5 Rental Laws You Should Know Before Signing A Lease


Rental laws in Ontario do a lot to protect renters, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them before signing a lease agreement. Whether you’ve been renting for years or you’re venturing off to school and getting your first apartment, there’s a lot of legislation around tenancy you may not know! Read on for our top 5 rental laws you should know before signing a lease.

Your Landlord Can Require You To Get Tenant Insurance

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Also called renter’s insurance or content insurance, this has nothing to do with protecting the building, which is a landlord’s responsibility. Instead, this is something you as a tenant pay yourself and protects you and your belongings in case of an accident. There are a variety of different policies depending on the company you choose but you can expect they’ll cover the following:

  • Liability: This protects you in case of accidents involving visitors in your home
  • Contents: Think of this as everything you have brought into your unit, such as your clothes, electronics, jewellery, etc.
  • Additional Living Expenses: in case of an accident that renders your home temporarily untenable, this covers the costs associated with living somewhere else.

As you can see, all of these could save you a lot of costs in case of an accident. While it’s not mandatory to have renter’s insurance, many landlords stipulate it in their leases, which is allowed under Ontario rental laws. Think of renter’s insurance as a benefit instead of an extra cost, since it’s really there to protect you and will only cost you an additional $20-$30 per month.

Your Landlord Can Enter Your Unit to Perform Repairs But Only if They Give Notice

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If repairs are needed in your apartment, your landlord must send you a note with 24 hours notice explaining they’ll be entering your home. Additionally, rental laws state they must enter between 8am and 8pm and have a valid reason for entering, such as checking your oven is working or showing the unit to a prospective tenant. However, if there is an emergency, such as a fire or flood, your landlord may enter without notice.

You Have the Right to Comfortable Home Temperatures

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Rental laws that require a home to be kept to a minimum of 20C during the chilly winter season will be good news for Toronto renters! Not only is that true, but that base temperature must be kept from September 1st all the way to June 15th. There is no equivalent rule for the summer; however, if your unit is equipped with air conditioning, it must be kept at a temperature of no more than 26C between June and September. Further, if your AC is provided by your landlord and it breaks or needs repairs, it is their responsibility to fix it.

If You Don’t Sign A New Lease You Move to Month to Month Tenancy After One Year

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Provided your lease isn’t explicitly terminated and you don’t sign a new one, under Ontario rental laws you will then move into a month to month tenancy. This means you would only have to give 60 days notice if you wanted to move. However, it also means if your landlord wants to occupy your unit or have their family move in, they also would only be required to give you 60 days notice. In short, if you’re planning on staying in your rental long term, you may want to sign a new lease to protect yourself.

There Are Specific Rules About How Much Your Landlord Can Raise Your Rent And How Often

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As of September 2019, the lawful amount your landlord can increase your rent is 1.8 of the total monthly rent of the unit (it will go up to 2.2 in January of 2020). Your landlord can only increase the rent once every 12 month period, which is counted either from the last increase or your move-in date. Your landlord should also give you written notice 90 days before the increase.  There are certain special cases where your landlord might apply to the Landlord And Tenant Board to increase the rent by more than 1.8 percent; usually if renovations have been done on your unit.

There’s a lot of information to sift through on your rights as a tenant, but we hope this condensed list has cleared things up for you! For more information on renting, visit the Landlord and Tenant Board. Don’t forget to follow along on the Medallion blog and happy renting!