Being a landlord can be a very rewarding experience and offers a great alternative source of income to real estate investors. Unfortunately, too few realize exactly what their rights and responsibilities are as an Ontario landlord, and as a result, sometimes make a mess of complicated or emotionally charged situations. In order to get the best experience possible during your tenure as a landlord, it’s critical that you understand what your rights are as a landlord, what is expected of you in your role, and what the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) considers a “landlord”.
What does the RTA consider to be a legitimate landlord?
Just because you call yourself a “landlord”, doesn’t mean that the Ontario government considers you to be a legal, legitimate landlord. The RTA, which offers basic protection to landlords in Ontario, states that anybody renting out seasonal or temporary units, units which include shared kitchen or bathroom access with the “landlord” or their family members, long-term care facilities, and emergency shelters is not legally considered to be a “landlord”. This means that under these rental situations, Ontario landlords have little to no legal rights outside of small claims courts. If you rent out space in a home or building and fall under one of these rental situations, you have very little protection under the RTA, making it a far riskier situation to enter into.
Your responsibilities as a Toronto landlord
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, all landlords in Ontario are expected to fulfill a number of basic responsibilities in order to offer tenants a safe and habitable place to stay. These responsibilities include:
- Maintaining the property in good repair in accordance with provincial safety and health standards
- Providing an uninterrupted supply of basic services like electricity, heating, and hot and cold running water
- Maintaining a minimum temperature of 20oC from September 1st to June 15th
- Keeping common and shared areas clear and maintained for use by all renters in a building or shared space
- Providing all tenants with a free copy of lease and tenancy agreements and rent receipts upon request by the tenant.
All of these responsibilities must be consistently met by Ontario landlords, with absolutely none of them able to be voided by any written or verbal agreements between landlords and tenants.
Your rights as a landlord under the RTA
Most landlord protections take effect once a tenancy has begun – before that, landlords are given rights by the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code allows landlords to deny any rental application based on credit checks, income source, references, and rental histories, as long as the landlord is not discriminating on the basis of race, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and other protected statuses.
Once a tenant has been selected and the tenancy has begun, the RTA offers landlords a number of basic rights which guarantee that landlords will be able to make a return on their real estate investment, recover unpaid rent, and take legal action in the event that rent is unpaid or a rental agreement is broken. Landlords are given the right to collect rental deposits from tenants in the amount of one rental payment period, and to collect rent payments on the day agreed by the landlord and tenant on which rent is due.
Ontario landlords also have the right to evict tenants for legitimate reasons which include failure to pay rent, tenants or their guests committing illegal activities on premises, excessive damage to the property by a tenant, unreasonable disturbances caused by a tenant, misleading a landlord about income amounts on a rental application, or too many occupants living in a unit to the point where health and safety could be compromised. Landlords can also evict tenants if the landlord or a family member intends to occupy the unit, if the landlord intends to demolish or begin intensive repairs and renovations to the unit which would require a tenant to leave, or if they plan to change the usage of the rental unit.
The RTA also states that landlords have the right to increase rent up to an amount set annually by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) with appropriate written notice, enter rental units based on guidelines established by the LTB, including for the purpose of maintenance or repairs, showing it to potential purchasers, official inspections, and other legitimate reason, with 24 hours notice given to tenants.
In order to make the most out of your time as a landlord, it’s important to understand exactly what your rights and responsibilities as a Toronto landlord are. If you’re unsure of your rights, your legal standing as a landlord, or if you just need somebody to free up time for you by taking care of the more time consuming aspects of being a landlord, HighGate Properties is here for you.
HighGate Properties is a leading provider of Toronto property management and realty services, featuring a full team of real estate experts ready to guide you through a rewarding career as a landlord. Our team can take care of responsibilities like tenant screening, maintenance, and inspections so you can have more time to take care of the important things in your life.
To find out more about the residential property management services offered by HighGate Properties, get in touch with a member of our team today.