What Are My Rights as a Landlord?
It’s easy to think that owning a home means you have sovereign control over it when it comes to being a landlord. Actually, being a landlord entails abiding by specific responsibilities in exchange for enjoying rights.
If you need some information to get help becoming a landlord in Ontario, read on to learn more about the rights landlords enjoy as laid out by the Residential Tenancies Act.
Landlords have the right to determine the monthly rent cost of their unit, which the renter agrees to in the contract. In most cases, this figure is not allowed to increase until after 12 months have elapsed since the tenant first moved in or since the last increase.
So long as the landlord gives 90 days’ notice and uses the proper N1, N2, or N3 form from the Landlord and Tenant Board, they can increase the rent. However, the limit on the monthly rental increase is determined each year by the Ontario Government, and it’s based on the Consumer Price Index. Also, there may be a temporary rent freeze depending on the timing.
Landlords don’t need to get any approval if they want to raise the rent by this figure, but they do require LTB approval if they want to increase it by more than this guideline, which is usually only approved for three reasons:
- The landlord has undergone significantly higher costs in relation to municipal taxes and charges
- The landlord has done major repairs or renovations (known as capital expenditures)
- The landlord has operating costs for security services performed by people who do not work for the landlord
There are limits on what the rent increase can be when it comes to the above reasons, so please read the government website for more detailed information.
Knowing Who Lives in Your Unit
The landlord must know who is living in their unit and who has tenant rights. For example, a renter is not allowed to move into a unit, and then sub-lease a room in that unit and collect a share of the rent without the landlord’s knowledge.
Only the person named on the signed lease is in a formal agreement with the landlord. Of course, a tenant can have visitors to their unit and doesn’t need to tell the landlord each time someone enters and exits the property.
But the landlord only has obligations toward the person named on the lease. If the laws are set up to be a two-way street between landlords and tenants, it’s only fair that no third-parties are included without the landlord’s knowledge.
Tenant to Keep a Clean Home and Damage-Free
One of the major responsibilities of a tenant is effectively a right that landlords enjoy — a tenant must keep the rental unit “clean” to the standard most people would consider ordinary or normal cleanliness. If a tenant or one of their guests causes damage to the unit or a common space in the building, they must pay for it themselves.
This is true whether the damage was caused deliberately or by accident, but it doesn’t apply to normal “wear and tear.” For example, if the unit has carpet inside, the tenant won’t be expected to pay for a new one after it’s worn down over the years.
If a tenant refuses to repair the damage they caused, the landlord can apply to the LTB to order the tenant to make a payment. If a tenant refuses to pay or withholds rent or even part of their rent because they feel maintenance is poor or non-existent, they can legally be evicted without requiring LTB approval.
Entering the Property
It’s easy to imagine why a tenant would want to have control over who comes in and out of their home. Landlords are not allowed to just waltz in unannounced unless there is an emergency, such as a fire.
Landlords can enter the premises without written notice if they have the tenant’s permission or if a care home tenant has agreed in writing that the landlord can enter to check in on their condition.
Landlords may enter the property between 8 am-8 pm if they give 24-hours’ written notice for the following reasons:
- To make repairs or do work
- To inspect to see if the unit needs work in the future
- To allow a mortgagee or insurer to view the unit
- To allow a potential purchaser of the unit to see it first
- For other reasonable purposes outlined in the rental agreement
The notice must include why the landlord needs to enter the property, and must state what time they’ll be there, and it must be in a window between 8 am and 8 pm. So long as the landlord has the proper notice, they can enter the premises even if the tenant isn’t currently home.
Upon Ending the Tenancy
Assuming the tenant pays a monthly rent, they must give their landlord 60-days’ notice to end their tenancy. Landlords need time to ensure they can secure another tenant and touch up the unit, so it’s ready for someone new.
Landlords have the right to evict a tenant, but they must demonstrate clear reasons first. First, the landlord must give the tenant written notice via forms from the LTB.
If the tenant refuses to move out, the landlord can file an application to have the LTB end the tenancy. A hearing will determine if the tenancy should end, which both the landlord and the tenant have the right to attend. Our landlord tenant services help prevents this situation from occurring by securing a great tenant at the outset.
Evictions are an important part of a landlord’s rights, as there could be a situation where a tenant disrespects or mistreats the property. In a pandemic, with job loss soaring, evictions are a very sensitive topic. To be a successful landlord with a happy tenant, be sure to talk to your tenants if their work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There could be a temporary pause in evictions due to the pandemic, so also be sure to check for up-to-date information.
Landlords make an investment in property and take on risk by having strangers live inside their homes. Their rights are an important aspect of society’s approach to housing. The best investment property companies help you find a great tenant, which prevents some of these disaster scenarios requiring landlords to invoke their rights in the first place.