Residential Lease Agreement (Ontario) | Tenancy Agreement (Part 1)

Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice with respect to a residential lease or a tenancy agreement, you should seek professional assistance (e.g. make a post on Dynamic Legal Forms). We have Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton, Mississauga and other Ontario lawyers registered to help you.

So this is the first of a series of blogs I’ll be writing about residential lease agreements in Ontario.

What is a Residential Lease Agreement | Tenancy Agreement?
A Residential Lease Agreement is a contract between a Landlord (the owner of a rental unit) and a Tenant (the person wishing to occupy the rental unit and pay rent). In Ontario, these types of Agreements are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the “Act”). The Act came into effect on January 31, 2007 and is designed to set the rules for most residential rental housing in Ontario. Importantly, the Act says that any provision in a Residential Lease Agreement that is “inconsistent with this Act or the regulations is void” (section 4). What does this mean? Well, as you’ll see below, if you have a no-pet clause in your Residential Lease Agreement and you think you can enforce it – think again! Section 14 of the Act says that such a provision is void! Ouch! We’ll get more into this later on…

How are disputes resolved?
If there is a dispute concerning the application of the Act (e.g. the Landlord or Tenant’s obligations, termination of the tenancy, rent, etc.), then the Landlord or Tenant may apply to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (“Board”) for a resolution. The Board has the exclusive authority to determine applications under this Act. The Board is governed by the Act and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and has its own Rules of Practice. If you need to bring an application to the Board, you should consult with a lawyer as to how to do this (they will know the documents and processes better than anyone else).

What are the Landlord’s Obligations under the Act?
The Act imposes a number of obligations on Landlords. Even if a Residential Lease Agreement says otherwise, it is not enforceable if it is ever brought before the Board on an application for a determination. Here are SOME of the Landlord’s statutory obligations:

Repair: Section 20
Like it or not, the Landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. This applies EVEN IF the Tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard BEFORE entering into the Residential Lease Agreement!

Non-Interference: Section 22
A Landlord shall not, during the Tenant’s occupancy, interfere with the Tenant’s reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit or residential complex for all usual purposes by the Tenant or members of his or her household.

Not to Harass: Section 23
A Landlord shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a Tenant.

Privacy and Entry: Sections 25, 26, and 27
Only under limited circumstances can a Landlord enter a rental unit. They can do so WITHOUT notifying the Tenant in cases of emergency or if the Tenant consents at the time of entry. They can also do so without notice to clean the rental unit if the Residential Lease Agreement requires it AND the Landlord enters at the time specified in that Agreement OR between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A Landlord can also enter a rental unit WITHOUT notice to show it to prospective tenants under certain circumstances – namely: (1) the Landlord and Tenant must have agreed that the tenancy will be terminated or one of them has given notice of termination to the other; (2) the Landlord must enter between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and (3) before entering, the Landlord must inform or make a reasonable effort to inform the Tenant of the intention to enter. Finally, a Landlord may enter a rental unit WITH written notice given to the Tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry and only in limited circumstances. Those circumstances include (but are not limited to): carrying out an inspection to see if the rental unit needs repair or maintenance and carrying out such repair or maintenance or other work on the rental unit. Any notice that needs to be given shall specify the reason for the entry, the date and time of entry (it must be between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.).

Changing Locks: Section 24
A Landlord cannot change the locks on a door to a rental unit or residential complex during a Tenant’s occupancy without giving the Tenant replacement keys. A Landlord will need to wait until the tenancy has been terminated to change the locks.

Tenant Applications to the Board
A Tenant or a former Tenant may apply to the Board for an order that the Landlord has breached one or more of its obligations under the Act. However, there is a TIME LIMITATION for bringing such an application: no application may be made more than 1 YEAR after the day the alleged conduct giving rise to the application occurred: section 29(2).

If the Board finds that the Landlord had breached its statutory obligations, then the Board may (among other things) terminate the tenancy, order an abatement of rent, authorize repair / replacement, order that the Landlord pay money to the Tenant or Former Tenant, prohibit the Landlord from taking steps to raise the rent, or make any other order that it considers appropriate. In determining which remedy or remedies to impose, the Board must consider whether the Tenant or former Tenant advised the Landlord of the alleged breaches before applying to the Board: section 30(2).

By the way, if you are a Landlord and you are looking for an Ontario Residential Lease Agreement, you’ve come to the right place:

Residential Lease Agreement (Ontario)

A Landlord can use this Agreement to rent out a residential unit. This Agreement comes with a Rental Application. All of Dynamic Legal Forms‘ legal forms are lawyer-prepared, simple to read, easy to customize, and only a fraction of the price a lawyer would charge. Also, each legal form comes with a FREE VIDEO GUIDE (watch a useful example of how this legal form can be customized), a FREE DL GUIDE (read helpful information about this legal form), and another FREE DL GUIDE that sheds valuable insight into how legal forms can be challenged. What are you waiting for?

This information and this sample video guide is NOT legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. If you need an Ontario lawyer, go to Dynamic Legal Forms and make a post.

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