Landlords and tenants each have their own responsibilities.
The Residential Tenancies Act is Ontario's law that governs the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. These rules encompass a wide range of issues such as rent increases, evictions, as well as maintenance. The Landlord and Tenant Board helps to solve disputes between landlord and tenants. That being said, the Landlord and Tenant Board does not have jurisdiction over all disputes between landlords and tenants. There are exceptions and for those people covered under the exceptions, such as people in units that share a kitchen or bathroom with their landlord's family, your recourse for any issues may be in either the Small Claims Court or the Superior Court of Justice.
Finding a Tenant and Executing a Lease Agreement
If you're a landlord looking to choose a tenant, there is certain information you may ask for to determine whether or not to rent to a particular lessee. Those questions must not be discriminatory. When you decide on a tenant, you may wish to sign a lease agreement, which is a contract between the owner and tenant. The lease agreement will usually cover the length of the tenancy, the amounts of rent, as well as what is included in the rent, such as utilities, parking, storage locker or cable. If you are a tenant and have been presented with a lease agreement to sign, you may wish to speak to a lawyer to help you understand this agreement or if you have any questions about the agreement. You should be aware of how much written notice you need to give your landlord in order to leave the unit.
Rent Increases & Above-Guidelines Rent Increase
Each year, a landlord is allowed to raise rent by an amount that is covered by a guideline. This guideline is set by the Ontario government each year. That being said, the guideline does not apply to new buildings that are occupied for the first time after November 15th, 2018. If the landlord wants to increase rents above the guideline, they must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board and notify you 90 days before the increase. If you are a tenant being faced with a notice for an above guideline rent increase, speak to a lawyer today to understand your rights and how to potentially contest this increase at the Board.
Right to Enter
Landlords do not have unlimited rights of entry into an occupied rental unit. If there's something that needs to be fixed or inspected, the landlord must provide 24-hours written notice to enter a unit. This written notice has to contain certain details explaining why the entry is required. A landlord may enter if you consent, or in the case of an emergency. If a landlord is interrupting your right to use the unit by entering without your permission or without proper notice, speak to a lawyer today to find out how you can maintain your right to reasonable privacy.
Maintenance & Repairs
Landlords must keep the building as well as the units in a good state of repair. Landlords must comply with all health, safety and maintenance standards. Landlord is responsible for fixing anything that breaks or anything that is not working properly. A landlord is also responsible for pest control, for example mice or cockroaches, and must have treatment plans to ensure that the unit and the building are safe and clean for habitation. If you are a tenant and your landlord is not taking care of maintenance issues that you have identified, you should put your request for repairs in writing. Keep good record of any request you make. You may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for maintenance issues. Depending on where you live, there may also be programs in your municipality for the City to investigate the issue.
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