FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Questions

  1. What is the new Act about?

    The Tenant Protection Act (TPA) 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 vacancy de-control?

    Vacancy de-control means that when rental units are vacant, the legislated rules about rent do not apply. A landlord and a tenant are free to negotiate a market rent and what services are included in the rent. Once the tenant has entered into a tenancy agreement, the rules about rent and the other rules in the Tenant Protection Act apply.

  3. When did this new Act become effective?

    The Act was proclaimed on June 17, 1998.

  4. Who is covered by this new Act?

    All residential rental units are covered by the Act unless specifically exempted by the Act itself or regulations, for example, where the tenant shares the kitchen and/or bathroom with the owner.

  5. Where can I get more information?

    A tenant or landlord may obtain information by dialling 1-888-332 3234. This is a 24 hour message and you can reach a customer service representative directly during working hours.

About Evictions

  1. 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.

  2. 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 toll-free number for further information about your particular situation.

  3. What are some of the reasons that my landlord can evict me?

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

    No Fault

    Fault

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Can my landlord evict me if he wants to use the unit for himself?

    A tenant can be evicted where a landlord "in good faith" requires the unit for his own use, or for the use of a close family member.

  6. Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?

    No, however, a tenant may be evicted if there is an issue of overcrowding.

Maintenance and Repair

  1. Who is responsible for maintaining the unit?

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

  2. 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.

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

    No. Withholding rent can put tenants in jeopardy 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.

  4. Who can I call about potential safety problems in my unit?

    When dealing with safety issues, you may call a health inspector, building inspector, the Maintenance and Standards Unit of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (for maintenance or safety problems in areas with no municipal standards), or the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations if there are problems with the building's elevators.

Subletting and Leaving a Rental Unit

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. How can a tenant sublet their unit?

    What most people call "subletting" is actually "assigning". The difference between subletting and assigning is explained in the answer to Question No. 5. A tenant must obtain the landlord's consent to sublet to assign their unit, but the landlord cannot refuse without a good reason. It is the tenant's responsibility to find a suitable subtenant or assignee to occupy the unit.

  4. Can a landlord charge a fee for subletting or assigning?

    A landlord can charge a tenant only their reasonable, out-of-pocket expenses related to giving consent to the subletting or assigning.

  5. What is the difference between assignment and subletting a unit?

    Assigning a unit means that the current tenant moves out of the unit permanently before the end of the lease and transfers their rights and obligations to a new tenant. The new tenant (the "assignee") carries out the landlord and tenant agreement, under the same terms and conditions agreed to between the original tenant and the landlord.

    Subletting a unit means that the current tenant moves out of their unit for a specified period of time but intends to move back into the unit at the end of that period to finish out the term of the lease. The subtenant is responsible to the original tenant who then acts as their landlord.

Privacy

  1. 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 a.m. and 8 p.m.).

    A landlord can enter a tenant's unit, without notice, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., 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 a.m. and 8 p.m., 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.

  2. Can a tenant object if the landlord wants to enter their unit?

    If the landlord enters the tenant's unit in accordance with the law, the tenant cannot object. However, if a landlord enters a tenant's unit illegally, the tenant may make application to the Tribunal. If the Tribunal finds that the landlord has interfered with the tenant's reasonable enjoyment of the premises, the Tribunal may order, for example, that the tenant receive an abatement of rent or that the landlord pay a fine. It is up to an adjudicator to decide.

  3. Can a tenant change the locks if the landlord enters the unit?

    A tenant cannot change the locks without the landlord's consent.

  4. 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.

  5. Can they charge the tenant for the new keys?

    A tenant would not have to pay for new keys where the landlord decides to replace the lock with a new one.

  6. Can they charge for replacement keys?

    If a tenant loses a set of keys, the landlord can require the tenant to pay the cost of having a replacement set of keys made.

Rent and Fees

  1. Can a landlord charge a deposit or a fee to get a rental unit?

    A landlord can collect a rent deposit if it is requested on or before the date that the landlord and tenant enter into a tenancy agreement. The rent deposit cannot be greater than one month's rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less.

  2. 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.

  3. Does a deposit have to be returned to a tenant when they leave?

    A rent deposit is to be applied to the rent payment for the last rental period before the end of the tenancy. If the rent has increased since the tenant paid the deposit, the landlord may require the tenant to pay the difference for the last rent payment.

  4. How much rent can a landlord charge a new tenant?

    The TPA allows a landlord and tenant to negotiate the rent at the beginning of the tenancy agreement. Once that tenant moves in, the rent will not increase for the next twelve months. When the rent does increase, it can only increase by the rent control guideline for the year in which the increase take effect. In some cases, the landlord may have made an application for an above guideline increase or the landlord and the tenant have agreed to a higher increase because of unit-specific capital expenditure work.

  5. How much can a landlord increase the rent for a current tenant.

    The rent increase for a current tenant depends on when they moved into the unit. If the tenant moved in on or after June 17, 1998, the rent can only increase by the rent control guideline for the year in which the increase takes effect. If the tenant was living in the unit before June 17, 1998, and if the tenant was paying less than the maximum rent for the unit, the landlord can increase the rent to whatever the maximum rent was on June 17, 1998. You may contact the Tribunal for information on the maximum rent for a particular unit.

  6. 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 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.

  7. 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 than $20.00.

  8. If a tenant is late with their rent, do they have time to pay their rent before the landlord can evict them?

    If a tenant fails to pay rent on the date that it is due, the landlord can serve a notice of early termination to the tenant. This notice gives the tenant 14 days to vacate the premises unless the rent is paid on or before the date of termination. If the rent is not paid, the landlord can make an application to the Tribunal for an eviction order.

    If a tenant is persistently late with the rent, the landlord may serve a 60 day notice of termination for the end of the rental term. This 60 day notice does not provide the tenant with the option of paying the rent in order to voice the notice.

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

    The TPA 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.


Ontario Copyright 1998 Queen's Printer for Ontario
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