The unit was for one person but a second has moved in. Utility costs have increased, can I raise the rent?
The existence of a roommate in a tenant’s unit is not something the landlord can do anything about unless the “tenant” is required to share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner. 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 bylaws on occupancy standards are respected.
The tenants are permitted to have more people move into their unit regardless of how many people are on the lease provided that the number of people living in the unit does not contravene the municipal guidelines. 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 a notice of termination. However, the municipal guidelines for overcrowding are very generous. You must allow 100 sq. ft. per person excluding hallways, bathrooms and closets. If the overcrowding exceeds the standard, you can give a notice of termination which the details or the grounds for 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.
The tenant has allowed additional people to move into the rental unit, is this considered subletting?
If the original tenant remains in the unit with the additional people who have moved into the unit it is not considered subletting. A sublet is when the tenants move out for a certain period of time and have someone else move in while they are away.
One tenant was evicted for non-payment and another has allowed him to stay in their unit! Can we legally request he not be allowed here?
If the former tenant is there as a guest or visitor of another tenant in the building there isn’t anything you can do unless this person is a danger to the other occupants or is causing disturbances in the building. If that was the case then you would serve your tenant with a Form N5 as well based on the guest’s actions.
My tenant has additional people in the unit and I suspect he is collecting rent from them but claims they are visitors. What can I do?
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.
I’ve rented the upper floor of a house to a couple and now there seems to be another couple living with them. What can I do?
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.
If a tenant has another person living in the unit, what are the rights of landlord with respect to increase of rent to cover the costs, etc.?
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. In order to increase the above the guideline the landlord has to show that there has been an extraordinary increase in utilities. An application has to be made to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval of the increase. You can obtain more information on this process on the Board’s website at www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/.
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, the additional person is not considered an unauthorized occupant as long as the tenants are still living there as well.
Can a tenant have other people living in the rental unit that are not on the lease and without our agreement?
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.