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A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act
This guide is a summary of Ontario’s new Residential Tenancies Act (the Act). This new law came into effect on January 31, 2007. The Act sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who rent residential properties.
This guide is not a complete summary of the law and it is not intended to provide legal advice. If you require more detailed information about the law, please see For more information at the end of this guide.
Information in this guide
Who is covered by this Act?
Landlords and tenants of most rental units are covered by most of the rules in the Act. A rental unit can be an apartment, a house, or a room in a rooming or boarding house. The Act also applies to care homes, retirement homes, and sites in a mobile home park or land lease community.
Many of the rules about rent do not apply to:
But these units are still covered by most of the other rules in the Act about such things as maintenance and the reasons for eviction.
The Act does not apply if the tenant must share a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord.
About the Board
The Landlord and Tenant Board (the Board) resolves disputes between tenants and landlords. It is similar to a court.
About tenancy agreements
The landlord and tenant can sign a written agreement when a new tenancy is entered into, or they can have an oral agreement. A tenancy agreement is often called a lease. The landlord must give the tenant a copy of any written lease.
The lease should not contain any terms that are inconsistent with the Act. If the lease does contain a term that is inconsistent with the Act, that term will not be enforced by the Board.
The landlord must also give the tenant the landlord’s legal name and address so that the tenant can give the landlord any necessary notices or documents.
Whether there is a written or oral lease, landlords must provide new tenants with information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and about the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board. The landlord must give this information to the tenant on or before the start of the tenancy, in a form approved by the Board. The Board has a two-page brochure that landlords should use for this purpose.
Rent for a new tenant
When a new tenancy is entered into, the landlord and tenant decide how much the rent will be for a rental unit and which services will be included in the rent (for example, parking, cable, heat, electricity).
A landlord can collect a rent deposit from a new tenant on or before the start of a new tenancy. Where the tenant pays rent by the month, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent; where the tenant pays rent by the week, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent.
Post-dated cheques and automatic payments
When a landlord and a new tenant agree to enter into a rental agreement, they usually discuss how the rent will be paid.
A landlord must give the tenant a receipt for any rent payment, rent deposit or other charge, if the tenant asks for one.
Increasing a tenant’s rent
In most cases, the rent can be increased if at least 12 months have passed since the tenant first moved in or since the tenant’s last rent increase.
The rent increase guideline
The rent increase guideline is set each year by the Ontario Government. It is based on the Consumer Price Index.
Rent increase above the guideline
A landlord can apply to the Board for an increase above the guideline if:
Rent increases for capital expenditures or security services cannot be more than 3% above the guideline each year. If the landlord justifies an increase that is more than 3% above the guideline, the increase can be taken over three years, at a rate of up to 3% above the guideline per year. For increases in the cost of municipal taxes and charges, and/or utilities, there is no limit on the amount of rent increase that can be approved.
The landlord and tenant can agree to a rent increase above the guideline if they agree that the landlord will do major repairs or renovations, buy new equipment for the rental unit, or add a new service for the tenant.
This agreement must be in writing. The proper form for this agreement (Form N10) is available from the Board. The highest increase that can be agreed to is 3% above the guideline.
Where the landlord and tenant make this kind of agreement, the landlord does not have to apply to the Board for approval of the increase.
When the rent should be reduced
A landlord is required to reduce the rent where:
A tenant can apply to the Board to have their rent reduced if:
About Maintenance and Repairs
A landlord’s responsibilities
A landlord has to keep the rental property in a good state of repair. A landlord must obey all health, safety, housing and maintenance standards, as set out in any provincial laws or municipal bylaws.
A tenant can apply to the Board if the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations. If the Board agrees that the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations, there are a number of remedies the Board can order. For example, the Board can order that the tenant does not have to pay some or all of the rent until the landlord does the repairs or that the landlord cannot increase the rent for the rental unit until any serious maintenance problems are fixed.
A tenant’s responsibilities
A tenant must keep their rental unit clean, up to the standard that most people would consider ordinary or normal cleanliness.
A landlord cannot shut off or interfere with the supply of any of the following vital services to a tenant’s rental unit:
More information about maintenance and repairs
For more information about maintenance read the Board’s brochure called Maintenance and Repairs.
About Entering the Rental Unit
Entry without written notice
A landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit without written notice if:
A landlord can enter a rental unit without written notice, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. if:
Entry with 24 hours written notice
A landlord can enter the rental unit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and only if they have given the tenant 24 hours written notice:
The notice must include the reason why the landlord wants to enter the rental unit and must state what time, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the landlord will enter the unit. If the landlord gives the tenant the correct notice, the landlord can enter even if the tenant is not at home.
About Ending a Tenancy
Renewing a lease
The end of a lease does not mean a tenant has to move out. A new lease can be made or the landlord and tenant can agree to renew the lease for another fixed term period.
Where the tenant stays on as a monthly or weekly tenant, all the rules of the former lease will still apply to the landlord and tenant. But the landlord can increase the rent each year by the amount allowed under the Act.
If a tenant wants to leave
A tenant must give their landlord written notice if they plan to move out. The proper form for this notice (Form N9) is available from the Board. The amount of notice that is required is based on the rental period, as follows:
A tenant and landlord can agree to end a tenancy early. The parties can make an oral agreement to end the tenancy, but it is best to have a written agreement. A notice of termination does not have to be given by either the landlord or the tenant if there is an agreement to end the tenancy.
A tenant in a care home can end a tenancy early, by giving at least 30 days notice in writing to the landlord.
Assigning a tenancy and subletting
A tenant may be able to transfer their right to occupy the rental unit to someone else. This is called an assignment. In an assignment, a new person takes the place of the tenant, but all the terms of the rental agreement stay the same.
A sublet occurs when a tenant moves out of the rental unit, lets another person live there for a period of time, but returns to live in the unit before the tenancy ends. In a sublet, the terms of the rental agreement and the landlord-tenant relationship do not change.
A tenant must have the landlord’s approval for an assignment or a sublet, but, in either case, the landlord must have a good reason for refusing.
Rules about special tenancies
Some tenants do not have the right to assign their tenancy or sublet; for example, a tenant who is a superintendent, or a tenant who lives in subsidized, public or non-profit housing, or in housing provided by an educational institution where the tenant works or is a student.
For more information about assigning, read the Board’s brochure called How a Tenant can End a Tenancy.
Ending a tenancy by the landlord
A landlord can end a tenancy only for the reasons allowed by the Act.
The first step is for the landlord to give the tenant notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out. The proper forms a landlord must use for giving a notice to end the tenancy are available from the Board.
If the tenant does not move out after receiving the notice, the landlord can ask the Board to end the tenancy by filing an application. The Board will decide if the tenancy should end after holding a hearing. Both the landlord and the tenant can come to the hearing and explain their side to a Member of the Board.
The Act allows a landlord to give a tenant notice if the tenant, the tenant’s guest or someone else who lives in the rental unit either does something they should not do, or does not do something they should. For example:
• not paying the rent in full,
• persistently paying the rent late,
• causing damage to the rental property,
• illegal activity,
• affecting the safety of others,
• disturbing the enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord,
• allowing too many people to live in the rental unit (“overcrowding”),
• not reporting income in subsidized housing.
In some cases, a landlord can give a tenant notice based on the presence or conduct of a pet the tenant is keeping, such as where a pet causes damage to the rental property.
Other reasons for eviction
There are some other reasons for eviction that are not related to what the tenant has done or not done. For example:
• the landlord wants the rental unit for their own use or for the use of an immediate family member or a caregiver,
• the landlord has agreed to sell the property and the purchaser wants all or part of the property for their own use or for the use of an immediate family member or a caregiver,
• the landlord plans major repairs or renovations that require a building permit and vacant possession,
• the landlord plans to demolish the rental property,
• in a care home that is occupied for the sole reason of receiving therapy or rehabilitation, the tenant’s rehabilitation or therapy program has ended,
• a tenant of a care home needs more care than the care home can provide, or no longer needs the level of care provided by the landlord.
For More Information
Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board
This guide provides general information only. For more information, or to obtain copies of the Board’s forms and publications, you may:
• visit the Board’s website at www.LTB.gov.on.ca.
• call the Board at 416-645-8080 or toll-free at 1-888-332-3234, or
• visit your local Landlord and Tenant Board office. A list of Board office locations can be found on our website, or you may call us at the numbers listed above.
Release date: January 31, 2007
© Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2007 - Last Modified: July 22, 2010
This information is provided as a public service. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. Readers should where possible verify the information before acting on it.