Your first stop for self-help is a review of our FAQs. Take a look at the ever increasing collection of questions asked by Ontario’s small-scale landlords as well as the actual answers provided by Landlord’s Self-Help Centre.
The tenants can call the city and complain (city may then do an inspection). If the city finds that the unit is not legal, they may order that the unit be vacated. In this situation there isn’t a notice of termination that can be given based on the fact that the unit is illegal so it is usually recommended that the landlord offer the tenant some kind of compensation to move out and if the tenant agrees a Form N11 can be signed by both parties to end the tenancy. When the unit is vacant the landlord can obtain the proper permits to ensure it is legal before renting again in the future.
No, the landlord does not have to install an air conditioning unit since it is not classified as a vital service unlike heating (which has to be at 20 degrees). The landlord should specify in their rental agreement that if the tenant wants to install an air conditioning unit they need permission from the landlord and it will be at the tenant’s expense.
I have already accepted a last month’s rent deposit from a prospective tenant, however I have changed my mind about renting to the tenant. What can I do?
Landlord should give back the deposit as soon as possible, have a witness and document everything. There is a chance that the prospective tenant may try to sue the landlord for breach of contract. The landlord should inform the tenant as soon as possible, because the tenant should be given sufficient notice so they can find another place.
Is there a certain protocol that needs to be followed for keeping the last month’s rent deposit? Can it be cashed right away?
Yes, the landlord can cash out the last month’s rent deposit and have it sitting in the bank. The landlord will owe the tenant interest on the last month’s rent (which is always the same as the guideline increase).
If both parties agree, usually at the application or lease stage, that it is convenient to pay by post-dated cheque, then the law allows this method of payment. Landlords cannot force this as a method of payment, and if the tenant changes their mind, then the payment method reverts to cash or regular cheques.
Electronic payment by e-transfer is very common these days, but the law does not make specific mention of this payment method. Once again, the tenant would have to agree to this way of paying.
Landlords are not required to keep the last month’s rent deposit in a separate account. As you may already know, however, you must pay the tenant interest on the rent deposit every 12 months, so good record-keeping is required.
I used a real estate agent to find a tenant. How long do I have to wait before I get the first and last month’s rent from the tenant’s agent?
You will have to communicate with the person you are using as the agent to determine the details of when payments will be given to you. This is because it is a contractual matter between you as the landlord, and the person you are using as the agent for the landlord, when dealing with the tenant. The Residential Tenancies Act only deals with matters that arise between a landlord and a tenant; it does not get into any details about how agency contracts work.
The last month’s rent deposit can be collected in advance of the occupancy date on the tenancy agreement, but the first month’s rent is legally only payable on the day the tenancy begins.
The tenants don’t have a lease. Does that make a difference or offer me more potential methods of eviction?
It will be the same situation with or without a lease. They have the same rights and you must follow the same steps and use the same forms.
My tenants were on a joint tenancy agreement. They have now separated and one person has moved out. Is the one person who is left behind still legally responsible for aforementioned lease?
If there were two or more co-tenants who entered into the contract, then unless they get the landlord’s clear consent or are otherwise allowed by a Member of the Landlord and Tenant Board, they are both bound to the terms of the contract even if they no longer live in the property.
The landlord must still name both or all parties on the N4 for nonpayment or any other notices or applications, so that it is clear that the contract is still in full effect. The landlord may be able to apply for collection against either or both parties for garnishment, for example, at some future date.
Trying to make the tenant who left actually pay the rent or damages is not an easy thing to do, but the possibility of eviction because of this nonpayment usually acts as an incentive for whoever is still living in the property.
My lease is solely signed to one person and I suspect my tenant may have other individuals living in the apartment. Is there anything I can do about this?
There is nothing that a landlord can do to limit the number of occupants that live with the tenant unless the number exceeds a municipal occupancy standard. Usually this allows about 100 square feet per person, regardless of any lease term restrictions.
My tenant has placed two large chairs near the side of my house to the right of their entrance into their unit. They had not expressly asked me to place these chairs there and they are also sitting on top of the downspout of my house. This area was not included in their lease and was never intended for these chairs. What can I do about this?
It seems that your lease does not clearly specify the limits of use of the part of the property you are describing. If it does, then this would give you more leverage to make the tenants stop using that area. If the lease is vague or does not mention what areas of the property tenants do/do not have access to, then the best you can do is take the position that there was a verbal understanding about these limits when the tenancy began. Clearly, this is not ideal, because if you have to take the matter further by serving an N5 notice to terminate due to the tenant interfering with your enjoyment or that of another tenant on the property, then your position is weaker than it should be. Clear contract terms are vitally important.
One of my tenants wants to bring a friend to live with them. How can I screen this person through a proper application process?
It is perfectly lawful for the tenant to allow someone to move in with them without telling the landlord who that person is. You would only be able to gather information on the person if the tenant wants to add him to the tenancy agreement and have him be responsible to pay rent, at which point you could screen him as you would any new applicant to rent.
The law only considers a person to be an unauthorized occupant if they are left behind after the tenant has vacated the unit, which does not seem to be happening in your situation.
At the moment, you cannot insist on his information, as this can be seen as interfering with the tenant’s reasonable enjoyment, and may cause you to be subject to a Tenant’s Rights application at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
I only found that my tenant lied about their income on their application 3 months after their lease already began. What can I do?
The time to factor a person’s income situation into your decision making is before you say yes to renting to someone, by screening them during the application for rent stage. Once your tenant is in, they are under no obligation to discuss their finances with you.
It is acceptable to sign documents electronically, in the same way that a signature on a document that has been faxed is acceptable.
Where you must be careful is the method by which the signed document is served or delivered.
We cover the various methods allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act in our “Town Hall” material on serving notices, it is available here: http://landlordselfhelp.com/media/2016/01/TownHall_serving-doucments_public.pdf
No, landlords have no way to force tenants to get contents or liability insurance, even where the lease says the tenants will get it. However, it will limit the tenant’s options if they ever make a claim against landlords in the future.
The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords, who are not using the Standard Form of Lease, to provide new tenants with an information package detailing basic landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities as well as information on how to contact the Landlord and Tenant Board. The information package is posted online and is available for download at https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/brochures-videos/
It is a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code to rent a unit and demand that there be “no children” allowed. A no pets clause is not enforceable under the Residential Tenancies Act. Damage deposits are not lawful under the Residential Tenancies Act, it is in fact an offence under the Act to charge them.
The landlord is responsible for the unit and MUST maintain it in a good state of repair, fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards at all times, before and throughout the tenancy.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act landlords have the benefit of “vacancy decontrol” which means landlords can establish a new rent each time the rental unit becomes vacant to reflect current market conditions. Landlords also have the option of changing the services or amenities provided with the unit such as parking spaces, hydro, appliances, laundry facilities, etc.
Please refer to the Fact Sheet on our site entitled “Before You Rent …” at https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Before-You-Rent.pdf . This Fact Sheet provides a general outline on the steps to take before renting. You should also visit www.secondsuites.info for a variety of helpful information including a very useful Operating Guide.
You will also find a lot of information for landlords on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website at https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca and also the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms/
If I sign an Occupancy Agreement with someone to occupy my apartment do they possess the same rights as tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act?
It is not clear what you mean by Occupancy Agreement, but if the person that occupies your apartment will be paying you rent then that person is considered a tenant.
I would like to rent the basement apartment of my home, will the Residential Tenancies Act apply to me?
The Residential Tenancies Act applies to all rental units regardless of whether the unit is located in a family home, a large building, a condominium or even a whole house.
Ontario landlords entering into a written residential tenancy agreement on or after April 30, 2018 are required to use the new Standard Form of Lease as it is mandatory for all written tenancy agreements in Ontario. The form can be obtained in the following link, http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page18704.aspx
I am thinking of renting out a bedroom in my family home and would like to know any legal issues that go along with that.
Provided that you are the owner of the rental property and the tenant will be required to share the kitchen and/or bathroom with you or your immediate family, the landlord and tenant law will not apply to your rental arrangement. Below is a link to our “Sharing Kitchen and/or Bathroom” Fact Sheet which provides further information on this type of rental accommodation. https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Sharing-bathroom-kitchen.pdf
I am in the process of purchasing a 12-unit building and I am aware that two of the basement units are not considered legal. I am wondering what the process is to convert these two units into legal units?
We cannot provide information on this process, but we suggest calling the municipality for this information. If the building is in Toronto, contact the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department by calling 311.
If you rent even just one unit, you are a landlord. The Residential Tenancies Act is the current legislation governing landlord and tenant relationships.
The law does not set out any provision that would allow for a “cooling off” period once a tenancy agreement or lease is signed.