As a tenant it often seems complicated when you have to terminate your lease. You need to be aware of the rules, what is stated in the lease – for example how the lease must be terminated. Should it be done in a letter? Or are you also allowed to use email and text message?
Terminating via text or email - is this valid?
Normally, when you terminate a lease for an apartment or a room the norm has been to do so in a letter to the landlord – this is the typical answer you will find in various articles, and it is the most used method. Is it then invalid to terminate via email or text? The answer to that question is fairly complicated, but as a rule of thumb, it is valid to terminate via email or text.
New rules on the area came into force from 1/1-18. This means that your lease might not have been updated in relation to these rules. The Rent Act has become significantly more digitized with the new rules.
Formalities when terminating a lease
Before we can explain the above mentioned, we need to know the formalities regarding the termination. There are certain things that you must abide by when you want to terminate your tenancy – it is not much, but the termination must be in writing and clearly state that the tenant wishes to terminate the lease. Documenting the termination is the sender’s responsibility (in this case it will be you as a tenant).
How do you document that your landlord has received the termination?
You can send your termination as a recommended letter, which means you will be able to track whether your landlord has received the termination. This is valid as documentation. It is recommended that you write in the letter that you want your landlord to confirm the termination when he/she has received it.
If you send the termination via text, it cannot as such be documented whether the landlord has received it or not. It is a good idea to ALWAYS get a confirmation from your landlord, so that you can document that it has been received. This can be done by replying to the text.
Send the termination via email gives the same challenge as with texts. Sending an email is not valid documentation, as it does not prove that the termination has been received. You should, therefore, ALWAYS get a confirmation from your landlord, which can be done by replying to the email.
As a rule, you cannot terminate your lease orally, but we have still included the example (to show how unsuitable it is). With an oral termination, none of the parties can prove that the tenant has terminated the lease. As mentioned before, it is the sender’s (tenant) obligation to prove that the landlord has received the termination, and in this case it cannot be proven.
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How do you ensure that the termination is not invalid?
There are two factors that affect whether a termination is valid or not. This concerns when the lease is from, and whether the landlord has confirmed the termination or not.
Leases made before 01.01.2018
From 01.01.2018, new rules about digital communication was put into force, however, the rules become valid from 01.01.2019. This is why we differ between the two dates. From 01.01.2019, all leases are governed by these rules concerning digital kommunikation no matter if it has been agreed in the lease.
An example of how it can be stated in the lease:
“The parties and the rented: The tenant and landlord agrees that the parties can communicate with the help of electronic communication cf. the Rent Act § 4. The parties commit to ensure that the counterpart is in possession of the party’s current email to use for digital communication at all times.”
By stating such statement or similar, the landlord and tenant ensures that digital communication is accepted (as the lease is signed). This means that the tenant can terminate the tenancy via mail for example.
NB: Be aware that the rules only apply to the tenant’s termination. The landlord must still terminate the lease by letter.
Leases made after 01.01.2019
If the lease was made under the new rules about digital communication, i.e. after 01.01.2018, it will be even easier to terminate the lease digitally. It no longer has to be agreed in advance that digital communication can be used between tenant and landlord. If digital communication is not to be used, it must be agreed in the lease.
What does this mean? If it not stated in your lease or your landlord has not said that digital communication is not accepted, you can terminate your lease via email or text.
The landlord has confirmed the termination:
This has been included in the article, as it puts the tenant in a good position. It means that even though it is been agreed that digital communication is not valid in the tenancy, it is still possible to do so. If you terminate the lease digitally, it would normally not be valid, but if the landlord confirms and responds to your message, it becomes valid. It becomes valid because the landlord shows that he/she has received the termination (you then have proof of them receiving it).
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A rule of thumb is that when your landlord replies to you via email, text or similar, it is seen as a confirmation of you enquiry. Therefore, it is an accept of the method of communication er accepted. No matter if it has been agreed or not.
Do you have to give reasons for your lease?
As a tenant, you do not have to give reasons for the termination of your lease, even if your landlord asks – you are not obligated to do so when you are the tenant (it is different when the landlord wants to terminate the tenant). The only requirement is that the landlord must not be in doubt that you are notifying them about your termination and you can prove that they have received it. Your landlord cannot expect more of you. In some cases, in can be a good idea to elaborate on your termination so that your landlord gets the necessary information.
What can a termination notification include?
- Your name and contact information
- Address of the tenancy
- Moving out date
- Date of when the landlord can relet the tenancy
- Your new address (if you don’t know it when you give the notice, remember that the landlord must have it 8 days before you move out at the latest)
- Your bank information so that the landlord knows where to transfer any excess deposit.
Lastly, we have written down some tips and tricks that might be helpful
- Make sure your landlord confirms receiving you termination
- The notice period starts from the day that your landlord receives your termination (and not from when you send it)
- The notice period is worked out in whole months (if nothing else has been agreed)
- Add as much information as possible to your resignation as possible (new address, moving out date, etc.), as it is only in your best interest
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Get legal advice and avoid being deceived
This topic can be very complicated as a tenant. The above is to be seen as a general guidance and not as downright legal advice. We always recommend that you contact us to ensure that you get the proper necessary legal advice that is relevant for your specific case.
You can get help with this topic but also any other matters you may have. Unfortunately, we see many tenants that are being deceived. Often, they miss out on a lot of money – anything from a couple thousands to 30-40,000 kroner. Imagine what else you could spend the money on.
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