Giving Tenants Notice to Vacate in Ontario — The More Notice, the Better
Ending a Tenancy as a Landlord in Ontario
In Ontario, tenancies usually last a year, however, if the lease has ended and the tenant has not given you notice, the tenancy will automatically renew on a month-to-month basis. Legally, a tenant must give at least 60 days notice that he/she will be ending their tenancy. But what rules apply to landlords and how do you go about giving tenants notice to vacate? If you have a rental property which currently has tenants but decide that you want to sell the house, a good rule of thumb is the more notice, the better. You can not contract “out of the law,” therefore, the guidelines and standards set by the Residential Tenancies Act or the Landlord Tenant Board must be followed.
If you decide you want to sell your house, giving notice to your tenant asking them to vacate the property in a month because you’re “thinking of selling your property” will not suffice. In this instance, the law does not work in your favour and the tenant is not legally obligated to move.
Let’s looks at a few situations:
You have been renting a condominium unit to a very responsible couple who have been your tenants for three years. They’re currently renting on a month-to-month basis. You’ve spoken to a few people in the building and noticed that there is a demand for units, and they’re selling at a very desirable price. After doing a CBA, you decide that selling your unit would be more profitable than renting it out. Legally, you do not have to give notice to your tenants until you actually sell the unit, but you can let them know that it’s on the market. As a landlord, you must make a reasonable effort to inform your tenants that you’re going to show the unit to prospective buyers. Showings must occur between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. In this situation, the couple is cooperative and tell you they’ve been looking at buying a property in another part of the city. Shortly after you listed the unit, it sells above asking and the closing date is two and a half months from today, February 25, 2015. Along with the correct forms, you give your tenants 60 days notice, which goes into effect on the last date of the rental period (February 29). They must vacate the premises by April 30. Since your closing date is May 16, it works out perfectly for you because you’re maximizing your rental income, and have a significant amount of time for your property manager to ensure the unit is clean and ready for the new buyers. You and the couple end the tenancy on great terms, and you start looking into other investment properties.
But what happens if you sell your property while your tenants are in the middle of a lease agreement? Legally, they are not obligated to leave until the end of their tenancy. You can tell them your situation and ask them to leave, compromising on a substantial amount of time. Hopefully, they are cooperative, however, if they are not, you can buy them out. Unfortunately, you cannot force them to leave unless you have grounds to evict them.
In any situation, it’s best to give as much notice as possible. Hiring a Toronto property manager to assist you with a tenant screening process will help decrease the likelihood of you encountering problems when ending a tenancy due to uncompliant tenants. Before you enter any lease agreement, carefully plan it out and consult your property manager for advice to ensure the decision you make is the right one for your situation.