The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) covers most residential rental units in Ontario including mobile homes, care homes and rooming and boarding houses. However, there are situations where a rental unit is not covered.
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
Many of the provisions and protections in the RTA about rent do not apply to:
- non-profit and public housing
- university and college residences
Most of the other provisions and protections, like the ones about maintenance and the reasons for eviction, do apply. The RTA does not apply to commercial tenancies.
For more information, see the brochure: A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.
A tenancy agreement (also called a lease) is a contract between a landlord and tenant. In the contract, the tenant agrees to pay rent to live in a rental unit provided by the landlord. The landlord and tenant may also promise to do certain things for each other and to follow certain rules.
A tenancy agreement can be oral or written, but it is better to have a written agreement in case there is a dispute.
For care home rental arrangements, a written rental agreement is required. To find out what needs to be included in a care home agreement, see the brochure: Rules for Care Homes.
A tenancy agreement must give the legal name and address of the landlord so that the tenant knows where to send any notices or documents that are required under the RTA.
A tenancy agreement may also contain information about:
- the date the tenant will move into the rental unit
- the rent amount
- the date rent is to be paid
- what services are included in the rent (such as electricity or parking) and any charges that are not included
- rules that the landlord requires tenants to follow.
Any parts of the agreement that are contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act will not be valid.
The LTB cannot tell you what information should be included or how to draft a tenancy agreement. The landlord and tenant need to make this decision. You might want to get legal help before signing or drafting an agreement.
A landlord must give all new tenants the brochure: Information for New Tenants, which includes information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the LTB and how to contact the LTB. The landlord must give the tenant the brochure on or before the day the tenancy begins, even if the tenant does not move in on that date.
The landlord has 21 days after the tenant has signed and returned the tenancy agreement to give the tenant a copy with the signatures of both the tenant and the landlord.
Where there is no written tenancy agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with his or her legal name and address within 21 days of the start of the tenancy.
If the landlord does not give the tenant a copy of the signed tenancy agreement within 21 days or, if there is no written agreement and the landlord doesn't provide the tenant with their legal name and address within 21 days, the tenant can refuse to pay some or all the rent. However, once the landlord provides the tenant with the document(s), the tenant must immediately pay all the rent that they withheld. If the tenant refuses, the landlord could apply to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent.