If you are renting a room, apartment or house in Ontario, you have many rights.
First, there are some important words you should know to help you understand your housing rights:
This is a person who is renting a room, apartment or house. If you are the one renting a place to stay, you are a tenant. You might live in a place with other tenants. They might be your family, your friends or strangers who live in the same unit as you.
This is who owns or operates the place that you are renting. Sometimes a landlord is a private person who owns a house or building. Sometimes a landlord is a company who owns a building.
This is a legal document that you (the tenant) and the landlord sign. It includes the information about the place you are renting, the names of the tenant and the landlord, the things that you agree to, and your signatures.
4. Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)
This is the group of laws in Ontario that are the rules for tenants and landlords. The RTA is important for you, because it makes sure that you have rights as a tenant. You also have responsibilities as a tenant. Landlords have rights and responsibilities too.
These are some of the important rights that you have, because of the RTA:
Can I sign a lease and rent a place if I am under 18?
What should I do if my landlord does not use the standard lease?
Some landlords do not. For example, landlords for public or subsidized housing, such as Toronto Community Housing.
Can my landlord raise my rent?
Your landlord can only raise your rent once a year and they can only raise it by the % that the RTA says they can.
Your landlord has to give you a letter saying they are going to raise the rent and telling you the amount. If you don’t know if it is correct, you can call a community legal clinic or a a refugee centre to check.
Can my landlord tell me I have to leave my apartment and find a new place to live?
Your landlord can only tell you to leave (this is called “evicting you”) if they follow the rules of the RTA. The rules are very strict.
When can they evict me?
The rules say that they can only evict you if you have done something wrong (like not paid your rent), if your landlord wants to move into your home themselves, or if your landlord wants to renovate your home.
How can they evict me?
If your landlord wants to evict you, they have to fill out an official form from the government website and give it to you explaining why they want you to leave.
Can an eviction be cancelled?
If the problem is that you didn’t pay your rent, you can pay your rent and then the problem is fixed and the eviction is cancelled.
To read more about your housing rights, see this website.