Author: Marshall Yarmus
Date Posted: July 15 2019
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) only applies if you have a written lease
Myth: A tenancy agreement in Ontario Canada can be written, oral, or implied. Landlord and Tenant statutory rights and obligations under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act are the same regardless of the form of the agreement.
Landlords can include a “not pet” provision in the lease
Myth: A no pet provision in a lease is void. Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act states:
“No pet” provisions void
14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void. 2006, c. 17, s. 14.”
However, case law dealing with condominiums have found otherwise. If the tenant lives in a condominium, the landlord must provide the tenant a copy of the condominium corporation’s declarations and by-laws. If the condominium corporation has made a declaration or by-law that there are no pets allowed in the entire building that may be enforceable against a tenant as it is against ever unit owner in the building.
A landlord can arbitrarily refuse the subletting or assignment of a tenancy
Myth: The RTA permits a tenant to sublet or assign their lease. The tenant must request permission from the landlord to do so; however the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse the sublet or assignment request.
These terms subtenant and subletting are often misused by landlords and tenants in Ontario. Section 2(2) of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) defines subletting as:
“2(2) For the purposes of this Act, a reference to subletting a rental unit refers to the situation in which,
(a) the tenant vacates the rental unit;
(b) the tenant gives one or more other persons the right to occupy the rental unit for a term ending on a specified date before the end of the tenant’s term or period; and
(c) the tenant has the right to resume occupancy of the rental unit after that specified date. 2006, c. 17, s. 2 (2).”
Section 97(4) and (5) of the RTA state:
“Consequences of subletting
(4) If a tenant has sublet a rental unit to another person,
(a) the tenant remains entitled to the benefits, and is liable to the landlord for the breaches, of the tenant’s obligations under the tenancy agreement or this Act during the subtenancy; and
(b) the subtenant is entitled to the benefits, and is liable to the tenant for the breaches, of the subtenant’s obligations under the subletting agreement or this Act during the subtenancy. 2006, c. 17, s. 97 (4).
(5) A subtenant has no right to occupy the rental unit after the end of the subtenancy. 2006, c. 17, s. 97 (5).”
If the landlord rented the apartment with an “As is” clause in the lease the tenant cannot complain about maintenance issues which existed before they moved in.
Myth: Section 3 of the RTA states the act applies despite any waiver or agreement to the contrary. Section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTA state:
“Landlord’s responsibility to repair
20 (1) A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. 2006, c. 17, s. 20 (1).
(2) Subsection (1) applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering into the tenancy agreement. 2006, c. 17, s. 20 (2).”
The Human Rights Code does not apply to Ontario tenancies covered by the Residential Tenancies Act
Myth: Every landlord has a duty to accommodate a tenant’s code related ground, such as a disability, to the point of undue hardship. To do so the tenant must advise the landlord of disability, and seek accommodation from the landlord.
Even if the tenant does not tell the landlord about the disability, the landlord cannot be willfully blind. If a disability is obvious, the landlord will be considered to have constructive knowledge of it and therefore should have attempted to address the issue with the tenant prior to taking steps to evict the tenant.
Landlord’s obligations to accommodate under the Human Rights Code are complicated. This is just an overview of the law.
See Landlord and Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline 17 for more information.
Interpretation Guideline 17 states in part:
“Relief from eviction
In Walmer Developments v. Wolch the Divisional Court held that the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (now the Board) must consider and apply the Code when exercising its authority to grant relief from eviction. A Member considers such relief pursuant to section 83 of the RTA. Section 83 states that the Member must have regard to all the circumstances to determine whether it would be unfair to refuse the landlord’s eviction application or postpone the enforcement of the eviction order.
If the Member determines that the landlord has failed to accommodate a tenant covered by one or more of the categories contained in subsection 2(1) of the Code up to the point of undue hardship, the Member must consider relief from eviction in accordance with clause (a) of subsection 83(1) of the RTA. However, even if relief is granted, the Member may still consider whether other types of conditions and requirements should be ordered to address the conduct or problem at issue. The authority to make such orders comes from subsection 204(1) of the RTA.”
My lease has expired. My tenancy is now on a month to month basis. Terms of the expired written lease no longer apply
Myth: At the expiry of a written lease the tenancy continues on a month to month basis indefinitely on the same terms and conditions contained in the written lease. Evictions based on behavior of the tenant that are contrary to the written lease can still be the subject of an eviction application to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
Landlord and tenant applications to the LTB can be complicated. Even cases that start out as straight forward can become complicated at a hearing. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant bringing or defending an application at the Landlord and Tenant Board your best weapon to hire an experienced licensed, trained, and insured Paralegal Ontario.