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Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board: Why it Matters

In Ontario, the Landlord and Tenant Board deals with questions involving an individual’s rights as a tenant or landlord.

The Purpose of the Landlord and Tenant Board

The Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario was created by the Residential Tenancies Act , 2006 (the “RTA”). The RTA contains the rules about all things related to landlords and tenants: it covers tenancy agreements, rent and maintenance requirements, repair obligations, rights to enter rental units, and termination of tenancies.

In many ways, the Landlord and Tenant Board is like a court that decides issues between different parties; however, unlike courts it is a body that deals exclusively in the areas of residential tenancy disputes. As a decision maker in this area, the Landlord and Tenant Board has three main roles: resolving disputes between landlords and tenants either through mediation or adjudication; resolving eviction applications from co-ops; and providing information to landlords and tenants about the rights and obligations that are enforceable under the RTA.

If you’re reading this post, one of your first questions may be: who is covered by the RTA and does it apply to me? In short, the RTA covers both landlords and tenants of a residential rental unit. If you’re wondering what is meant by a “rental unit”, it is a term that can include any of the following:

  • Apartment
  • House
  • Room
  • Boarding house
  • Care homes
  • Retirement homes
  • Mobile homes

Although the above examples are commonly found to be “rental units”, the RTA contains numerous exceptions. For instance, the RTA may not apply where a tenant shares a kitchen or bathroom with their landlord, and it does not generally cover places such as hotels or emergency shelters, even where a person is a long term resident. At the end of the day, if you are not sure if you are covered under the RTA, contact one of our lawyers or paralegals to find out.

A Landlord’s Rights and Obligations:

If you are someone covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, it is important to know about the rights and obligations that are enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

When discussing landlords, they have the right to collect, and increase rent, and to select tenants based on more traditionally private information such as income and credit history. At the same time, a landlord has an obligation to provide access to essential services for all tenants such as heat, electricity, hot/cold water, natural gas, and to meet all safety, housing, and maintenance standards. Additionally, landlords are required to have a valid reason for entering the unit and must provide reasonable notice of such entry; the only time a landlord can enter a unit without written notice or consent is in case of an emergency, such as a fire.

Landlords also have the right to begin eviction proceedings against a tenant should the tenant breach the RTA. These breaches include, but are not limited to: tenants withholding rent, repeated delays in paying rent, causing damage to the rental unit, illegal activity, and impacting the safety and reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord.

Landlords may also be able evict tenants for many other reasons which have nothing to do with a tenant’s behaviour. A few examples of these “no fault evictions” are when the landlord wants the rental unit for their own use, the landlord has sold the property and the new owner wishes to move in, or where the tenant of a care home needs more care than the home can provide.

Tenant Rights and Obligations

Just like landlords, tenants have rights and obligations too.

Tenants have a right to a safe home, vital services, privacy, and protection from unlawful eviction, and unjust rent increases. Tenants are responsible for paying rent in full on the day that it is due. They are liable for fixing any damage they cause, keeping the rental unit clean, notifying the landlord of any damage or leaks, and allowing the landlord access to perform repairs on the rental unit. 

If the landlord does not perform their duties, tenants are able to begin proceedings against them at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Tenants cannot, however, withhold rent in case of negligent repairs, renovate the property without permission, change the locks without permission, or sublet or assign the lease to someone else without the landlord’s permission.

As discussed previously, when the Landlord and Tenant Board deals with residential tenancy disputes, it does so in ways that mimic a court proceeding. Unfortunately, for those unfamiliar with the legal system, the process can be perplexing and intimidating.

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions about the Landlord and Tenant Board, or need assistance with your matter, you can contact the lawyers or paralegals at McMahon Molyneaux Henriquez to assist.  

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