Alert! Residential Tenants and Landlords

The provincial government has mandated that it is necessary for most residential landlords (eg. single and semi detached homes, apartments, condo units or basement apartments) to only use the form of the standardized lease agreement as stipulated in the regulations of the Residential Tenancies Act.

If the landlord presents you with a lease not in the approved format, a tenant can request one in writing and the landlord must provide it within 21 days. If the landlord  does not provide one within that interval the tenant may withhold one month’s rent and if an additional 30 days pass without the production of the lease the tenant does not have to repay the one month’s rent. A tenant cannot withhold more than one month’s rent and even if the landlord never gives the tenant a standard form lease, the tenant is still required to pay rent, however, the tenant may now terminate fixed term lease early.

All current leases (save any illegal provisions that may be in such leases) remain valid, however if a new lease is negotiated at the end of the term which arises after April 30, 2018 a tenant can request a standard form lease. A landlord is entitled to include in the standard lease additional provisions provided they comply with all legal requirements.

Hopefully the new lease regime will permit all parties to better understand their rights and obligations and make the terminology more user friendly and reduce the need to use the Landlord and Tenant Board to resolve issues. Time will tell.

This article is not to be construed as legal advice. You are encouraged to consult a professional.