C&G’s Guide to Breaking Up and Moving Out

Breaking up is hard to do – and it’s even more complicated when you call it quits with a live-in partner. Last week C&G talked about knowing when it’s time to move in together, but this week we’re looking at how to handle live-in breakups.

Take It Slowly

Choosing to end a relationship when you live together is complicated, so it’s important to take the process slowly and tackle things one step at a time. From cancelling shared utilities to dividing up your belongings, don’t try to rush everything all at once. Emotions will be running high, and may make interactions more hostile.

Play Fair

Play fair when it comes to working through everything that needs to be done. Unless you’ve decided to split right at the end of your tenancy term – which is unlikely! – you may have to continue living together for a while before one or both of you move out. Play fairly when it comes to boundaries, appropriate behaviour and timelines. Try to be respectful of one another’s lives outside of the breakup. For example, don’t force a move out if one of you has an important period at work coming up, or if an overseas trip is coming up. Try to work around each other’s schedules.

Be Honest with your Agent

Being upfront with your property manager and/or landlord is important in these situations. Keeping breakups concealed and moving tenants in ‘on the quiet’ may be breaking the terms of your lease agreement – and that’s only going to make things more complicated. If you’re planning on moving out or switching tenants around, be upfront about what’s happened. Property managers and landlords are humans too – they might be able to work with you to find a solution.

Discuss Shared Assets/Items

Take some time together to go through all the things that need to be divided. When you’ve lived together, you may have assets like furniture, electronics and items of sentimental value that need to be divided. Work through this fairly, and try to consider which items are needed by each of you. For example, if one of you is moving back home with your parents, perhaps you can allow your ex-partner to buy you out on some of the furniture and appliances for their new place.

Communicate and Cover All Bases

If one or both of you will be moving out, the checklist of to-dos is the same as if you were still together. Make sure you communicate about who has booked the disconnection of utilities, notified the property manager and consented to open for inspections for new tenants. It’s in both of your best interests that the move go smoothly.


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