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 best way for landlords to protect themselves is to be proactive. When entering into new tenancy agreements or leases, make sure to include terms which indicate that all types of smoking (tobacco, marijuana, vaping, etc.) is not allowed in the rental unit. You should also clearly communicate that the cultivation of marijuana plants is prohibited. Sections 10 and 15 of the new Ontario Standard Form of Lease are where you can document these restrictions. There are exceptions with respect to medical marijuana.
I served the N12 notice to the tenant’s 13-year-old daughter, and I have a proof that the tenant had received it. On the Certificate of Service, what do I check off as to how the notice was delivered?
A notice cannot be served to a minor, even if the tenant acknowledges receiving it. This is not one of the accepted methods of service as indicated on the Certificate of Service.
Although we are not able to provide a list of legal service providers who specialize in landlord and tenant matters, we have the following suggestions.
You can contact the Law Society of Ontario to access their directory of lawyers and paralegals who specialize in this area. Their website address is https://lso.ca/public-resources/finding-a-lawyer-or-paralegal/law-society-referral-service. JusticeNet, a non-profit service, may also be able to assist you at reduced rates – their address is https://www.justicenet.ca
You can also type the following into Google to come up with some options: “Paralegal Landlord Tenant (and insert your specific geographical area here)”.
If recordings are presented as evidence, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not to allow them as evidence. Generally a person can record any conversation that they are part of, but sometimes recording and editing the conversation is recognized as a distortion of a true situation.
I suspect that a particular tenant is damaging the rental unit and stealing other tenants’ food. Can I install cameras in the kitchen and other common areas to catch the culprit?
If you did not include the possibility of installing cameras in common areas in your lease agreement, or if you do not have a written lease agreement, then the answer is no. You will only be able to install video surveillance cameras if you get the written consent of everyone who lives in the property and uses the kitchen and common areas. To install cameras without consent would be contrary to both the Residential Tenancies Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
If everyone agrees to installing the cameras, then this agreement should be in writing, since it is a fundamental change to the original situation that did not include cameras.
Otherwise, you will have to rely on witnesses who live in the property for your evidence regarding who is stealing food, causing damage, and so on.
The legislation that currently governs residential tenancies is the Residential Tenancies Act. You can view the legislation online at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17 or you can buy a copy from Publications Ontario at 416-326-5300 or toll-free at 1-800-668-9938.
The rules on this issue are set out under section 91 of the Residential Tenancies Act. It states that if a tenant of a rental unit dies and there are no other tenants of the rental unit, the tenancy shall be deemed to be terminated 30 days after the death of the tenant.
The Landlord’s Self-Help Centre is a community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Our mandate is to provide information and support services for landlords and homeowners on a nonprofit basis and to educate the community in landlord and tenant relations. The service we provide include referrals, general information and summary advice to small-scale landlords in Ontario regarding their rights and responsibilities, development and delivery of educational programs and material, and participation in law reform activities.
What help or tips can you offer to a first-time landlord? Do you have a standard rental application and lease agreement that I could use? If not, do you know where I could find one?
We have an information sheet entitled Before You Rent and Landlord Learning Videos posted to the website that provide guidance on a range of topics including screening tenants, these are beneficial for anyone becoming a landlord and renting for the first time https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Before-You-Rent.pdf and https://landlordselfhelp.com/landlord-learning-tips/
On February 7, 2018, Ontario’s Ministry of Housing released the new Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease). 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. Please visit their website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/guide-ontarios-standard-lease-newcomers#section-0 for more information and to get a copy of the lease.
This would be similar to a superintendent situation and the regulations that would apply in that case would be Employment Standards and also the termination provisions under the Residential Tenancies Act, these differ from a normal tenancy situation.
The tenacy began prior to the enactment of the Residential Tenancies Act and I did not provide written notice of my name and address. My tenant is now requesting a rent rebate, do I have to comply with the request?
A tenant is not entitled to a rent rebate if the landlord fails to provide the tenant with written notice of the landlord’s name and address. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 allows a tenant to suspend the payment of rent until they receive the required information at which time they are required to pay all withheld rent.
The first thing you should do is speak to the main floor tenants and ask them to keep the thermostat at an acceptable level, you should also follow-up with a letter. If they do not comply then this can be grounds for you to issue a notice based on the reason that they are interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by the other tenants. You would issue this notice using the Form N5, which can be obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms/.
My tenants have calculated 6% interest for two years (2010-2012) and the cost of emergency electrical work, and have discounted their rent owing for the month. I was never contacted about this and was not given a bill. How should I proceed?
With regards to the first issue of interest payable on the last month’s rent deposit, tenants are allowed to deduct from the rent any interest that is owed to them. However, the interest rate is no longer 6%; that changed as of January 31, 2007 when there were amendments to the law. The interest rate is now equal to the rent increase guideline for each year. The rate for 2016 was 2.0%, 2017-1.5% and 2018 will be 1.8%. Even if your agreement stated 6%, you would not have to pay that rate because the law supersedes the agreement.
As for the other issue, in a case of emergency, if the tenant is unable to reach the landlord they may have the necessary repairs done and then present the landlord with the bill. If you were never notified of the problem and did not receive any invoice, you should insist that they provide you with the bill and proof of the problem. If they don’t provide you with anything then you could serve them with a notice of early termination for non-payment of rent (Form N4). This notice gives the tenant 14 days to pay and if they don’t, you can file an L1 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for them to make a decision on this issue. The cost of filing is $201 (in-person) and $186 (online through e-File).
My tenant wants to work in the garage in the winter and the fire department has approved the use of a small wood stove as long as it is WETT certified. My insurance company is saying “no” to this. What should I do?
We cannot provide specific information on the insurance issues so we cannot confirm what they can or cannot do. You’ll have to speak to your broker about this. If you decide not to allow the tenant to have the wood stove, our suggestion would be to write him a letter explaining your reason for denying his request based on the insurance issue. This may help in the event that the tenant tries to claim that this is interfering with his reasonable enjoyment of the premises.
My tenant has requested a letter of recommendation. Is there a standard generic letter I can provide to my tenant?
The Landlord’s Self-Help Centre does not provide a standard generic letter of recommendation.
My tenant bought and installed cupboards to supplement the ones in her kitchen without my permission. Now she is moving out and wants to be reimbursed for them. Do we have to pay her? Do we give an amortized amount since they are 3 years old?
Presumably if the tenant is not happy with your pro-rated value option, they can file against you at the Landlord and Tenant Board or in Small Claims Court. You are the best judge of what degree the property and you benefit from those items remaining behind. If may be a difficult case for the tenant to prove, given that this is a sort of retroactive claim for reimbursement, and there is no explicit agreement with you, nor is there likely to be any correspondence speaking to the matter.
My father’s tenants are in arrears and the units are now in a state of extreme untidiness and destruction due to wilful damage. The units were leased out in good order. How can we collect the rent in arrears from all four tenants and/or evict?
Based on the issues you have described, the notices you would require are the N4- Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent, and the N5- Notice to Terminate a Tenancy Early for the other issues. These forms can be obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms/. After serving these notices and waiting the required time period which varies depending on the notices served, an application has to be made to the Board to attend a hearing and obtain an Order for eviction. If you intend on doing this process on your own it may be best to call us and get further clarification on the procedures. If you plan on getting someone to represent you further, we suggest contacting the Law Society Referral Service to get a referral to a lawyer or paralegal that deals with landlord and tenant matters. They can be reached at http://www.findlegalhelp.ca. There are no other legal aid services available to landlords except our clinic, but we can only provide summary advice, we do not provide representation.
Is there any way to find out if a potential tenant has been previously evicted from a prior rental property?
There isn’t really a complete database of bad tenants that is easily accessible to landlords. However, 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:
- Rent Check Credit Bureau, www.rentcheckcorp.com 1-800-661-7312;
- GateMaster Inc, www.tenchek.com 1-877-823-0220;
- SingleKey Inc., www.singlekey.com 1-877-978-1404; and
- Tenant Verification Services, www.tenantverification.ca 1-877-974-9328.
DISCLAIMER: LSHC does not warrant or endorse the services offered by the organizations listed above.
Is there a way that I am able to access my tenants previous Landlord and Tenant Actions/Applications? If so, what do I need to do in order to obtain them?
With regards to your question, I’ve included the link below which is found on the Board’s website and provides information on this issue,https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/decisions/ .
Unfortunately we cannot provide you with any information on this issue as we only deal with residential landlord and tenant relations. We suggest contacting your local municipality about this matter.
If a tenant gives notice after receiving an N13 to return to the unit after renovations are complete, what happens if the property becomes smoke- free? Does the tenant have the right to return as a smoker and be considered a grandfathered tenant?
Your understanding would be correct in this case. Since the tenant has the right to return to the unit after the renovations are done, he is coming back under the same agreement and the same terms and conditions would still apply as before the tenancy was interrupted. Based on that, our understanding is that the tenant would be grandfathered until he moves out.
I have two tenants on the lease and tenant #1 has given tenant #2 an ultimatum, leave or stay in your bedroom until the end of the lease (which is about 2.5 months away). What are tenant #2’s rights? What can I do as a landlord?
If both tenants are on the same lease to rent the same unit (house, apartment) then the best thing for the landlord to do is nothing. Presumably, either one or both of the co-tenants will just move out because the living arrangement is no longer suitable. If that happens they will either give proper notice in writing, ask to assign the unit to someone else entirely, or they may both leave abruptly. If only one of them wants to leave, they are both responsible for the obligations they signed on for UNTIL they are both out of the unit. They both have the same rights and the same obligations to the tenancy. The Act does not really allow for partial assignments. In the meantime, ideally you should not be involved in any process or discussion that involves making current occupants a party to the lease until/unless both of the original tenants are in agreement about the matter. Also, unfortunately the Residential Tenancies Act does not ensure or enforce a landlord’s “right to know” who else may be in the rental unit with the tenant(s).
I found a great investment property, but it’s listed as having UFFI (Urea-Formaldehyde Insulation). If I were to buy and rent out this house, do I have to disclose the presence of UFFI?
Our Duty Counsel’s response to your question is the following: It is in your best interest to disclose and remove the UFFI. Failing to disclose this information opens up a can of worms and an opportunity for a tenant to bring a huge claim against the landlord for all kinds of health problems—real or imagined.
The only way a landlord can increase rent above the guideline for an existing tenancy is by applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board if there has been a significant increase in taxes. You can include a provision, when entering into a new tenancy, that the tenant undertakes to pay the extra garbage related costs.
The Residential Tenancies Act does not require a tenant to obtain insurance, however landlords should include a provision in their tenancy agreement that the tenants have to obtain their own contents insurance. There are no rules on whether the landlord has to provide proof to their insurance company, you can verify with your own insurance company whether they require it.
Could you explain the difference between personal and commercial policies for an owner-occupied triplex?
We’re unable to provide specific answers when it comes to insurance issues. We can only provide advice on the Residential Tenancies Act, and we suggest that you speak to your insurance broker or visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada at http://www.ibc.ca for this information.
Can you please tell me if a condominium (townhouse style) is considered a Residential Complex in the RTA? I’m trying to determine if noise complaints from neighbours in the condo community or complaints from by-law officers can be cause for eviction?
The definition of “residential complex” in the RTA can be found in section 2: “residential complex” means, (a) a building or related group of buildings in which one or more rental units are located, (b) a mobile home park or land lease community, (c) a site that is a rental unit, (d) a care home, and, includes all common areas and services and facilities available for the use of its residents. When it comes to eviction, a landlord has grounds to issue a notice of early termination (Form N5) to a tenant who is interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of his/her other tenants in the rental residential complex. The obligation of the landlord is to ensure that his tenants have reasonable enjoyment of the premises; there is no obligation towards the neighbours. However, if the problems are such that the City becomes involved and you’re receiving complaints from neighbours and/or the condominium corporation, there may still be grounds to serve the Form N5 on the reasons that the tenant is interfering with the landlord’s lawful right or interest.
Can a landlord obligate his tenant to NOT have a washer/dryer in the rental unit? If the tenants signed an agreement (in the lease) to not posses a washer/dryer, is that agreement enforceable?
This is one of those issues that is difficult to enforce even if it is stated in the lease agreement. If they do bring in a washer/dryer, there isn’t much that can be done unless it’s actually causing damage to the property or causing a plumbing or electrical problem, in which case the N5 Form could be served
As I understand it, the city by-law requires there to be a minimum of 100 square feet for each person in the rental unit. Does an infant/baby count as one person?
If the property is in the City of Toronto, please review the Toronto Municipal Code https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_629.pdf . Section 629-25 Occupancy Standards outlines how many people are allowed to live in the rental unit. You can also dial 311 – for the City Staff, who can put you through to Municipal Licensing and Standards staff to better answer your question. If the property is in another municipality, you should call that municipal government telephone number for clarification.