Rent Section
Lease
Discrimination
Evictions
Repairs
Privacy
Hydro
Security

 


Rent Section
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Q1.

The hydro was included in my rent, but now the landlord wants me to pay. Do I really have to pay the hydro?

Answer:

No. You do not have to pay for the additional cost of hydro, as it is considered as an illegal increase of rent. Before signing any documents, seek advice.

Q2.

Do I have the right to pay my rent 2 or 3 days after the rent is due?

Answer:

No. The Residential Tenancies Act states that the rent has to be paid on the date that it is due. If you are late paying your rent, the landlord has the right, as early as the day after your rent is due, to give you a notice to put an end to your rights as a tenant for non-payment of rent. Further, the landlord will have a motive to evict you if your rent payment is late too often without a valid reason.

Q3.

Can I withhold rent if my landlord does make necessary repairs to my apartment?

Answer:

No. If you decide not to pay your rent, your landlord has the right to give you a notice requesting your due rent. If you decide not to pay your rent, the landlord can have recourse with the approval of the Landlord & Tenant Board to evict you. However, if the landlord has gone to the Board and you have a hearing date set, you can explain to the adjudicator why you haven’t paid the rent.

Q4.

Can the landlord increase my rent at anytime?

Answer:

As a general rule, the landlord can only increase your rent after 12 months of occupancy. In some cases, the landlord could increase your rent within 12 months of occupancy. For clarifications in this matter, seek advice.

Q5.

Does the landlord have to give me a written notice before raising my rent?

Answer:

Yes. Your landlord has to give you a written notice to inform you of the rent increase. The landlord must give you this notice at least 90 days before the date the rent increase begins.

Q6.

Can the landlord increase my rent by as much as they want?

Answer:

No. There are limits on the amount the landlord can increase your rent. In most cases, however, the rent increase has to be determined by the government of Ontario. There are 3 reasons that would authorize your landlord to submit a form to the Landlord and Tenant board requesting an approval to increase your rent above the legal increase rate:

  • The landlord plans to improve or renovate the rental unit.
  • Fees have been paid to improve the building security.
  • There has been an extraordinary increase to municipal taxes and/or utilities.

This increase is limited to 3% a year for a maximum of 3 years. Once this extra amount has been paid to the landlord, you should automatically receive a rent decrease.

 


Lease
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Q1.

Can I leave my apartment without giving notice to my landlord?

Answer:

No. You must give a written notice. Your notice must be given to the landlord within a certain time frame:

  • If you have a signed lease for a house or an apartment, you must give a notice in writing at least 60 days before the end of your lease.
  • If you do not have a lease for a house or an apartment and you pay your rent monthly, you must give your notice in writing at least 60 days before the last day of the month.
  • If you have a weekly lease, or if you pay rent weekly, you must give a written notice at least 28 days before the last day of the last week that you intend to live at your address.

Q2.

What is a letter of guarantee?

Answer:

If you receive Social Assistance (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP), you can ask your Social Worker to provide a letter of guarantee for your landlord. This letter will replace the last month’s deposit. For information on how to obtain a letter of guarantee, please visit your Social Assistance or ODSP office.

Q3.

Can I break my lease if, for example, there is a cockroach problem, or if I can’t afford my rent?

Answer:

No. You do not have the right to break your lease. If you leave your apartment without an agreement with your landlord, you may have problems. Another possibility is to sublet the unit or to reassign the lease to another tenant. All agreements between you and the landlord should be in writing.

Q4.

Does the landlord have the right to request a deposit before I rent a unit from him or her?

Answer:

Yes. The landlord or superintendent can ask for a deposit for the last month’s rent. The deposit cannot be greater than the agreed rent payment (for example, one month’s rent). The landlord must pay the tenant interest on this deposit at a rate determined by the government of Ontario. The landlord has to pay the interest on the deposit at the end of the year or keep the interests to make the deposit equal to the current rent. The tenant has the right, by law, to reduce the next following month’s rent by the amount of interest due if the landlord does not pay the interest or adds it up to the deposit.

 


Discrimination
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Q1.

Can a landlord refuse to rent me housing because they believe that my income is not high enough even if I am able to show that I can pay the required amount of the rent?

Answer:

According The Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord has the right to verify the tenant’s revenue information, to perform a credit check and a tenant background check or any other current commercial method used to choose a tenant. However, a landlord must follow the Human Rights Code of Ontario and cannot use any form of discrimination that is no permitted by the Code when refusing a tenant.

Q2.

Are there other reasons for refusing housing that are considered discriminatory?

Answer:

Yes. It is considered discriminatory to refuse housing to someone because of:

  • skin colour
  • their sexual orientation
  • their race
  • their gender
  • their religion
  • their nationality
  • their age (16 years and older)
  • the person is pregnant or has children
  • the person has a physical or mental disability
  • the person is single, divorced or living with a common-law partner

If you think you’ve been a victim of discrimination, it’s possible to make a complaint to the Commission of Human Rights of Ontario.

Q3.

Can a landlord refuse me housing because I am on social assistance?

Answer:

No. According to par. 2(1) of the Human Rights Code of Ontario , everyone has the right to equal treatment related to matters of housing, without discrimination. In other words, it is discriminatory to refuse housing to a person because they are receiving a form of government assistance. In these cases, take note of the landlord’s address and phone number and ask to see a Housing Caseworker. If you think you’ve been a victim of discrimination, it’s possible to make a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

 


Evictions
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Q1.

Can I be evicted in the winter?

Answer:

Yes. Nothing in the Residential Tenancies Act prevents a tenant from being evicted during the winter.

Q2.

Can the landlord evict me without warning?

Answer:

No. For an eviction to be legal, the landlord must follow these steps :

STEP 1:

  • The landlord has to give a written notice that explains why he or she wants to evict you.
  • The notice has to state your name, your complete address and the date by which he would like you to leave the apartment.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • You don’t have to leave the apartment immediately. Other steps must be followed before you are asked to leave.
  • You can speak to the landlord and attempt to rectify the situation.
  • You should make sure that the reasons stated on the eviction notice are legal, by contacting Action Housing or another agency

STEP 2:

The landlord takes you to the Landlord and Tenant Board:

  • The Landlord and Tenant Board will send you a notice of hearing indicating the time, date and location on your hearing.
  • The hearing date should be no less than 10 days after receiving the first notice.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • You have a right to defend yourself at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
  • You may contact Action Housing or another agency that will help you prepare your case for the Landlord and Tenant Board.
  • You should prepare your facts, witnesses and proofs for your hearing.
  • You must prepare yourself to give your version of the facts, to answer questions that will be asked and to ask questions.

STEP 3:

The two possible results:

Result 1

You win, and you do not need to leave your housing.

Result 2

  • The landlord wins.
  • You will receive an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). This order will take effect on the precise date stated in the eviction order.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • You may want to start looking for new accommodations.
  • You can contact Action Housing or another agency.

STEP 4:

The sheriff is involved:

  • If you do not leave by the date given in the order, the landlord cannot legally kick you out themselves.
  • They must apply to the sheriff’s department to do it.
  • If the sheriff is involved, you will receive the sheriff’s notice, which states that you have to leave within 7 days.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • If you owe money to your landlord and that is the reason you are being evicted, you may pay the total amount to the Landlord and Tenant Board and present a motion to annul your eviction. This may only be done once per tenancy with the same landlord.
  • If you can’t pay the amount owed or if you are being evicted for another reason, you must leave the apartment before the sheriff changes the locks.

STEP 5:

Vacating the apartment:

  • If your landlord has used the legal procedures to obtain your eviction, they are not obligated to keep your belongings for more than 72 hours.
  • The landlord must give you access to your belongings between 8am and 8pm.
  • Once the 72 hours have passed, the landlord may keep, sell or throw away your things. They will be protected from any legal action you file.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • If your landlord disposes of your belongings before the 72 hours have passed, you should contact Action Housing or another agency.

Exception: If you live with the landlord, or a member of their immediate family and you share the bathroom and kitchen, you are not protected by the Residential Tenancies Act. In such a case the landlord does not need to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict you. They only have to give you a reasonable time frame to leave. If you do not leave the apartment they may remove your belongings from the unit. However the law states that the landlord is responsible for protecting your belongings.

Q3.

If the landlord sells the building in which I live, do I have to leave my apartment?

Answer:

Yes, but only if the building has 3 units or less, and one of the following people wishes to live in your apartment:

  • The landlord
  • Their spouse
  • The landlord or the landlord’s spouse’s children
  • The landlord or the landlord’s spouse’s parents
  • A caregiver providing care to one of the people mentioned above

The landlord must give you a written notice. This notice has to be delivered to you at least 60 days before the end of your lease. If you do not have a lease the notice must be delivered at least 60 days before the date that you are asked to vacate the premises.

Your rights and responsibilities:

  • If the landlord makes you leave without following proper procedures you should contact Action Housing or another agency.
  • If you learn later on that the landlord or one of the people mentioned above has not moved in to your apartment, you can present your case to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Contact Action Housing or another agency.

Q4.

The landlord wants me to vacate my apartment and has been threatening to throw my belongings to the curb. Do they really have the right to remove my stuff from my apartment?

Answer:

Without receiving an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, your landlord cannot proceed with an eviction and cannot remove your furniture and personal property from your rental unit. However, once the landlord has obtained an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board for your eviction and executed the sheriff’s order, the landlord is not obligated to keep your belongings for more than 72 hours. The landlord must place your belongings in a place not far from the rental unit. Once the 72 hours have elapsed, the landlord is allowed to throw away, keep for themselves or sell your belongings.

Q5.

Can the landlord evict me because they (or their immediate family) want to live in the apartment?

Answer:

Yes, but only if the building has 3 units or less and one of the following people wishes to live in your apartment:

  • The landlord
  • Their spouse
  • The landlord or the landlord’s spouse’s children
  • The landlord or the landlord’s spouse’s parents
  • A caregiver providing care to one of the people mentioned above

The landlord must give you a written notice of eviction. This notice has to be delivered to you at least 60 days before the end of your lease. If you do not have a lease, the notice must be delivered at least 60 days before the date that you are asked to vacate the premises.

Q6.

Can the landlord ask me to leave because they want to do repairs to my apartment or to the building?

Answer:

Yes, but only if the repairs are extensive enough to require a construction permit and total access or use of the apartment and/or building by the landlord. If this is the case, the landlord has to give you a written notice, putting an end to your rights as a tenant, at least 120 days before the end of your lease. If you do not have a lease, the notice must be given at least 120 days before the date that you’re asked to vacate the premises.

Q7.

Can the landlord give me an eviction notice if I am only 2 or 3 days late paying my rent?

Answer:

Yes. The landlord has the right to give you a notice of their intention to put an end to your tenancy rights because of non-payment as early as the day after the rent is due. This does not mean that you must leave your rental unit immediately. To evict you, the landlord must follow the eviction process.

 


Repairs
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Q1.

Does my landlord have to give me an advance notice before coming to do repairs in my unit?

Answer:

Yes. The Residential Tenancies Act states that your landlord must give you a notification in writing 24 hours in advance. It is your right to accept or refuse the repairperson’s access to your unit if you have not received a written notice. If your landlord refuses to give a written notice, contact Action Housing or another agency.

Q2.

What should I do if something needs to be repaired in my unit?

Answer:

You must first contact your landlord or the person in charge of repairs and maintenance for your unit. If the repairs are not completed, you must write a letter to the landlord or the superintendent requesting the repairs to be done. A Housing Caseworker can help you write this letter. If the repairs are still not done after the landlord or superintendent has received your letter, contact Action Housing or another agency for additional help. It is very important to note that even if the repairs are not done, you cannot withhold your rent.

Q3.

My landlord wants me to pay for repairs done to my apartment. Do I have to pay?

Answer:

Your landlord has the responsibility to keep your rental unit safe. However, you have to pay for the repairs if you, your guests, people with whom you share your housing or anyone you allowed on the property caused the damage. If you believe that there were no damages, or if you believe that neither you, nor your guests, nor the other persons in your unit are responsible for the damages, you can refuse to pay for the repairs.

Q4.

My home is infested with cockroaches. What can I do to resolve this problem?

Answer:

It is your landlord’s duty to provide housing that is free of vermin. This is considered a repair/maintenance problem. You must first advise your landlord or the person in charge of repairs and maintenance for your unit. If the problem is not taken care of, you must write a letter to the landlord or the superintendent requesting that the cockroach problem be dealt with. If the situation is still not rectified after you have given your letter, contact Action-Housing or another agency.

 


Privacy
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Q1.

Once I have given the landlord my notice of termination of tenancy, do they have to inform me and check with me every time that they want to show my apartment?

Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act allows the landlord to show the apartment to potential tenants without having to give you the 24-hour notice provided that:

  • You have given the notification of departure to the landlord.
  • The landlord enters a tenant’s unit between 8 am in morning to 8pm at night.
  • Before entering, the landlord informs the tenant or makes a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the intention of entering the unit.

If the landlord is showing the rental unit to a potential buyer, in this case, the landlord is required to give you a written 24-hour notification.

 


Hydro
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Q1.

I think I am paying for my neighbor’s hydro. Is there a way to verify if this is the case?

Answer:

We suggest that you make an appointment with a Housing Caseworker. Please bring copies of your Hydro bills along for the appointment.

Q2.

My hydro was cut because my landlord did not pay the bill (and my hydro is included in my rent). What can I do?

Answer:

Action-Housing gives priority to individual cases whose essential services are cut. The case must be studied in detail. Please make an appointment with a Housing Caseworker as soon as possible. Once the power is turned back on, you would be able to make a demand to the Board for a compensation for the disconnected services.

Q3.

I think I am paying too much for my hydro. How can I verify this?

Answer:

The hydro companies usually have this information and are willing to share it with consumers. If the amount you are currently paying is considerably different from the amount the company shared with you, make an appointment with a Housing Caseworker.

Q4.

The hydro was included in my rent, but now the landlord wants me to pay. Do I really have to pay?

Answer:

No. You do not have to pay for the additional cost of the hydro, which is considered to be an illegal increase in your rent.

According to Article 125 of the Residential Tenancies Act, the landlord and tenant can negotiate to lower the rent if the landlord reduces or stops providing a service. In many cases, however, the landlord does not obtain the tenant’s consent and does not offer to lower the rent. A tenant can make a demand to the Landlord and Tenant Board according to the Residential Tenancies Act to obtain a reduction in rent if the landlord stops providing or reduces a service. If you have more questions on this subject, speak with a Housing Caseworker.


Security
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Q1.

Anyone can enter my apartment because my locks do not work. What can I do?

Answer:

The first thing that you must do is to contact the landlord or the person in charge of repairs for your unit and ask them (through writing if possible) to repair the locks. Give the person in charge a precise time limit. If, after a reasonable time, the locks are not repaired, please speak with Action Housing or another agency.

Q2.

I am being threatened verbally and/or physically. Can anyone help me?

Answer:

There are places where you can stay if you must leave your home. If you need to access this service, call 3-1-1. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.