Residential Tenancies Act
What renters and landlords need to know!
In January, 2007, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) replaced the Tenant Protection Act (TPA). Also, on this date, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal became the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Two years have passed, yet, many tenants and landlords are still unfamiliar with the changes that this legislation generated.
One of the key changes that affects all applications is the provision that there are no longer default orders. What this means is that if an application is filed, a hearing must be held FIRST – before any order is issued. This hearing will review all the relevant circumstances surrounding the application and will consider granting, delaying or refusing a tenant’s eviction if circumstances warrant.
Tenants who are being evicted for rent arrears can now raise other issues at a hearing. As long as the issues raised could be dealt with on another Landlord and Tenant Board application, a tenant can now raise these issues in defence of their rent arrears. For example: “ I didn’t pay my rent because my toilet is broken and my landlord refuses to fix it.”
There are many other changes affecting tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act legislation.
For more information or assistance — tenants can call 461-3935 or attend the
Elliot Lake and North Shore Community Legal Clinic at 31 Nova Scotia Walk (Elnos Building) Suite 300.
THE TOP 10 THINGS EVERY TENANT AND LANDLORD SHOULD KNOW….
- You CANNOT be evicted for filing a Residential Tenancies Act application
against your landlord. The Tribunal was set up to give Landlords and Tenants
a venue to solve their disputes.
- Your landlord is legally obligated to provide you with rent receipts if you ask
for them. If your landlord refuses to do so, you can call the Investigations Unit at 1-888-772-9277.
- You CAN be evicted during the winter months. However, no matter what
time of year it is, you Landlord must obtain an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board before he or she can evict you.
- Your landlord cannot evict you for having a pet unless your pet is damaging
the unit or common areas, or interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants.
- Your landlord must pay you interest on your last month’s rent deposit once
- Your landlord can only raise your rent once per year after giving you 90 days
notice and it can only be raised in accordance with the rent increase guideline
set by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The guideline for 2008 was 1.4%. The guideline for 2009 is 1.8%. If your landlord wishes to raise your rent above the guideline then he or she must file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board and get a legally binding order permitting him or her to do so.
- Your landlord cannot charge you for any deposit that is not meant to be used
as a first or last month’s rent deposit. He or she can ask you to pay a deposit for keys or an access card but the amount cannot be more than it would cost to replace these items.
- You are required to give a 60 notice in writing to your landlord prior to moving out, if you are on a “month to month” lease agreement. If you move out without providing 60 day written notice – you may be breaking your lease, and your landlord can hold you financially responsible for the rent until the end of your lease agreement unless the landlord is able to rent the unit before the lease is up.
- Your landlord can enter your unit without notice only when there is an
emergency or your tenancy agreement says that your landlord is to provide you with cleaning services. Otherwise, your landlord must give you written
notice 24 hours in advance and can only enter between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. with your permission.
- You cannot hold back your rent. You must pay your rent even if there are
maintenance issues that your landlord is not taking care of. There are applications you can file in order to ask for a rent abatement (adjustment), but you must continue to pay your rent otherwise your landlord can take you to the Landlord and Tenant Board for arrears of rent and possibly have you evicted.
For information or assistance contact the Elliot Lake and North Shore Community Legal Clinic at 461-3935 or the Landlord and Tenant Board office in Sudbury at 1-866-410-1399.