New standard lease in effect in Ontario

The new standard lease for residential rentals came into effect April 30, a move by the Ontario government designed to help both tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities and avoid disputes.

Most landlords are now required to use the new format for leases signed after April 30, 2018. The templated lease has basic information such as names and addresses, the total rent and when it is due, and any rules or terms about the rental unit or building. It’s to be used for tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condominiums and secondary units, such as basement apartments.

Requiring a standardized format for everyone reduces the use of illegal terms and potential misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements. This will make it easier for landlords to conduct their business and for tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities. Also available is an easy-to-understand general information guide on renting in Ontario. The standard lease and the guide are available in 23 languages.

If a landlord does not use the new lease for tenancies entered into on or after April 30, renters can ask for one. If the landlord doesn’t provide it within 21 days, the tenant can withhold one month’s rent. The standard lease does not apply to most social and supportive housing, co-operative housing, retirement and nursing homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities, and commercial properties.

The standard lease is part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, which also included expanded rent control. As of April 20, 2017, 1.3 million residential rental households became protected from sudden, unexpected rent increases – including all private market rental units, whether they are in apartment buildings, rented condominiums or homes. In 2018, rent increases are capped at 1.8 per cent and future increases cannot exceed 2.5 per cent unless the landlord has the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Related reading:

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Will Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan help renters?

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