Know Your Rights


The Residential Tenancy Act

 

Community Advocacy and Legal Centre

This site provides general information only. It is NOT legal advise.
Please call a Lawyer for advise on your particular situation.

1. What is the new Act about?


The Residential Tenancy Act consolidates six major pieces of legislation concerning residential tenancies in Ontario. The Act established the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal to deal with tenant and landlord matters which were previously handled by the Courts and by Rent Control Programs.


2. What is the process for evicting a tenant?


The landlord must serve the tenant with a Notice of Eviction, wait the prescribed number of days set out in the notice, and then make an application to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. A tenant will always have an opportunity to present arguments against the eviction at a hearing. When a landlord obtains an eviction order, it must be filed with the Sheriff at the Court. Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant.


3. How long does it take to evict a tenant?


This will depend upon the reason claimed in the Notice of Eviction. It can be from seven days to several weeks. Please call the landlord self help number for further information about your particular situation: (416) 504-5190


4. What are some of the reasons that a landlord can evict?


A tenant may be evicted for two types of reasons, fault and no fault. These are outlined below.


No Fault

  • Landlord requires the unit for their own use
  • Demolition, conversion or repair of the rental unit or the residential complex
  • Conversion to a condominium
  • Residential complex is being severed into smaller lots
  • End of rehabilitation or therapy in a health care facility

Fault

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Illegal act
  • Misrepresentation of income in subsidized housing
  • Damage of unit or building
  • Interference with the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by the landlord or other tenants
  • Overcrowding or impairing safety.

Can a tenant be evicted for having a pet?


A tenant can be evicted for having a pet only when the pet interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by other tenants, the animal causes allergies or the animal or species is deemed to be inherently dangerous.


5. Can a tenant be evicted if the house is for sale?


A tenant can only be evicted if there is a signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the new owner or a member of his immediate family intend to live in the house.


6. Who is responsible for maintaning the unit?


It is the landlord's reponsibility to maintain the unit.


7. Who is responsible if there is damage to the unit?


A tenant is responsible for paying for repairs where the tenant or one of the tenant's guests or visitors caused the damage.


8. Can a tenant withhold rent because the maintenance is bad?


No. Withholding rent can put tenants in jeopardy of losing their unit for non-payment of rent and a possible application by the landlord for termination of the tenancy. There are other options for dealing with maintenance problems such as contacting the landlord in writing about specific problems, filing an application for rent abatement with the Tribunal, speaking with the superintendent or property manager.


9. How much notice does a tenant have to give if they want to move out?


When a tenant decides to move, they must provide a written notice of termination to the landlord. In most cases, this is a 60 day notice. If the tenant is renting on a fixed-term lease, such as one year, the tenant must give this notice to the landlord at least 60 days before the end of the lease. If the tenant is renting on a month to month basis, the notice must be given at least 60 days before the last day of the final month of the tenancy. In the case of a weekly tenancy, the tenant must give the landlord 28 days notices before the last day of the final week of the tenancy. If the tenant pays rent on a daily basis, 28 days is also required.


10. Can a tenant break a lease?


A tenant and landlord may agree to break a lease. It is best for both parties if this agreement is in writing and signed by the landlord and the tenant. If the landlord is not willing to break the lease, the tenant has the right to assign the lease to a new tenant with the landlord's consent. If the landlord refuses to allow the tenant to assign the unit, or if the landlord does not respond within 7 days of the tenant's request to assign, the tenant may end the tenancy with 30 days written notice.


11. Can a landlord enter a tenant's unit?


A landlord may enter a tenant's unit under certain circumstances; sometimes notice is required, sometimes it is not.

 

A landlord can enter a tenant's unit, without notice, in cases of emergency, or if the tenant agrees to it at the time of entry, or if the tenancy agreement states that the landlord will clean the unit at specified times (if times are not specified, this can be done between 8 am and 8 pm).

 

A landlord can enter a tenant's unit, without notice, between 8 am and 8 pm to show the unit to a prospective tenant if the landlord or tenant has given a notice of termination or if the landlord and tenant have agreed to terminate the tenancy. The landlord must try to inform the tenant that they will be entering the unit. This right of entry also applies to the landlord of a care home, who needs to enter a tenant's unit to conduct bed checks, as long as the tenancy agreement provides for it.

 

A landlord can enter a tenant's unit with 24 hours written notice, between 8 am and 8 pm, in order to do repairs, to show the unit to a potential buyer, mortgagee or insurer, or for any other reasonable purpose that is set out in the tenancy agreement.


12. Can a landlord change the locks? If they do, do they have to give the tenant a new key?


A landlord can change the locks as long as they provide the tenant with a replacement key.


13. Does a landlord have to pay interest if a deposit is collected?


The landlord must pay the tenant 6% interest per year on the rent deposit. If the landlord does not pay the interest owed to the tenant, the tenant can make an application to the Tribunal or deduct the interest from the rent.


14. Does the landlord have to notify the tenant of a rent increase?


In order for the landlord to increase the rent, the landlord must serve a written notice of a rent increase to the tenant at least 90 days before the date the rent increase is to take effect. The notice must tell the tenant how much the new rent will be and when to begin paying the new amount.


15. Can a landlord charge a fee if a tenant's rent cheque is returned NSF?


If a tenant's rent cheque is returned NSF a landlord can require the tenant to pay the landlord for the charges the landlord paid to the bank, plus an administrative charge of no more the $20.00.


16. Does the landlord have to give the tenant a rent receipt?


The Residential Tenancy Act. requires a landlord to provide rent receipts, free of charge, to a tenant upon request. This request can be made for any payment or deposit the tenant gives to the landlord, including any payment of rent arrears. It is an offence for a landlord to refuse to provide a receipt where it is requested.


More information is available at the government web site but if you have a specific problem or question contact Landlord's Self-Help Centre at (416) 504-5190.