Renting in Toronto is subject to some laws and regulations that many tenants might not know about! (Honestly, no one really wants to read the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act of 2006.)
So we put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about renting in Toronto, and found the answers for you!
Please note, though, that since we’re not going to copy the Act for you here, these answers may not be 100% complete, and consulting the Act, especially for legal reasons and disputes, is always recommended for the most accurate info.
Q: Can I break my lease?
A: You can try, however you might be subject to fees imposed by the landlord. Most rentals in Toronto require a signed 12-month lease, and landlords will often require that you pay the rent for the remaining months, even if you leave earlier. However, friendly negotiations with your landlord, including helping him or her find a great new tenant to replace you, can encourage your landlord not to charge a fee.
In addition, tenants on a month-to-month rental cannot legally be charged a fee for breaking the “lease” – as long as you give the landlord 60 days notice before moving out.
Q: How do rental evictions work in Toronto?
A: There are several reasons why you could be evicted from your rental: non-payment of rent, allowing or performing illegal acts on the property, damaging the property, risking the safety of your neighbours, disrupting the peace of your neighbours, or breaking the terms of your lease, including subletting if it’s not allowed, and breaking the apartment building bylaws. You’re definitely going to want to have a better read through the Act for full details on this.
Q: Can my landlord raise my rent?
A: Yes – Ontario laws state that your landlord can increase your rent once every 12 months for as long as you live in that unit, and the landlord must give you 90 days notice of increasing the rent – if you don’t get that much notice, you don’t have to pay the increase, but you still have to pay rent.
Q: Do I have to pay a damage deposit?
A: Landlords are allowed to take the last month’s rent for your tenancy as a deposit, at the start of your tenancy. In addition, landlords can ask tenants to pay a damage deposit, or security deposit in addition to the last month’s rent, and if you agree to it, you have to pay. Ensure you get receipts for any deposits you pay on an apartment.
Q: Is my landlord allowed to lock me out of my apartment?
A: No… Unless the landlord has an eviction order that’s been issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Otherwise, it’s illegal for the landlord to lock you out.
Q: When can my landlord enter my apartment in Toronto?
A: Your landlord or property manager is allowed to enter pretty much whenever he or she wants – but the law requires the landlord or property manager to give you, the tenant, at least 24 hours notice before entering, and that notice must state the time that he/she will enter. Be aware that your landlord can enter without giving notice in the case of emergencies, or if the lease is being terminated.
Q: Do I need a receipt for paying rent and the damage deposit?
A: Not necessarily. It’s not required that your landlord gives you a receipt – unless you request it. Getting a receipt is always a good idea, so you have a paper record of what’s been paid, and on what date.
Q: My apartment needs repairs. Who is responsible for completing them: me or my landlord?
A: Repairs to appliances, walls, flooring, windows, heating and plumbing systems, and other things that are part of the apartment are the responsibility of the landlord, unless you cause damage that’s in excess of usual wear and tear. If you ask your landlord to fix something and he or she doesn’t, make your request again in writing. If the problem still isn’t fixed within a reasonable amount of time, you might be able to ask for a rent deduction in some circumstances, although many landlords are willing to renegotiate your rent in exchange for you doing repairs. Make sure you always get any agreements made in writing for your protection.