The 10 Things Landlords Need To Know Hint: Tenants are smarter and you need to know your stuff!
Saturday Oct 12th, 2019Share
Here are some of the most IMPORTANT things you NEED to know to protect yourself as a Landlord.
New Standard Lease Form
1. There is a New Government Standard Lease form released on April 30, 2018. It is advisable to use it whenever possible. Right from the beginning. Here is why. If you do not use it and your tenant requests it, you must provide it within 21 days, or your tenants can legally withhold a month's rent. Seriously. And if you add or change something in the standard lease, which is entirely possible either by purpose or error, it breaks your original contract, and your tenant can give notice and vacate.
2. Your Standard Lease must follow the provisions of the Act. Although it is a common practice, it is illegal to demand first and last month's rent when accepting a tenant. You can only legally demand the last month's rent and ask for the first month's rent immediately before occupancy. BUT….. If the tenant OFFERS it, that's ok. You can accept it.
3. The Landlord CAN request post-dated cheques but cannot demand them or make them a condition of the lease.
What About Requesting "upfront" Rent?
4. Asking for more than the first and last month's rent can be very COSTLY. The Landlord can be fined $25,000 for requesting it! Crazy right? BUT, the tenant can OFFER it. A written offer is much safer than a verbal conversation! If those cases, you can accept it.
What can the Landlord Charge For?
4. The Landlord CAN ask for additional monies for keys, remote fobs, and NSF fees. But not with a premium.
5. You CAN charge a separate fee for parking and locker if these elements were not included in the original lease.
6. Landlords cannot legally demand painting fees, a damage deposit, or almost any other kind of fee.
What about Pets?
7. Pets are tricky. They can quite easily damage your property. So, the next obvious question is, how do you protect your property from pets. Surprisingly, you really can't. You can say whatever you want in the lease, but if a tenant brings in a pet, you cannot evict them for this. The only times a pet can lead to an eviction notice are under the following conditions. a)when the pet is causing damage b)noise complaints by the neighbours c) the pet does not abide by the Condo Corp Regulations
What about the Interest on the Last Month's Deposit?
8. Many landlords do not know this, but it is important to realize that INTEREST on the last month's rent is payable annually. The rate in 2019 is 1.8%, and in 2020, it is 2.2%. If you don't pay and you try to evict the tenant, this default of the Landlord, can and will be held against them by the Landlord and Tenant Board.
What if Your Tenant Defaults?
8. If your tenant does not pay rent, be calm, and use discernment. A Landlord cannot do anything that interferes with the tenant's reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit.
9. You cannot take your tenant's stuff, interfere with their mail, or threaten them. Your only legal recourse is the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Termination for Non-Paying of Rent is covered in depth in another blog titled Eviction.
What about Tenant Insurance?
10. It is advisable to not hand over the keys to the new tenant until they show PROOF on insurance. It is also advisable to add a clause to the lease that includes the tenant maintaining up to date insurance for the entire tenancy.
Disclaimer: This is NOT an exhaustive list of Landlord and tenant obligations. CondoTeamToronto always recommends working with professional realtors who have proven knowledge in this area. It's complicated, and errors can be costly.
*** This information is taken from the Guide for Residential Landlords in Ontario, written by Mark Weisleder, a lawyer and partner at RealEstateLawyers.ca.