Laws That Landlords Need to Know
Just like tenants have legal obligations they must follow, being a good landlord means following the laws. Don’t think that you can do anything you want concerning tenants just because you own the property.
There need to be regulations outlining how important processes work, from when a landlord can enter their tenant’s home to when a landlord can serve an eviction. These rules set the expectations and boundaries, so that both parties can go about their everyday lives with understanding concerning their housing arrangements.
The Landlord and Tenant Board was created by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) on January 31, 2007. The RTA lays out a set of responsibilities and rights landlords and tenants must observe, and it provides a mechanism for enforcement when a dispute arises.
Here are a few of the most relevant laws that landlords need to know.
Entering the Property
Landlords need to give tenants at least 24-hour’s written notice before entering their property. Yes, it’s the landlord’s property, but it’s the tenant’s home, and controlling who is allowed in their home is perfectly understandable.
Reasons for entry include:
- To carry out repairs
- To let a potential mortgagee or insurer view the unit
- To allow qualified professionals, like an engineer or an architect, to make a necessary inspection
The tenant has the right to deny the landlord entry if the landlord fails to meet the RTA’s requirements. On the flip side, when the landlord has followed all the regulations, tenants can’t interfere with their entry into the property, even if they find the timing inconvenient.
Relying on property management companies makes being in full compliance with the laws simple — we help landlords in every step of the process to help make life easier for everyone.
Landlords cannot evict a tenant without a specific reason and must give written notice using a form from the Landlord and Tenant Board stating the reason for the eviction.
Tenants don’t have to move out after receiving the written notice. First, landlords need to receive an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. Tenants have the right to go to a hearing and explain why they shouldn’t be evicted.
Let’s explore some of the other acceptable reasons that a landlord can evict a tenant:
The landlord can evict their tenant if they want to use the unit for themselves or a family member. Also, if they’re selling the unit and the buyer intends to occupy the unit themselves.
In such a case, the landlord needs to compensate the tenant with one month’s rent or give them an alternative unit in which to live. Landlords own the property and can ultimately decide to live in it if they want to, but the rules in place ensure their tenant’s living situation is not disrupted without reason or compensation.
The landlord can evict a tenant if they want to renovate, repair, or demolish the unit. Landlords must give tenants the first right of refusal after the renovation is complete.
Likewise, the tenant must confirm in writing before the renovation that they intend on moving back in after the repairs are finished. If the landlord tries to evict a tenant without first offering them a right of refusal, tenants have two years to file a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board for compensation.
Bad Faith Evictions
The landlord is required by law to be honest about the above evictions and be acting in good faith. Landlords are required to disclose past use of no-fault evictions each time they apply for such an eviction.
Landlords may need to supply a considerable amount of compensation if they are found to have evicted a tenant in bad faith. Property management companies help you find success as a landlord in Toronto by identifying a suitable tenant, preventing these types of ugly situations from occurring in the first place.
While the ban on evictions during COVID-19 in Ontario ended in September, it’s good practice to ensure you communicate with tenants beforehand and take measures to prevent an eviction. Just because a landlord is within their legal rights to evict their tenant if they can’t pay their full right doesn’t mean doing so is inevitable.
With so many people out of work and the future continually uncertain, people may struggle to pay rent through no fault of their own. If your tenants lost their job and can’t pay rent, there may be some type of compromise available that’s mutually satisfying.
When the tenant, landlord, and the unit itself are aligned at the outset, life is smoother for everybody. Property Management Toronto creates this alignment from the beginning.
The Ontario government passed rent control legislation, freezing most rents at 2020 levels. Here is a list of the type of dwellings this applies to:
- Rented houses, apartments and condos (where the tenant moved in after November 15, 2018)
- Basement apartments
- Mobile home parks
- Affordable housing units
The rent freeze is set to end on December 31, 2021. For any rent increase set to begin after that date, landlords must provide 90-days’ notice.
There are some exceptions and fine-print. One of the perks of using property management companies as a landlord is you can sit back and know you’re in full compliance with the law without having to keep up to date as it changes.
Keeping abreast of every change to landlord-tenant law is not usually something busy real estate investors have time or inclination to do. Experienced landlords may be familiar with most of the above rules, but with the unprecedented conditions of COVID-19 causing so much uncertainty, they are all subject to change.
Property Management Toronto’s landlord legal services handle all these concerns in a way that gives you and your tenants peace of mind. We’re a turnkey-solution for landlords who also help satisfy tenants and ensure they remain for the long-term.
The landlord and tenant laws described above all have fine-print, so if you have any more questions about the laws or our services, don’t hesitate to call Property Management Toronto.