THE TENANT PROTECTION ACT

This guide contains some basic information in plain language about the Tenant Protection Act (TPA). For an exact statement of the law, landlords and tenants should read the TPA itself, which can be ordered from Publications Ontario by telephoning toll-free 1-800-668-9938. A copy of the TPA can also be obtained by visiting the Ontario Government Website at www.gov.on.ca.
The Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal provides information to the public through a network of 20 local offices across Ontario. The Tribunal can be reached 24 hours a day by calling toll-free 1-888-332-3234.

LANDLORD AND TENANT DISPUTES
A quasi-judicial agency called the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal resolves disputes between landlords and tenants about rights and responsibilities, including rent
increases, evictions and privacy issues.

Who is covered by the Tenant Protection Act?
Landlords and tenants of most residential rental units, including mobile home sites and units in care homes, are covered under the Act.

Some units are almost entirely exempt
from rules related to rent. However, they are covered by rules governing the relationship between landlord and tenant.

These include:


Contacting the Tribunal

The Tribunal can be contacted in a variety of ways:

A tenancy agreement

A tenancy agreement gives a tenant the right to live in a unit owned by a landlord, and can be verbal, written or implied.

If the agreement is in writing, it must set out the legal name and address of the landlord. A copy of the agreement must be given to the tenant within 21 days.

If the agreement is not in writing, the tenant must be given written notice of the legal name and address of the landlord within 21 days of the start of the tenancy.

Filing an application

If a landlord and tenant are unable to resolve a dispute with each other about
rent or other issues like repairs and privacy, it can be brought to the Tribunal for an order. Filing fees start at $45. You can get more details by checking the brochure "Fees for Applications". Applications to the Tribunal are resolved either by mediation or by a hearing.

Mediation
If all parties agree, a neutral mediator may help a landlord and tenant resolve their dispute. The mediator does not issue orders, but works with the parties to clarify issues, discuss options and move toward a solution acceptable to both parties.

The hearing
The hearing is a more formal process where both sides can present their evidence to a decision maker called an adjudicator. The adjudicator makes an order by applying the law to the facts.

The result is an order. An order of the Tribunal can be enforced through the courts.

Location of a hearing
The hearing is held at a location close to where the building is located or at a Tribunal office. The notice of hearing will tell you the exact location.

Attending a hearing
A landlord or tenant should attend their hearing. If a party does not attend a hearing, they risk an order being made against them. Therefore, it is always better to be there. It is not necessary for a landlord or tenant to have a lawyer at a hearing. They can represent themselves.

The adjudicator
The hearing is conducted by an adjudicator, who makes the decision. The adjudicator hears evidence presented by both the landlord and tenant, then applies the law to the facts of the case and makes a decision called an order.

Reviewing an order
If the landlord or tenant thinks that the order contains a serious error, they can apply to the Tribunal to have the order reviewed. This review will be done by another adjudicator. You have 30 days from the date of the order to apply for a review.

Appealing an order
If the landlord or tenant thinks the order contains an error on a point of law, they can appeal the order to the Divisional Court. You have 30 days from the date of the order to apply for an appeal.

THE RENT
For a new tenant
A prospective tenant can expect a landlord to ask for rental history, credit references, authority to conduct a credit check and income information. A landlord can consider income information alone if the landlord has asked for the other information, but it has not been provided.

When a rental unit is being rented to a new tenant, the landlord and tenant decide what rent will be paid. The landlord and the new tenant negotiate the amount of the rent, and negotiate the services that are included in the rent, such as parking and hydro.

Once the new tenant is in the rental unit, the annual rent control guideline takes effect. The rent can only be increased if at least 12 months have passed since the last increase.

The landlord must give the tenant at least 90 days written notice of a rent increase in the proper form. The Tribunal has copies of this form for landlords to use.

The rent control guideline
The rent can be increased by the amount of the guideline set each year by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The landlord does not require approval from the government to increase a tenant's rent by the amount of the guideline.

Illegal charges
It is illegal for a landlord to require a new tenant to pay an application fee or special charge in order to rent a unit. It is also illegal to require a new tenant to buy anything, such as drapes or furnishings, in order to rent a unit.

Rent deposit
The landlord can collect one month's rent as a deposit from a new tenant. The deposit can only be used for the rent for the last month of the tenancy, and the landlord must pay the tenant six per cent interest on the deposit each year.
For an existing tenant
When a tenant already lives in a unit, the rent can only be increased if at least 12 months have passed since the last increase. The landlord must give the tenant at least 90 days written notice of a rent increase in the proper form. The Tribunal has copies of this form for landlords to use.
Rent increases above the guideline
The rent can be increased by more than the guideline if:

When a landlord applies to the Tribunal for an increase above the guideline, a tenant may choose to pay the higher rent set out in the notice of rent increase while they are waiting for an order from the Tribunal.

A landlord and tenant can agree to add parking at any time during the year without applying to the Tribunal. This applies to other services such as cable, lockers, etc.
Agreeing to increase the rent above the guideline
A landlord and tenant can negotiate a new rent if they agree that the landlord will carry out major renovations or repairs, buy new equipment or if the landlord will add a new service. The rent increase agreed to cannot be any more than the guideline plus 4 per cent. There is a five-day cooling off period when the tenant can change their mind.

The agreement must be on the approved form and is available from the Tribunal offices.

If the tenant does not agree to the increase the landlord can make an application to
the Tribunal.

Rent reductions
A tenant can apply to the Tribunal for a rent reduction if:

Post-dated cheques

A landlord cannot require a tenant to provide post-dated cheques for the rent.

MOVING OUT

Renewing a lease
The end of a lease doesn't mean a tenant has to move out, unless they want to.
A lease can be renewed, or a new lease made, if the landlord and tenant agree.
If they don't renew or make a new lease, the tenant can stay as a month to month tenant. All the rules of the former lease will still apply to both the landlord and tenant.

However, the landlord could increase the rent by the amount allowed under the TPA as long as proper 90 days written notice of the increase is given and 12 months have passed since the last increase.

If a tenant wants to leave
A tenant must give their landlord a notice in writing when they plan to move out. This is called a notice of termination. The date the tenant plans to move out is called the termination date.

A daily or weekly tenant must give at least 28 days notice. The termination date must fall at the end of a week. A month to month tenant must give at least 60 days notice. The termination date must fall at the end of a month.

A tenant with a lease who wants to move must also give at least 60 days notice before the end of the lease.

A tenant in a care home, however, can terminate a tenancy at any time, even if they have a lease. At least 30 days notice in writing must be given.

A tenant can move out before the end of a lease in two cases:

A tenant can move out by giving the required notice if the landlord does not agree to an assignment of the tenancy and prefers to rerent the unit themselves.
Agreement to end tenancy
A landlord and a tenant can agree to end a tenancy at any time. When there is an agreement, a notice of termination does not have to be given.

It is a good idea to make this agreement in writing. The landlord and tenant should each keep a copy.
Assignment of tenancy
A tenant with a lease may be able to transfer the lease to someone else. This is called an assignment.

A tenant must have their landlord's approval before they assign their lease.
If their landlord won't allow assignments, or doesn't reply within seven days to the tenant's request for approval, the tenant can end the lease. They must give a notice in writing to the landlord within 30 days of making their request. If they rent by the month or have a lease, they must give at least 30 days notice.

A tenant in assisted, subsidized, public or non-profit housing doesn't have the right
to assign their lease.

A tenant living in a superintendent's unit doesn't have the right to assign their lease.
The landlord or a care home can refuse to approve an assignment of a lease if the person who might receive the lease is not eligible to be a resident of that home.

Sublet

An assignment of a lease is often confused with subletting.

Subletting is where a tenant with a lease lets another person live in the unit for a
temporary period of time, but returns to live there before the lease ends.

A tenant can only sublet with the approval of their landlord.

If a tenant has found a possible subtenant, the landlord must have a good reason for refusing to approve that person.

A landlord of a care home can refuse to approve a sublet if the person who might move in does not meet the landlord's admission requirements.

A tenant in assisted, subsidized, non-profit or public housing doesn't have the right to sublet.

A tenant living in a superintendent's unit doesn't have the right to sublet.
Eviction
A tenant can only be evicted by a landlord for reasons allowed by the Tenant Protection Act.

The landlord must give the tenant a notice in writing when they want a tenant to
move, regardless of the reason. This is called a notice of termination. The date the landlord wants the tenant to move out is called the termination date.

Some of the reasons allowed by the Act relate to the tenant's conduct while living in the rental property. They include conduct of the tenant's guest or other occupants of the rental unit.


A landlord can terminate a tenancy, under certain conditions, for any of the following reasons: tenant has failed to pay rent; tenant is consistently late paying the rent; illegal acts; damage; the tenant has impaired the safety of others; disturbing the reasonable enjoyment of other residents; overcrowding; misrepresenting income in government subsidized housing; landlord wants to use the unit for their own use.

See the brochure "Ending a Tenancy" for details.


MAINTENANCE
Tenant responsibilities
A tenant is responsible for keeping their rental unit clean, and for repairing any damage they or their guests cause to the unit, the building or the property.
Landlord responsibilities
A landlord is responsible for keeping the building and the units in a good state of repair, and for meeting all health, safety and maintenance standards.
Maintenance problems
The first step a tenant should take in dealing with poor maintenance is to speak to the superintendent or the landlord to try to resolve the problem. If that doesn't work, the tenant should then contact the local municipality.

The role of the municipality
A tenant should contact the municipality for two reasons:


Tenants with maintenance problems should contact their municipality (look in the blue pages of the phone book).

Once a complaint has been made, the property may be inspected to see if repairs are required. In some cases, problems may be referred to another agency, like the fire department.

If the inspector finds that the repairs are necessary, a work order may be issued to
the landlord, listing the repairs that must be completed by a specified date.
Rent reduction

In addition to asking for a work order to be issued, a tenant can file an application for a rent reduction with the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal on the grounds that a property has not been properly maintained.

After an application is processed, the Tribunal could issue an order:


As an alternative, the application could be resolved by mediation and the landlord and tenant could agree to an appropriate solution.


Vital services

It is illegal for a landlord to interfere with the reasonable supply of vital services to a tenant, such as heat, hydro, natural gas or water.


Fire safety

Landlords and tenants should contact their local fire department for all questions about fire safety.

PRIVACY

1. A landlord can enter a unit without written notice:


2. A landlord may enter between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. without notice:


3. A landlord may enter between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. after providing 24 hours written notice:

for inspections by potential purchasers;

OFFENCES
There are a number of offences under the Tenant Protection Act. If a person is found guilty of committing an offence, the fine can be up to $10,000. If a corporation is found guilty of an offence, the fine can be up to $50,000.

See the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing brochure on "Offences" for details or call the Offences Hotline at
1-888-772-9277.


CARE HOMES
The Tenant Protection Act applies to care home accommodation, but there are additional special rules. See the brochure on care homes for details.

MOBILE HOMES
The TPA applies to residents of mobile homes and land lease communities, but there are some additional special rules. See the brochure on mobile homes for details.

Additional Information

1-888-332-3234.