What Should Tenants Know About Renting in Ontario?

On this page Quick answers to common questions Who’s protected by rental rules Rent increase limits Eviction rules Easy-to-understand leases Where to get help Quick answers to common questions   Can you evict a tenant for having a pet? A landlord cannot evict a tenant because they have a pet in violation of a “no […]

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Quick answers to common questions


Can you evict a tenant for having a pet?

A landlord cannot evict a tenant because they have a pet in violation of a “no pets” clause in the rental agreement. However, a landlord may have grounds to apply to evict a tenant for having a pet, if the pet damages the property or bothers other tenants. Learn more.

Can a tenant withhold rent for any reason?

Tenants have a right to withhold rent because landlords are obligated to provide safe and habitable housing under the warranty of habitability. If a landlord breaks this obligation, a tenant’s obligation to pay the full amount of rent stops until repairs are made. Learn more.

Is renters insurance mandatory in Ontario?

Insurance isn’t required under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act. However, landlords do have the right to insist on seeing proof of insurance prior to accepting a tenant or a sublet. Luxury items like jewellery can cost more to insure. Learn more.

Can a landlord deny pets Ontario?

According to the Landlord and Tenant Board website, landlords are allowed to refuse to rent to someone with a pet. However, a “no pets” clause in a lease is void, so signing a lease that has one doesn’t give your landlord the right to kick you out if you move an animal in. Learn more.

Who’s protected by rental rules

Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act applies to most private residential rental units, including those in single and semi-detached houses, apartments and condominiums, and secondary units (e.g., basement apartments).

Some types of rentals aren’t included, such as university and college residences and commercial properties.

Rent increase limits

Ontario is giving renters peace of mind and long-term stability by limiting how much their rent can increase each year.

Your landlord can raise your rent once a year, by up to 1.8% in 2018, and must give you 90 days written notice. Your landlord can ask for a larger rent increase, but only in specific situations and with the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

If you live in a care home (such as retirement homes), the limit applies to the rent portion of your bill, but does not apply to the cost of services like nursing, food or cleaning.

Some rentals are exempt from rent controls, such as social housing and some non-profit housing.

Learn more about rent rules.

Eviction rules

Your landlord can only evict you in specific situations and must give you written notice in the proper form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The form must provide the reason for eviction.

If your landlord wants to use the unit themselves (or for their family) they must also give you the equivalent of one month’s rent or offer you another unit.

Even if your landlord gives you written notice, you don’t have to move out. Your landlord must first get an order to end the tenancy from the Landlord and Tenant Board – this usually includes a hearing where you can present your concerns.

Learn more about ending a tenancy.

Easy-to-understand leases

Starting April 30, 2018, landlords of most private residential rental units – from individuals to property management companies – must use the standard lease template, for all new leases.

The standard lease template does not apply in some situations, for example, if you are renting a unit in a care home (such as a retirement home), mobile home community or certain social and supportive housing.

It is written in easy-to-understand language and includes information such as:

  • the rent amount and when it’s due
  • what’s included in the rent (for example, air conditioning or parking)
  • rules or terms about the rental unit or building (for example, no smoking)

It also has a section on renter and landlord rights and responsibilities, and explains what can (and cannot) be included in a lease. For example:

  • who’s responsible for maintenance and repairs
  • when your landlord can enter your unit
  • that landlords can’t ban guests or pets

If you are entitled to a standard lease but didn’t get one, ask your landlord in writing for a copy. Once you request it, they must give it to you within 21 calendar days. If they don’t, you can withhold one month’s rent.

If you still haven’t received a standard lease 30 calendar days after you withheld one month’s rent, you can keep the withheld rent.

Please note, you cannot withhold more than one month’s rent and you must continue paying your rent for the term of your lease, even if your landlord never gives you the standard lease. However, if a standard lease is not provided, special rules allow you to end your fixed-term lease early.

Learn more about the standard lease.

Where to get help

Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by mail, fax, in-person or by telephone (toll free at 1-888-332-3234), to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.

Source: Ontario Government

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