Landlord And Tenant Law

☆ ( Legal information on this page is NOT legal advice ) ☆

 

Knowing Your Landlord Rights and Tenant Rights

A landlord and tenant relationship is like any other legal arrangement. The landlord and tenant usually enter into a tenancy agreement or lease for an agreed term. The right of the tenant and the rights of the landlord are set out, and they both hope that the tenancy is quiet and peaceful.

Of course, the reality of the landlord tenant relationship is often quite different. “My tenant is breaking the lease” is often the landlord’s complaint”. “My landlord is evicting me”, is often heard by angry tenants.

To govern disputes between landlord and tenant, there is special legislation known as the Residential Tenancies Act which is enforced in a tribunal known as the Landlord Tenant Board.

 

Starting a Tenancy

  • Can a landlord ask a person applying for a rental unit to provide information about their income, credit references and rental history?
  • Do landlords and tenants have to have a written lease or tenancy agreement?
  • What information should be included in a tenancy agreement?
  • Can I get a lease or rental application from the Landlord and Tenant Board?
  • What information does a landlord have to give to a new tenant?
  • Can a landlord charge a person a deposit or a fee for allowing them to rent a unit?

 

Rights and Responsibilities

Maintenance and Repair

  • Who is responsible for maintaining the unit?
  • Can a tenant withhold rent because their landlord isn’t properly maintaining their building or unit?
  • What should a tenant do if repairs are needed to their building or unit?
  • Can a tenant pay their rent to the Board if their landlord isn’t properly maintaining their building or unit?
  • Who is responsible for snow removal?
  • Who is responsible for garbage removal?
  • When does a landlord have to turn the heat on?  What temperature does my landlord have to keep my apartment at?
  • What can a tenant do if their landlord does not turn on the heat?
  • Does a landlord have to renovate a rental unit before a tenant moves in?  Or, renovate it after the tenant has lived there a couple of years?

Entering the Tenant’s Unit

  • Can the landlord enter a tenant’s unit?
  • Can a tenant refuse to let the landlord in if the landlord wants to enter their unit?
  • What can happen if a landlord enters a unit illegally?
  • Can a tenant change the locks?
  • Can the landlord change the locks?

Rent

  • How is the rent on a rental unit decided?
  • How often can my rent be increased?
  • How much can a landlord legally increase the rent this year?
  • Does a landlord have to notify a tenant of a rent increase?
  • Does a landlord have to give rent receipts?
  • What information must be provided in a receipt?
  • When is rent considered late?
  • If a tenant is late with their rent, what can the landlord do?

Rent Deposits and Other Charges

  • Can a landlord charge a person a deposit or a fee to rent a unit?
  • Can a landlord ask a tenant to pay money to update their rent deposit?
  • Does a landlord have to pay interest if a rent deposit is collected?
  • Can a landlord ask for a deposit for keys?
  • Can the landlord charge for additional or replacement keys?
  • If the landlord changes the locks, can the landlord charge the tenant for the new keys?
  • Can the landlord charge the tenant a damage deposit?
  • Can a landlord charge a fee if a tenant’s rent cheque is returned NSF?

 

Ending A Tenancy

How a Tenant Can End a Tenancy

  • How much notice does a tenant have to give if they want to move out?
  • Can a tenant break a lease?
  • What is the difference between assigning and subletting a unit?
  • How can a tenant sublet their unit?
  • What happens if a tenant assigns or sublets their unit without the landlord’s consent?

How a Landlord Can Evict a Tenant

  • What is the process for evicting a tenant?
  • Can a tenant be evicted without a hearing?
  • Can a tenant be evicted in the winter?
  • For what reasons can a landlord evict a tenant?
  • Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?
  • Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?
  • Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord wants to use the unit themselves?
  • Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord sells the house and the purchaser wants to move in?
  • Can a tenant be evicted for something that their roommate or a guest they allow into the rental unit does?
  • What can a tenant do if the landlord gives them a Notice of Termination?

Abandoned Unit

  • If the tenant didn’t give notice that they were leaving, but the landlord believes the tenant has left the rental unit – can the landlord change the locks and re-rent the unit?
  • What can a landlord do with property that is left in the unit after the tenant has moved out or been evicted?

 

Application Process

Applications to the Board

  • How can I file an application with the Board?
  • How much does an application cost?
  • How can I pay for an application?
  • How will I know if an application has been filed against me?
  • What can I do if an application is filed against me?
  • If the landlord files an eviction application about non-payment of rent, can a tenant stop the eviction process before the hearing?

Hearings at the Board

  • What happens at a hearing?
  • What issues can a tenant raise at a hearing of a landlord’s application based on non-payment of rent?
  • Do I need a lawyer or agent?
  • Does the Board supply an interpreter at hearings?
  • Can I ask someone else to go to the hearing in my place?
  • What if the hearing date is not good for me – can I have it moved to another day?
  • What happens if I am late for my hearing?
  • What happens if I do not attend my hearing?
  • Does the Board always hold a hearing to resolve an application?

Board Decisions

  • How do I find out about the decision on my application?
  • If I don’t agree with the decision that is made, is there anything that I can do?
  • What is an ex parte order and how can it be set aside?
  • What can be done if the landlord or tenant refuses to pay the other any money they were ordered to pay by the Board?
  • What can a landlord do if the tenant does not move out of the unit by the date set out in the eviction order?

Scheduling a Hearing

When an application is filed, the Board will schedule a hearing to listen to what the landlord and the tenant have to say, and to consider any evidence they have to present.  A hearing is usually not scheduled for an ex parte application, this is discussed below.
Different types of hearings

For most applications an oral hearing is scheduled.  In an oral hearing the parties appear in person before the Member.  Each party presents any evidence they have and they tell the Member about the situation.

Sometimes the Board will schedule an electronic hearing.  In an electronic hearing the parties often file written evidence before the hearing and then they tell the Member about the situation over the telephone or by video conference.

Sometimes the Board will schedule a written hearing.  In a written hearing the parties provide information about the situation by filing written documents by the deadlines set out in the Notice of Hearing.  The Member uses these documents to make their decision.

The Board decides what type of hearing to schedule.

What does the Member do?

A Member of the Board is in charge of the hearing.  A Member is the person who listens to what the parties have to say and makes the final decision about the application.  The role of the Member is similar to a judge in a court of law.
Who should go to the hearing?

The following people should go to the hearing:

  • the applicant (the person or company who filed the application), and
  • the respondent (the other person or company named in the application).

The applicant and the respondent are called the parties to the application.  The parties may also bring witnesses who can tell the Member about situation.

A party does not need to have a representative, but if they do, the representative should also go to the hearing. A representative may be a friend or relative or it may be a paid agent or a lawyer.  A party may use a representative to do such things as attend a hearing to speak on behalf of a party, to question a witness, or make written submissions.

A representative can also submit documents on behalf of a party as evidence.  However, a representative does not give oral evidence unless they have first hand knowledge of the information in question.

If you have a representative, you must give your written permission for that person to be your representative, unless that person is a lawyer or licensed paralegal.

What happens if a party does not go to the hearing?

If the applicant does not go to the hearing or send a representative, the Member may dismiss the application.

If the respondent does not go to the hearing or send a representative, the Member can decide the application without them.
Mediation

On the day of the hearing, a Board Mediator may be available to help a landlord and tenant resolve the application through mediation.

A Board Mediator is a neutral person who talks with the parties to see if they can come up with a way to resolve the application on their own.

If a Mediator is available on the day of the hearing, mediation will only be attempted if all of the parties want to try it. 

If the parties mediate and they settle the application, the hearing will be cancelled.  If the parties mediate and they do not settle the application, they will still go before the Member who will make a decision on the application.