Ontario has released a new standardized lease agreement for private residential rental units which includes: single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condos and secondary units (eg. primary residence renting basement). A standard lease is not required for tenancies that have special rules or partial exemptions under the RTA including care homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities, and social and supportive housing exempt from the rent rules.
Starting April 30, 2018, landlords are required to use the standard lease template for all new agreements signed.
Purpose of the standard lease
The standard lease uses easy-to-understand language to help:
- landlords and renters understand their rights and responsibilities
- reduce illegal terms in leases and misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements
- reduce the need for Landlord and Tenant Board hearings to resolve disputes
What is in a standard lease?
The standard lease form contains:
1. Mandatory fields that must be completed and cannot be altered or removed.
These fields include basic information that is included in every lease, including:
- the names of the landlord and renter
- the tenancy term, rent amount and services included
- other terms which landlords and renters can agree to, such as rent deposits, key deposits, smoking rules, and renter’s insurance
2. Optional additional terms, which allow landlords and renters to agree to terms or responsibilities that are unique to the rental unit.
Additional terms not consistent with a mandatory term of the lease or the RTA, are considered void and unenforceable.
3. General information for landlords and renters on rights, responsibilities and void/unenforceable conditions, including:
- ending a tenancy
- illegal charges
- landlord entry
What you need to know prior to April 30, 2018:
- any existing leases signed do not need a new lease signed
- tenants cannot ask for a standardized lease if the agreement was signed prior to the date unless the landlord and tenant negotiated a new lease agreement with new terms on or after this date
- tenants cannot ask for a standard lease if a signed fixed-term agreement was before the date and the agreement automatically renews to a month-to-month tenancy after the date
What you need to know on or after April 30, 2018:
- new leases signed on or after the date that is not a standard lease, tenants will have the right to ask the landlord for a standardized lease in writing. If the landlord does not provide the tenant with a new standardized lease within 21 days of the request, the tenant can withhold one month’s rent
- tenants cannot withhold more than one month’s rent if a new standard lease is not provided within 30 days
- if the landlord does not provide a standard lease, there are special rules that allow the tenants to end the fixed-term agreement early
Ending a tenancy early
If the landlord does not provide the standard lease within 21 days after the renter has made a written request, the renter may give 60 days’ notice to terminate a yearly or fixed-term tenancy early.
If the landlord provides a renter with the standard lease after the renter has asked for it, but the renter does not agree to the proposed terms (for example, a new term is added), the renter may give the landlord 60 days’ notice to terminate a yearly or fixed-term tenancy early.
To terminate a tenancy early in this case, the renter must give the 60 days’ notice no later than 30 days after the landlord provided the standard lease.
In both cases, the effective date for termination must be the last day of a rental period (for example, the end of a month).