FAQ

If you are a landlord or a tenant. We have your answers covered. We get asked several questions and we try to include them here. Please take a moment and browse the answers.

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Tenants
Read the notice to see why and when the landlord is asking you to leave. You may want to:
  • talk to the landlord about the notice and correct any problems, if possible.
  • leave the unit.
  • stay in the unit and see if the landlord files an application with the LTB. You will have a chance to explain the situation at a hearing.
You have the right to stay in your unit until the LTB issues an eviction order.
Yes. For example, if a tenant’s guest punches a hole in the hallway wall, the landlord could give the tenant a notice of termination and, if the problem isn’t resolved, make an application to the LTB to evict the tenant.
No, a tenant cannot be evicted simply for having a roommate. However, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants. For example, if the roommate is making a lot of noise, damaging the unit, or there are too many roommates (overcrowding), the landlord can serve a notice of termination and apply to evict the tenant and any other occupants of the unit.
If a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without their landlord’s consent, it is an unauthorized assignment or sublet. A landlord can file an Application about a Sublet or an Assignment to evict both the tenant and the unauthorized occupant. However, if the landlord does not file the application within 60 days of discovering the unauthorized occupant, the unauthorized occupant becomes a tenant.
If a tenant has to leave their unit for an extended period of time but they want to return to it, they can ask their landlord for consent to sublet the unit. For example, if a tenant’s job is being transferred to another city for six months and then they want to return to their unit, they might ask their landlord if they can sublet the unit. They must tell the landlord when they are leaving and when they will be returning, and they must get the landlord’s consent before subletting. The landlord must have a good reason for refusing a sublet. If the tenant thinks that the landlord is being unreasonable in withholding their consent to sublet to a specific person, the tenant can file an Application about a Sublet or an Assignment.
“Breaking a lease” means that a tenant wants to leave their unit before their tenancy agreement is over. For example, a tenant who signed a one year lease might want to move out after eight months. A tenant and landlord can agree to break a lease. It is best if this agreement is in writing and signed by the landlord and the tenant. You can use Form N11: Agreement to End the Tenancy For more information see the brochure: How a Tenant Can End Their Tenancy.
When a tenant decides to move, they must provide a written notice to the landlord. In most cases, the notice provided to the landlord must be at least 60 days before the last day of the rental period, or their lease. For example, if it is a monthly tenancy that begins on the first day of each month and the tenant gives the landlord notice on June 15, the termination date would be August 31. In the case of a weekly or daily tenancy, the tenant must give the landlord at least 28 days’ notice before the last day of the final week of the tenancy. For more information see the brochure: How a Tenant Can End Their Tenancy.
A tenant cannot change the locks or add locks that might stop a landlord from entering the unit. If the tenant does change the lock, the tenant should give a copy of the key to the landlord immediately.
If your landlord enters your unit illegally, you can file an Application about Tenant Rights with the LTB. If the LTB decides that the landlord entered the unit illegally, the member could order that you receive a rent reduction, that the landlord pay a fine, or some other remedy.
If the landlord has a valid reason (as allowed by the RTA) for entering your unit, you cannot refuse to let the landlord in. If you don’t let the landlord in, the landlord can give you a notice of termination claiming that you are interfering with their lawful rights and you could be evicted. Also, interfering with a landlord’s lawful right is an offence under the RTA.
You can raise your maintenance issues at the hearing. The LTB can make an order to get the issue fixed. Before the hearing, you should let your landlord know that you are going to raise these issues. You can do this in writing, or by talking to the landlord in person or by phone. At the hearing, bring any people you want to use as witnesses plus three copies of any evidence (for example, receipts or pictures). For more information, see the brochure Issues a Tenant Can Raise at a Hearing about a Landlord’s Application for Non-payment of Rent. Tenants who have maintenance issues can also file a Tenant Application about Maintenance.
If the landlord is responsible for providing heat and the landlord does not keep the unit heated to at least to 20 degrees Celsius from September 1 to June 15, you can call the Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU), of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing at 1-888-772-9277 or 416-585-7214. By not providing a vital service, the landlord may be committing an offence. The IEU can:
  • arrange for an inspection of the property for any maintenance standard violations, and
  • issue a provincial work order that requires the landlord to make repairs by a deadline.
For more information, see the brochure: Maintenance and Repairs.
If a landlord provides heat, they need to keep your unit heated to at least 20 degrees Celsius from September 1 to June 15. You should also contact your municipality to find out whether your community has a bylaw that sets minimum standards for heat.
When a rental unit is offered to a new tenant, the landlord and tenant can talk about how garbage, organics and recyclable items from the tenant’s unit will be collected. This could be a verbal agreement or it could be written in the lease. Once a procedure is agreed to, it cannot be changed without the landlord and the tenant agreeing. If you live in a mobile home park or land lease community, the landlord is responsible for removing the garbage.
Municipal safety, housing and maintenance standards usually state that it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure that the property can be safely entered and exited. The RTA does not address snow removal directly. It only says that it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the property is kept in a good state of repair, is fit to live in and complies with health and safety standards. If you file an application to the LTB about snow removal, the member (adjudicator) would decide whose responsibility snow removal is. If you live in a mobile home park or land lease community, the landlord is responsible for snow removal.
If you file a Tenant Application about Maintenance with the LTB, you can ask to pay some or all of your rent to the LTB instead of the landlord until your application has been decided. Complete the Request to Pay Rent to the Board on a Tenant Application about Maintenance. You will have to justify why you are not paying the landlord directly. The LTB will decide whether to grant your request.
Talk to your landlord first about the problems. Put the problems in writing and give the list to the landlord or the person who takes care of maintenance (for example, to the superintendent or property manager). If the landlord refuses to do the repairs or you think that the landlord is taking too long to deal with the problems, see the brochure: Maintenance and Repairs.
No. If you withhold rent, the landlord can give you a notice of termination for non-payment of rent and then file an application to evict you.
It is the landlord's responsibility to maintain the unit in a good state of repair, even if:
  • the tenant was aware of problems in the unit before they moved into it
  • the lease says that the tenant is responsible for maintenance
However, the tenant is responsible for keeping the unit clean, up to the standard that most people consider ordinary or normal cleanliness. The tenant is also responsible for repairing or paying for any damage to the rental property they caused or caused by their guests or another person living in the rental unit.
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) governs the relationship between the landlord and the tenant or tenants. Roommates or other occupants who are guests of the tenant(s) do not have any rights or protections under the RTA and cannot apply to the LTB.
Landlords
The RTA has five different sets of rules about this. In some cases, the landlord can sell, keep or throw away property the tenant left behind. In other cases, the landlord has to store the property so the tenant can come pick it up. Which rules apply depends on how, when and why the tenant moved out. If the landlord does not follow the rules, they may be held liable for the loss. For more information, see the brochure: Property Left behind When a Tenant Moves Out.
The landlord should make an effort to contact the tenant (by writing or calling the tenant, for example) to determine if they have left the unit. If the landlord believes that the tenant has abandoned the rental unit, then the landlord can apply to the LTB for an order ending the tenancy by filing an Application to Terminate a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant. This application is not mandatory, but if the landlord re-rents the unit without having the LTB confirm that it is abandoned, a tenant who hasn’t abandoned the unit could take legal action against the landlord.
Yes, but only if the building has 1-3 units and the person buying the building needs the rental unit for:
  • their own use
  • the use of an immediate family member
  • the use of a person who will provide care services to the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family, who is living in the same building or complex
Once the landlord gives the tenant a notice terminating the tenancy for one of these reasons, they can apply to the LTB for an order evicting the tenant. The tenant can only be evicted if the LTB issues an eviction order.
Yes, a tenant can be evicted if a landlord requires the unit for:
  • their own use
  • the use of an immediate family member
  • the use of a person who will provide care services to the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family, who is living in the same building or complex
Once the landlord gives the tenant a notice terminating the tenancy for one of these reasons, they can apply to the LTB for an order evicting the tenant. However, a tenant can only be evicted at the end of their tenancy and only if the LTB issues an eviction order.
A tenant can be evicted for having a pet in their unit only if:
  • the pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit, or causing other residents to have an allergic reaction
  • the animal or species is considered to be inherently dangerous.
This is true even if the tenancy agreement has a “no pets” rule.
A landlord can evict a tenant in the middle of their tenancy agreement in certain situations– usually where the tenant or someone the tenant let into their building, has done something wrong. For example, the tenant has not paid their rent or has damaged the rental property. The reasons for evicting a tenant are explained in the brochure: A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Yes. There is nothing in the RTA that prevents a tenant from being evicted during the winter.
Yes, an eviction order can be sometimes be issued without holding a hearing, such as for L3 and L4applications.
In most situations, before a landlord can apply to the LTB to evict the tenant, they must first give the tenant a notice of termination that tells the tenant the reason the landlord wants to evict them. For some termination notices, the landlord must wait a specific number of days to see if the tenant corrects the problem before they can file an application with the LTB. The number of days the tenant has to correct the problem is included in the notice. If the tenant does not correct the problem and/or does not move out, the landlord can file an application with the LTB. In most situations a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, the member listens to the landlord and the tenant and then makes a decision. If an eviction order is issued, it tells the tenant when they must be out of the unit. If they do not move out, then the landlord can file this order with the Court Enforcement Office (also called the Sheriff). Only the Court Enforcement Office can evict a tenant.
A landlord can only enter a tenant's unit in specific circumstances. In most cases, the landlord must first give the tenant 24 hours written notice, stating when they will enter and for what reason. There are some exceptions to this requirement, for example, in case of emergency. For more information see the brochure: A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.
If a tenant's rent cheque is returned NSF, a landlord can ask the tenant to pay for the charges the landlord has to pay to the bank, plus an administrative charge of up to $20. Landlords can also claim any NSF cheque charges if they apply to the LTB for arrears of rent.
No. A landlord cannot collect a damage deposit to pay for damage done to the unit. Also, a landlord cannot use the last month’s rent deposit to cover damages in the unit. The rent deposit can only be used for last month’s rent before the tenancy ends. If the landlord finds that a tenant has damaged the unit or caused damage to the building, the landlord can give the tenant a notice of termination and/or ask them to pay for the damages. If the tenant doesn’t pay, the landlord can apply to have the LTB determine if there are damages and what should be done about them.
A tenant does not have to pay for new keys when the landlord decides to replace the lock with a new one, but the landlord may ask for a refundable deposit for the new keys.
The landlord can charge a tenant for additional keys that the tenant requests (for example, if the tenant wants an extra key or if the tenant has lost their key), but the charge cannot be more than the actual cost of the keys.
Yes, but only if:
  • the deposit is refundable, and
  • the amount of the deposit is not more than the expected cost of replacing the key(s) if they are not returned to the landlord.
The landlord must give the deposit back when the tenant turns in their key(s) at the end of their tenancy.
The landlord must pay the tenant interest on the rent deposit every 12 months. The percent interest is the same as the rent increase guideline that is in effect when the interest payment is due. The guideline is set each year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. If the landlord does not pay the interest owed to the tenant when it is due, the tenant can:
  • deduct the interest from a future rent payment, or
  • file a Tenant Application for a Rebate
Instead of paying the tenant the interest, the landlord can reduce the amount needed to update the rent deposit (so that it equals the current rent) by the amount of interest owed.
If a tenant does not pay rent on the date that it is due, the landlord can give the tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent the day after the rent was due. If a tenant pays rent monthly, this notice gives the tenant 14 days to pay the rent due or to move out. If the rent is not paid, and the tenant does not move, the landlord can apply to the LTB for an order that:
  • requires the tenant to pay the rent that is owing, and
  • evicts the tenant if they do not make the entire payment by a deadline
If a tenant is often late with the rent, the landlord can give a Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of Term. Daily or weekly tenants must be given notice 28 days before the end of their lease or rental period. In all other cases, the tenant must be given notice 60 days before the end of their lease or rental period. The landlord can apply to the LTB for an order evicting the tenant right after giving the tenant the Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of Term. A hearing will be held and both sides will have a chance to give their side of the story. For more information, see the brochure: If a Tenant Does Not Pay Rent.
Rent is considered late if it is not paid by the day that it is due. For example, if the rent is due on the first day of the month and it is not paid by that day, it is late.
A landlord has to give a tenant receipts for rent or any payment or deposit if the tenant asks for them. This includes payment of rent arrears. The landlord cannot charge for this receipt. Landlords also have to give rent receipts to former tenants during the first year after their tenancy ends. What information has to be in a rent receipt? A rent receipt must include:
  • the address of the rental unit
  • the name of the tenant(s)
  • the amount and date for each payment and what it was for (e.g. rent, rent deposit, arrears)
  • the name of the landlord
  • the signature of the landlord or the landlord’s agent
Yes. The landlord must give the tenant written notice of rent increase at least 90 days before the day the rent increase starts. The notice must tell the tenant how much the new rent will be and when to begin paying the new rent. If the tenant thinks that the new rent is too high, the tenant can give the landlord written notice of termination and move out before the rent increase begins.
A landlord can apply to the LTB to approve a rent increase above the guideline for any of the following reasons:
  • The landlord’s costs for municipal taxes and/or utilities (heat, water and electricity combined) have increased by an extraordinary amount.
  • The landlord did extraordinary or significant renovations, repairs, replacements or new additions to the building or to individual units. This type of work is called a “capital expenditure”.
  • The landlord’s costs for security services increased, or the landlord began providing security services for the first time.
The terms “extraordinary” and “capital expenditures” are defined in the brochure: Information about Applications for a Rent Increase above the Guideline.
In most cases, a landlord can usually only increase a tenant’s rent by the guideline set each year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. See the brochure: 2016 Rent Increase Guideline. However, there is no limit on the amount of a rent increase for rental buildings first occupied for residential purposes on or after November 1, 1991.
The landlord can increase the rent once every 12 months. The landlord has to give the tenant a 90 day written notice of the increase. There are some exemptions to these rules, for example tenants paying rent-geared-to-income in a social housing unit.
Yes. A landlord can collect a rent deposit as long as they ask for it on or before the day that the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement. The rent deposit cannot equal more than one month's rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less. For example, if rent payments are made weekly, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent; if rent payments are made monthly, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages.
A landlord must give all new tenants the brochure: Information for New Tenants, which includes information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the LTB and how to contact the LTB. The landlord must give the tenant the brochure on or before the day the tenancy begins, even if the tenant does not move in on that date. The landlord has 21 days after the tenant has signed and returned the tenancy agreement to give the tenant a copy with the signatures of both the tenant and the landlord. Where there is no written tenancy agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with his or her legal name and address within 21 days of the start of the tenancy. If the landlord does not give the tenant a copy of the signed tenancy agreement within 21 days or, if there is no written agreement and the landlord doesn’t provide the tenant with their legal name and address within 21 days, the tenant can refuse to pay some or all the rent. However, once the landlord provides the tenant with the document(s), the tenant must immediately pay all the rent that they withheld. If the tenant refuses, the landlord could apply to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent.
A tenancy agreement must give the legal name and address of the landlord so that the tenant knows where to send any notices or documents that are required under the RTA. A tenancy agreement may also contain information about:
  • the date the tenant will move into the rental unit
  • the rent amount
  • the date rent is to be paid
  • what services are included in the rent (such as electricity or parking) and any charges that are not included
  • rules that the landlord requires tenants to follow.
Any parts of the agreement that are contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act will not be valid. The LTB cannot tell you what information should be included or how to draft a tenancy agreement. The landlord and tenant need to make this decision. You might want to get legal help before signing or drafting an agreement.
A tenancy agreement (also called a lease) is a contract between a landlord and tenant. In the contract, the tenant agrees to pay rent to live in a rental unit provided by the landlord. The landlord and tenant may also promise to do certain things for each other and to follow certain rules. A tenancy agreement can be oral or written, but it is better to have a written agreement in case there is a dispute. For care home rental arrangements, a written rental agreement is required. To find out what needs to be included in a care home agreement, see the brochure: Care Homes.
Yes. A landlord can ask the person applying for the rental unit to provide information such as: current residence, rental history, employment history, references and income information. However, Regulation 290/98 of the Human Rights Code has rules that landlords must follow when asking for information about the income of a prospective tenant.
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