Thinking about renting but unsure of your rights?
The first thing to know is that if you are renting in Ontario, you have legal rights that you should know about before you decide to rent. These rights are explained in the Human Rights Code and the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
Instead of taking the time to read through each code and act yourself we have outlined the top things you need to know about your rights before, during and after your tenancy.
Before You Rent
A landlord cannot discriminate against you because of your:
- Sexual Orientation
For example, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because you identify as a member of the LGBTQ or if you are an immigrant.
When Can A Landlord Evict A Tenant In Ontario
There are only certain circumstances where your landlord can evict you pursuant to the RTA.
Before evicting you, they must provide you with notices using the proper form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), an independent tribunal with the authority to resolve residential tenancy disputes in Ontario. The form must outline the reason for eviction with information that complies with the RTA.
One of the most important things to know about eviction notices is even if your landlord gives you written notice, you do not have to move out. Your landlord must first apply for and receive an eviction order from the LTB.
How to Protect Against Wrongful Evictions
New rules under the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 and existing rules under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 help to ensure that tenants’ rights are protected.
Personal Use Eviction
A landlord can file and application for eviction if they require a rental unit for personal use, but there are specific requirements they must follow.
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 or for certain family members
- Are selling the property and the purchaser will be using the unit themselves
Renovation Eviction Notice
A landlord can either temporarily or permanently evict you if they decide to perform substantial renovations to the unit.
Landlords must provide proper LTB Notices which in many circumstances provides tenants with a right of first refusal to move back into the unit following the renovation. You must notify your landlord in writing before you vacate the rental unit that you want them to offer you the unit when they complete the renovation.
Under the new rules, if your landlord fails to provide you a right of first refusal, you will have two years, rather than one, to file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for compensation.
Bad Faith Evictions
Landlords must act in good faith when evicting a tenant on the basis of personal use.
This means the landlord must have honest intentions to use the rental unit for the purpose stated on the eviction notice.
If the LTB determines that a landlord has given a notice of termination in bad faith, they may make an order requiring the landlord to pay the former tenant the sum of:
- The difference between the last rent charged to the former tenant and the former tenant’s current rent in their new unit for up to a one-year period
- Up to 12 months of the last rent charged to the former tenant, and
- Reasonable out-of-pocket moving, storage and other expenses that the former tenant has incurred or will incur.
This applies to all bad faith evictions, including:
- Where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back into the unit after repairs or renovations
- Where the landlord or purchaser does not move into or use the unit themselves
After You Move In: Specific Rights Will Be Eligible For
After you have moved into your unit, there are a set of certain rights you are entitled to as you are living there:
- Vital Services: You must have access to heat, hot and cold water, electricity, and fuel (such as natural gas). Your landlord cannot shut off these services, even if you have not paid your rent. Your landlord may shut off services for a short time so that they can make repairs.
- Heat and Air Conditioning: Your landlord must heat your home from September 1 to June 15. The landlord has to ensure the heat is at 20°C or more. Some cities have a higher heat standard. As for air conditioning, your landlord might be required to maintain a max temperature of no more than 26°C during the summer months.
- Controlled Rent Prices: A landlord may increase your rent once in a 12-month period. The amount of the increase has to be within legal limits.
- A Safe Home: The unit must be safe and in good repair. This is true even if you knew about the problems before you agreed to rent the home.
Tenant Insurance: Is it worth it?
The simple answer is yes.
Although there are no legal requirements for tenants to purchase tenant insurance, landlords can require their tenants to purchase tenant insurance at the onset of their tenancy and in the event of an accident (even one you didn’t cause), having tenant insurance can protect you and cover the expenses associated with the damages.
At Epstein & Associates, we can help dispute any claims that you may not know how to handle.
Feel free to call our office today to book a free 30-minute consultation.
This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.