The rent currently includes hydro. I want the tenant to pay for his own usage, is this possible? The rent currently includes hydro but I want the tenant to start paying for his own usage. How can I change this arrangement
In order to change this arrangement, the tenant has to agree before you can cease to include hydro in the rent and reduce the rent accordingly. If the tenant does not want to change this arrangement, there is nothing you can do until the tenancy ends and the tenant moves out. At that time, you can set a new rent amount and have the new tenant set up their own account with the utility company and pay for her own usage directly.
Should I give my tenant a warning letter when her rent payment is overdue? It was due on the first of the month and it is the 15th now and I still have not received her rent payment.
It is your legal right to serve your tenant with a notice of nonpayment of rent using Form N4. The notice informs the tenant that she must pay the outstanding rent by the termination date which is fourteen days without counting the date of service. If she pays within that time, the notice becomes null and void. If she does not pay accordingly, you need to file the notice with the Landlord and Tenant Board and continue with the eviction process. The Form N4 can be obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/.
My weekly tenants have defaulted on the last two rental payments. I am currently filling out the N4 but I am not sure if I give them 7 or 14 days to pay the rent. How much notice is required if they are on a weekly tenancy?
Since this is a weekly tenancy, you are required to give the tenants seven days’ notice to pay the outstanding rent in the N4 notice. If the tenants do not pay the rent within that period of time, you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order after the seven days have elapsed and proceed accordingly.
My tenants make their rental payments at my place of employment and I would like to change this arrangement. What alternative payment options can I give my tenants?
The law does not have any specific rules on where rental payments should be made. It is then up to the landlord and the tenant to decide what method of payment is convenient for both parties.
My tenant has given verbal notice to move out. However, she is behind on rent payments. Is there a form she can sign and date before leaving to confirm the amount she owes and that she agrees to pay?
There is not a standard form where your tenant can sign stating the amount owed, so you could create your own agreement and have the tenant sign it. This would be helpful to have if you have to file a claim in the Small Claims Court. However, if the tenant only gave you verbal notice to move out, you and the tenant should sign an N11form confirming that she is moving out. You can find the form on the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/.
Is it legal to ask for and collect rent money from a tenant on public holidays? One of my tenants says that I cannot collect rent from her on July 1st, Canada Day. Is that true?
If rent is due on the first of the month, it must be paid on that day. It is legal to collect rent on a holiday as the law does not set out an exception if the first of the month happens to fall on a holiday.
If the rent is due on the first of the month and my tenant fails to pay accordingly, when can I serve the notice of eviction?
If the tenancy agreement requires the tenant to pay the rent on the first of each month (or any other specific day as indicated in the agreement), the tenant has until midnight on that day to pay the rent. If the rent is unpaid, you may issue a notice of early termination for non-payment of rent (Form N4) the next day. The tenant may avoid termination by paying the outstanding rent within 14 days of receiving the N4 notice.
If the lease says that Pre-Authorized Deposits is the only form of payment we accept and the tenant signs the lease agreeing to this clause, can we enforce this?
According to section 108 of the Residential Tenancies Act, the landlord cannot require the tenant to pay with one specific method of payment.
If a tenant does not give proper notice to vacate the rental unit, does he forfeit his last month’s rent?
If a tenant does not give proper notice to vacate the rental unit, the landlord has an obligation to mitigate his losses and try to re-rent the unit as soon as possible. Pertaining to the last month’s rent, there have been decisions from the Landlord and Tenant Board in which they have ordered the landlord to return the last month’s rent deposit to the tenant and then have the landlord claim for the loss of rent in the Small Claims Court. These decisions were made based on the wording of the Act which states that the last month’s rent deposit shall be applied to the last month of the tenancy.
I would like to offer a discounted rent rate for three months and then start charging the agreed rent amount. Would I be jeopardizing the agreed rent amount if I give this discount?
The Regulations of the Residential Tenancies Act set out different rules when providing discounted rents while protecting the lawful rent. You can review these rules under Regulations 516/06 sections 10 and 11 at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/060516. Further, you can review Part G entitled Rent Discounts from the Standard Form of Lease which discusses the legal ways of giving a rent discount. To review the Standard Lease, visit http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&SRCH=&ENV=WWE&TIT=2229E&NO=047-2229E
I have served a N4 to my tenant and filed my L1 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. What do I do if they pay me the rent owing including the filing fee two days after I filed my application with the Board? I also expect the rent payment to be late again next month. What do I do then?
If the tenant pays the total amount for arrears including the filing fee before the Board hearing, you will not be able to continue with the eviction process. If the tenant defaults with her rent payment next month, you will have to serve another N4 form and file it with the Board if necessary. However, if the tenant has been served with multiple N4s, you may have grounds to terminate the tenancy based on persistently late payment of rent. You would serve your tenant with an N8 form, which is a 60 days’ notice ending on the last day of the rental period or term. If there is a fixed term lease in place, this notice can only be given at the end of the lease term.
I have been renting to my tenant for 2 years and just learned that I have to pay interest on the last month’s rent deposit.
The interest rate on the last month’s rent deposit is the same rate as the rent increase guideline. However, interest on the last month’s rent is paid annually and according to the rent increase guideline of the year in question. Based on this scenario, you owe the interest on the last month’s rent deposit for two years. Assuming the tenant moved in March 2016, you would pay the interest for the first year in March 2017 according to the rent increase guideline of 2017. You would then pay the interest for the second year in March 2018 according to the rent increase of 2018. You can find the interest rates for the past few years on our website at https://www.landlordselfhelp.com/RentIncreaseGuideline.htm or at https://www.ontario.ca/page/rent-increase-guideline.
I have a tenant who has not paid his rent this month. I have tried to contact my tenant by email and by phone but he has not responded. Should I serve a notice of eviction even though I have not been able to talk to him?
It is your legal right to serve a notice of non-payment of rent which is the N4 form even if you have not talked to the tenant about it. You can serve this notice by handing it to the tenant, sliding it under the door, or placing it in the mailbox among other permitted methods of service. This notice advises the tenant to pay the rent within 14 days or move out. If the tenant is still in possession of the rental unit and has not paid the rent by the termination date stated in the N4, you can file the N4 notice with an L1 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for an Order to evict the tenant. You can obtain all the forms from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/.
I have a clause in my lease agreement saying that my tenant has to pay via post-dated cheques during the duration of the lease term. He is now refusing to provide me with post-dated cheques. Will the Landlord and Tenant Board order him to follow our agreement?
Post-dated cheques can be used as a method of payment as long as the tenant wants to pay in this manner. Section 108 of the Act says “Neither a landlord nor a tenancy agreement shall require a tenant or prospective tenant to, (a) provide post-dated cheques or other negotiable instruments for payment of rent; or (b) permit automatic debiting of the tenant’s or prospective tenant’s account at a financial institution, automatic charging of a credit card or any other form of automatic payment for the payment of rent.” Therefore, the LTB will not order him to pay in this manner even if that is how it was done when the tenancy began.
Does my tenant have the right to deduct any amounts of money from her rent payments? If so, under what conditions can she do this? Which section of Residential Tenancies Act deals with this issue?
The Residential Tenancies Act does not specifically give tenants the right to deduct amounts of money from the rent payments for any reason. However, if the tenant files an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board based on unattended maintenance or repairs in the rental unit to be carried out by the landlord, the Landlord and Tenant Board is allowed to order a rent abatement, or reimbursement for the reasonable costs that a tenant has incurred in repairing or replacing damaged, destroyed or disposed of property by the landlord’s breaching of their obligations. Further, a tenant may hold back a rent increase amount that may be in dispute, or because the landlord failed to pay the interest on the last month’s rent, or for an automatic rent reduction where the municipality has notified the parties of the rent reduction due to a decrease in municipal taxes and charges. In most cases, the board member will have to decide on the validity of the tenant unilaterally deducting any amounts from the rent payments.
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.
At our Landlord and Tenant Board hearing, my tenant claimed she is not paying rent because of repairs that need to be done in the rental unit. I served proper notice to inspect the rental unit and when I was inside the unit, I wanted to take photos and video for proof of the damages she caused, but she refused to let me take them. How can I prove the damages she caused ?
A landlord can do a maintenance inspection provided that a 24 hours’ written notice of entry is given to the tenant, specifying the date and a 2-hour window of time for entry between 8 am and 8 pm, as well as the reason for the notice. It is advisable to include in the notice that photographs may be taken of specific parts of the property that need to be repaired or maintained. If she makes it clear that she will not allow you to take photographs, it would be better not to force the issue. However, photographs of before and after repairs are the best evidence when proving damages before the Landlord and Tenant Board. The member may or may not allow the photos into evidence depending on whether or not they include the tenant’s own belongings in the pictures.