Tenants are entitled to receive receipts for rent regardless of the method of rent payment, the landlord must provide them.
Based on this type of arrangement (utilities remain in landlord’s name and the tenant reimburses the landlord for the actual amount of the utility cost), the utilities are not considered rent because they are paid separate from the rent. Therefore, when issuing a notice of non-payment of rent you cannot include the unpaid amounts for the utilities in the same notice, as it is only for the outstanding rent. The only way of dealing with this problem is to file a claim against the tenant in Small Claims Court for the unpaid utilities.
The tenant has to agree before the landlord can cease to provide the service and reduce the rent accordingly. If the tenant does not want to change the terms of the agreement, then there is nothing the landlord can do until the tenancy has ended and the tenant has moved out. At that time the landlord can set a new rent and have the new tenant set up their own account with the public utility company.
You can certainly send a warning letter to your tenants if they are in arrears of rent but the best way is to serve them with a legal notice of nonpayment of rent using Form N4. The notice tells the tenant that they must pay the outstanding rent within fourteen days, if they pay within that time then the notice becomes null and void. If they keep paying the rent late you must serve them with this notice every time. This is the best way to document the late payments. The Form N4 can be obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at www.ltb.gov.on.ca.
Since this is a weekly tenancy you are required to give the tenant seven days notice to pay the outstanding rent. If the tenant does not pay the rent within that period of time, you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order anytime after the seven days have elapsed.
My tenants submit their rental payments at my place of employment and I would like to alter this arrangement. What alternative payment options can I give my tenants?
The law does not have any specific rules on where rental payments should be made. The landlord and the tenant can decide what method of payment is convenient for both parties.
My tenant has given verbal notice to move out, but is behind on the rent. Is there a form for them to sign and date, where they can specify and agree to the amount owing?
There isn’t a form that you would use to state the amount of rent the tenant owes, so you could draft something up on your own and have the tenant sign it. This would be helpful to have if you have to make a claim in Small Claims court. However, there is a form you and the tenant should sign confirming that he/she is moving out. The form you would use is the form N11- Agreement to Terminate a Tenancy. You can find the form on the Board’s website at www.ltb.gov.on.ca under the Other Forms section.
Is it legal to ask for and collect rent money from a tenant on public holidays? One of my tenants said I cannot collect rent from her on July 1st, Canada Day. Is that true?
If rent is due on the first of the month, it must be paid on that day. It’s legal to collect rent on a holiday as the law does not set out an exception if the first of the month happens to fall on a holiday.
If the tenancy agreement requires the tenant to pay the rent on first of each month (or any other day), the tenant has until midnight on that day to pay the rent. If the rent is unpaid on the next day, you may issue a notice of early termination for non-payment of rent (Form N4). The tenant may avoid termination by paying the outstanding rent within 14 days of receiving notice. The benefit of issuing a notice of early termination promptly is two fold: 1. You start the clock on a situation that could develop into an application for termination; and 2. You create documentation of late payment.
If the lease says that Pre-Authorized Deposits is the only form of payment we accept and the tenant signs the lease agreeing, can we enforce this?
The act forbids a Landlord from requiring post-dated cheques or pre-authorized deposits.
If a tenant does not give proper notice, the landlord has an obligation to mitigate his losses and try to re-rent as soon as possible. The tenant would be liable for the rent for the time that it took to re-rent the unit. However, the law is not clear on whether the last month’s rent deposit can be applied to the loss of rent. There have been decisions from the Landlord and Tenant Board in which they still ordered the landlord to return the last month’s rent deposit to the tenant and then claim for the loss of rent in Small Claims Court. These decisions were made based on the wording of the Act which states that the last month’s rent deposit shall be applied to the last month of the tenancy.
I’d like to offer a discounted rate for three months then charge the normal rate. How can I do this?
The Regulations of the Residential Tenancies Act sets out different rules when providing discounted rents and still protecting the lawful rent. Based on the information you provided and assuming that the total discount you are providing does not exceed the rent for one month then the rules are that the discount can be provided during the first eight months of the 12-month period. If you want to look up these rules, it is under Regulations 516/06 sections 10 and 11 on the Board’s website at www.ltb.gov.on.ca.
I have issued an N4 to my tenant and filed my L1 with the Landlord and Tenant Board. What do I do if they pay me the rent owing two days after I filed my Application with the Board? I expect the rent to be late again next month. What do I do then?
With regards to your L1, if the tenant pays up the arrears before the Board hearing, you will not be able to terminate the tenancy and unfortunately you’ll have to do it all over again the next time the tenant goes into arrears. However, after doing this several times you may have the grounds to terminate the tenancy based on persistent late payment of rent. At that point you would serve the Form N8, which is a 60 day notice ending on the last day of the rental period or term. If there is a fixed term lease in place, this notice can only be given at the end of the lease term.
I have been renting to my tenant for 2.5 years and just noticed I have to pay interest on the last month’s rent deposit. I have increased the rent twice, and am wondering if interest is calculated at the bank rate or at the rate of rent increases?
The interest rate on the last month’s rent deposit is the same as the rent increase guideline for the year when you are giving the interest. You’ll have to give interest on the deposit amount you were holding for the first year at the rate in effect for that year and then give interest on the new deposit amount if it’s been a year since you received it. You can find the interest rates for the past few years on our website at http://www.landlordselfhelp.com/RentIncreaseGuideline.htm.
I have a tenant who has not paid his rent this month, and has not returned my emails and phone calls. Please advise me on the steps to take.
The first step is to serve a legal notice of non-payment of rent. The form to be used is called and N4 form. You can serve this notice by handing it to the tenant, sliding it under the door, or placing it in the mailbox. This notice advises the tenant to pay the rent within 14 days or move out. If the tenant is still in possession and has not paid the rent by the 14th day, you would file an application (Form L1- Application to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent and to collect the rent the tenant owes) on the 15th day, along with a Certificate of Service with the Landlord and Tenant Board for an Order to evict the tenant. You can obtain all the forms from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at www.ltb.gov.on.ca.
I have a signed and dated agreement with the tenant that he will pay via post dated cheques the whole of the lease term. He now refuses to provide them. Will the Landlord and Tenant board make an order requiring him to because he agreed to it?
Post dated cheques can only really be used as a method of payment as long as the tenant wants to pay in this manner. Section 108 of the Act contains all the details: 108. Neither a landlord nor a tenancy agreement shall require a tenant or prospective tenant to, (a) provide post-dated cheques or other negotiable instruments for payment of rent; or (b) permit automatic debiting of the tenant’s or prospective tenant’s account at a financial institution, automatic charging of a credit card or any other form of automatic payment for the payment of rent. 2006, c. 17, s. 108; 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 11 (3, 4). The LTB will not order him to pay in this manner even if that is how it was done when the tenancy began. He can pay by regular personal cheque, and if it is NSF, you do not get the rent on time, or it is not the full amount, you would serve an N4 notice for non-payment.
Does a tenant have the right to deduct any amounts of money from their rent and under what conditions. Which Section of Landlord Tenant Act deals with this issue?
The Residential Tenancies Act does not specifically give tenants the right to deduct rent for any reason. In Section 30 it does allow that the Board may order that a landlord pay a tenant through an abatement of rent, or for the reasonable costs that a tenant has incurred in repairing or replacing damaged, destroyed or disposed of by the landlord’s breaching their obligations. This is usually accessed by the tenant through the use of a T1 or T5 application. A tenant may hold back amounts of a rent increase that may be in dispute, or because the landlord failed to pay them the interest on last month rent, or for an automatic rent reduction where the municipality has notified the parties of the rent reduction due to a decrease in municipal taxes and charges. In most cases, the board member will have to make a ruling on the validity of the tenant unilaterally imposing a rent reduction.
It is fairly common for a tenant to split the costs of renting by bringing in a permanent guest, or “undertenant”. The Residential Tenancies Act includes no remedy for a landlord in such cases, because it does not consider it to be unlawful. A landlord can neither raise the rent to reflect the additional utility use and wear and tear on the rental unit, nor prevent the tenant from having the roommate, as long as local municipal by-laws on occupancy standards are respected.
At our hearing, my tenant claimed she is not paying rent because of repairs that need to be done in the unit. I gave proper notice to inspect, and wanted to take photos and video for proof of the damages she caused, but she refused. What can I do?
A landlord can enter a rental unit and do a maintenance inspection provided that the landlord provide the tenant with 24 hour written notice, specifying the date and a short window of time of entry between 8am and 8pm, as well as the reason for the notice. It is advisable to include in the notice that photographs may be taken of specific parts of the property that are being repaired. If she makes it clear that she will not allow you to take photographs, it would be better not to force the issue. I do not think the LTB member will typically support a landlord who wants to take video, but photographs of before and after repairs are the best evidence when showing the problem to the Board. The member may or may not allow the photos into evidence, but likely will if they do not include the tenant’s own belongings in the picture. With respect to the damages, you could also enter with a repair person who could act as a witness at the hearing if there is going to be one.