FAQ Categories

Recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, which became effective April 30, 2018, now require landlords to use Ontario’s Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease) for all written tenancy agreements entered into on or after April 30, 2018. A copy of this Standard Form of Lease is available at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page18704.aspx.

To conduct a credit check we usually suggest hiring an agency that provides this service for landlords, the following are organizations that provide this service:

DISCLAIMER: LSHC does not warrant or endorse the services provided by the above the organizations.

All businesses operating in Canada are affected and restricted by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). As stated in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Privacy Commissioner’s Website, “Once an organization or landlord has collected any personal information, it takes on new risks and responsibilities under PIPEDA. PIPEDA requires any private organization that collects your  personal information to also protect it against unauthorized loss, theft or disclosure. Because credit bureaus—which are used by many landlords—collect, use and disclose personal information through their consumer credit reports, they are also governed by provincial and federal privacy laws. ” Disclosing information about a current or prior tenant to others requires that person’s written consent. Here is a link to a Privacy Commissioner’s report regarding a complaint about an organization that maintained a bad tenant list and distributed information to others, without their consent. http://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-actions-and-decisions/investigations/investigations-into-businesses/2016/pipeda-2016-002/. There may also be provincial statutes that also impact on the concept of “Bad Tenant” lists, but overall we usually ask that landlords focus their attention on dealing directly with other landlords who understand and use up to date and PIPEDA-safe rental applications and leases, in order to avoid allegations of privacy abuse by would-be tenants. Sharing information about tenants in the context of screening after proper consent has been obtained is the most effective way to approach this issue.

Every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation. You CANNOT discriminate on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, handicap or the receipt of public assistance.

When purchasing a property with existing tenants you are assuming the tenants and the agreements they have with the current landlord whether it’s written or verbal. The fact that they don’t have a lease will not make much of a difference at this point since they are already established as tenants. As the purchaser, you cannot ask them to sign a lease with you unless they agree to it. If your plans are to renovate the building, there are certain conditions that must be met in order to terminate the tenancies. I’ve included a link to the Residential Tenancies Act below, take a look at the sections pertaining to this issue which are sections 50 to 54. http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17

It cannot be a mandatory requirement for a new tenant to provide the landlord their SIN, landlords can ask but they are not obligated to provide it. The following link to the Policy on Human Rights and Rental Housing section 4.2.5 will provide you with more information https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/2015/12/OHRC-Rental-Housing-Policy.pdf.

A typical rental application will ask information such as references, employment info, previous landlords, etc. It also includes a clause that authorizes you to do a credit check. We recommend asking each prospective tenant to complete a Rental Application to ensure that you are collecting the same information from all (whether the information you request is provided or not is another issue). You are allowed to ask for a deposit with their application or you can just accept the application and obtain the deposit once you decide to rent to them. A copy of a rental application is provide for members in the members’ area of our website.

In order to access credit related information about a prospective tenant you must have their authorization to do so. Most rental applications should contain a standard clause authorizing this.

In order to obtain information on about their credit history, you can engage the services of a credit check agency. The following are examples of agencies that provide credit check services for landlords:

DISCLAIMER: LSHC does not warrant or endorse or the services offered by the organization listed above.

There are two main aspects to screening a prospective tenant: 1. Checking the credit worthiness of the applicant; and 2. Checking the rental history of the applicant. An up to date rental application will allow you to gather the same information from all applicant(s).

The application should contain a clause that allows you to obtain a credit report, to contact employers or income providers, current and (most importantly) previous landlords and other references. The application should also assure the applicant that the information collected will not be disclosed to third parties. Rental applications from Self Counsel Press are very good, and are usually available from Staples stores.  Members of Landlord’s Self-Help Centre can access the application for free from the member’s page on our web site.

Visit https://landlordselfhelp.com/membership-program/ to learn more about our membership program. To do a credit check, we recommend you use a service that will provide you a credit report on the applicant.

Landlords should use a rental application and have ALL prospective tenants complete it as this ensures that the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. Typically, a rental application requires information related to employment, current and previous landlords, banking information and, most importantly, a clause authorizing the landlord to conduct a credit check. The landlord is not permitted to access the tenant’s confidential credit information unless the prospective tenant provides written consent agreeing to permit a credit check. There are limited circumstances under which access to an individual’s credit information may be gained; one of them is for the purpose of approving an application for rental accommodation. If a prospective tenant refuses to provide all the requested information (rental history and credit references) the landlord can then proceed to use the income information to determine eligibility. IMPORTANT: Landlords may only request income information if rental history, credit references and authorization to perform a credit check is also requested. Income information cannot be used as the sole reason to decline an application.

Landlords may use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantors and other similar business practices to screen tenants as prescribed in the regulations made under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Landlords are encouraged to use a rental application. This ensures that the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. Typically, a rental application requires the prospective tenant to provide information related to employment, their current and previous landlords, banking information and, most importantly, to sign a clause authorizing the landlord to conduct a credit check. The landlord is not be permitted to access the tenant’s confidential credit information unless the prospective tenant provides written consent agreeing to permit a credit check. There are limited circumstances under which access to an individual’s credit information may be gained; one of them is for the purpose of approving an application for rental accommodation. If a prospective tenant refuses to provide all the requested information (rental history and credit references) the landlord can then proceed to use the income information to determine eligibility. Landlords may request income information only IF rental history, credit references and authorization to perform a credit check is also requested. Income information cannot be used as the sole reason to decline an application.

When selecting tenants, the Residential Tenancies Act gives landlords the rights to use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantees, or other similar business practices as prescribed in the regulations made under the Human Rights Code. Use a pre-printed rental applications to ensure you are collecting the same information from all prospective tenants.

You are permitted to advertise for a non-smoking tenant and you should also include a no smoking clause in your tenancy agreement. If the tenant does not comply then you’ll have to issue a notice, which asks them to stop this activity within a specified time period. If the problem is not corrected then you could file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board seeking termination of tenancy.