhappy with the situation and more likely to pay rent late, cause damage, etc. They're being pretty darn reasonable though, so consider that.
posted by speedgraphic at 5:24 PM on April 20, 2010

i dunno about the situation with the new contract, but assuming you can get out of that....

work this situation to your advantage- your old landlord is afraid of losing a couple months of rent while they're out on vacation and unable to find someone new, you followed the rules and gave them required notice....if you can get out of old contract, tell them you've gone through the hassle of finding a new place and you'll only stay if they keep the rent at the lowered amount for the rest of the year (and if they balk at that you can say ok, 6 months) this is assuming you'd like to stay in your current place as long as possible

good luck!
posted by saraindc at 2:25 AM on April 21, 2010

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