Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 does not include a 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 costs and wear and tear on the rental unit, nor prevent the tenant from having the roommate, as long as local municipal bylaws on occupancy standards are respected.

It is not unlawful for the tenants to permit more people to occupy the unit regardless of how many people are named on the lease. However, this number is subject to the occupancy standards set out by municipal bylaws. If the number of people occupying the rental unit on a continuing basis contravenes health, safety or housing standards required by law, you may serve an N5 notice of termination. The tenants can avoid termination if they reduce the number of persons occupying the rental unit to comply with health, safety and housing standards within 7 days according to the N5.

If the original tenant continues to occupy the unit with the additional people who have moved in, it is not considered subletting. A sublet occurs when the original tenant moves out for a certain period of time and has someone else move in while he is away. For more information on subletting, please review our RTA Fact Sheet here 

If the former tenant is now a guest or visitor of another tenant in the building, you are not able to do anything unless this person is a danger to the other occupants or is causing disturbances in the building. If that is the case,  you could serve your current tenant with a Form N5 based on her guest’s actions.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act it is not illegal for a tenant to have temporary or even permanent guests as long as the tenant is still living in the unit. Unfortunately the landlord has no recourse in this situation even if the tenant is collecting rent from these other people. You can only do something if your tenant is not paying you the rent or they are causing damages to the property in which case you would serve the appropriate notices and proceed to the Landlord and Tenant Board to terminate the tenancy.

Unfortunately there may not be too much you can do about the extra people living in the unit unless you can show that the unit has become overcrowded, you’ll have to check with your local municipality to determine whether there is a bylaw that addresses this issue. If the property is in the city of Toronto the bylaw permits 100 square feet per person and that would include the entire unit with the exception of bathrooms and hallways.

There is actually nothing a landlord can do if a tenant brings in another person to live in the unit. The rent cannot be increased on that basis, it can only be increased once every twelve months by the guideline allowed each year.

The law does not have any specific provision on how long a tenant may have a guest. Basically a tenant is allowed to have a guest on a permanent basis. Unfortunately a landlord cannot increase the rent based on the additional person, the rent can be increased only once the tenant has been in the unit for twelve months and by the allowable guideline for the year.

It is not unlawful for a tenant to rent out a portion of their unit to another person and even collect rent from that person. The lease agreement is still valid with the tenants that signed the lease, unfortunately the landlord does not have any recourse in this case, and the additional person is not considered an unauthorized occupant as long as the tenants are still living there as well.

The tenant is legally allowed to have other people living with her that were not on the lease and she is not required to obtain your consent. As long as the unit does not become overcrowded and there are no disturbances the landlord has no recourse.

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