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July 24, 2024

The right way to end your lease

  Compiled by myLIFE team myHOME April 5, 2018 14130

You’ve found a new dream apartment, and it’s time to move out. But before you set off on a new adventure, there are a few things you’ll need to work out with your erstwhile landlord – including ending the lease on your current residence. Worry not, myLIFE will teach you how to make this goodbye as painless as possible.

The dictionary defines a lease as “an agreement by which the owner of a moveable or immoveable item of property transfers the right to use this property to another, for a given period of time and at a set price”. Simply put, a lease is a rental contract between you and your landlord. And since you plan to move out, the question at hand is how to go about breaking this contract.

Before you do anything else, we strongly recommend that you read through your lease (you should be in possession of the original contract). It contains all of the relevant information for your leasing agreement. Take the time to peruse it carefully before advancing to the next step. This can spare you a good deal of unpleasantness further down the line.

Month-to-month leases

From a legal perspective, you can terminate your leasing agreement at any time unless stated otherwise in the contract. It is therefore important that you pay close attention when you first sign it. However, just because you can leave at any time doesn’t mean you can do it from one day to the next.

By law, tenants in Luxembourg are required to give three months’ notice, unless the lease contains a clause stipulating a longer period.

By law, tenants in Luxembourg are required to give three months’ notice, unless the lease contains a clause stipulating a longer period. In other words, you can terminate your lease whenever you like, but remember that you will have to continue to fulfil your contractual obligations for three months after that (paying rent, utility bills, etc.). Make sure you bear this notice period in mind when signing a new lease in order to avoid paying for two homes at once.

If your landlord wishes to terminate their month-to-month lease with you, they too must give notice. They may only do so in the event of misconduct on your part; on serious, justified grounds (if the residence is undergoing major renovation, for example); or for personal reasons (if they themselves wish to occupy the home, or if they need it for any of their closer relatives). The standard period of three months applies here as well, but is extended to six months if the termination is for personal reasons. However, if you are found to be in breach of your contract, they may be able to terminate your lease with immediate effect. The type of termination where the renter is at fault is known as a résolution pour faute du locataire.

Fixed-term leases

What about fixed-term leases, where the date of termination is specified in the contract? You generally won’t be able to end your lease early unless you can prove misconduct on the part of your landlord, or if the two of you come to your own new agreement through negotiation. If you plan to end the lease on the termination date, you still need to inform your landlord of this three months in advance. You will also have to pay all rent due up to this date. This means that if your lease is up on 31 June and you terminate it in March, you will still have to pay rent for April, May and June, even if you have already moved into your new home.

Be aware that unless your landlord tells you they wish to terminate your contract, it will be renewed automatically.

Be aware that unless your landlord tells you they wish to terminate your contract, it will be renewed automatically. In addition, unless otherwise stipulated, fixed-term contracts that are left to overrun the closing date without being terminated are automatically converted into month-to-month contracts. However, the landlord may still stop the renewal of the lease if they need to move into the residence themselves (in which case they must give notice of six months), or if they have serious grounds for doing so. You should therefore be sure to take the necessary steps if you want to move out, even if your lease has a fixed term.

Are there exceptions?

In practice, it is possible to give a shorter notice period, or even none at all, if you can provide your landlord with a potential “replacement” tenant for your residence. If the landlord and the new tenant are able to come to an agreement and to sign a lease for that residence, you are free to leave the premises on their arrival date. Once more, it is up to you to plan ahead.

Now that you know your options and how much notice to give, let’s go over how you should go about informing your landlord that you want to end your lease.

Leasing agreements must be terminated by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, sent to the landlord. This isn’t a legal requirement, but it is the simplest way to ensure you have proof in the event of a dispute with the landlord. In the letter, simply state that you wish to leave the residence and provide an exact date. There is no need to give a reason, as you are within your rights to terminate the contract. If you aren’t sure how to formulate this letter, you can take inspiration from sample letters of notice that you find online.

One final thing before you go: don’t forget to have the landlord make a detailed exit report of the condition of the home, in your presence! This is essential if you wish to avoid disputes when it’s time to get your rental deposit back.

At the end of the day, it isn’t all that complicated for a tenant to terminate a lease. If you took the time to read your lease carefully before you signed it, you won’t be in for any unpleasant surprises. Do plan on giving enough notice before you sign a contract for a new residence in order to avoid paying for two homes at once. And if you want to leave sooner, try to provide your landlord with someone to take your place.

Would you like to know more about this topic? A few years ago, Caritas Luxembourg published a guide for tenants in Luxembourg (in French only). The Luxembourg government also provides all the information you’ll need, and the organisations to contact, on its information portal, Guichet public.