What does a typical rental lease look like in Toronto?

If you’re new to renting in Toronto, or even if you’re not brushing up on the local ins and outs of signing a lease as a tenant is pretty important. Knowing what’s part of the rules and what’s negotiable is key to a happy relationship between you and your landlord.

Whether you’re renting a house, a condo, a townhouse, apartment or any other type of dwelling in Toronto, both you and your landlord are covered under the rules set out in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act. And since no one loves reading legal documents, here is a summary of what to expect from a typical rental lease in Toronto, or anywhere in Ontario.

(For the most accurate and complete information, you should always consult the Ontario RTA rather than this article.)


Landlords are allowed to collect one month’s rent as a deposit – usually this is used to cover the rent for the last month of the tenancy. Often, landlords will use this money as a security or damage deposit for the rental.

Rent increases

Your landlord is allowed to increase your rent once a year and is supposed to give 90 days notice before doing so. The amount it can be increased is governed by the province.

Is a rental lease required?

No, a lease isn’t required and the tenancy still falls under the rules in the RTA.

Ending the tenancy

When the term of the tenancy and/or lease approaches, you and the landlord can either re-negotiate the term of the tenancy or agree to end the rental period. If the landlord wants to end the tenancy before the end date in the lease, he or she has to give notice, but the amount of notice varies depending on the reason. If you, the tenant, want to end the tenancy early, you have to give 60 days notice.


Your landlord doesn’t have to approve subletting. Some allow it, some don’t.

Late rent

If you’re late paying rent, the landlord can give you notice that the tenancy will be terminated. As of the date of receiving the notice, you, the tenant, get 14 days to pay the rent in full, or risk eviction.


Tenants are not allowed to withhold rent for repairs.

Landlord entry

Your landlord is allowed to enter the rental, but has to give 24 hours notice – unless it’s an emergency or unless the tenant consents to the landlord entering with less notice.

Changing the locks

Tenants aren’t allowed to change the locks without the landlord’s consent, and a landlord must give the tenant a key if he or she is changing the locks on the rental.

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Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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