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Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Brochure: Information for New Tenants

Landlords must provide this information to new tenants on or before the date the tenancy begins.

The Law

Most residential tenancies are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (the RTA). This law:

  • gives landlords and tenants specific rights and responsibilities,
  • provides rules for increasing the rent and for evicting a tenant, and
  • creates the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).


Some rental units are not covered under the RTA. For example, the RTA does not apply:

  • if the tenant must share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner, or the owner’s family members
  • if the unit is used on a seasonal or temporary basis

The role of the Landlord and Tenant Board is to:

  • inform landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the RTA, and
  • resolve disputes between landlords and tenants through mediation or adjudication, or by providing information.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right to:

    • security of tenancy – You can continue to live in your rental unit until you give your landlord proper notice that you intend to move out, you and your landlord agree that you can move, or your landlord gives you a notice to end your tenancy for a reason allowed by the RTA.

Important: If your landlord gives you a notice to end your tenancy, you do not have to move out. Your landlord must apply to the LTB to get an order to evict you and you will have the right to go to a hearing and explain why your tenancy should not end.

  • privacy – Your landlord can only enter your rental unit for the reasons allowed by the RTA. In most cases, before entering your unit, your landlord must give you 24 hours written notice. There are some exceptions, however, such as in the case of an emergency or if you agree to allow the landlord to enter.

You are responsible for:

  • paying your rent on time.
  • keeping your unit clean, up to the standard that most people would consider ordinary or normal cleanliness.
  • repairing any damage to the rental property caused by you or your guests – whether on purpose or by not being careful enough.

You are not allowed to:

  • change the locking system on a door that gives entry to your rental unit unless you get your landlord’s permission.

Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Your landlord has the right to:

  • collect a rent deposit – It cannot be more than one month’s rent, or if rent is paid weekly, one week’s rent. This deposit must be used as the rent payment for the last month or week of your tenancy. It cannot be used for any other reason, such as to pay for damages. A landlord must pay interest on the deposit every year.
  • increase the rent – There are special rules that limit how often your landlord can increase the rent and by how much. In most cases, a landlord can increase the rent only once a year by the guideline that is set by the Ontario Government. A landlord must give a tenant at least 90 days notice in writing of any rent increase and this notice must be on the proper form. Exceptions: Non-profit and public housing units, residences at schools, colleges and universities, and certain other accommodation are not covered by all the rent rules.

Your landlord is responsible for:

  • keeping the rental property in a good state of repair and obeying health, safety and maintenance standards.
  • providing you with a copy of your written tenancy agreement within 21 days after the day you signed it and gave it to your landlord. For most tenancy agreements first entered into on or after April 30, 2018, the landlord must use the standard lease form entitled Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease).

Your landlord is not allowed to:

  • shut off or deliberately interfere with the supply of a vital service (heat, electricity, fuel, gas, or hot or cold water), care service or food that your landlord must provide under your tenancy agreement. However, your landlord is allowed to shut-off services temporarily if this is necessary to make repairs.
  • take your personal property if you don’t pay your rent and you are still living in your rental unit.
  • lock you out of your rental unit unless your landlord has an eviction order from the LTB and the Sheriff comes to your rental unit to enforce it.
  • insist that you pay your rent by post-dated cheque or automatic debit. These ways of paying your rent can be suggested, but you cannot be refused a rental unit or evicted for refusing to give them.

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3 thoughts on “Tenant Rights and Responsibilities”

  • Lorna McDowell

    December 5, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    My tenant had an eviction date of Nov. 15/2021 and didn’t leave. He hasn’t paid first, or last month’s rent and won’t leave. What is my next step?

  • John Dickson

    February 27, 2022 at 10:59 am

    My landlord is evicting me because she had to call Orkin a second time inside a year when I complained about bed bugs returning

  • Lisa

    March 31, 2022 at 5:00 am

    I have asked my landlord several times to fix a water leak issue. One was already apparent when I moved in June 25/2020 & the other water leak began approximately August 2021 after new roofing was completed. There is now water damage & leaking from the 2nd issue that he was informed of. He has received photos & video of what needs to be fixed. When I stated that I’d like to get an air quality & mold test done just to be cautious, he suggested if I’m not happy that I could move. I stated that I am happy with the rental unit & simply wanted the issue fixed. He has since sent me a text message saying if the damage is extensive, he would likely move in to fix it himself. As well, he has shown up recently to give me an N12 form stating he will move in “due to work” & that his moving in is unrelated to the damage that needs to be fixed. He has entered the unit & stated that it is due to an issue with the upstairs unit which will be taken care of but this damage down here is “not that bad”.
    I have a child & don’t want to have to find a new place with only 2 months to find it. I left a domestic violence situation less than 2 years ago & still dealing with the stress of that. Do I have to end my tenancy if I just wanted the issue fixed?


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