Residential Lease Agreements

Residential lease agreements refer to the written contracts between tenants and landlord in which the property rights are transferred for a limited time duration to the tenant.

In Ontario, tenant and landlord responsibilities and rights are governed under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA).

Standard lease templates are in use from April 30, 2018, which need to be used by landlords of the majority of the residential rental units. This category of landlords includes property management companies and individual landlords.

Standard Lease

In a standard lease, the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are presented in a simple and easy to understand manner to:

  • Help renters and landlords understand their roles, rights and responsibilities
  • Minimize unauthorized and illegal language and terms used in leases and reduce the usage of verbal tenancy agreements
  • Phase out the Landlord and Tenant Board hearings which are used to resolve disputes

Applicability of the Standard Lease

In Ontario, the Standard lease applies to the majority of the residential tenancies including:

  • Apartment buildings
  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Secondary units (includes basement apartments)
  • Condominiums

A standard lease is not applicable in cases where tenancies have partial exemptions under the RTA including:

  • Elder care and foster care homes (includes retirement homes)
  • Mobile home parks
  • Land lease communities
  • Social housing and supportive housing in GTA, operating under agreements under specific programs where rent-geared-to-income assistance is publicly funded
  • Cooperative housing units
  • Transitional housing programs with specific criteria

Important Information for Renters and Landlords

All leases signed on or after April 30, 2018, must be standard leases.

Renters have the right to ask their landlord to provide lease in the standard lease format if it is not provided in that format and has been signed after April 30, 2018. It is the responsibility of the landlord to provide it within a period of 21 days.

This right will not be available to renters, unless they negotiate a new lease agreement with their landlord with new terms and conditions post April 30, 2018. A standard lease also cannot be asked for if the tenants and landlords signed a fixed term lease before April 30, 2018, which got converted to a month to month tenancy after April 30, 2018.

The renter has the right to withhold one month’s rent if the landlord does not provide the standard lease in the 21-day time period. The renter does not need to pay the rent if they fail to receive the standard lease even within 30 days after the rent withholding started. Rent can be withheld only for one month, and after that, the renter should pay the rent for the lease term even if they don’t get the standard lease copy.

The tenancy can be prematurely ended if the landlord does not provide the standard lease.

Premature Ending of Tenancy

If the renter does not receive the standard lease after making a written request to the landlord, they have the right to end the tenancy early. This intimation to end the tenancy requires a minimum of 60-day notice for terminating a fixed term or yearly tenancy.

In the circumstance, where the standard lease has been provided, but terms and conditions are not mutually agreeable, the renter can give a 60 days notice to the landlord for premature ending of the tenancy. The notice must be issued within 30 days of receiving the standard lease from the landlord.
The last date of the tenancy termination is the last date of the rental period.

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