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The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in Ontario governs the rights and responsibilities of landlords, and applies to most rental situations. As a landlord you need to know what actions you can take. 

These range from choosing the right tenant when renting your unit, to the right steps to take to evict a tenant.

Choose your tenant carefully 

Use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantees, etc to select the right tenant. But beware you cannot select or refuse tenants based on race, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status (e.g. children) or disability. The Canadian Human Rights Act forbids discrimination on these grounds, it is vital you consider this when selecting a new tenant.

When you setup your tenancy agreement ensure you collect the first and last month's rent. The last month's rent should be banked separately so that this can be repaid to the tenant when they leave.

Protect your legal rights

The tenancy agreement defines the rights of both tenants and landlords alike. It is one reason the province provides a standard agreement for private residential tenancies, assisting both landlords and tenants. The question of “what exactly are your rights as a landlord?” is vital for anyone in business in this industry. As a landlord you must ensure you do not use illegal provisions in your rental agreement.

When renting out properties it is vital you get paid.

Please be aware you are not considered a landlord under certain circumstances, including:
  • Seasonal or temporary rentals.
  • Units that include shared kitchen or bathroom space with the landlord and/or their immediate family members.
  • Long-term-care facility housing.
  • Emergency shelter.
Whatever your circumstances, protecting your rights as a property owner is vital, one reason to retain the services of a paralegal.

Rights and responsibilities

Both landlords and the tenant have rights and responsibilities that they need to be aware of. Landlords must give all new tenants with a copy of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) brochure. The most common responsibilities of the landlord are:
  • Performing maintenance and repairs.
  • Heating requirements.
  • Providing a tenancy agreement.
  • Entering the rental unit without notice under specific circumstances, like when there’s a fire, flood, or other emergencies.

Take the right steps

There are reasons to terminate tenancy agreements for rental properties you own. The simplest method is by common agreement. These include an N4 notice, used for non-payment of rent, an N5 notice because the tenant interfered with the rights of others. Other reasons to evict a tenant include illegal acts, causing serious problems, and there are standard forms for each of these situations. Further examples include a notice to terminate a tenancy for the landlord’s personal use (via an N12 form) and a notice to end a tenancy for conversion, demolition, or repairs (using the N13 form). 

Ensure you use the right documents, and that the Landlord and Tenant Board in properly informed. The board takes a dim view of landlords that attempt to cheat the system, a reason you should consult a legal professional when seeking to evict a tenant, do it legally and do it right.

Bill 184

The passing of this bill has caused tenant advocates to claim changes will result in mass evictions and be problematic to the province's most vulnerable residents. The truth will be very different. It will only be rare situation where the LTB will issue eviction orders without a hearing. Know your rights.

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