Ontario has increased protections for renters with an easy-to-understand standard rental agreement (lease) for new private residential leases, now in effect across the province.
If a landlord does not use the standard lease for tenancies that are entered into on or after April 30, 2018, renters can ask for one. If the landlord doesn’t provide it within 21 days, the tenant can withhold one month’s rent.
Please note, you cannot withhold more than one month’s rent and you must continue paying your rent for the term of your lease, even if your landlord never gives you the standard lease. However, if a standard lease is not provided, special rules allow you to end your fixed-term lease early.
For new leases signed on or after April 30, most landlords are required to use the standard lease, which provides a template to gather basic information such as names and addresses, the total rent and when it is due, and any rules or terms about the rental unit or building. This includes tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condominiums and secondary units, such as basement apartments.
The standard lease is available in 23 languages
A guide to the standard lease published in many languages to ensure that more people understand their rights and what they are agreeing to when they sign a new lease. The rental agreement guide is available in 23 languages: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
The standard rental / lease agreement is easy-to-understand
The standard lease reduces the use of illegal terms and potential misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements, which will make it easier for landlords to conduct their business and for tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities.
The standard lease is written in easy-to-understand language and includes information such as:
- the rent amount and when it’s due
- what’s included in the rent (for example, air conditioning or parking)
- rules or terms about the rental unit or building (for example, no smoking)
It also has a section on renter and landlord rights and responsibilities, and explains what can (and cannot) be included in a lease. For example:
- who’s responsible for maintenance and repairs
- when your landlord can enter your unit
- that landlords can’t ban guests or pets
The standard lease does not apply to most social and supportive housing, co-operative housing, retirement and nursing homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities, and commercial properties.
Rent increase limits
The standard lease is part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, which includes 16 comprehensive measures to make housing more affordable for homebuyers and renters, while bringing stability to the real estate market and protecting the investment of homeowners. The Plan also includes an expansion of rent control protections for tenants in Ontario, meaning that as of April 20, 2017, approximately 1.3 million residential rental households are now protected from sudden, unexpected rent increases — including all private market rental units whether they are in apartment buildings, rented condominiums or homes. In 2018, those increases are capped at 1.8% and future increases cannot exceed 2.5% unless the landlord has approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. That means the approximately 1 in 5 people in Ontario who live in a private market rental unit are protected by rent control.
Tenant eviction rules
- Your landlord can only evict you in specific situations and must give you written notice in the proper form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The form must provide the reason for eviction.
- If your landlord wants to use the unit themselves (or for their family) they must also give you the equivalent of one month’s rent or offer you another unit.
- Even if your landlord gives you written notice, you don’t have to move out. Your landlord must first get an order to end the tenancy from the Landlord and Tenant Board – this usually includes a hearing where you can present your concerns.
Where to get help
Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by mail, fax, in-person or by telephone (toll free at 1-888-332-3234), to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.
May 1, 2018, Office of the Premier