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Real Estate

What Are the Rights of a Landlord?

With the prices of real estate in Ontario soaring, many people are renting longer. So if you have been able to invest in rental properties, it can be an excellent source of income and wealth building. That is provided that you find responsible tenants who pay their rent and don’t cause damage to your property.

Because the opportunity must be balanced with the risk of renting out your property, many people ask us about their rights as landlords.

Landlord rights in Ontario under the Residential Tenancies Act

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) covers most of the rights that landlords have in Ontario. The purpose of the act is to provide a fair balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of their tenants.

It is important to remember however that just because you are renting out space, you are not necessarily a landlord. For example, according the RTA, you may not be a landlord if you are renting out a seasonal unit, or have a shared living space with a tenant.

If you do classify as a landlord under the RTA however, you have certain rights that are designed to protect you from renters that might take unreasonable action that limits your return on investment. The RTA also outlines your responsibilities as a landlord to protect the rights of your tenants such as keeping the property in good repair, ensuring access to utilities, and so forth.

The Right to Collect Rent

Because most landlord rights are designed to help ensure they receive a return on their investment, most landlord rights focus on rent. Landlords have the right to receive the full amount of rent for a rental period on the day that it is due.

While legal action is sometimes necessary to collect this rent, the provisions in the RTA make it easier for the landlord to recover unpaid amounts. To help ensure they can collect the amount that they are owed, landlords may also collect a rental deposit for up to one rental period (this amount is usually one month’s rent).

The Right to Evict Tenants

Landlords do have the right to evict tenants, but in order to also protect the rights of tenants, there are strict guidelines under the RTA for when a landlord may do this including:

  • Frequent late payments or failing to pay rent altogether.
  • When a tenant and/or their guests are committing illegal activities on the property.
  • Excessive damage to the building or rental unit caused by the tenant.
  • Unreasonable disturbances by the tenant.
  • Too many people living in the unit (according to the housing or health and safety standards).
  • Falsifying income information on a rental application.
  • The landlord or a member of their immediate family intends to move into the unit.
  • Plans to demolish the building or begin extensive repairs that make it impossible to occupy the building.
  • Plans to change the use of the building into something other than living space.

The Right to Increase Rent

The RTA gives landlords the right to increase rent, but this does have some limitations.

For example, landlords may only increase rent after a 12-month period based on when the rental contract began or 12 months after the last increase. Additionally, rent may only be increased up to a maximum percentage that is set each year by the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). This amount is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index. If a landlord wishes to raise the rent by more than this amount, they must make a formal application for permission from the LTB and justify their reasoning.

Finally, any rent increase must be preceded by a written notice to the renter 90 days prior to the increase.

The Right to Enter the Rental Unit

Under the RTA, renters have the right to privacy, but landlords must still be able to enter the premises to inspect it, conduct maintenance, and so forth. The RTA provides landlords with the right to enter the property with the following restrictions:

  • Entry is only permitted between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm.
  • The renter must be given at least 24 hours notice.
  • The landlord may enter for the following purposes:
    • Repair and maintenance.
    • To show to potential buyers.
    • Inspections for mortgage and insurance purposes.
    • Inspections for legal purposes and compliance to safety standards.
    • Other reasons as specified in the rental agreement.

Contact Levy Zavet today

If you are a landlord and you have questions about your rights – or if you require assistance in legally enforcing those rights – we are here to help. Contact us today to speak with one of our real estate lawyers.