Every landlord expects a tenant to pay the agreed-upon rent on time. Paying rent by post-dated cheques is convenient, but it is illegal for the landlord to demand this form of payment in some provinces. (For specifics, see the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets).
When a tenant faces money problems, an understanding landlord might help from time to time, but tenants can face serious legal implications for failing to pay rent. The landlord might seek payment by taking the tenant to court. Constant lateness or non-payment might force a landlord to seek compensation for that loss through the courts, and he or she may proceed with eviction. Further, chronic problems could ruin references and harm your credit rating.
NoteNo Rent Means Day in Court
59,737 landlord applications for eviction were made to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board, and failure to pay the rent was the grounds for 91% of these eviction proceedings.
Landlord and Tenant Board Annual Report 2009 – 2010
When is the Rent Due?
Rent is due on the actual day stipulated in the rental agreement. In most places in Canada, rent is considered late on the day after it is due. For example, if your rental agreement states that rent is due on the first day of the month, the rent would be considered late from the second day of the month onward until it is paid. If the rental agreement stipulated that rent was due on the fifteenth of the month, then the rent would be considered late from the sixteenth day of the month onward. In many jurisdictions, landlords commonly impose a reasonable penalty for late rent. (For specifics, see the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets).
In some provinces, the law requires that landlords give a grace period of up to 3 days to allow the tenant to pay. In other provinces, however, landlords are within their rights to notify the tenant as soon as rent is late that they wish to terminate their rental agreement because of rent arrears. Once a tenant pays the rent, a notice to terminate their rental agreement would no longer be valid.
It is in the tenant's best interest to pay the rent on time because frequent late payment could be grounds for non-renewal of a rental agreement.
What if You can't Afford to Pay?
If you run into financial difficulties, you may be able to get help from a local rent bank. Information on rent banks is included in Renting in Spite of Bad Credit: Help when Money is Tight and Renting in Spite of Bad Credit: Other Sources of Help.
What can a Landlord do?
If you don't pay your rent, your landlord can give you a notice to move. In most provinces, your landlord can give this notice as soon as the rent is late; in others, after a 3-day grace period.
A notice for non-payment of rent must include:
- the amount of rent that you owe
- the date you are to move out
- a statement that says you can disagree with your landlord's notice
If you don’t move or pay the rent, your landlord can request help from the provincial or territorial rental authority to order you to move. For more information, call the local office responsible for landlord and tenant issues.
You may apply to your provincial authority for a rent reduction in some provinces. You can submit an application if your landlord doesn't make repairs or improvements or fails to provide services as a condition of a rent increase. You may also apply for a rent reduction if municipal taxes have been lowered or if a building service or facility is reduced or removed and your landlord does not reduce the rent.