Becoming a landlord to a rental unit you’ve just purchased as an investment property can be a great way to create some extra income. However, there are some things you should know before you decide to sign on for the job. Both tenants and landlords have rights, rules and regulations they must follow, and a very strict code of conduct is in order between the two parties. Let’s take a look at some of the rules all Ontario landlords must follow.
Keeping Up With Maintenance
It is required in Ontario that all landlords provide and maintain a residential complex, including all rental units within it, with a good state of repair and living conditions that comply with all health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. In simpler terms, if it breaks, it’s on you! Anything from clogged toilets to leaky windows are your responsibility. Whether you can fix them yourself or you have to call in a repairman, keeping up with all maintenance of the rental is your responsibility. Something to consider is the additional costs of repairs if you’re not Mr. Fix-It and will be needing a hired handyman.
This obligation even applies if the tenant was made aware of the state of non-repair before entering into the tenancy agreement.
Providing Vital Services
Legally, a landlord can at no time during a tenant’s occupancy withhold a reasonable supply of any vital service. This includes heat, electricity, fuel, gas and both hot & cold water. Failure to provide any of these services can result in a messy lawsuit and termination of lease agreements. And believe it or not, the Landlord & Tenant Act states that heat must be made available to a tenant from September 1 to June 15 of each year, regardless of the exterior temperature.
No Permitted Entry
A landlord is not allowed to enter a unit without signed agreement at any time, with the exception of emergency or notice. In order to legally gain access to a rental unit, you must provide notice of at least 24 hours, have signed consent and can only do so between the hours of 8am and 8pm. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. If a state of emergency occurs, such as a fire or flood, a landlord can access the unit without either notice or consent. Also, if the landlord has proof or strong suspicion of damages or eviction-worthy behaviour, they can enter a unit without consent for inspection, as long as you provide notice to inform tenant of your intention. Lastly, if the lease has been terminated, written consent to access the unit to show to new potential renters is not required, however given notice is required of the landlord.
In that same breath, preventing your tenant from entering their unit is also not permitted. At no point prior to a legal termination of lease agreement or eviction application approval can a landlord interfere, threaten or harass a tenant to prevent them from entering the rental unit. More so, it is illegal for you as a landlord to change the locks on a rental unit without notifying the tenant and giving them new keys.
While it may seem that much of the burden falls on the landlord, you do have some rights as well. As a landlord, you have the right to collect a rent deposit, however, with a value of no more than one rental period, of either a month or weeks rent, depending on the lease you offer. You also have the right to the collection of rent in full amount and on the agreed upon date and time. Failure to receive this can permit you to file eviction against your tenant.
With the collection of rent, you are also entitled to alter the rate of rent each year. Every 12 months, all landlords in Ontario are allowed to raise their rent a maximum of 2%, providing they give their tenant 90 days notice of the changes.
Lastly, as a landlord you have the right to evict a tenant. Under the Landlord & Tenant Act, you are allowed to file for eviction of a tenant if they have caused damage, not paid their rent on agreed dates and amounts, lied on their application, have unapproved additional tenants, illegal activity or are unreasonably disturbing to you or other tenants. However, you are not allowed to evict a tenant because of children or pets, provided neither cause any of the aforementioned problems.
It is important to know your rules and rights before you decide to become a landlord. While it can be a financially rewarding move, you’ll want to make sure you are covered for any legal liabilities. If you have any questions about obtaining a mortgage or renewing a mortgage for your new, potential or existing rental property please give me a call at 705-315-0516. I’m always happy to help answer any questions or concerns you may have to help make sure your dream home or investment property is well taken care of.