When you rent a home, you have tenant’s rights in Ontario that are legally protected. If you are having issues with your landlord, and don’t know what your rights are, or what resources are available to you, then the following information can help.
Basic Renter’s Rights
The following are three basic rights that tenants in Ontario are entitled to:
- Easy to understand leases. Even though there are certain cases in which this provision of the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply, in general you are entitled to a lease agreement that is easy to understand and clear in defining the responsibilities of both you as the tenant, and your landlord. For example, an easy to understand lease would include how much you owe for rent each month, when it is due, what is included in the rent, who is responsible for maintenance, and so forth.
- Rent increase limits. Generally speaking, your landlord is only able to raise your rent once a year, and must give you 90 days written notice before he does so. He can only raise your rent up to the rent increase guideline for the year, (which in 2019 is 1.8%).
- Rights regarding eviction. Your landlord is not able to evict you suddenly, without notice, or without cause. He first must provide you with a written notice of the eviction. Then, if you refuse to comply with the eviction notice, he must get an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board to end your tenancy. Certain rules apply to specific circumstances; for example, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for having a roommate. Or if the landlord wants to use the occupied unit for himself or his family, he is required to offer the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent, or another unit.
Eviction for personal use
Your landlord must now give you the equivalent of one month’s rent, or offer you another unit if they:
- want to use the unit themselves
- want to use the unit for their family
- are selling the property and the purchaser will be using the unit themselves
A “renoviction” is when a landlord evicts their current tenant to update the unit and then re-rent it at a much higher monthly rate. But by law, your landlord must compensate you if they evict you from your unit to:
Under the new law, the maximum fine for an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 has doubled and can be up to:
- $50,000 for an individual
- $250,000 for a corporation
Rent freeze for 2021
The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.
The rent freeze applies to most tenants living in:
- rented houses, apartments and condos (including units occupied for the first time for residential purposes after November 15, 2018)
- basement apartments
- care homes (including retirement homes)
- mobile home parks
- land lease communities
- rent-geared-to-income units and market rent units in community housing
- affordable housing units created through various federally and/or provincially funded programs
While the rent freeze will end on December 31, 2021, landlords can give proper 90 days’ notice beforehand for a rent increase that takes effect in 2022
Resources Available to You
Renter’s rights in Ontario should be jealously guarded. If you are having trouble with your landlord, and feel that your rights are being violated, then it is recommended that you contact the Land and Tenant Board for assistance. Furthermore, legal support is available through advocacy centres and community clinics.