Renting in Ontario: Your rights
Read about the laws that affect tenants and landlords in Ontario.
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Your landlord can only evict you in specific situations and must give you written notice using the proper form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The form must give the reason for eviction.
Even if your landlord gives you written notice, you don't have to move out. Your landlord must first apply for and receive an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (also known as the board). You have the right to go to a hearing and explain why you should not be evicted.
Protection against wrongful evictions
New rules under the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 and existing rules under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 help to ensure that tenants’ rights are protected.
Under the new law, the maximum fine for an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 has doubled and can be up to:
- $50,000 for an individual
- $250,000 for a corporation
Eviction for personal use
Your landlord must now give you the equivalent of one month’s rent, or offer you another unit if they:
- want to use the unit themselves
- want to use the unit for their family
- are selling the property and the purchaser will be using the unit themselves
Your landlord must also compensate you if they evict you from your unit to:
They must give you the right of first refusal to move back into the unit following the renovation. You must notify your landlord in writing before you leave that you want them to offer you the unit when they complete the renovation.
Under the new rules, if your landlord fails to provide you a right of first refusal, you will have two years, rather than one, to file a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board for compensation.
Bad faith evictions
Landlords must act in good faith when evicting a tenant for reasons that are not the tenant’s fault. This means the landlord must have honest intentions to use the rental unit for the purpose stated on the eviction notice. Landlords will also be required to disclose their past use of no-fault evictions when applying for no-fault evictions. This will give the board more information to consider when determining whether the application was made in good faith and if an eviction order should be issued.
If the board determines that a landlord has given a notice of termination in bad faith, they may make an order requiring the landlord to pay the former tenant the sum of:
- the difference between the last rent charged to the former tenant and the former tenant’s current rent in their new unit for up to a one-year period
- up to 12 months of the last rent charged to the former tenant, and
- reasonable out-of-pocket moving, storage and other expenses that the former tenant has incurred or will incur.
This applies to all bad faith evictions, including:
- where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back into the unit after repairs or renovations
- where the landlord or purchaser does not move into or use the unit themselves
The Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 encourages landlords to try to negotiate a repayment agreement with a tenant before seeking eviction if rent has not been paid during COVID-19. When a landlord applies for an eviction order for rent arrears, the Landlord and Tenant Board must now consider whether the landlord tried to work with the tenant to catch up on rent before seeking eviction. This is to encourage repayment agreements so evictions can be avoided.
Formal repayment agreement
We encourage landlords and tenants to work together to establish fair arrangements for repayment of rent. If a landlord applies to the board for an eviction based on non-payment of rent, the landlord and tenant may settle the eviction application by reaching a formal repayment agreement that is approved by the board.
We know that circumstances can change, and a tenant might suddenly be unable to meet the terms of a board-approved repayment plan. If a landlord gets an eviction order, tenants can still ask the board for a hearing to consider their circumstances before an eviction order is enforced.
Informal repayment agreement
If you are struggling to meet a repayment agreement that the board did not approve, your landlord still must apply to the board for an eviction hearing. At the hearing you would be able to explain why you were unable to follow the repayment agreement.
Repayment agreements, whether formal or informal, do not allow landlords to evict a tenant without an order from the board. Tenants will continue to be able to request a hearing at the board. The board can consider the circumstances of each case to determine whether or not an eviction order should be issued.
Landlords cannot impose repayment agreements on tenants, and tenants cannot be evicted for refusing a rent repayment plan. It’s an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 for a landlord to harass or threaten a tenant to get them to move out.
Mediation can be used to help resolve disputes faster and easier. It is less formal and intimidating than the traditional hearing process. It is intended to help start a conversation between tenants and landlords under the guidance of a neutral mediator who knows the rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.
Under the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020, the Landlord and Tenant Board may require tenants and landlords to attend a mediation session to discuss their concerns in advance of their hearing. Landlords and tenants are not required to reach an agreement.
If parties are unable to reach an agreement in mediation, a formal hearing would be held.
Landlords of most private residential rental units – from individuals to property management companies – must use the standard lease template, for all new leases.
The standard lease does not apply to care homes, sites in mobile home parks and land lease communities, most social and supportive housing, certain other special tenancies and co-operative housing.
It is written in easy-to-understand language and includes information such as:
- the rent amount and when it’s due
- what’s included in the rent (for example, air conditioning or parking)
- rules or terms about the rental unit or building (for example, no smoking)
It also has a section on renter and landlord rights and responsibilities, and explains what can (and cannot) be included in a lease. For example:
- who’s responsible for maintenance and repairs
- when your landlord can enter your unit
- that landlords can’t ban guests or pets
If you are entitled to a standard lease but didn't get one, ask your landlord in writing for a copy. Once you request it, they must give it to you within 21 calendar days. If they don't, you can withhold one month’s rent.
If you still haven't received a standard lease 30 calendar days after you withheld one month’s rent, you can keep the withheld rent.
Please note, you cannot withhold more than one month’s rent and you must continue paying your rent for the term of your lease, even if your landlord never gives you the standard lease. However, if a standard lease is not provided, special rules allow you to end your fixed-term lease early.
Who’s protected by rental rules
Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act applies to most private residential rental units, including those in single and semi-detached houses, apartments and condominiums, and secondary units (e.g., basement apartments).
Some types of rentals aren't included, such as university and college residences and commercial properties.
Rent freeze for 2021
The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.
The rent freeze applies to most tenants living in:
- rented houses, apartments and condos (including units occupied for the first time for residential purposes after November 15, 2018)
- basement apartments
- care homes (including retirement homes)
- mobile home parks
- land lease communities
- rent-geared-to-income units and market rent units in community housing
- affordable housing units created through various federally and/or provincially funded programs
While the rent freeze will end on December 31, 2021, landlords can give proper 90 days’ notice beforehand for a rent increase that takes effect in 2022.
- Above guideline increases approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board prior to October 1, 2020 may be applied to 2021 rents. New above guideline increases may still be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board and may still be applied to 2021 rents if they are for costs related to eligible capital repairs and security services, but not if they are for extraordinary increases in municipal taxes and charges.
- Tenants and landlords can still agree on rent increases in exchange for an extra service or facility (for example, air conditioning or parking)
Where to get help
Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by mail, fax, in-person or by telephone (toll free at