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HOW TO ENTER INTO A TENANCY AGREEMENT

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Introduction

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, there are many things deserving your attention before renting a residential property. Once you have decided to proceed with a rental process it is important to ensure that it will satisfy your needs. The terms and regulations of a tenancy agreement are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2006 (the “Act”). Besides the legislation, the Landlord and Tenant Board provides information about the Act and assists both parties in resolving rent disputes.

 

The terms and conditions of the Act apply to a rental unit such as an apartment, a house, or a room in a boarding house. The terms of the Act do not apply to non-profit or public housing, as well as college residencies because these properties often have independent rent agreements. Importantly, the terms of the Act do not apply to a rental unit if a tenant has to share a kitchen or a bathroom with a landlord.

 

General Terms of a Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement, also known as a lease, is a written or an oral agreement between the landlord and a tenant outlining the general terms and conditions regarding rent.  As well, a lease must include information about the rights and responsibilities of both parties in the event of a dispute and the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

 

A landlord of a rental unit must obey all health, safety, housing and maintenance standards as set out in the Act. If a landlord fails to obey such regulations a tenant may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for remedy. Importantly, according to the Act, a landlord cannot interfere with the supply of any vital services such as running water, heat and electricity without a justified cause.

A tenant also has various obligations. For instance, a tenant must keep a rental unit reasonably clean and repair or pay for the repair of any damage to the rental or common property caused by a tenant or their guests. That being said, a tenant is not responsible for the damage due to normal “wear and tear”.

 

Renewing a Tenancy

Once the old lease has expired, a new lease can be agreed on, or a landlord and a tenant may renew the old lease for another fixed term period. It is important for both parties to be in agreement on the terms and conditions of the new lease and have a clear understanding of it. If a new agreement cannot be reached it does not mean that a tenant has to vacate the rental unit right away. In fact, a tenant may continue living in the rental unit and pay on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on the payment agreement of the now expired lease.

 

Assigning a Tenancy and Subletting

Sometimes a tenant decides to let another person live in the rental unit while the existing tenant is away for a period of time. An assignment occurs when a tenant is able to transfer their right to occupy the rental unit to someone else, based on the agreement with a landlord. Even though a new tenant will now be living in a rental unit, the terms and conditions of the previous rental agreement will still apply.

 

A sublet occurs when a tenant moves for a period of time and lets another person occupy the rental unit. However, in this situation the original tenant must return to the rental unit before the tenancy agreement ends. The terms and conditions of the original tenancy agreement will remain the same.

 

Entry into a Rental Unit

A landlord can enter a rental unit either with a 24 hours notice or without notice. Entry without notice is allowed in case of an emergency, such as fire or flood, for regularly scheduled checks (if they are outlined in a tenancy agreement), or when a landlord has given a tenant notice of termination and wants to show the unit to prospective clients.

If a landlord has given a tenant 24 hours notice of entry, the landlord may enter the unit if the tenant is not present for repairs and/or inspections for future repair work. As well, a landlord can enter the rental unit when a potential purchaser or insurer wants to view the unit.

 

Ending a Residential Tenancy

A tenancy agreement should be terminated according to the terms of the Act. However, sometimes a landlord decides to end the tenancy agreement and evict a tenant for various reasons. Most common reasons include not obeying the tenancy agreement terms, damaging the rental property, affecting the safety of others, and failing to pay the rent in time or in full. When either a landlord or a tenant wish to terminate the tenancy agreement before its expiry date, either party should apply to the Landlord and Tenant board for  remedy. 

 

Other Important Information

Although a landlord and a tenant may wish to set up an individual rental period it must comply with the terms of the Act.

 

Under the Act, the month of February is considered to have thirty (30) days. As such, it allows a tenant or a landlord sufficient time when giving a termination notice.

 

The province of Ontario sets out rent guidelines annually. This prevents landlords from increasing rent during a period of twelve (12) months.

A landlord cannot change locks on the rental unit without giving notice to a tenant, even when a tenant is being evicted.  

 

Seeking the Advice of a Professional

If you have decided it is time to seek the advice of a professional ensure to email us your contact information and one of our lawyers will contact you promptly.

 

Disclaimer

Nothing on this website constitutes legal advice. If you face a legal issue, you should take specific legal advice from a lawyer before taking any action. Three60Legal takes every reasonable step to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website. However, Three60Legal accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from the use of this site.

 

Three60Legal

Three60 Legal is comprised of both Canadian lawyers and US attorneys providing legal services in all areas of the law including, business law, immigration law, employment law, family law, personal injury law, human rights law, criminal law, international law, labour law, tax law, real estate law, property law, divorce law, alternative dispute resolution, commercial litigation, franchise law, entertainment law, sports law, insurance law, copyright law, trademarks, patent law and wills and estates law.  Law offices are located in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, North York and Markham.

 

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