In the past, rental lease agreements were known to be a vague and finicky contract that a landlord would provide and a tenant would sign. Landlords would often find a lease agreement on the internet, print a couple copies, make a couple of last minute adjustments, and sign them. They tended to be riddled with useless legal jargon that neither parties fully understood and exhibited outdated clauses that were not only inapplicable for the area in which they were being used, but also illegal by nature.
This method could open investment property owners up to a host of unnecessary conflicts and legal issues with their tenants, which could only be resolved through the Landlord and Tenant Board. Depending on the issues, the fees could end up being costly for both parties.
On April 30 2018, the Government of Ontario created a standardized lease for landlords and investment property owners across the province that uphold the laws found in the Residential Tenancies Act. This legally binding document is designed to be a manual for both tenants and investment property owners, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both parties in a language that is devoid of confusing legal jargon and illegal clauses. The aim is to help renters and investment property owners understand their rights and responsibilities, while cutting down on the need for Landlord and Tenant Board intervention for petty conflicts and disputes.
The updated Ontario standard lease template is now required by law and investment property owners should familiarize themselves with the document. As of April 30th, landlords are now required to provide a copy of the document to new tenants wishing to rent out their units. If the lease was signed before the 30th of April, it is at the landlord’s discretion whether or not the existing lease should be updated with the updated Ontario standard lease template.
Renters however, are unable to ask their landlords to update their existing leases if they signed a fixed-term lease before April 30th, 2018. Unless the landlord opens discussions and both parties choose to discuss a new lease agreement with new conditions, the existing lease will be upheld by the law enforced when it was signed. However, any renewed leases will automatically be updated with the new standardized lease.
Landlords will ultimately shoulder the responsibility of providing the document for their rental unit and there are some unfortunate consequences if they fail to abide by the new law.
If the landlord neglects their duty to provide the updated template for the lease within the first 21 days, the renter is within their rights to withhold the next month’s rent.
If the landlord continues to fail in providing the standardized lease after 30 days, the renter will not be required to repay the rent they had withheld. The renter must provide this request in writing beforehand for this to be applicable.
The Updated Standardized Lease is created to be user friendly and easily understood.
Here is some information on what investment property owners can expect to see with the Updated Ontario Standard Lease.
Permanently Required Fields
The updated standardized lease contains certain areas in the lease that cannot be altered or changed. These fields hold the basic and necessary information for both parties. Every lease will include the names of the landlord and tenant, rental amount, services included, tenancy period, and any other conditions and agreements the landlord and tenant have agreed upon. These conditions are limited to what the law will allow a landlord to expect of their tenants. The lease will also include further information on renters insurance, rules in regards to smoking, and depositing the rent.
Each unique rental unit or property requires different terms and responsibilities to keep it running smoothly. The updated standardized lease requires all agreements between landlord and tenant be formally agreed upon and must work with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Any additional rules that do not comply with the RTA and mandatory terms of the lease are considered void and cannot be enforced.
The updated Ontario standard lease also summarizes both the landlord’s and tenants rights, the responsibilities both parties are expected to uphold, and unenforceable contentions, such as the refusal of pets. Other topics such as when and how a tenancy will end, the issues surrounding subletting, illegal charges, a discussion of permittance of guests, and landlord entry is examined in full.
The updated standardized lease is required of all investment property owners wishing to rent out single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, and secondary units (such as a basement apartment). It will not be required of investment property owners and landlords from care homes, mobile parks, lease communities, and social and supportive housings. Units in cooperative and transitional housing programs are also exempted from the lease. The Government of Ontario is planning to develop distinctive leases for each of these tenancies, tailored to match their unique needs.
In the past, most landlords and tenants have had difficulty understanding their legal rights but the Ontario government hopes the newly updated standardized lease will give both parties a greater understanding of the laws provided by the Residential Tenancies Act and protecting your legal rights.
Ontario’s Updated Standardized Lease is free and can be obtained from the Central Forms Repository. The 14 paged document will eventually be available in over 20 different languages.