Landlord-Tenant Law in Ontario
Landlords and tenants have certain rights and responsibilities under the Ontario landlord-tenant law. Whether you’re a property landlord or a renter, understanding these laws can help you avoid common misunderstandings and confusion.
To give you a better understanding of these laws, AMR Group Property Management has written this article on the basics of Ontario’s landlord-tenant law.
Ontario Tenant Rights
As a tenant, the law provides you with certain rights as explained in the Residential Tenancies Act 2006 and the Human Rights Code.
The Human Rights Code is universal and applies to everyone living in the province. The Residential Tenancies Act, on the other hand, is specific to tenants.
The following are your rights as tenants:
- If screened, you must be subjected to a fair and equal screening process free from any form of discrimination based on protected classes. These classes include disability, family status, sex, religion, race, marital status, sexual orientation, age, ethnic origin, and place of origin.
- To live in a home that is safe and in a good state of repair. The home must be habitable, meaning it has access to electricity, hot and cold water, and heat.
- Have a home that has heat, at least from September 1st to June 15th. Different cities may have different heat standards, so be sure to check with your municipality.
- Be in a home that you can live in peace, without disturbance by the landlord or neighbours.
- Right to a hearing with the landlord and tenant board when the landlord tries to evict you.
- Right to be provided with a copy of rent receipts and the tenancy agreement.
Tenant Responsibilities in Ontario
The following are the key responsibilities of tenants in Ontario, as per the Residential Tenancies Act.
- Following the terms of the lease or rental agreement. The terms must also be in line with the Tenant Act.
- Following the by-laws of your city regarding how many people can live in the rental unit.
- Not disturbing the peace and quiet of your neighbours.
- Fixing any damages that result from your own negligence or carelessness.
- Keeping your home clean and sanitary at all times.
- Paying rent when it is due.
Landlord Rights in Ontario
The following are some of the rights landlords have.
- The right to select a tenant as outlined in the Human Rights Code regulations. This code makes it illegal to choose or refuse prospective tenants based on certain protected classes.
- Right to raise the rent amount. In doing so, however, make sure to follow all the necessary guidelines.
- The right to enter your rental unit to carry out responsibilities, such as showing the property to prospective tenants or to complete needed or requested repairs.
- Collect rent when it is due.
- Collect the rent deposit during lease signing. In Ontario, the deposit may be equal to the rent of 1 rental period.
- Evict a tenant in the case of violation of the tenancy agreement.
An Overview of the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Act
Rent Increase Limits
When it comes to rent increases, the amount and frequency must conform to rent increase guidelines. These guidelines apply to most tenants living in rented homes, condos, and apartments.
Exceptions do exist, however. In some instances, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval to raise the rent. Also, buildings built after November 15th, 2018 are exempt from these guidelines.
Generally speaking, though, landlords can carry out a rent increase once per year, and a landlord must give their tenants ninety days’ notice in writing.
Ontario Lease or Rental Agreements
Landlords, according to the Ontario Tenant Act, must use the standard lease template. It must be written in language that is easy to understand and include important information such as:
- The amount of rent and when it is due.
- A section on what the rent includes. For example, parking, heating, or air conditioning.
- Important rules, for example: whether subletting, smoking in or altering the rental unit is allowed or not.
- The rights and responsibilities of each party to the lease.
- When and for what reason the landlord can seek to enter the tenant’s premises.
- The amount of the rent deposit and the time within which the tenant must move in. For more information, please read about the rent deposit laws.
The standard lease, however, doesn’t apply to certain homes: for instance, sites in land lease communities and mobile home parks, care homes, co-operative housing, and most social and supportive housing.
During an eviction, the landlord must follow the right process. For example, serving the tenant a written notice of termination as specified by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The form must state the reason for the eviction, such as non payment of rent.
And even so, the landlord must first get an order to terminate the lease from the Board.
If the landlord wants to use the rental unit for themselves, then they must give the tenant payment that is equal to one month’s rent. The landlord may also choose to offer an alternative unit.
Tenants aren’t permitted to withhold paying rent when repairs or renovations are needed. Rather, any reparation disputes with their landlords must be taken up with the Board.
Small Claims Courts
In Ontario, the small claims court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice. These courts allow anyone to sue for a claim of up to $35,000 or less, not including costs and interests. If suing for more, then you need to take the case to the Superior Court of Justice.
There you have it, the basic tenancy laws. If you have more questions or seek further clarification, please consider reaching out to us.
AMR Group has been in the Ontario property management scene for more than 20 years now. We are experienced in all matters regarding Ontario landlord-tenant law and can offer you any guidance you may need.
Disclaimer: This article shouldn’t be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws keep changing, and it might not be up to date at the time of your reading. Get in touch AMR Group if you have any concerns.