Landlord & Tenant

Issues Concerning Landlords and Tenants

When issues concerning landlords and tenants need to be settled, the appropriate body to approach is the Landlord-Tenant Board.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act you’ll find the rights and obligations expected from each party. Both the tenant and the landlord are expected to settle issues to the best of their ability and only when they cannot agree or arrive at a settlement shall the matter go up to the Board, which will then rule over the issues.

Understanding the Different Types of Tenancies

Fixed-term Tenancy:  Tenancy set at a fixed time frame. This contract has a definite start and end date. The exact number of days can be from as little as a few days to several years and automatically expires when the last day has ended. This contract may be terminated anytime as long as there is by both parties as long as proper statutory notice is provided.

Periodic Tenancy: This is a tenancy for based on time intervals, i.e. year to year, week to week, or month to month and is determined by the payment terms of the rent. This type of tenancy can only be terminated when the term of lease is nearing completion and cannot be abruptly terminated by the landlord nor tenant without incurring fees for the other days/months remaining for the lease period.

Rental Terms and Agreement

Rental Agreement- this is the contract signed by the landlord and the tenant signifying their entry into a relationship. The landlord does not necessarily need to be the owner of the rental property and may exercise his/her right to sub-lease. The rental terms, penalties, and time period are all stipulated in this rental agreement including the required notice period if one of the parties wishes to terminate the contract. Here are some of the most basic information found in the rental agreement:

  • Complete Names of the landlord and tenant
  • Rental Start Date and End date (if fixed-term)
  • Complete address of the rental property
  • Terms for renewal of rental period
  • Specific amount of deposits and rent
  • Other conditions (default conditions, specific remedies, restrictive use, and other)

The basic responsibility of the landlord is to make repairs and maintenance to the rental property and the tenant should keep the property clean and habitable.

Remember that the rental agreement is considered a legal contract in Ontario and should be enforced by both parties in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. If some conditions or terms in the agreement are found to be inconsistent with the Act, the contract will not be enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Regardless whether the agreement is written or oral, the landlord is obliged to give the following to the tenant:

  • A copy of the written agreement.
  • Proper and detailed information about the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
  • the landlord’s complete name and address for future communication and submission of notices and other documents

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Residential Tenancies Act of 2006

In Ontario, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 governs the rental terms and guidelines, rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords for most properties including care homes, boarding houses, and mobile homes, but does not cover commercial leasing.

Specific matters covered in the Act are:

  • Landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities
  • Tenancy or leasing agreement
  • Rental rules
  • Issues concerning maintenance and repairs
  • Care and Mobile homes
  • Entering the rental unit
  • Security of tenure
  • Termination a tenancy
  • Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Vital services
  • Guidelines for evicting a tenant
  • Enforcement of an order
  • and more

Here are some of the issues covered concerning “Tenancy Agreements” in the Residential Tenancies Act:

  • Selecting prospective tenants
  • Information to be provided by landlord
  • Commencement of tenancy
  • “No pet” provisions void
  • Acceleration clause void
  • Minimize losses
  • Covenants interdependent
  • Covenants running with land
  • Frustrated contracts

Here are some issues covered on “Rules Relating to Rent”:

  • Security deposits and limitations
  • Rent deposit (if required)
  • Post-dated cheques
  • Receipt for payment
  • Guideline for landlord about rent increase, and rules
  • Lawful rental charges and money collected illegally
  • Utilities
  • Reduction in services
  • Municipal taxes

Excluded in the Act are people residing in:

  • Emergency/Evacuation Shelters
  • Hospitals or nursing homes
  • Non-profit and public housing
  • Prisons
  • School dormitories and housing
  • Property used for seasonal leasing or temporary use.
  • People sharing a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or certain family members of the owner

Reasons to Attend the LTB Board

One of the most common reasons why a landlord may need to go to the Tribunal is because the tenant is in arrears of rent. Other reasons may be that the tenant is disturbing the peace in the area, destroying property, and causing trouble towards neighbours or committing an illegal act.

On the tenant’s part, some reasons would be that there has been a violation of rights as a tenant through poor services like heating, water, electricity, etc. Other violations may be that the landlord entered the tenant’s unit without permission, illegally taking things out of the unit, or harassing the tenant or his/her family members. If any party files a case with the Board, both should appear for the hearing or any personal meetings arranged in order to discuss the matter. If either one party fails to show up, the attending party will get all their claims and the opposing side will not have a say about the issue.

How A Russell Legal Services Can Help

Tenants may contact Russell Legal Services, if you feel your rights have been violated and need a professional legal advisor to fight for you.

For landlords, it is best to act immediately for any concerns regarding your rights. Most landlords are not aware that there are waiting periods after serving a notice of termination to their tenant, prior to filing the application to terminate the tenancy. Then it may take a few months from the time the notice has been served to the actual day the tenant vacates the property. Call Russell Legal Services and we can help you prepare a notice for your tenant and fight for your rights.

Russell Legal Services specializes in all tenancy matters, for both landlord and tenant. Our expert Paralegals can give you advice on all residential tenancy matters, or represent you at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

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