Ontario lease agreement is just a contract between landlords and tenants. If you own a home in Ontario and would like to lease it out to a tenant, you must first be aware of the laws that determine the landlord and tenant relationship.
As a landlord of residential units in Ontario, with the help of this Ontario lease agreement, you can prepare a new agreement between you and the new tenants.
This document assists both the landlord and the tenant to have better clarity about the process.
You should also know the landlord and tenant rights before entering a new lease agreement so that both parties may remain safe. Let’s delve into those details right now.
1. Why Was the Standard Lease Agreement Introduced?
You might come across several lease agreements containing complex legal language which will be confusing to tenants. At the same time, in other cases, you can find a few landlords making illegal demands through their lease clauses that cannot be implemented legally.
This new standard lease agreement template was introduced by the Ontario government in 2018 for making the rental process easier.
Upon completion, the standard lease establishes a contract between the two parties – the landlord and the tenant referred to as the residential tenancy agreement (the standard form of lease).
Also, as per the Residential tenancies act, a lease will not be able to discard either the right or duty.
2. A Little About the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)
RTA is responsible for laying out the rights and duties of landlords and tenants, and also for planning matters involved in the rental process namely rent deposit, rent payment, providing resolutions for deposits, period till which the tenant can stay, and many others.
According to the residential tenancies act, landlords and tenants have to sign a formal lease agreement that mentions the tenancy particulars which helps safeguard both the landlord and the tenant when a dispute arises.
3. RTA Should Not be Violated
You should keep in mind that if you are a landlord, you should not prepare a lease that differs from what the RTA states. In case you do so, beware – you might be violating the law.
The standard lease is applicable only for private residential rental units, and not for land lease communities, care homes (retirement homes), cooperative housing, and also mobile home parks.
4. What Does the Ontario Residential Tenancy Agreement Contain?
If you are a landlord in Ontario, you should know about the terms and conditions available in this quite lengthy document.
Curious to know what is waiting for you in this tenancy agreement? Let us explore them one by one.
4.1. Parties to the Agreement
This is the section where you can find the legal names of the landlords and the tenants who are complying with the tenancy.
4.2. Rental Unit
This is where you get the particulars of the rental unit. Want to know what it means? It means you get to know whether the rental units are a condominium, or secondary units (for instance, basement apartments fall under this category), the address of the unit, and how many parking spaces are available.
In the case of the rental unit being a condominium, you should know whether the tenant also complies to abide by the condominium declaration, bylaws, as well as the rules the landlord sets.
4.3. Contact Details
In this section, you get to know the address of the landlord to which you can send notices as well as documents. In situations where a tenant has to provide a formal notice, this is the address to which it has to be sent.
4.3.1. Email ID
The landlord and the tenant can provide their respective email address in the space given if both of them are okay to receive formal notices through email.
The landlord and tenant board contains information on which notices are allowed to be sent through email.
4.4. Tenancy Agreement Terms
This is the section that lets you know about the date on which the tenant can occupy the rental unit, and also the duration of the tenancy.
When the tenancy agreement ends, the tenant need not worry about vacating it, renewing it, or signing a new agreement for staying.
4.4.1. What Happens Next?
What happens is that the tenant can continue staying in the rental unit under the terms of the original lease agreement.
For instance, in case of the lease agreement being a month-to-month tenancy, the tenant can remain a monthly one. In the case of weekly tenancy, the tenant can remain as a weekly one.
Here, you get to know about the total rent details. Apart from this, the frequency of the rent payment, the mode of the rent payment, and the details of the separate charges if any are provided.
4.5.1. What Do the Separate Charges Include?
Want to know what the separate charges include? Here you go. The charges for parking and other services for air conditioning provided by the landlord to the tenant fall under this separate charges category.
4.6. Services and Utilities
This is the section where you can find out the services that are covered in the base rent. There is also an option for the landlord and the tenant to agree to swap rent increases for the addition of other services.
Consider the instance, where the landlord has agreed to provide additional services namely a block heater plugin to the tenant so that their car engine can be heated up during winter.
In such cases, both the landlord and the tenant can enter into an agreement wherein they can go for a seasonal rent increase.
This is also where the landlord and tenant agree on who owns the responsibilities for utilities including electricity, and water available at the rental unit.
4.7. Rent Discounts
If the landlord agreed to a rent discount, you can find those details in this section.
4.8. Rent Deposit
Here, the landlord and the tenant agree on whether a rent deposit is necessary, and if so, what will be the amount.
You have to pay the rent deposit either at the start or before your tenancy begins. It is also impossible to use the rent deposit as a damage deposit.
4.9. Key Deposit
This is the section where you can find the tenant and landlord decide about the necessity of a key deposit, and if it is required, the amount is also decided.
If the tenant loses any keys or access cards, this key deposit is used to get a replacement. Once the tenancy ends, and all the keys are acquired by the landlord, the tenant gets back the key deposit.
According to provincial law, a tenant cannot smoke in the common areas and can do it only in the rental unit. It is also possible that your landlord may not allow smoking, and might mention the same in the lease agreement.
If a landlord finds any damages due to smoking, he can also oust his tenants.
4.11. Tenants Insurance
Here, you can find the landlord and tenant agreeing about the tenant possessing liability insurance. This insurance is responsible for the coverage of damages caused accidentally to the rental unit.
If the landlord wants the tenant to submit proof of coverage, they must do it.
4.12. Changes to the Rental Unit
Here you can find the section explaining the freedom of the tenant to install ornamental items including portraits, or window coverings.
However, the landlord’s permission is necessary for making other alterations to the unit.
4.13. Maintenance and Repairs
In this section you get to know that it is the responsibility of the landlord to take care of the rental unit, however, in case the tenant causes any undue damage, they have to take ownership and either repair or pay for the damage done.
The tenant also must maintain a clean unit unless the landlord agreed to do the same.
You cannot modify this section. In case, the landlord and the tenant decide to go for additional information, this information can be drafted as additional terms.
4.14. Assignment and Subletting
This section lets you know the fact that if the tenant wishes to assign or sublet their rental unit, the permission of the landlord is necessary.
It is also vital for you to note that the landlord cannot deny consent without any valid reasons.
4.15. Additional Terms
The other terms section provides you details where the landlord and tenant may comply with the additional terms that are tenancy specific.
In the case of the landlord and the tenant complying, the lease agreement must also contain these additional terms. These terms must be clear enough and define the dos and don’ts of the landlord and tenant.
Additional terms lay the rules that are tailored for the rental unit including those about utilizing common spaces or amenities.
4.15.1. What Are the Void Terms?
Any additional terms that have the possibility of snatching a right or duty are considered void, and cannot be implemented.
Examples of these include landlords not permitting the tenants to own a pet, not permitting visitors, and asking the tenants to pay deposits that are not falling under the act.
He was also, asking the tenants to bear the cost of repairs is actually for the landlord.
4.16. Changes to the Lease Agreement
This section informs you that in case there are any changes to the lease agreement, they should be complied with in writing.
In this section, you can find that the landlord and tenant imply that they comply to abide by the terms of the agreement.
In cases where there is more than one tenant, every tenant should fulfill their commitments including the entire rent amount.
Each landlord and tenant whose names are included in the parties to the agreement section is required to sign this section. The lease agreement can also be signed electronically if both parties comply.
Now, that is all about what the Ontario residential tenancy agreement contains. Let us move to the next part.
5. Is It Mandatory for Landlords to Have the Ontario Lease Agreement?
The answer is a definite yes. Every landlord must have this Ontario lease agreement. The timeframe within which landlords have to give the signed copy of the standard lease agreement is 21 days.
5.1. Early Tenancy Ending
If the tenant does not get hold of the standard lease from the landlord within 21 days, the tenant has the option to provide a notice asking for the tenancy to be terminated early.
6. Alterations are Prohibited in the Standard Lease Template
Landlords don’t have the authority to modify or make changes to the standard lease template. This is done to ensure that landlords don’t make any unfair changes or attach illegal clauses to the tenant.
Now, it is time for some FAQs.
Is There an Updated Standard Lease?
Yes, the standard lease contains a change. There is an updated version available, and this article explains everything about it.
When is This New Standard Lease Necessary?
This new standard lease is necessary for a residential tenancy agreement that is signed either on or after April 2018.
Are There Other Languages in Which the Ontario Standard Lease is Available?
Yes, the Ontario standard lease is available in English as well as French. Apart from this, Ontario has also prepared guides to understand their standard lease in many languages.
In What Other Languages Can You Find This Ontario Standard Lease?
Apart from English and French, the Ontario standard lease is available in 21 languages including Chinese, German, Italian, Hindi, Spanish, and many others.
To Which Buildings Are the Standard Form of Lease Applicable?
The standard form of lease is applicable only for private residential rental units. It does not apply to care homes, mobile home parks, and also cooperative housing.
Should the Tenant Vacate Immediately Once the Tenancy Agreement Ends?
No, the tenant can continue staying even if the tenancy agreement ends under the terms of the original lease agreement.
The Ontario lease agreement is very helpful for both landlord and tenants to create a residential tenancy agreement that keeps both of them safe if a dispute arises.
Due to this standard lease agreement, the landlord cannot impose any hidden or illegal clauses on the tenant, and the tenant will also be aware of their limits.
It is also vital to note that the updated version of the standard lease agreement should be used on or after April 2018. It is also quite helpful that this lease being available in various languages assists people who are new to Ontario.
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