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Each province has its own legislation covering Landlord and Tenant issues.  In Canada’s largest province, Ontario, it’s referred to as the “Residential Tenancies Act” and to help provide information on the Act and assist in the resolving of disputes between landlords and tenants, the “Landlord and Tenant Board” was formed. And with it a wonderfully helpful web site.

As Shalini sat on the living room sofa while Manoj was on the computer reviewing the contents of the site, Shalini asked, ”So what types or kinds of notices do we need to give if we were to leave before our lease is up? What legal obligations do we have?” Manoj’s eyes were glued to the screen as he was intently studying its contents and responded, “Interesting you should ask because there a lot of eventualities that are represented here.  I suppose that helps in clarifying to both landlord and tenant what their obligations are in each instance.  This means that little is left to interpretation.  I like that”.

That’s right. Very little is left to interpretation and most every conceivable outcome is reflected with the proper action required of both landlord and tenant and with specified timelines. This is accomplished by way of specific forms since all communication needs to be written.  Verbal communication is not acceptable or admissible.

One of the basic tenant obligations is the prompt payment of rent.  Usually for monthly tenancies this means payment on the first of the month. Lateness is not tolerated by landlords since they in turn need that money to pay their expenses. So if payment is due but not made on the first of the month, then the landlord can issue the tenant an N4 Form as early as the second day of the month –  which essentially gives the tenant 14 days to vacate the property. Of course, if the tenant then pays the rent owed within that 14 day period, then the tenancy continues.

Another key tenant obligation is to not use the property for any illegal act or business.  If the landlord has reason or cause to believe so, they can issue an N6 Form.

Among the key obligations a landlord has is to treat tenants fairly and not charge illegal rent or collect an illegal charge.  If the tenant has proof of this, the tenant can file a T1 Form to have the matter reviewed.

Among the key obligations a landlord has is to treat tenants fairly and not charge illegal rent or collect an illegal charge. 

It is the landlord’s right to raise the rent once every 12 months up to a maximum percentage as per the city guidelines. As an example, the maximum allowable increase for any 12 month period in Toronto in the last 20 years was 6%, while the lowest maximum allowable increase was 0.07%. This increase is not automatic and so the landlord is obliged to give the tenant an N1 Form indicating the amount of the increase and the effective start date at least 90 days in advance. This gives the tenant ample notice in that if they prefer to relocate, they can still do so before the start date of the increase by giving the landlord only 60 day’s notice by way of a N9 Form.

Do you have a question for Ed about housing in Canada? Leave a comment below or send an email to [email protected] 

Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto.  He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.  His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio.  His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership.  This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.

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