Governing or Regulatory Body
- Landlord and Tenant Board
Name of Act/Regulations
Types of Housing/Living Arrangements Covered by the Provincial Legislation
- Rental residential housing, including mobile homes and rental housing provided by some educational institutions
- Vacation, seasonal or temporary accommodations, including hotels, motels or motor hotels, resorts, lodges, tourist camps, cottages or cabins, inns, campgrounds, trailer parks, tourist homes, bed and breakfasts vacation establishments or vacation homes
- Staff accommodation for farm employees
- Accommodation in a business or enterprise
- Non-profit housing in some situations
- Penal and correctional facilities
- Nursing homes
- Short term emergency shelters
- Staff and student accommodations provided by an educational institution
- Accommodation whose occupant or occupants are required to share a bathroom or kitchen facility with the owner, the owner's spouse, child or parent or the spouse's or same-sex partner's child or parent, and where the owner, spouse, child or parent lives in the building in which the living accommodation is located
- Premises occupied for business or agricultural purposes with living accommodation attached if the occupancy for both purposes is under a single lease and the same person occupies the premises and the living accommodation
- Some rehabilitative and therapeutic facilities, such as facilities offering occupancy for a specified period
- Respite care facilities
- Property forfeited to the Crown in right of Ontario under Ontario law, including forfeited corporate property, and property that has escheated or may escheat to the Crown in right of Ontario under Ontario law
Special Rules Apply to:
- Member units in non-profit housing co-operatives
- Care homes
- Mobile home parks and land lease communities
Types of Rental Periods
All types of rental periods are allowed; however, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) takes precedence over leases. In other words, when terms in the lease do not comply with the RTA, the RTA takes precedence over the lease.
Is a signed lease required?
No. If the tenancy agreement is not in writing, the tenant must be provided with written notice of the legal name and address of the landlord for the purpose of giving notice or delivering other documents. The landlord must provide the tenant with this information within 21 days after the tenancy begins. If the landlord fails to provide the required information, the tenant's obligation to pay rent is suspended until the landlord complies. If there is a written tenancy agreement, the landlord must give a copy to the tenant within 21 days of the tenant signing it.
Is a signed move in/move out condition report required?
No. A checklist is recommended but not required.
Landlords can require a rent deposit up to one month's rent, but this deposit is not a security deposit. In Ontario, security deposits may not be required. Last month's rent may be collected as a deposit, but it may not be required as security against damages. Landlords collect the last month's rent, or if rent is paid weekly the last week's rent, at the beginning of the tenancy and pay the tenant interest. Under the Residential Tenancies Act, the rate of interest to be paid annually to a tenant is equivalent to the rent increase guideline of the same year that the interest is due. This deposit may only be applied to the last month's rent. It is not considered a damage or security deposit.
A key deposit may not be required. A landlord may not require a fee or similar charge from a tenant or a prospective tenant other than a rent deposit for the last month of the tenancy.
Post-dated cheques can be suggested, but a person cannot be refused a rental unit for refusing to give them. Landlords must provide tenants with a rent receipt if the tenant requests one.
Renewal of a Lease Term
The landlord and tenant can agree to extend or renew the tenancy on the same terms and conditions, or on modified terms and conditions. If both parties can’t reach an agreement, once the fixed term lease expires, the tenancy automatically becomes a month-to-month arrangement, if the tenant pays rent monthly, or a week-to-week arrangement, if the tenant pays rent weekly.
Terminating a Tenancy (Lease): Notice and Timing
Prior to a lease terminating, it is the responsibility of landlord and tenant to re-negotiate terms or terminate the lease. Tenants can give notice during a fixed term lease, provided that the date of termination is not any earlier than the last day of the tenancy and is in compliance with the RTA. Landlords may only terminate a tenancy for specified reasons as set out in the legislation and cannot terminate simply because a fixed term has expired. When a fixed term tenancy goes to a month to month term, the landlord cannot force a tenant to sign another lease or agree to another fixed term. When a lease is renewed, unless otherwise agreed, other than the new term of the lease, all other conditions of the lease remain the same with the exception of rent increases. The landlord can raise the rent with 90 days written notice.
To terminate a tenancy, landlords must provide notice in writing to the tenant, and required notice times vary depending on the reasons for the notice. Please refer to the detailed online brochures: “How a Tenant Can End their Tenancy" and “How a Landlord Can End a Tenancy.”
The tenant can terminate daily or weekly tenancies with 28 days written notice. Otherwise tenants must give 60 days notice when moving.
Assignments and Sublets
Landlords must approve or disapprove the tenant's request to sublet. The original tenant can dispute a landlord's decision to reject the sublet or potential assignee(s) by applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board using the appropriate form.
Rent Increases: Notice and Timing
Ontario sets rent guidelines each year. Landlords must give 90 days written notice and can only increase the rent once every 12 months. Rent increases must follow the provincial guidelines. To increase rent beyond the guideline, the landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for permission. (Capital expenses are capped at 3 per cent above the guideline, per year for a maximum of 3 years.) Note that there are some residential tenancies that are exempt from the rent control provisions of the legislation, such as rent geared-to-income tenancies and tenancies where the occupant shares a bathroom with the owner or family member of the owner, although the 12 month rule and 90 day notice requirement may still apply.
If there are serious outstanding maintenance issues a tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to prohibit all rent increases and above guideline increases. In severe cases tenants would pay all or portions of their rent to the Board until maintenance and repair issues were resolved. This must first be approved by a Board Member before monies can be paid into the Board, and it is up to the Board Member to determine in which cases it is appropriate. Since the RTA does not define what qualifies as a severe case, the Board evaluates each application on a case-by-case basis to determine if it qualifies.
Note: Rent increase rules apply to an existing tenancy. Once the tenant moves, the landlord can increase the rent for that unit to whatever the market will bear unless there is an order to prohibit rent increases due to serious maintenance issues.
Late Rent Payments
The day after rent is due, if it is unpaid, the landlord can give a “Notice to terminate for nonpayment of rent.” The tenant then has 14 days if they are monthly or yearly renters, and 7 days if they are daily or weekly renters, to pay. If this grace period passes and no rent has been paid, the landlord can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for rent arrears.
There are numerous grounds for eviction, but the main reason is rent arrears. Evictions for rent arrears in Ontario proceed as follows: The day after the tenant is late paying rent,the landlord can serve notice to the tenant to end the tenancy early for non-payment of rent. The tenant has 14 days to pay. If the tenant does not pay, then on the 15th day the landlord can apply to evict the tenant for Nonpayment of Rent and to Collect the Rent the Tenant Owes. There is a filing fee for this application. The Landlord and Tenant Board will give a Notice of Hearing and a copy of the application to the landlord, who must serve these documents on the tenant. The landlord must then complete and sign a certificate of service as proof that the above documents were served on the tenant.
There is no default process under the RTA, and all applications will go to a hearing. The hearing is held as soon as possible. If the landlord is successful with the landlord’s claim, the Board will issue an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant, and this order will allow the landlord to arrange with the provincial Sheriff to evict the tenant, unless the tenant pays everything that is owed (which may include the landlord’s filing fee) before the date set out in the order.
In cases where the tenants cause wilful damage, the RTA sets out a 10 day notice period, and tenants cannot void the notice by repairing the damage. In cases of excessive wilful damage, an order can set an immediate eviction date.
Permitting Landlord Entry to the Premises (Times and Reasons)
The situations where a landlord may enter the premises may be written into the lease. Typically, landlords must give 24 hours written notice. The written notice must specify the reason for entry, the day of entry and a time of entry between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A landlord can enter a unit without written notice if there is an emergency or if the tenant consents to the entry.
May the tenant withhold rent for repairs?
Allowed provided the landlord gives the tenant a key for any new lock. A tenant cannot change the locks without the permission of the landlord.
Pets and Smoking
May a landlord refuse to rent to a person who has pets?
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) does not cover individuals before they become tenants, so if a landlord refused to rent on the basis of pets, a tenant could not apply under the RTA for this reason. However, a “no pets” clause in a lease is void.
May a landlord include a no-smoking clause in the lease?
The RTA does not address smoking.
If a no pets and no smoking clause is written into a lease and the landlord discovers that the tenant has a pet and/or smokes in the rental unit, is this grounds for the landlord to evict the tenant?
A landlord cannot evict a tenant because they have a pet in violation of a "no pets" clause in the lease. The RTA does not address smoking. However, a landlord may have grounds to apply to evict a tenant, either for having a pet or for smoking, if the pet or smoke damages the property or bothers other tenants.
Under the RTA, February is considered to have 30 days for the purpose of the tenant giving a termination notice.
Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board
Provides information and other help for landlords and tenants, including forms and dispute resolution services
Provides contact information for local offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board
Brochures by Topic
Online brochures on tenancy issues ranging from rent increases to hearings
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
A ministry of the Ontario government that oversees and provides information and services in the areas of affordable housing, rental housing, social housing, and housing for off-reserve Aboriginal families.
Landlord Self Help (Toronto)
A community legal clinic founded by Legal Aid Ontario that provides education, information, referrals, and advocacy for Ontario's small scale landlords
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
An association of non-profit housing organizations that assists the non-profit housing sector through research and advocacy, professional development, and member support activities.
Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF)
A federation of non-profit housing co-operatives in the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Brantford and Guelph that provides information and services to housing co-ops, represents housing co-ops to the public and to governments, and provides a means for co-ops to network with each other.
Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario
A membership organization that represents and advocates for people who own, manage, build and finance residential rental properties
Greater Toronto Apartment Association
A membership organization that represents and advocates for firms participating in the multifamily rental housing industry
Federation of Metro Tenant Assoc. (Toronto)
A non-profit membership organization that advocates for better rights for Tenants
London Property Management Association
A non-profit membership organization that provides information, education, advocacy, and opportunities for networking to landlords.
Settlement.org Discussion Forums
An online discussion forum for residents new to Ontario
Barrie Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation
A nonprofit provider of rent geared to income and market value rentals in Barrie
Housing Help / Aide Logement
A nonprofit charitable agency that provides assistance to people in Ottawa who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness
Action Logement — Action Housing
A charitable organization that offers direct bilingual services to socio-economically disadvantaged clientele in matters pertaining to housing
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
A not for profit, charitable organization formed by a coalition of low-income families that provides information and services designed to promote human rights in housing and end housing discrimination
Ontario Tenants Rights
An independent, unaffiliated web guide to tenants' rights, social justice, and rental housing issues
Housing Information Services of Windsor and Essex County
A one stop shop for residents in need of housing information
One of the “Your Legal Rights” guides on the website of Community Legal Education of Ontario (CLEO).
What tenants need to know about the law
An online guide to landlord-tenant law in Ontario designed to help tenants; prepared by Community Legal Education of Ontario (CLEO)
Housing Help and Other Community Housing Resource Centres
This list provides contact information for centres that offer housing assistance programs in Ontario. Many centres offer a service to help landlords and tenants connect.
Mills Community Support Corporation
Housing Help Durham
Community Service Centre South Simcoe
Barrie Housing Support Services
Hastings Housing Resource Centre
Housing Resource Centre
Leeds and Grenville Social Housing
Cambridge Shelter Corporation — The Bridges Project
Salvation Army Housing Services
The Help Centre of Northumberland
Georgian Triangle Housing Resource Centre
Haldimand-Norfolk Housing Support Program
Fresh Start Resource Centre
Wellington and Guelph Housing Services
Housing Help Centre
City of Hamilton — Housing Services
McMaster Off-Campus Resource Centre
Home Base Housing
Housing Help Centre:
Lutherwood Housing Services
John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton
London Housing Registry
Housing Access Centre
Project S.H.A.R.E. Housing Assistance Program
Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing (LIPI) —
Halton Regional Housing Help Centre
Orillia Housing Resource Centre
Housing Help Ottawa
Housing Resource Centre
Housing Help Centre
Crisis Housing Liaison Canadian Red Cross
These centres in Toronto are access centres for Housing Connections (the subsidized housing waiting list in the city), the Rent Bank, Share the Warmth and Winter Warmth funds.
Albion Neighbourhood Services
COSTI — North York Housing Help Centre
East York Housing Help Centre
Etobicoke South Housing Help Centre
Neighbourhood Information Post
Scarborough Housing Help Centre
Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
West Toronto Housing Help Services
Woodgreen Community Centre — Housing Help Centre
Unison Health and Community Services (Formerly York Community Services)
The Hope Centre
Housing Information Services of Windsor and Essex County Inc.
Salvation Army Emergency Housing
Housing Help Centre