I have tenants who rent out the main floor and have access to an unfinished basement. They are currently on a month-to-month basis and have the unfinished basement as part of their lease. How could I take possession of this unfinished basement? We would like to keep it for our personal use as storage.
The only way that you are legally going to be able to take over the unfinished basement as storage area is if the tenant agrees to this in exchange for a reduction in the rent.
A landlord and tenant may agree to add or take away services, facilities or things that are on a prescribed list, in exchange for a corresponding rent increase or reduction. This list appears in Section 16 (1) of Regulation 516/06 of the Residential Tenancies Act, and appears here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/060516?search=Residential+Tenancies+Act
The basement area would be considered floor space, and subsections (3) and (4) give the following details
“(3) If the agreement under subsection 123 (1) or section 125 of the Act is to provide or cease to provide floor space, the maximum increase in rent or minimum decrease in rent shall be proportionate to the change in floor space. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 16 (3).
(4) If an amount determined in accordance with subsection (3) would be unreasonable given the nature and quality of the floor space added or taken away, the maximum increase in rent or minimum decrease in rent shall be a reasonable amount based on the nature and quality of the floor space and the amount of the change in the floor space. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 16 (4).”
So, for the change to take place, you and the tenant must agree on a reasonable amount to be used as the dollar amount per square foot rate to be used for the rent reduction once you take over the space.
We have been renovating part of the rental unit and our tenant living in it is complaining about us entering the unit repeatedly, dust in the air, and noise. She now wants a rent reduction. Is there any standard form we can get her to sign if we give her a rent reduction?
Tenants can usually claim a reduction of rent if there has been interference with their reasonable enjoyment of the rental premises. In the situation that you describe, you should try to reach an agreement with the tenant on what would be a reasonable amount of a rent reduction. If you come to an agreement with the tenant, there is not a formal document to use in this case. You can just draft something up yourself and have the tenant sign it as it is important to document it. If you cannot come to an agreement, the tenant then has the option of filing an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for them to make the decision on this matter.