Tuesday, 6 January 2015

GUESTS, GIRLFRIENDS, BOYFRIENDS, and other VISITORS: WHAT CAN THE LANDLORD DO?

Some landlords attempt to restrict the number of occupants in a rental unit, restrict the number of guests, or they seek to require a tenant to obtain their permission before allowing friends to stay over, or before getting a roommate, or before allowing a romantic partner to move into the rental unit.   Landlords will often point to a clause in the lease that states that the tenant is "so and so" and the "only" occupants in the rental unit are the following people.  Where that section about additional occupants is blank the landlord maintains that the tenant is not entitled to have over-night guests, short or long term guests, roommates, or even have romantic partners move in with them.    Tenants are often convinced that this is true as the lease itself either explicitly or impliedly makes it appear that the occupants of the rental unit is something that has been contracted to and that the landlord has legally reserved the right to control who lives in the apartment.


Is a landlord allowed to restrict, prohibit, or impose rules (visiting hours, number of visitors, increase rent charges etc.) on who a tenant allows to visit, stay long or short term, move in with as spouses, move in with as romantic partner, move in with just to share expenses?  Subject to a few exceptions (social housing)---the answer is a simple "NO".


The fact is that a tenant may have guests, short or long term.  The tenant may have as many roommates as he or she pleases, romantic partners, visitors, etc. etc. etc..  The tenant does NOT have to obtain the landlords permission or approval for this and in fact the tenant does not even have to let the landlord know that someone has moved in.  The landlord does not have the right to interfere with the tenant with respect to the tenant's guests.


RIGHT TO HAVE GUESTS/ROOMMATES/PARTNERS


No only is the landlord not permitted to restrict the occupants that share the unit with the tenant, the landlord may be held financially responsible for interfering with the tenant's right to have people live in the unit with them.   By example, in a case called Cunningham v. Whitby Christian Non-Profit Housing Corp. the landlord served a Notice of Trespass to Property against the fiancée of the tenant purporting to prohibit the fiancée from entering on the property.  The Court, in this case, held that the landlord's action constituted a breach of the landlord's obligations to the tenant and the tenant was awarded a 15 per cent rent abatement for the landlord's conduct.


There are numerous examples in the case-law of the Courts and the Landlord and Tenant Board finding such restrictions to be illegal and therefore awarding the tenant compensation.   The fact scenarios vary, but a consistent theme is that the landlord does not have the right to restrict, prohibit, or interfere with a tenant's right to have people live with them in the rental unit.   In a case called Radokovic v. Stoney Creek Non-Profit Housing Corp, the landlord served a notice of trespass against the tenant's ex-husband banning him from the complex due to his purported abusive and threatening behavior.  This was found to be contrary to law regardless of whether there was a "good faith" intention behind serving the Notice of Trespass.


There are numerous other cases where the landlord was found liable to the tenant for rejecting boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses and visitors and it has been routinely held that such restrictions and prohibitions amount to harassment and substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by the tenant.  "Reasonable Enjoyment" includes the right to have the full use of a rental unit for all lawful purposes.  Having guests, boyfriends, girlfriends, simple roommates, visitors is lawful and therefore part of what constitutes "quiet enjoyment" & "reasonable enjoyment" of a rental unit.   


Perhaps one may be inclined to argue that if there is a contractual term in a lease that both parties (landlord and tenant) agree to that the scope of what constitutes a "lawful purpose" has been restricted by contract.  The Board appears to address this argument by referencing section 4 of the RTA which essentially operates to make clauses in a lease restricting or limiting occupants or imposing conditions void and unenforceable.


What are the arguments that landlords make?  The argument I have heard the most is from landlords who are renting basement apartments or units in small complexes.  Landlords will maintain that the rent is "lower" because of an agreement to restrict occupancy of the unit to one person (or two or whatever the case may be).  Landlords will argue that having roommates increases the use of hot-water, electricity, utilities generally, and causes increased wear and tear of the rental unit.  Some will argue that these burdens entitle the landlord to restrict who is living in the rental unit.  No matter how compelling this argument may be---it is not the law.


The next question then, and one that I have gotten from time to time, is whether a landlord may charge an extra $[pick your number] because there is another roommate, occupant or guest living in the unit.  The answer is a resounding "no" as there is no legal basis under the RTA to have a fluctuating rent based on the number of people in a rental unit (exception in social housing rules).


THE RISKS


So, it is clear from my review of the law that tenants are entitled to have people live and stay with them and the landlord can't do anything about it.  Is that right unfettered?  Of course not.  Tenants are responsible for what happens in their rental unit and they are responsible for the behavior and conduct of their roommates, guests, visitors, etc..  If any of these people cause trouble, cause damage, harass, intimidate, commit illegal acts or anything like that in the rental unit or on the residential complex the tenant can be evicted and held financially responsible for what that person has done.


Further, the right to have guests is not unlimited.  If a rental unit becomes over-crowded then the tenancy can be terminated for that reason under the RTA (though it is a little difficult to ascertain what constitutes "over-crowding" in law--see section 67 RTA).


CONCLUSION


The take away from this article should be that tenants in Ontario have a virtually unrestricted right to have people move in, visit, and stay with them in their rental units.  A landlord who tries to restrict that, limit that, charge for it, or impose rules on it--such as visiting hours, will likely be violating the tenants rights and hence could be subject to financial orders and possibly fines if the tenant complains and files an application with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board.


Michael K. E. Thiele
www.ottawalawyers.com
   

199 comments:

  1. Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for your great landlord/tenant blog. I have rented a room out in my home that I co-own with my mom, mostly to mature students. I most recently rented out the room on Dec 1, 2014. It was advertised on kijiji as being a "room with private bathroom& shared kitchen with the homeowner." I saved a screenshot of the ad. When showing the room, I explained that our home is on a septic system (an application is in to connect to the municipal septic) and because of this I was looking for only a single occupancy due to showers, etc being limited. I also said that there was a kitchen available to share, as this is not intended to be a self-contained apartment. The occupant I ended up renting to told me he would prefer to just use a microwave, small dorm fridge, etc because he would be leaving on weekends to visit his girlfriend in another city, and weeknights would just be grabbing something quick. Each person I have rented to has different needs, so I agreed to this. Unfortunately only a few days after Dec 1st, his girlfriend was in the room with him. I reminded him of the septic, and our agreement that there were to be no overnight guests. The home is set up for foster children, so it is important that we monitor who is coming & going for safety. I have never needed to file an A1 form, as I have never had an issue before. He has filed a "reasonable enjoyment" form with the board, and I have not yet seen the reason why. It is likely about the girlfriend (& various other people coming in and out). I did not get any trespassing notices, and actually was trying to keep the peace by letting his girlfriend stay from Dec 3 (ish) until the 19th when he said he would be going home for Christmas holidays. I asked that she please not be there continually after this. The hearing is Feb 17 for his application, and mine (for the A1 status) is not until March 10. How could the board make any decision, based on the fact that it may not be covered under the act? I am showing evidence of the original ad, and photos of the room on the ad that shows obviously there is no kitchen (fridge, stove, or sink). On Landlord self help, it mentions on the "shared kitchen/ & or bathroom" fact sheet that I can give thirty days written notice for a monthly agreement (which I gave him Dec 31st for an end date of Jan 31st, 2015) stating that under Section 5 of the RTA, this is not a self contained apartment. It also states I can contact police to let them know I will be changing the locks with documentation of the written notice, proof of home ownership, & the A1 form. I am hesitant to do this, and am hoping the he abides by the written notice. I never would have agreed to rent, and feel as though he knowingly provided false information that would lead me to rent the room, so feel it is best we both move on. I just am stressed hoping I am following proper protocol/procedure.

    Thanks! Krystalyn

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    1. Hi Krystalyn:

      You have certainly file the correct application to have the Board determine whether the Act applies or not. However, the same question will be asked at the scheduled date of the tenant's application as the Board must first determine whether it has jurisdiction over the matter before proceeding. You effectively have an "A1" built into the tenant application. Because you have actually scheduled an A1 the Board may be inclined to adjourn the tenant application to your hearing date in March. The delay is inordinate given that today is Jan 19. You may want to be ready to argue the A1 points on the scheduled hearing date for the tenant application and insist that it proceed that day.

      If the Board finds that the RTA does not apply it will not make any orders as it will lack jurisdiction. The Landlord and Tenant Board website has selected caselaw available (for free). Take a look at the sharing kitchen and bath cases so that you have a clear idea of what needs to be addressed and proven.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    2. Hi Michael
      l live in co op housing , are the rules different , lived here for 12 years now haven t had one single replaced l told them about my kitchen floor having scratches ,cracks etc they ignore me , also l have a disability so its hard for me to get someone to help me what care l do about this

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  2. Hi Michael, Thanks so much for your blog. We have a 2 level legal rental property. basement is zoned as a rooming house and has 4 bedrooms, shared kitchen and shared WC. Three of the rooms are rented as insurance co informed us that the 4th could only legally be rented to someone related to one of the other tenants. One of our tenants allows his homeless friends to crash at his place overnight and during the day. Is he covered under RTA to be able to do this? Doesn't the Innkeepers Act protect me? My worry is having too many in the basement for insurance purposes, and that I may lose good tenants upstairs. Currently the landlord and upstairs tenants split the hydro and water bills. Tenants in basement haven't signed a lease. Please help. Thanks, Jane

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    1. Hi: Given that you are renting out apartments as residential rental properties the law that applies is the Residential Tenancies Act. There is nothing in the facts as you have described them that makes me think of any applicable exemption from the RTA. You make reference to the Innkeepers Act but I don't see how you think that legislation applies to your situation but if you have a perspective on that I'd be pleased to hear it. The exemption for hotels & Inns etc., is located at section 5(a) of the Residential Tenancies Act and it provides as follows: This Act does not apply with respect to, a) living accommodation intended to be provided to the travelling or vacationing public or occupied for a seasonal or temporary period in a hotel, motel, or motor hotel, resort, lodge, tourist camp, cottage or cabin establishment, inn, campground, trailer park, tourist home, bed and breakfast vacation establishment or vacation home;

      There are other exemptions but I highlight this one because of your reference to the InnKeepers Act. Does any part of s. 5(a) seem to apply to your rental to the tenants? From what you've said I don't think so but perhaps there are additional details?

      A tenant, under the RTA, is entitled to have guests and visitors. A landlord really has very little say on how a tenant uses their rental unit. There is an exception for "overcrowding" in section 67 RTA but frankly that is a fairly difficult section to use to terminate a tenancy. Otherwise, there is little you can do unless of course the "guests" behave in a way that allows you to serve a notice of termination on the tenant. The tenant is responsible for the actions of his guests which includes substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by the other tenants or landlord. That his guests are "homeless" people is not going to be a basis of eviction. You will need there to be behaviours or something of substance arising from their presence to be able to serve a Notice of Termination on the tenant.

      If the tenant's behavior in bringing in guests is indeed an insurance violation that may be grounds for termination. You should make inquiries with your broker about this and if it is confirmed then you may of course serve a Notice of Termination.

      With respect to water and hydro I know it can be frustrating to pick up the additional costs of the water and hydro arising from the regular presence of guests that were never anticipated to be present. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for you on this issue nor a satisfactory solution. The tenant has a right to have guests and visitors and the increased use of utilities from their presence is something that needed to have been anticipated in setting the rent for the unit. I'm not aware of any legal basis to increase the rent for the presence of guests nor of any legal basis to require the tenant to stop having guests in the rental unit.

      I know this isn't the answer you were looking for. Perhaps you should consider meeting with a lawyer or paralegal experienced in Landlord and Tenant law. You could brainstorm a solution to your problem and be able to provide more context and detail to the lawyer or paralegal that you retain to help you.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    2. Hi Michael.

      I was wondering if there's a distinction between the rights of those who rent a single bedroom versus other kinds of rental units (an apartment, a basement, etc).

      I am looking for a room to rent, and in my searches I found a decently priced room to rent in the area I want to be in. When I went in for a tour of the house (shared space and my room) the owner specified that I was not to bring guests and that she wouldn't sign a lease. She rents to two other people and has a bedroom on the same floor my room would be (second floor). I did some searching online, and some people have brought up a distinction between renting a bedroom and renting an apartment or an entire floor of a house, such as a basement. I'm aware that in the latter cases landlords cannot dictate whether guests can come and go, or for how long. Does this also apply to people who are renting a single bedroom? The bedroom seems very small, no more than 10 square meters.

      Another concern I have is that if I do bring guests over, she will give me a 60 day notice and evict me without specifying that it had another to do with guests if I don't have a lease. Is there any way to protect against that without a lease?

      I'm in a rather hurried situation to find housing at the moment, and while I'm still searching, I don't think I'll be able to find something in my price range in the area I'd like to be in with the limited time I have. I'm thinking I should just bite the bullet and agree not have friends over. I'm also concerned that she might refuse to write a good reference if I have guests over at any point. She seemed like a pretty strict, no-nonsense lady. If you could offer any advice I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

      Taylor K

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    3. Hi Taylor: Under the RTA there is no difference in treatment of different types of rental units. If you have protection under the RTA then your rights are the same whether you are in a rooming house, apartment building or single family dwelling. There is some nuance of course for which there is an uneasy understanding. In rooming houses where people are living in close quarters the issue of having guests is indeed problematic. Given that there are common facilities being shared (bathroom, kitchen, living rooms), adding another person into the mix who is a guest of a tenant and not a tenant places a higher burden on these shared facilities. This can be upsetting to other tenants in the rooming house and can lead to applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board for eviction where it is shown that the behavior substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by other tenants or the landlord. Some of the rules in rooming houses appear to stand in conflict with Human Rights Code provisions--or at least the impact of the rule affects a protected ground (i.e. family status). Cases that I have seen at the Board, that turn on having guests contrary to house rules, tend to be resolved even by adjudicators in the midst of hearings. It seems that people recognize the need for the typical rules of rooming houses but the legal enforceability of those rules is recognized as problematic in some instances.

      All that being said, you mention that this particular landlord has a room on the same floor. If you are sharing a kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord be aware that your relationship with the landlord is likely exempt from the application of the Residential Tenancies Act. This means that the landlord has a lot more freedom to impose her rules and evict without notice if she chooses to do so. Your assumption that you would get 60 days notice is not necessarily correct if the RTA does not apply.

      If this is an RTA covered tenancy then you would get the notice as set out in the Form served and you would have the right to fight the termination and eviction process.

      Good luck

      Michael K .E. Thiele

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  3. Hey Michael,

    Recently I've had a problem with my roommate. She is letting her family member stay here and share the apartment while he's going through some divorce issues. I was okay with him staying until I found out tonight that he's been here for so long because he's on probation for threatening (and possibly enacting) domestic abuse against his ex. According to the terms of bail he's supposed to stay here incase the police need to find him. At no point did he or my roommate notify me of this until several days into this probation period, and only because I became angry and confronted them on a separate issue concerning the living arrangements. He then told me he would be leaving against his probation order to live elsewhere and asked me not to tell anyone about it if I didn't want him to be there.

    As a young woman who's been left alone with him for various lengths of time without being properly notified about this as well as being asked to participate in covering for him if the police appear, are these grounds for me to terminate the lease and leave as soon as I possibly can? I really don't feel safe in the apartment anymore and am furious I wasn't given a chance to voice my opinion on whether he should be allowed to stay here or not. For clarification, I am on the lease with the roommate, but the family member is simply a guest and the threats of violence and stint in jail were committed while he was staying here.

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    1. Hi:

      You are in a difficult spot as you and your roommate are joint tenants on the lease. It is unclear whether you are in a fixed term or on a month to month lease at this stage. What has happened with you roommates family member staying in the apartment is not something that has anything to do with the landlord. Your rights, as a tenant, have not been affected by anything that the landlord has done. Hence, this experience with this family member (of your roommate) does not give you any right to terminate vis a vis your landlord.

      That being said, I can understand how you want to get away from you roommate and the family member. If you are on a month to month lease you can give the landlord a Notice of Termination (Form N9) which provides 60 days notice of termination of the tenancy. If you are in a fixed term, the earliest that you can terminate the tenancy, on notice, is for the end of the term with a minimum of 60 days notice.

      Terminating a joint tenancy, when you are only one of the tenants on a lease, can be a tricky affair. Different authors and different adjudicators approach the mechanics of this differently. As of yet, I'm unaware of any definitive binding appellate authority rendered in the context of our modern Residential Tenancies Act. That being said, my preferred way of proceeding is in line with older authority and I think it is the right way to go.

      If you are on a month to month tenancy, my opinion is that you have the right to serve an N9 (Notice of Termination) whether or not your roommate agrees. That N9 will terminate the tenancy on 60 days notice to the end of term. If you are on a fixed term (i.e. one year, or the remainder of the term under a lease), then the earliest you can terminate the tenancy is at the end of the term with a minimum of 60 days notice. The theory on the fixed term is that your signed lease represents an agreement with your co-tenant to stay in the unit for at least the duration of the term of the lease. After the expiration of the term of the lease I think you can unilaterally terminate the tenancy on 60 days notice as the law can not presume that you intended to remain in a tenancy with this roommate forever (or until they agree to terminate the tenancy with you).

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    2. With respect to misbehaviour between co-tenants or behaviour that forces you to leave a rental unit early, I think your right to terminate earlier, or force a sublet or assignment on your co-tenant, is a matter of a claim between the two of you. To be clear, your obligation to the landlord for rent and all of the obligations under the lease will not be affected by the claim between you and the co-tenant. You will still have to honour your obligations to the landlord. However, the co-tenants behaviour may result in the Court awarding you damages against your co-tenant. The Court might be convinced to re-balance the obligations to the landlord in that your co-tenant would be required to indemnify you for your liability towards the landlord.

      The first step, I think, is to have a serious meeting with your roommate and tell her that you want out of the lease. If you are on a month to month make it clear that you intend to terminate the tenancy. If your roommate wants to continue living in the unit then meet with the landlord to arrange to terminate the tenancy and your roommate can enter into a new lease with the landlord. Otherwise, you and your roommate should agree to terminate the lease. If your roommate wants more time than you want to give then perhaps you get her to pay you the difference.

      If you are on a longer fixed term lease then you should discuss with your roommate assigning the lease to someone else or perhaps having her find a new co-tenant to take over your spot. In this scenario you will want to talk with the landlord about removing you from the lease and allowing a new person to take your position.

      As you can see, nothing about this is entirely straightforward or easy. This is part of the risk of renting with a co-tenant/friend.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    3. Thank you for such a quick reply. I talked to the roommate and told them that I would be leaving because of these issues. The roommate doesn't want to involve the landlord since they're afraid they'll get evicted due to previous issues before I moved in. The roommate is willing to find a new tenant to replace me and take over my part of the lease, so I'll simply take my last months rent back and leave if it ends up working out that way. The issues are further compounded by the fact that I might not have actually been put on the lease (despite the landlord knowing about me) for reasons unknown, so I'm happy to take whatever I can get.

      Thank you for your advice, it was very useful for me to make an informed decision about this.

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    4. Hello Michael, I just wanted to update you on the situation. I was assaulted so I left the apartment on short notice. Police were involved and it turned out that I was not legally on the lease, so my obligations to the landlord and roommate are non-existent despite my roommate insisting that she is my landlord and I must pay her out regardless because I did not file with the board (which is not a legitimate renting situation under the Acts). On top of that, I have paid this months rent so the police have told me I legally can retrieve the belongings I had left behind and will send a police escort to ensure I am not further attacked.

      Thank you for all your advice, I hope you continue offering advice to people like me who need it. With the help of previous blog posts and comments I was able to protect myself fully (legally) and escape this situation with minimized harm to myself, my finances and my belongings.

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  4. Michael, I wanted to post a question or a perhaps even a suggestion for a blog post. It is regarding the application of the doctrine of res judicata in the context of residential Landlord-Tenant law.

    The reason why I think this might be of particular interest here is because there is arguably a great deal of overlap in both landlord and tenant responsibilities and potential breaches of those responsibilities under the RTA. Eg, an issue with insufficient heat can be raised as 1. a breach of s. 21 - Vital Services, 2. a breach of s. 20 - maintenance or municipal bylaw and finally under s. 22 as substantial interference. Similarly non-payment of rent can be a just that, or also "persistently late" or "substantial interference with a lawful right or privilege"

    The question of res judicata arises in a situation when the same facts are used to advance multiple/separate applications at different times.

    Can a tenant, having failed on a vital services T2 application bring another application on the same facts as a T6 - maintenance?

    Can a landlord, having failed to obtain eviction on an L1 arrears application, bring another application on the same facts as an L2 under "substantial interference" or "persistently late" sections of the Act?

    Which branch of res judicata might be be engaged - issue or cause of action estoppel? What is an "issue" in the L-T context, what is a "cause of action" in the L-T context, what are the related concepts of "grounds" for an application, or "questions" decided in an application?

    I think this might be "a question of general importance" :-) and that many readers of your blog may find your answer very interesting indeed.

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  5. Hello Michael,

    I was researching for more information about building codes and lawful habitable conditions as I am looking for an apartment to live in.
    I happened to stumble upon your blog about tenant and landlord laws here in Ontario. I hope you could help me understand what I (as a tenant) needs to know about renting an apartment as I am quite new to the process. I have been only renting a room for the past years and I am considering having my own space to dwell in.

    I found a bachelor's basement apartment which I found very nice. It is situated to a 2-floor building. There are a couple of units on the basement with a shared entrance. There is also a back door as well which is good in terms of any fire evacuation concerns.

    My question is: the basement unit doesn't have a window, so there is no source for natural light nor ventilation. Is that a big concern? .And I am also concerned about ventilation. Are the fans/exhaust built in the kitchen and bathroom enough to be used as ventilation? And there is no air conditioning too, only heat.
    What do I need to understand and know as a tenant about places with this kind of setup?

    Thanks.

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  6. Hello Michael,

    Very helpful blog! Just what I was looking for.
    I am in a situation where I'm considering filing for "reasonable enjoyment". I am renting a room in a house. The Landlord (who lives in the basement) initially restricted my girlfriend's visits to once per week and he wanted notice on the day she was arriving. I agreed because I did not intend to have her visit more than once a week anyway. Now that I have given notice to my landlord (because of other reasons) he has sent me an email saying my girlfriend is no longer allowed and he will call the police if she is there in the house and it will be considered trespassing. According to your above post he is not allowed to do that right? Would you recommend I file for "reasonable enjoyment"?

    Thanks.

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    1. Hi: The first thing to determine is whether the Residential Tenancies Act applies to your tenancy. One of the basic exemptions from the RTA is if the tenant shares a kitchen and/or bathroom with he landlord. As the landlord is in the basement, do you share either of these with him? If there are two entirely separate rental units (i.e. your unit is fully self contained and you don't share with the landlord), then it is very likely that the RTA applies. If the RTA applies then you can have your girlfriend over. I would not be inclined to file with the Board at this point. Why not just have your girlfriend over and if the landlord calls the police so be it. Have a nice chat with the officers, ask them for the report number, and if you're inclined to file an application then for harassment go ahead. If the RTA applies then I expect the officers will bid you a nice day and that will be it.

      If the RTA does not apply then the landlord has a lot more control of what happens in his property and he can limit who is in it. However, as you are renting there are certain expectations of what you would be entitled to do in exchange for your rent. Any claim you would assert against the landlord would be in Court. If you are moving soon it is likely not worth the effort.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  7. Hi Michael

    You answered some questions for me ages ago but I can't find the link so am starting here, which is probably the wrong thread...

    1. Can a landlord bar you from using certain parts of the property? In this case, I rented a house which has a swimming pool. The lease agreement excludes use of the pool unless I put up a $5000 security deposit against damage. Can she do that?

    2. Is she allowed to discuss our business (such as late rent, repairs, tree trimming, etc) with tenants who rent rooms from me?

    3. She's insisted on post-dated cheques for the rent, which I *know* (thanks to your blog posts) she can't do - I gave her the cheques but told her they are not to be deposited, that I will purchase them back with cash each month - but she goes ahead and deposits them anyway - is there a way to prevent this without getting an eviction notice?

    4. I have someone renting a room that is causing dissent and is constantly badmouthing everyone else in the house to everyone else. Obviously he's not happy here, but I inherited him when I took over the lease on the house. Since we share the bathroom and kitchen etc, I know he's not covered under the LTA. What are my options as far as asking him to leave and/or upping his rent to some amount that I know he can't afford in order to get him to look elsewhere?

    Your blogs are the first place I go to when I need information - someone, somewhere, has usually asked the question and you've answered it concisely.... thanks so much for taking all the time that you do in order to help all of us out.

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    1. HI: Given the number of questions I will jump right in. With respect to the pool, and depending on how the lease is drafted, I would assume that the rental unit is described as not including the pool or the pool area. If the pool is not a part of the rental unit then there is no basis to require the landlord to give you access and use of the pool. To be able to argue about whether charges can be made for the pool or not you first have to get to the pool being a part of your rental unit, or a part of the residential complex to which you have access. If you get there, then the security deposit is illegal. If the pool is excluded, then the RTA does not touch it and the landlord can then charge for it. What would be interesting is how the access is granted--say you paid the $5000 security deposit and then the use of the pool was written into the lease. Arguably, the $5K would then be an illegal deposit and could be ordered returned to you while the pool remained a part of the services attached to the rental unit. For the landlord to avoid this I think she would need to draft an agreement entirely separate from the lease with respect to the pool.

      Your second question is really about privacy. Section 25 of the RTA is the "privacy" section but unfortunately you couldn't really draft a privacy provision that said less than section 25 does. The concept of invasion of privacy has been recognized by the Board in various cases and some tenants have filed on the basis of a breach of section 22---interference with reasonable enjoyment. The Board has recognized a breach of privacy as being interference with reasonable enjoyment. I presume that the rooms your are renting are to roommates who are helping you pay the rent to the landlord (if renting the rooms is a profit enterprise then you may not be an RTA covered tenant).

      Your last question is really not easy and adds the concern I have about you renting out rooms to other tenants. Query whether you are a commercial tenant (meaning no RTA protection for you) and the people you are renting would have RTA protection if they were not sharing a kitchen and bathroom with you. A whole lot more analysis is required to determine your actual legal status in the place.

      One possibility with the existing tenant is that he is in a relationship with the landlord and not with you. It is possible that you have a tenancy and he has a tenancy--each with the landlord. That you have the authority to deal with him as the landlord is questionable. If you do, that certainly casts doubt on your status as a residential tenant.

      Because this roommate pre-dates you I presume he had RTA protection prior to your arrival. Regardless of how you got control of the premises, and regardless of sharing a kitchen and bath with him, you can't deprive him of his RTA protected status (presuming you have replaced the original landlord as this fellows landlord) by simply moving into the place.

      If your arrangement is working generally perhaps you shouldn't rock the boat too hard. If you find it necessary to take legal action you should consider a consult with a lawyer to figure out exactly where you stand.

      Michael Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      With respect to the post dated cheques you can 1) put a stop payment on them, 2) bring a T2 application to ask her to return them (after writing to her an asking her to return them). You have the right to pay on the rent due date.

      Delete
    2. Hi Michael - to clarify - the lease is solely in my name - there are 6 bedrooms and each bedroom is priced out based on size - the total rents, including mine, cover the lease costs and utilities - so there's no profit being made (in fact, I pay more than everyone else because of fluctuating utility costs and so on). So I doubt that it would be considered a 'profit enterprise' as such....

      The tenant causing the problem was renting from the person who previously held the lease in his name, and isn't a former tenant of the property owner...

      You're right about not making waves - I think eventually he'll get discontented enough to move out on his own and all will be well in paradise again :-)

      Thanks for all your information!

      Delete
  8. Hi,

    I have lived at the same Kitchener apartment building for the past nine years. In that time, tenants have been allowed to have guests use the indoor pool. However, just recently, the landlord decreed that guests are no longer allowed to use the pool, even when with a tenant, claiming that this has always been the policy but that it simply hasn't been enforced. Are they allowed to do this? Is there anything we, as tenants can do to fight this? My wife is on disability for anxiety and panic attacks and only feels comfortable in the pool when someone is with her, mainly her grandchildren and her friends. it would make life more stressful for her because of this. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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    1. Hi: No, the landlord can not just dictate this change of use of the pool. A guest policy, including a policy respecting the number of guests at any one time could be reasonable and enforceable. However, given the actual use over the past nine years the imposition of an outright ban just isn't reasonable. If the landlord's policy were reasonable on its face you would still have the right to have a guest or helper for you wife. Your wife's disability is something that needs to be accommodated by the landlord in its policy(ies) respecting use of the property. The outright ban of guests, vis a vis your wife is discriminatory and would give grounds to file a Human Rights complaint against the landlord (and in my opinion you would win that rather easily).

      Write to the landlord, set our your objections and ask for an accommodation for your wife. Advise firstly that you have always had guests use the pool and you wish to continue that use and secondly that your wife's disability requires that she have a guest with her in use of the pool and that you are requesting an accommodation of her disability on this ground. If the landlord does not respond favourably you should consider retaining a lawyer or paralegal to file Human Rights complaint or a T2 application at the LTB. If you are inclined to study a bit and are confident in representing yourself you can file these applications on your own.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    2. Hi Michael,

      I just wanted to update you on our situation. I have prepared a letter and was planning to send it but something else has happened. My wife decided to put up a petition asking that the landlord to allow people's guests use of the pool again. The superintendent took it down, then came to our apartment and said he was going to inform the head office, that we are not allowed to post petitions in the lobby and that we could be evicted if we did not stop. Would that be legal? I don't want to proceed any further without an idea of what danger of eviction we are in. Thank you.
      Dick Langendyk

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    3. Hi Dick: If you take a look at section 83(3) RTA you will see that the Landlord and Tenant Board is prohibited from evicting someone where the eviction is motivated by the fact that the tenant was trying to enforce their legal rights or were trying to form a tenant association. Signing a petition is akin to organizing a tenant association and getting the tenant's together in a group to advocate a position. This is a protected right and the superintendent's statement is entirely wrong. Arguably, the superintendent's act in taking down the petition is interference with your legal rights--though the point is arguable as you can't post stuff just anywhere. That being said, the right thing to do is offer a bulletin board or a spot where tenants may communicate with tenants while not sullying the entrance way etc..

      All of that being said, be aware of course that if you are becoming the "activist" you or your wife are going to draw the ire of the landlord and staff. Rightly or wrongly you will have these kinds of confrontation. On some points you may be correct on others perhaps not. Consider whether you are ready to take this on, on your own. Otherwise, consider hiring a lawyer or paralegal to be your buffer with the landlord. That paralegal or lawyer should also not take any steps that put you at eviction risk.

      With respect to eviction risk I can confidently say that things like putting up petitions, speaking with other tenants, and "activist" like things are extremely unlikely (like impossible) to lead to your eviction. Eviction flows from illegal activity, impaired safety, substantial interference etc.. Lobbying to get guest usage of a pool is not something that I can contemplate as leading to eviction--I just don't see it being the basis for eviction. If your behaviour is respectful (no yelling, cursing, threatening) then eviction is not likely to be grounded even if your message or the things you are raising are disagreeable to the landlord. Not liking you is not grounds for eviction.

      Hope that clarifies it for you. Good luck.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  9. Hi

    Question for you... I rent a big house - 6 bedrooms - I rent out the other rooms - we share everything - bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and so on. I am not doing this 'for profit' - actually I end up paying more for my share than everyone else does. As I understand it, the people renting from me are not covered by the LTA.

    The question is, though, how much notice am I required to give if I want someone to move out. I have read on your blogs varying advice - everything from 'none' to 'a month', Nobody has a written rental agreement, it's all been verbal (my mistake) and a few have not even had to pay last month's rent as a deposit.

    So, what notice do I have to give legallyand what legislation covers this situation, if there is any?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Your roommates are likely not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act if you are the sole tenant on the lease and there is no agreement or facts to the contrary allowing the roommates to reasonably assert that they are tenants. Your legal relationship with your non-tenant roommates is covered by contract law. This is not a statute that you can download and read. Much of contract law is based on the common law (Judge made law) though of course there are exceptions to this general statement. In your situation with your roommates there is no specific statute that applies. The terms of your written, oral, or implied contract govern the relationship.

      The reality is that often the parties to these kinds of relationships never contemplated termination or other important terms. There is no written contract, no oral discussion and though a legal relationship can be implied the circumstances don't really address the issue that arises (i.e. how much notice do you have to give a roommate who is not a tenant).

      In these circumstances you have the right to remove the roommate from your apartment. They do not have the right to live in your apartment over your objection. Because you have entered into a contract with them to rent a room you would look (presuming nothing written or discussed) at the reasonable expectations of objective individuals given the particular circumstances applicable to you. This is the reasonableness test. If you are asking a drug addled thief who has threatened you to get out of your house the reasonable notice is zero. If you are asking a roommate who has literally just paid you a month's rent to get out because you don't like them anymore, then the notice will be at least the length of the rental period they have just paid. For totally innocent not for cause requests for someone to leave I would say somewhere between 30 and 60 days. Again, circumstances matter.

      Your roommates don't have a right to stay and you may require them to leave without notice. If you exercise that right arbitrarily they could sue you, based on breach of contract (even the unwritten one), for the damages they suffered by having to move out without notice (i.e. hotel costs, restaurant meals, and other damages that flow from the unreasonable notice).

      Hope that answers your question.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Thank you for that concise answer!

      The other issue is the amount of rent... I know that i HAVE to give some notice if I am increasing the rent but a) how much notice - is giving written notice on the 1st indicating rents go up next month sufficient or do i need to give them more notice than that and b) am I required to keep the rent increase the same percentage as what my landlord can charge me at the end of my lease? Bear in mind that the room rents include tv, internet, hydro, water, heating/ac and use of the swimming pool - all of which costs money and as those rates go up, I beleive it is fair to increase the rental rates - or am I off in left field on this?

      Thoroughly enjoy your blogs - I learn a heck of a lot from you! Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to answer all the questions that are posed to you by various readers!

      Delete
  10. Hi,

    I am sure this question has been asked numerous times, and i understand that this is not a question about guests, however I am wondering what my rights as a tenant are for pets? I rent a one bedroom self contained basement apartment.

    Thank you so much. Jenna

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jenna: Tenant's in Ontario are permitted to have pets. Any clause in a lease that prohibits pets is unenforceable (i.e. illegal). This is set out in section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act which is the law that governs residential tenancies in Ontario. That section states as follows:

      No pet” provisions void
      14. A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void. 2006, c. 17, s. 14.

      While a tenant may have pets, a landlord can still evict if there is a serious health reaction to the pets, if the pet is inherently dangerous or the pet causes damage, makes noise, bothers people (i.e. bites them).

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  11. Thank you so much for the very informative article, Michael. It really lays it out clearly.

    I live in a highrise building and my parents will be visiting for two weeks. While my landlord does not restrict any guests, I was just told that they would not be permitted to have access to the front door key to the building, only my apartment key. In effect, my parents would therefore only be allowed to enter while I am myself present in the apartment. Can the landlord legally make that restriction?

    It would seem to me that by making that restriction, the landlord is indirectly restricting roommates, life partners, and long-term guests as it would seem unreasonable that my guests cannot access the building without being accompanied by me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I agree with your analysis and can't see how the landlord would justify this. If you can't get the landlord to change its position file a T2 application with the LTB.

      Good luck.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Hi, Michael, I have wondered about this myself. If security is achieved by controlled entry to a building, limiting the keys that access that building to leaseholders only would be an obligation to a landlord. If a T2 was filed by a tenant, I am assuming for enjoyment restrictions, considering that a landlord has no obligation to provide keys to a non tenant to access the building, and with no statute support whatsoever, then how could a T2 application be successful? Couldn't the tenant just provide their own key to their guest? This would also apply, I believe, to roommates of a tenant who are not on lease. I, as a landlord, would welcome the opportunity to defend a T2 application on this matter just for clarity alone.

      I certainly respect your opinion on the matter and would certainly provide an additional key to the tenant for a visit of this nature (with a deposit), however, would this apply to a roommate of a tenant who is not on lease?

      Delete
  12. Hi Michael,

    I have signed a lease with 3 other roommates for an apartment in Ottawa. I am not an Ontario resident, but I am moving for school. I am from Quebec. We are each paying per bedroom 760$ all inclusive. I have decided to have my girlfriend move in with me, in my room, and split my cost, meaning my girlfriend and I will each be paying 380$. Am I allowed to do this according to the law? Do I have to let my landowner know and can he object to this? Can I ask my landowner to put my girlfriend's name on the lease as part of my room?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: You are very likely to annoy your roommates greatly by bringing your girlfriend with you. You likely expect her to use the common facilities--kitchen, bathroom etc., all of which will be more heavily used because of her presence. Imagine if your roommates all brought another person as well. Perhaps it is acceptable to everyone--but you should make sure it is within everyone's contemplation of what they are signing up for. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a fight with your roommates fairly quickly and it will be unpleasant to say the least.

      With respect to your questions. It is entirely possible and in fact probable that your landlord will be indifferent to your girlfriend staying with you. Unless your rental unit is "overcrowded" there is little that a landlord can do. Overcrowding is a basis for termination under the RTA--but truth be told it is a fairly vague concept and not easily used.

      If you have rented rooms separately in a single apartment and as a result there are three separate leases within one apartment the same kind of thing as discuss above will hold true. However, the roommates will complain to the landlord and they will allege that your girlfriend is depriving them the use of common space within the apartment, reducing bathroom availability, taking up space in the kitchen, etc etc.. If it gets bad enough, the other tenants in the apartment could force your landlord to serve a notice of termination on you.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Michael:

    URGENTLY need a bit of advice here..... this is the situation....

    I rent a house - I rent out some of the bedrooms to people to defray some of the cost of the house....

    In May, I had a room for rent - a lady responded by email on behalf of her brother - she said her brother was on ODSP because of a back problem, would be a quiet tenant and probably stick to his room a lot. He came over with his mother (he is 28) and they liked the house and the room and agreed to rent it and gave first and last months' rent. He moved in the next day.

    THEN it comes to light that he has severe mental problems as a result of a serious beating he received 6 or 7 years ago. Suddenly it turns out that hes not on medication and won't be able to start his meds for 2 weeks. Behavior problems arise left and right. I was assured that they'd stop after he was on his meds for a while.

    Things went from bad to worse - he is confrontational with the other people in the house if they ask him to clean up after he takes a shower, take out his garbage, close his window so the a/c can be turned on. The controntations have lead to a couple of shoving matches with one of the other people here and he's called the cops each time, and each time the cops have just shaken their head and left. He even threatened to call the cops because someone used 5 of his eggs.

    His sister has been over twice, in each case she has been drunk as a skunk - the first time, she offered to have sex with me as a thank you for renting the guy the room - 2 nights ago she wanted to have sex with 3 of my guests, and then became abusive and started yelling at the other people who live here - calling them effing immigrants and effing *n word goes here* - and so on. Her brother asked me to drive her home (he did nothing to try to diffuse the situation) - and during the drive she proceeded to assault everyone in the car (I was smart enough to bring 2 other people as witnesses and turned on the voice recorder on my cell phone for the entire trip.) He was in the car with us and made no attempt to control his sister and was more concerned that someone was going to hit her back so he could call the cops and have them arrested than he was with her behaviour. This guy has 911 on his speed dial.

    Basically the entire house is in revolt - as am I.... I am probably the most patient person in the world - all 3 of my sons are adopted and all three have challenges - so my life for the last 12 years has been spent being patient with people with challenges - but I am at the end of my rope. I want him out simply for peace of mind and for the peace and quiet that the other people living here should be able to enjoy.

    The question is - since he rents a room and shares the kitchen(s) and bathroom(s) and other common areas with me and everyone else in the house, I understand that he is not covered under the Landlord Tenant Act. From reading your blog(s) I think that I have the ability to tell him to pack his bags tonight.... to be fair, since he paid last months rent, and because its so close to the end of the month it would be difficult to get a place on such short notice, I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, I can give him a termination notice today telling him he has until the 10th of September to vacate and that I will give him 2/3 of his last month's deposit back on that date.

    Am I within my rights to do this? If not, what suggestion do you have? While the house is NOT run by democratic vote, if it was, he'd be out on his butt 10 minutes from now. I'm trying to maintain peace and not have everyone else decide to move out. As it is he is currently 'excommunicated' from the rest of the people in the house, which is probably very hard on him and I actually feel sorry for him to a degree - but the nonsense has to stop somewhere and I've drawn the line in the sand.

    Help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Based on the facts that you have provided here you are correct that the RTA does not apply with respect to the tenancy on the basis that you, as the owner, live in the house and share a kitchen and bathroom with this person. This is the section 5(i) RTA exemption. Accordingly your relationship is governed by contract. The questions is whether the behaviour of this person warrants terminating your relationship with him during a paid term of the contract. If there is no explicit agreement as to notice what is a fair period of time? As you clearly know, the fact of having a disability (mental health problems) is not a basis to terminate your relationship. Further, the fact that the disability causes disruption in the house is not enough to terminate either if it is possible to accommodate this fellow. The discussion and waiting for meds to kick in sounds to me like you were trying to accommodate this fellow. Query as well whether some of these problems arise from the disability at all. The sister's behaviour is off the charts and relevant to the extent that she does what she does on the premises and is an invited guest of this fellow when she does it. At least that's the legal logic in an RTA covered tenancy but I think it (the logic) applies reasonably in this context as well in deciding whether you can terminated now without notice or with short notice.

      I see you describing shoving that results in calls to the police but no charges. Violence is a solid reason to terminate and evict. Is this "shoving" violence? You know the degree and whether that fits. Otherwise, the most you say about this guy is "confrontational" and I don't know what that means. If it means oppositional and simply not a "nice" guy then perhaps you are closer to terminating at the end of the paid up term than you are terminating early. It's important to assess the severity of what you describe as confrontational.

      The sister on the other hand gives you all the reason in the world to terminate immediately. Assaults, offering sex, cursing and yelling racist words at people in the home is something that no one needs to endure. Putting her conduct on the roommate (her brother), is another matter. Given what happened and her being a guest is, I think, enough to terminate on short or no notice. However, the safe approach would be to ban her from the house and property and terminate for the end of the lease if his behaviours otherwise do not justify terminating before the paid up term.

      Certainly you have far greater freedom to simply throw him out and put it to him to do something about it. It is not like an RTA covered tenancy where breaking the law could lead to charges. The most that could happen here is that he sues you. It is in responding to that lawsuit that you want to be able to show a judge that his continued presence was intolerable and that it warranted terminating his contract with you. In my experience, the risk of lawsuit of an owner in your position (these facts) is vey low and the risk of a Court taking the side of the tenant is even lower. Collect written statements from all of the current occupants, document the issues you can. The voice recording--keep it. In theory you could be sued for two years after any alleged breach of this contract and the people who know what went on may by then have moved. So preserve the evidence and make sure to collect it so you can prove the reasonableness of your position should you ever be put to the test.

      Lastly and I'm sure you've considered it. Telling this fellow that you are giving him notice may have him fly into a rage. Be prepared, have witnesses and be ready to call police.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  15. Hi Michael,

    I’m a bit relieved to have come across your post, but am looking for a little reassurance.

    I have been a tenant with my son for 10 years at my current address. During this time I have met and exceeded my tenant obligations (yard maintenance, shoveling because I like it). My landlord is a decent person, albeit a bit intrusive eg. Checking through mailboxes, coming in to check heating with little or no notice. In the past I’ve let these details go to avoid any confrontation. I did originally sign a lease in the first year with a clause stating no guests without permission for more than 24 hours. When I questioned him about this, he mentioned he had a problem with a previous tenant, so I didn’t give this much more thought.

    I was recently diagnosed with a critical illness and my son’s boyfriend has moved in with us for a period of 6 – 7 months to help cover costs, specifically to meet obligations to pay the rent as I will be with little or no income during at least half of this time. I felt it best to be honest and upfront with the landlord so he would know why this person would be in our apartment on a regular basis so informed him two days ago of the current situation. At first the landlord was supportive, knowing this to be temporary and given I’m a reliable tenant, so said we would see down the road how utilities were faring.

    I just received a phone call from him saying he would be charging $200. per month extra for the additional person. My response was shock and distress informing him I would have to move out if that were the case. After an attempt at $100, we agreed verbally to $50. to cover utilities. He is also asking me to fill out a form giving information about this new person.

    This situation has upset me greatly, so I started to do some research. I had no idea until I came across your blog that this is not considered legal. So now I’m wondering if I should even be paying him this?

    Your feedback would be most appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Micheal,

    Thank you so much for writing this, it was an eye-opener. I currently have a situation going on with my landlord (who is not the owner of the premises) who demands financial compensation additional to my rent because I have my girlfriend staying over.

    Being an international student, without knowledge of my rights as a tenant and in a hurry to find accommodation, I agreed to pay 140,- CAD additional to my rent for the 30 days my girlfriend would be staying with me. I found it reasonable considering the increased usage of utilities. But now my landlord demands additional fees per day she remains. And this is getting way over my head.

    After some research I found your blog, and I was very glad to hear that landlords are not allowed to restrict the tenant from having (overnight) visitors. However, I am afraid the RTA does not apply to me. I signed a sublease agreement for four months, with intention to extend the rental period. Within this agreement it has also been stated that visitors should be approved by my landlord, who lives in another room in the same apartment. Could you help me out on whether the RTA also applies to me? What would be the best approach to solve this situation?

    Thank you in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  17. hey Micheal..

    i really need some advice..i rent my basement to this single lady..i only rent to her . for many reasons..me and my wife we rnt happy from her.. my question is.. i told her if she can move..and she is refusing.and i want this place for my own use,, ll not rent anymore.
    so my question is she only been here 5 months ..i ll give her N12 form for my own use.. if she doesnt move ..can i win if i file against her ???

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi: You may use the N12 form if it is your intention to use this space for residential purposes. If the tenant has been there for only 5 months I have to ask if she is on a lease or on a month to month tenancy? If she is on a fixed term lease then the soonest that the N12 can be effective is for after the expiry of the lease term. If your tenant is on a month to month, and has only been there for 5 months, you may win at the LTB. However, do not be surprised if the Board gives the tenant a lot more time to move and do not be surprised if the Board refuses on the basis of the tenant's complaints about costs of moving etc.. The N12 is not about behaviour and the things that made you change your mind about renting. Hence, the Board will be concerned about the very short lease and the expense to the tenant in having to move after such a short period of time.

      Good luck
      Michael Thiele

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  18. Hi Michael, thank you for the information you have posted. I have a situation where my 18 year old daughter is in a tenancy agreement with four other female students. They are jointly and severally named tenant' on the lease. The property is a house with one bathroom on the 2nd floor. My daughter's bedroom is in the basement. Two of the tenants have their boyfriends coming and going and often when their partner is not in the house. Last week my daughter called me terrified as she woke up and felt as though she had been drugged. She had been drinking alcohol the night before, but had stopped at two drinks. She is feeling very unsafe now in the home because of the extra people coming and going. She finds herself in the house alone with one or two males at times and cannot come and go to the only bathroom and kitchen from her basement room without passing through the common areas of the house where the visitors are. Would she be within her right to provide the Landlord with notice to end the tenancy giving 60 days notice and payment? Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: I'm very sorry for the difficult time that your daughter is having. Fearing being drugged or actually having been drugged must be having a profound impact on her. I hope that you are insisting that she see her doctor and follow up with counselling or any other suggestions provided by her doctor. On the issue of providing a notice of termination. The landlord is not generally responsible for the relations between the tenants. The living circumstances between the roommates is not generally something that will allow a roommate to terminate a tenancy--especially during the fixed term portion of the lease. When the lease goes month to month your daughter may have greater unilateral rights to terminate the lease as the law should not bind her to a relationship with her co-tenants indefinitely.

      That being said, I think it would be reasonable to approach the co-tenants and advise that the living arrangements are not suitable and the presence of non-tenants in the house of the opposite sex in the absence of the actual tenant to whom the guest is attached is unacceptable. Presumably the roommates will want to carry on living as they are and will not be willing to exclude their guests from the home. I think it would be reasonable for your daughter to propose to the roommate that she is moving out and that they find a replacement for her. Give some notice and help look for a replacement. Once the replacement is found you can approach the landlord and see if the landlord would agree to swap out your daughter's name for the new person. The landlord does not have to agree but usually they do. If not, the landlord can't stop the replacement from moving as the remaining tenants are entitled to have roommates who are not on the lease.

      If the roommates seek to be difficult, refuse to allow your daughter to move out without imposing some ridiculous penalty, or take positions that are unreasonable, then consider retaining a lawyer to take up the fight. The law isn't crystal clear in these situations but the law isn't 100% against your daughter or 100% for the roommates either. In my experience, your daughter does get to move out, but not with impunity. The roommates can expect your daughter to cover her share of the rent, but not indefinitely and they do have to actively seek to replace her in the household otherwise they will have to cover your daughter's share after a period of time.

      Good luck and I hope the situation for your daughter improves significantly.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  19. Hi Michael

    Here's a new one - at least I haven't seen a similar situation being asked before on your blog.

    I rented a house starting June 1 for 2800. The lease agreement isn't a lease - the title of it says Agreement To Lease - the first paragraph states "The Tenant hereby offers to lease...." and on the second page there is a section that says ""Lease shall be drawn by the Landlord on the Landlord's standard form of lease".....

    So, question one - do I have a lease or am I a month to month tenant?

    Next part - at the time of the signing of the 'lease' I was supposed to pay first and last month's rent. Because the bank held some funds and a cheque to me bounced, I was only able to give her the first months rent and a portion of the last months rent. We came to an understanding taht I would 'whittle down' the last month's rent slowly until it was paid up.

    Then last month, the fit hit the shan - it is a 6 bedroom house - I rent out 5 of the bedrooms and get first and last month's rent from everyone. So three people decided to move out because they are heading to a different university.... That meant that 3 rooms were unpaid for the month of September. The last month's rent that they had paid had gone to the Landlord as part of the last month's payment on the main lease.

    So now I was 1800 short for the September rent.

    I just got, at my request, because I wanted to keep things on a 'formal' level - my N4 document yesterday.

    In it, she shows a partial rent payment for August rent as being the amount that I had paid down on the last month's deposit, as well as the portion of the September rent - leaving a balance owing for August and September having had no payment applied whatsoever. (I hope that makes sense to you)... the long and the short of it is that she has misrepresented the payments, (fortunately I have emails from her showing the correct calculations).

    So, what should I do? Should I email her and ask her to send a corrected copy of the N4, should I leave everything and let her take me to the Tribunal and pull out the emails and let the Tribunal figure it out?

    Am I on a lease or a month to month - if it is month to month, is it mandatory to pay first and last?

    In simple English, where do I stand with all this?

    Thanks for all the time you spend on this blog - I read through all the questions and answers - you are always precise with your responses and I bet save a lot of people a lot of time and aggravation in trying to resolve their issues :-)

    Cheers

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  20. Hi Michael Thiele,
    I am a tenant in a 3 bedroom apartment. My roommate has had his girlfriend and a dog move in without our consent however the landlord approved of this. They are splitting the costs of their shared room and quietly paying the landlord extra cash on the side for extra utility costs however we are forced to pay rent as if it is being divided by 3 people when now it is not. What rights do I have as a tenant? I did not agree to this arrangement. When I signed my lease agreement, it was a 3 name lease. Also I am on a separate older version of the lease and this other tenant is on another one that I do not know about or have seen. The girlfriend is not on a lease. None of us are on a joint lease, just separate ones that happened at different times.. mine had the 2 other people that I initially was living with on the lease but no resigning since. Also all tenants share a kitchen, if that changes anything.
    I can't find anything about my rights as a roommate/separate tenant anywhere online.

    Please help :(

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    1. I have confirmation from the landlord that the other tenants are not on a lease, I am assuming this makes me Head Tenant? I have lived there the longest and take care of the renting out of rooms. Although because there was an oral agreement between landlord and said roommate, does this roommate have rights to move in his girlfriend even though that is not a condition I initially signed in my now expired lease. I'm not too sure about spacing but I believe even with 4 people, we have 100 square feet each. He has now also brought in a dog. Any help would be greatly appreciated. His room has the laundry facilities that have always been shared amongst all roommates so does his girlfriend being there constantly interfere with my "reasonable enjoyment"?

      Thank you for taking the time to respond

      Delete
  21. Hi Michael,

    I moved in to a two bedroom apartment at the end of August 2015, when I signed my lease in the middle of August I was asked if it was just me moving in to which I told them yes but that I would like to get a roommate to move in at some point to help with costs (although I am fully capable of living on my own I love having a friend around and the help with expenses is an added bonus to the situation.).
    Twice other than when I signed my lease I inquired to just be told to speak to them once I had a roommate.

    Now that I have secured a roommate and inquired with my supers for the second set of keys to my apartment for her (I am only in possession of the one set that they gave me when I moved in), my super (after inquiring with management) has informed me that unless I add this roommate to my lease as a second tenant (Something which I do not wish to do as I wish to be the sole tenant for my apartment.) I would have to pay an extra $50 per month for her to live in my second bedroom. This charge is included if I was to add her as an occupant as well. Adding her as a tenant is not a possibility for her, also it would mean that she would have to fill out a full application and have it approved before she could move in.
    They never told me about either of these parts of their "process" when I moved in or any of the times I inquired about finding a roommate - I made sure to cover my bases and check before I began my search.

    I have to double check my lease agreement (I am at work and do not have a copy of it in front of me), but as far as I remember right now, there was nothing included in my lease about an extra charge to add another tenant or an increase in my rent for more than myself living in the unit.

    I have done some research online (including reading your above article) and just wanted to inquire as to if they can legally do this to me.

    Thanks for any help you can provide in regards to this and for taking the time to respond. It is very much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello

    I just discovered an interesting situation with my lease - the lease states that I am responsible for electric, gas, and water bills as well as garbage collection.

    I just got a copy of a water bill which came from the city - it's part of the landlord's total billn from the city. The bill also includes sewage. I've been paying the entire bill every 4 months when it arrives. She gives me the amount and I pay it.

    So, I've been paying for sewage - that's not listed on the lease, yet it is part of the water bill. So should I ask her fro that money back, keep paying the whole bill, raise the issue and say that I'm only required to pay for the water and garbage collection portion, or what?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Michael,

    I am the tenant named on the lease of an entire house. I have recently taken two roommates in at an agreed upon monthly fee. Is there anything that caps the amount a tenant can charge roommates? I have no intention of charging anyone to make a profit, just to drastically reduce my monthly expenses, however I've not come across anything that would indicate there are laws in Ontario prohibiting a tenant from collecting a profit from agreed fees paid by roommates. Am I correct in assuming that this practice is legal in Ontario?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I think that you are technically correct in so far as the Residential Tenancies Act is concerned. The relationship between you and your roommates is not governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. The RTA does not speak to your financial arrangements with roommates.

      If you were to move out, try to sublet, then the RTA does speak to the situation and making a profit would be prohibited. The section of the RTA that applies is section 134(3).

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  24. Hi Michael thanks for writing this article.
    I had a question just to be certain.
    Last week I was at my friends house and she rents a room in a house that's been refurbished to contain many different rooms on 4 levels. Her landlord happened to be around in the common area and he saw me in the kitchen which is common to other tenants and he said I couldn't be there but I thought he was joking. For that day he let us stay but he took my friend aside and told her in the future that male guests were not allowed. I feel like he's wrong for some visceral reason. Is he allowed to do this and does he have a right to say I'm not allowed in common areas also (like the kitchen)?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Generally speaking the landlord may not dictate who a tenant has over as a guest, roommate, overnight guest etc.. If the building is a single sex building then the issue gets more interesting. Single sex buildings are permitted under the Human Rights Code. Can a tenant in an intentionally designated single sex building change that fundamental attribute by bringing in an opposite sex guest? The answer on those facts is not so clear and I could see it going both ways though my gut reaction is that maintaining the single sex character of the building would trump the tenant's right to having guests etc..

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  25. hope someone can help me.
    I live in a apartment building. A friend of mine was evicted and given a trespass order from the building.
    If I let them stay with me until they can get a place could I be evicted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt: You can let your friend stay with you even if he has been "trespassed". However, you become responsible for his conduct and anything he does on the property is your responsibility. If he does something contrary to the RTA you could be evicted for it.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  26. Hi Michael,

    I tried to start a conversation with you sorry about that I am not too clear on circles etc, never really made the switch to it! I have a question further to this article.

    Myself and my roommate signed a lease together as the sole occupants in a home. She placed her partner as a guest on the lease. He has basically moved in, something I have not approved and have asked for him to leave. This has been going on for months now. All of the personal details are unimportant (he does not pay for anything and does not work etc etc) and I will not waste your time with them, but suffice it to say, this is not a situation I want. Because I am another tenant and have asked this person to leave, do they have any right to stay? Can she just move someone in when I do not want them to be moved in? Our landlord does not know about this as of yet.

    I am currently trying to have her agree to have my part of the lease assigned to him and for myself to move out. This may not occur though and I would then want him to leave because I do want to have a space to live and not be confined to my bedroom and paying for someone else to live in the space whom I do not want to be there, do not trust, and do not feel safe around.

    Thank you so much for your blog it has answered many of my questions! Hopefully this one too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Roommate disputes like this are not regulated by statute. There is no specific law that can be pointed to that sets out a code of behavior between roommates. You co-tenant has the same rights with respect to the premises that you do. Where the two of you want to opposite things there is conflict. You could throw him out and she could bring him back. How the police would react is unclear--a lot would turn on whether they need to keep the peace or not. It is an ugly situation.

      Your attempt to assign your interest in the lease to the partner of your roommate makes a lot of sense. If she refuses to play ball then there are a few different ways of proceeding including seeking to terminate the lease, moving out and forcing the roommate to pay the entire costs. Important of course is documenting the issues with your roommate via email etc..

      If you go through this blog you will find similar comments and issues and proposed ways of dealing with roommates like this.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  27. Hi there Michael Thiele,

    I appreciate your informative blog. I have recently invited my boyfriend to come visit me for an extended period of time (6 weeks), To which my roommates have disapproved of, for no reason other than "we don't want to live with a boy". He is tidy, polite, and very rarely around the house. Are utilities are included in our rent, so he is not a burden, in that aspect either.

    This being said, my Landlord has just messaged me saying the following: (removing sensitive information for privacy):

    Hi (name),
    it has come to our attention that your boyfriend has been living at ( address ) for the last month He has to move out immediately as he is not on the lease. You have signed a lease to share a house among 4 girls, no boys, so you and he are infringing on the rights of the other tenants in the house and breaking the agreement.

    While it is fine to have visitors, it is not fine to have someone staying for an extended period of time. It is not fair to your roommates and it creates more costs for us as landlords. As you know, the internet usage went up last month, most likely because there was an additional person using it. I was going to send an email to all of the tenants for you to share the extra cost. We were charged an additional $100 for the extra usage. That extra cost should be shouldered by your boyfriend. Plus the electricity and water bill has gone up as well. This cannot continue. - Landlord

    To add, my boyfriend has never logged into our collective wifi, and owns no lap top of device to collect this kind of streaming usage from.

    Please help!!!

    Thank you,

    Hailey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hailey: There are a number of ways to look at this. The easiest answer is with respect to the landlord. The landlord has no business sticking their nose in and certainly can't say whether you have a boyfriend staying in the house or not. Imagine if all of the roommates were okay with a long term guest of one of the tenants--would the landlord have the right to say anything? [answer---no]. The landlord's comment that you are breaching an agreement is a reference to you breaching an agreement between you and your roommates. The landlord is not a party to that agreement and he/she should simply mind their own business. The landlord's reference to the lease agreement, and your boyfriend not being on the lease, is a meaningless comment. A tenant may have guests and move in a boyfriend, girlfriend or roommate without the landlord's consent. It doesn't matter what the lease says. The landlord's comments about the internet, electricity etc., is all nonsense as well.

      The more difficult issue is your relationship with your roommates. When groups of people (like 4 girls) get together to rent a place together then there are certain expectations. Bringing in a boyfriend/girlfriend can seriously disrupt the dynamic of the house and certainly it can make roommates uncomfortable. A single sex household now having males and females likely impacts on the behavior and comfort level in the house. The point is that everyone has certain expectations of each other. It is important that everyone try to get along and to reach a consensus. Simply ignoring your roommates concerns about your boyfriend staying for 6 weeks simply invites an escalation of the conflict. Escalation to the point of crazy is possible---how would you feel if your roommates called the police and had your boyfriend arrested as a trespasser? While that may not be an entirely legitimate way of proceeding, and perhaps such a charge wouldn't stick, the risk of great hostility exists which can lead to some very unexpected consequences. If you don't think your roommates would proceed like this consider the fact that they have clearly sought the assistance of your landlord and are trying to get the landlord to bring down the legal hammer on you.

      If this situation gets "legal" it is my opinion that you will lose any argument with your roommates involving the presence of your boyfriend in the house---unless of course you have a written roommate agreement that allows boyfriends/girlfriends to visit for extended periods of time.

      If your housing relationship with your roommates is to continue I recommend that you sit down with them, collectively or individually and try to find some common ground and work something out. Otherwise this will get uglier before it gets better.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  28. Hi there Michael Thiele,

    I appreciate your informative blog. I have recently invited my boyfriend to come visit me for an extended period of time (6 weeks), To which my roommates have disapproved of, for no reason other than "we don't want to live with a boy". He is tidy, polite, and very rarely around the house. Are utilities are included in our rent, so he is not a burden, in that aspect either.

    This being said, my Landlord has just messaged me saying the following: (removing sensitive information for privacy):

    Hi (name),
    it has come to our attention that your boyfriend has been living at ( address ) for the last month He has to move out immediately as he is not on the lease. You have signed a lease to share a house among 4 girls, no boys, so you and he are infringing on the rights of the other tenants in the house and breaking the agreement.

    While it is fine to have visitors, it is not fine to have someone staying for an extended period of time. It is not fair to your roommates and it creates more costs for us as landlords. As you know, the internet usage went up last month, most likely because there was an additional person using it. I was going to send an email to all of the tenants for you to share the extra cost. We were charged an additional $100 for the extra usage. That extra cost should be shouldered by your boyfriend. Plus the electricity and water bill has gone up as well. This cannot continue. - Landlord

    To add, my boyfriend has never logged into our collective wifi, and owns no lap top of device to collect this kind of streaming usage from.

    Please help!!!

    Thank you,

    Hailey

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Michael. Thank for you the great information you provide. I have a question, that at this point seems pretty much answered but I would just like to make sure. I currently live in a bachelor apartment in a basement. I pay 650$ a month and internet, TV (I paid a 1 time fee and its included for the year) and hydro ect. is all included in my rent. I have a boyfriend who has his own apt but he sleeps at my apartment alot. My landlord put a letter under my door stating that I have to pay $100 for him being here so much and that he is not allowed to sleep here anymore. She says that he is using "her" internet and "her" services hydro ect.. he does not shower here or do laundry (she doesn't believe me). And he uses the internet and TV I pay for - sure. He is not loud and does not make any problems for anybody here.
    Is she allowed to ask me for that $100? (She also said if he does stay here she will charge an extra $100 a month for now on)
    And is she allowed to tell me that he is not allowed to be here?
    Thank you for your help!


    Elle

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Michael,

    Excellent Blog!

    In the case is that a tenant is renting a room in a house that shares the washroom and kitchen with the landlord, can the long-term guest allowance that you discussed in this article can be excluded under Exemptions of the Act, Section 5(i) of the RTA, namely:

    "5. This Act does not apply with respect to, ...(i) living accommodation whose occupant or occupants are required to share a bathroom or kitchen facility with the owner, the owner’s spouse, child or parent or the spouse’s child or parent, and where the owner, spouse, child or parent lives in the building in which the living accommodation is located;"


    Thank you for your guidance!

    Ryan

    ReplyDelete
  31. HI Michael,

    Thank you so much for the post. I have currently dealing with this issue right now. My landlord recently said no to allowing my partner to move in with me stating that he rented it to only me and that typically they only rent to individuals. However i know there are a few couples living in my building. He stated that they pay more rent and when i offered to resign a new lease with myself and my partner and to pay more rent he said no.

    I would like to challenge this as i think it is ridiculous and unjustified and now I see from your post that i am correct! Where does it state this in the landlord tenant act? I would like to be able to bring something to him in writing stating that he is not within his rights but don't want to go into the conversation without proof/backup.

    Thanks so much!

    Tess

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for your time and dedication to tenants :)

    I am permanently disabled and 3 years ago my grandfather offered and agreed to buy a 4 bedroom house for me to rent until I could obtain my own mortgage and at such time I would take over the property.(he has done this for almost all his grandchildren) So that I was paying off a home rather than wasting my money on rental units. I have spend thousands of dollars renovating and upgrading the old unit which he has been very proud of me doing. That I was only increasing the value of my home. He had me and my roommate sign a month to month rental agreement for his records. He has each of us provide him with 12 post dated cheques to cover the costs.
    Yesterday I received an abusive phone call because he came to my home unannounced and I was not home but a friend who has been staying with me answered the door. My friend is black and my "landlord/grandfather" is old german and racist. He grilled my friend on who he was, why he was there, if he lived here, does he pay me rent to stay in my home.
    My friend has been staying with me for a few months, he provides payment for the internet/cable and a contribution towards utilities that I pay. He is not on any rental agreement, he is my guest.
    I was berated and swore at that I was going to be evicted. I repeated that he was my guest and that what he was doing is uncalled for and I did not deserve to be treated in such a way.
    He demanded to see me today, he came to my home stating I had no rights to have a person live with me, and continued to mock and make fun of my disabilities, medication, and inability to work.Told me I am a month to month tenant and I have no rights and because he did not like my friend staying in my home.
    As I cried and defended myself with print outs from the internet that state my right to guests short or long term he said he is selling the house in the spring and I am out in spring. Can he do this, what are my rights pertaining to live in guests, eviction grounds, and all the money I have used to upgrade and fix the house and property.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Philip: What you are describing is much more than a residential landlord and tenant law question. You are going to need to retain a lawyer and get legal advice with respect to he several issues that your comment raises. Based on what you've said here I don't think you are just a regular month to month tenant regardless of the paperwork that your grandfather has created. However, even if you are a month to month tenant, the representations made by your grandfather and the work you have done in the premises is something you can legitimately assert a claim for. Truly, it is best if you retain a lawyer to go over all of the facts and formulate a plan. This is not just a regular landlord and tenant case.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  33. Hello Michael, do you know if in Quebec, RTA applies or not to the cases of shared kitchen/bathroom? Thanks. I have also read somewhere about an argument of 'personality conflict' in the cases when the landlord and tenant live in the same residential unit with shared common spaces. Can the landlord ask the tenant out based on such argument beyond the RTA limitations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The law of Quebec, as far as I know, has very little resemblance to the law of Ontario. It would be a mistake to assume that Quebec law is similar to Ontario law. Unfortunately I can not help you with Quebec law as I don't have a clue what their rules and regulations are.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  34. Hello Micheal,
    I have a question about my rights and responsibilties in having a guest.
    My brother is a long term guest (one month) of mine in my apartment, which I share with two other roommates (We all individually signed a lease with the landlord who rented out rooms individually, we didn't know each other prior and are not responsible for each other.). One roommate doesn't want boys to be in the house and so reported me to the landlord as having a male guest that has "moved in" in an attempt to break her lease. She didn't succeed in breaking her lease but has succeeded in causing me trouble. The landlord is now referring to my guest as a tenant/unauthorized occupant, which they say they have to approve of first. But as far as I am aware, tenants are allowed to have guests for an indefinite amount of time that do not need to be approved by the landlord.

    So my question is: am I understanding this correctly?
    And if so, do you have any advice about how I tell my landlord they are trying to violate my right?

    Thanks for all your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth: You are correct in your understanding. A landlord can not prohibit a tenant from having guests or roommates. That being said, rooming house situations can be a bit tricky when there are multiple tenants on individual leases sharing limited common facilities. To the extent that your guest (in a rooming house), interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by other tenants then you could face eviction proceedings. If your brother, even if he is perfectly nice and polite uses or dominates limited common facilities it is arguable that you are interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by bringing in a roommate or long term guest into a housing situation that really doesn't conveniently allow for so many people.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Michael.

    My boyfriend moved in and my landlord has just found out. I am worried about possible repercussions for us. I know you said that the landlord cannot really do anything, but can you comment on this part of Ontario's RTA:

    103. (1) A landlord is entitled to compensation for the use and occupation of a rental unit by an unauthorized occupant of the unit. 2006, c. 17, s. 103 (1).

    What actions are supported by my landlord with this clause in the RTA? Can my landlord ask for monetary compensation?

    (Sorry if this is repeated, I wasn't sure if my other post went through)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: If you start reading at section 100 of the Residential Tenancies Act you will see that these sections, including section 103, are dealing with a situation where a tenant vacates a rental unit and transfers possession of the rental unit to a new person without getting permission from the landlord. The new person to whom the tenant transfers the rental unit then becomes an "unauthorized occupant".

      To see what happens to an "Unauthorized Occupant" continue reading into section 104. A landlord may apply to evict an unauthorized occupant (s.100) or if the landlord does nothing then the unauthorized occupant may be deemed to be an assignee of the prior tenant (s.104(4)).

      The unauthorized occupant situation does not arise where your boyfriend moves into your rental unit and lives with you. Your boyfriend is not by definition the kind of unauthorized occupant contemplated by these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act.

      Hope that clears things up for you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. That's great! Thank you.

      Delete
  37. Hi there,

    I am renting the main floor of a house and there is a separate apartment downstairs, shared laundry but otherwise separate. My lease agreement says that I am to be only person to occupy the unit but I have rented out the second bedroom anyway.
    I am on a 12 month lease agreement and have been here 3 months. I have had numerous complaints from the ladies downstairs even though we are very quiet. Lately they have started hitting the ceiling prompted by simple things such as chopping vegetables. My landlord has now been threatening me with eviction and has tried to raise my rent.
    This is all very unsettling and firstly I would like to know if I am in the right to have roommates and secondly how to discontinue the conflict. I have been polite when they have approached me from downstairs but I would say at this point that I am being harassed.
    Would appreciate your insight, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Michael,
    Thank you for writing this blog post about tenants rights to have guests. I live in a 3 unit apartment building in the middle unit with my landlords living directly above me. My mother recently came to stay with us and will be with us for an unknown period of time (most likely around 3-6 months). My landlords confronted us saying that we were not allowed to have someone stay with us. I see that this is not the case however! What my question is that they were upset that we had given her a key to the front door of the building which allows access to all three doors to the units (The unit doors all have their own keys and locks on them that are not accessible with the main door key). Is this in any way illegal or breaking any tenancy laws? Thank you for your time and happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maria: There is nothing illegal about giving your mother the keys to the outer door so that she can get to your unit. Happy holidays to you as well.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. You say there is nothing illegal about giving her mother the key. Would there be any cases of legal precedent that someone might turn to if a landlord pushed the issue of someone having a key

      Delete
  39. Hi Michael,
    Me and my girlfriend currently rent two rooms in the 4 bedroom rental house. We started just sleeping in the same room and figuring out what to do with the now "vacant" room. Would we be able to just get a room mate or would we need to sublet? And what controls does the landlord have over the choice we make? Is he allowed to charge any extra $ for the additional person?

    Thanks, and happy holidays

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The facts of your question are a bit difficult to understand. Are you and your girlfriend renting two rooms in a rooming house? Meaning the other bedrooms are being rented out by other individuals? If so, that suggests that each room is under a separate lease. Arguably, your girlfriend moving in with you is the equivalent of her moving out of her apartment and into your apartment. By moving out of her apartment (room), she has vacated the premises subject to her lease with the landlord. She would not have the automatic right to put a roommate into that unit as she has vacated it. Arguably it would be an unauthorized transfer of the rental unit to a new person (because she vacated it).

      The answer may be different if your two rooms are rented on a single lease or if you have indeed rented the entire rental house.

      Bringing in roommates to help with expenses is generally allowable. However, the roommate can not be taking over the rental unit with the actual tenant vacating. That amounts to a sublet or potentially an assignment that the landlord has the right to either accept or reject (i.e. permission must be sought).

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  40. Hi Micheal:

    Our son is living in our basement which is a fully contained apartment except for shared laundry. He now has asked for his girlfriend to move in. If we charge her rent, that would designate the basement as a rental property and would change our principal residence status which we do not want. However, we do not think she should live in our home rent free. Can our son become her landlord and she pays him rent? If that was the case, would we still maintain our principal residence status for 100% of the house?

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Merry Christmas to you as well. I'm not able to help you with this question as it is a tax question that is probably best answered by your accountant or tax lawyer. My comments are with respect to the applicability of the Residential Tenancies Act to landlord and tenant relationships. The scenario you describe is likely not going to be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act as the fact that she is sharing with your child would exempt the tenancy from the RTA (see section 5(i)RTA).

      That being said, an exemption from the RTA does not speak to any tax issues arising from payment by her. For that you will need to speak with your accountant to clarify what can and can not be done.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  41. I agree with everything said in this blog but.... I would like to add that as a landlord myself I require my tenants to inform me of additional occupants in case of an emergency I need to know how many people are in the unit so they can be accounted for.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi
    Can you help me find a copy of the actual case Radokovic v. Stoney Creek Non-Profit Housing Corp. I have been trying to find it with no luck. It seems to me that this wouldn't apply in a situation where the police are present and issue the order directly to the individual in question. I have done this in the past for guest who are breaking the law regularly.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have a question, I see this is all about ontario but how does it work in alberta? Do they follow the same rules?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, this blog is written based on Ontario law. I have no idea about Alberta landlord and tenant law. You shouldn't assume that there are any similarities.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  44. Hi Michael,

    I have a question my daughter in law just got an apartment in November it is through a management company and she is on a years lease. She is a single mom with a 4 month old. It is just her and the baby and most nights she isn't home as she spends her time at my son's home with the baby. Since moving in the manager has been banging on her door like a cop waking the baby up most times telling her that she is making to much noise. The only noise would be the baby crying. He has given her 2 notices on her door now. She is a young mom that feels very intimidated by this manager(A male). Is there a way to get out of her lease due to his harassment if so what is it that she has to do as she has called the head office to complain and they have been nothing but rude to her as well. So working with them is not an option obviously.

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: What you describe has the beginnings of an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to obtain an order to terminate the tenancy. You could do this in form T2. Whether an application for termination would be successful or not really depends on what the notices say and the tone of them. Are the Notices on the Door official Notices of Termination? If so, consider the notes on the form which give you termination options.

      You mention that the basis of the complaint would be the baby crying. Of course we all know that trying to make a baby stop crying is a simple impossibility if the baby is going to cry and is unwilling to be soothed. If the notices on the door demand that the baby stop crying--likely with an "or else" of some kind, then you have a basis to ask for termination with the argument that this is what the landlord wants in any event. If the notices on the door are official termination notices it is even easier to terminate.

      If you were looking to be left alone by the landlord and the complaints were baby crying related you have the outline of a defence based on the Ontario Human Rights Code. Demanding that a tenant keep a baby quiet--in my view--dangerously approaches discriminatory conduct. The context will matter of course but if the landlord's demands amount to a standard of a "baby free" building then I think you have a family status discrimination issue.

      Your daughter does have options here. She is best to consult with a lawyer or paralegal or a clinic if affordability is an issue. A lawyer, paralegal or clinic with experience in Landlord and Tenant law will be able to plan the strategy based on the facts that your daughter has.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  45. So is this right for a person who rents apartment and is on a RGI unit as well we have some people that leave in RGI unit and rent is very low because they are on ODSP or OW then they have friend live there or loved one who has a very good income and they live for free because the person renting is on a fixed income and receive RGI

    ReplyDelete
  46. What about charging for parking spaces? If both tenants drive cars.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I know this is a different situation, but what about Privately Owned Ontario Campgrounds where the season is May to October but RVs stay parked on seasonal sites all year. The tenant pays an annual leasing fee. May I ask, in respect to visitors and/or over night guests do the same rules apply? Is there a specific set of "landlord-Tenant rules for seasonal campers? Thanks very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I think the best way to approach this question is to first determine whether the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) applies to the private campground that you are describing. If we determine that the Residential Tenancies Act does apply then the rules are going to be rather uniform for the tenants and the landlords. For the most part, the RTA does not create different categories of tenants--such as a campground tenant, apartment building tenant, rooming house tenant, etc.. I say for the most part as you could arguably identify a different type of tenant based on partial exemptions under the RTA for tenants who occupy social housing or even co-op housing.

      I'm not sure that I can answer categorically whether the RTA applies to the type of property you are describing. I'll direct you to section 5 of the Residential Tenancies Act where you will find a whole list of properties and types of tenancies that are exempt from the RTA. You will find seasonal campgrounds in section 5(a). Review that wording to see if it applies and perhaps scan the other exemptions. My initial thought is that what you describe is indeed exempt from the RTA. However, you provide the complicating information of an annual leasing fee which suggests something different than a seasonal rental. I suspect that any thorough answer will need a review of your leasing documents to see if an apparent exemption has been voided (or not) by the contracting language.

      If the property is exempt from the RTA then the RTA provisions clearly do not apply. Exemption from the stringent rules/rights under the RTA does not mean a situation of lawlessness. However, the law will favour the land owner in the sense that the land owner will retain greater control over what happens on the property--unless of course that control is restricted by contract/lease. The RTA creates, in effect, a statutory lease that sets out the rights and obligations of the respective parties. When the RTA does not apply the setting out of the terms of the relationship are more fully in the control of the parties--i.e. such as in commercial leasing where there is a far greater flexibility in assigning rights and obligations.

      So, to your final point/question, if the RTA does not apply there are no specific statutory rules setting out the relationship between camp-owner and camper as in the RTA. Certainly other statutes (laws) of general application apply and the relationship is not lawless. However there is no specific statute that I am aware of setting out how camp-owner and camper must deal with each other.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  48. This is awesome Michael almost makes me regret becoming a landlord while my child attends university. No issues yet but it's only been a few months.
    One question I have is that the city we have a house in there is a bylaw that restricts a house from having more then 2 non-related residents of the home owner living in the house. As we have a 3 bedroom house my child occupies one bedroom and we rent the other two bedrooms out to single students. If one these two tenants decides to bring in a "roommate" it would be in violation of the city bylaw. Would I have to approach the city to enforce their bylaw or as owner of the house am I in breech of the bylaw at that point? We have signed leases stating only one person per room but as your article states it's not binding. Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hi Michael The, I am just trying to understand a few legalities regarding rental agreements. December 3,2014 I signed a 12 month lease in a 12 unit apartment building in Ontario. Prior to signing this lease I was advised of a $50 non refundable charge to run a credit check on me before I was considered for the apartment (is this legal). I was also informed in person the day of signing the lease,that my rent would be $740 per month h&h as well as laundry facilities included. There are 2 washing machines and 1 dryer which are in disrepair. The landlord has stated (months later) that she will not be replacing them and tenants will need to find facilities off property at our own expense (is this legal). Lease also states if eg. I have my boyfriend move in that I would need to pay $50 to check out his credit and job/ personal reference check and a continued extra $50 per month for rent for a total of $790 per month (is this legal). I'm not to have an air conditioner or freezer unless I pay another extra $50 per appliance per month on top of my rent (is this legal ). Lastly, my landlord also has stated that I have to have tenant insurance (have to) do I?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There are a lot of questions packed in here. In my view these ones are clearly illegal and unenforceable: $50 credit check fee to rent the place, removing the service of laundry without at least a rent reduction but you could insist on service being provided, boyfriend credit check fee, increased $50 per month rent if boyfriend moves in.

      With respect to the air conditioner the charge can be legal (section 123 RTA, s. 16 Regulation), but the charge has to reflect the actual cost of the service (i.e. the electricity) or be a reasonable estimate if it can't be specifically ascertained. I would be very surprised if your air conditioner cost the equivalent of $600 a year to run. You can do the math for cost of running the air conditioner if you have the details of the air-conditioner (size etc.). The landlord must reduce the charge when you remove the air conditioner.

      With respect to the freezer, I don't see anything in the RTA that permits the landlord to charge more for a freezer. That being said, you can see the landlord's argument. If I was in a co-operating mood I'd calculate the cost of running the freezer on an annual basis (again from the details on freezer) and offer to pay that. If I was in a different mood, I'd argue that the RTA does not allow for a charge for a freezer hence this is an appliance that can be installed without the landlord being able to do anything about it (like a laptop, television, and all other energy drawing things that we own nowadays).

      Tenant insurance is something that I do believe a landlord may require a tenant to have as a part of their lease. The RTA is silent on the issue but there is no prohibition either. The reason for requiring a tenant to have insurance is reasonable and hence I do think that this is enforceable.

      Hope that helps

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Thank you very much for your views and answers I appreciate your help and advice

      Delete
  50. Hi. Saw your blog and I have a question that isn't about roommates, etc... I keep being told that it's illegal to have carpets in a apartment that was there from previous tenants... The carpets were in bad shape when we moved in and now they are fraying and just plain gross.. We live in a apartment building and as far as I know we are the only ones with carpet... We aren't even allowed to steam clean it... I have asked the super if we could get hard wood floors and she said no... These carpets are gross now and I want them gone! Any advice or ideas of what I can do? There me, my hubby, our 2 kids (one has Autism) and our cat!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hello,
    What if I am renting out a unit in the back of my house and my children have to listen to domestic violence? I mean every word in the book and throwing things? R7?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi there I currently live in a co op and would like my boyfriend to stay with me. I do not want to put his name on my lease or anything like that. If I said he was a long term guest? would they kick me/him out? Would they have to approve it with the board? Any help would be nice. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi Micheal... Thanks for all the work you do, I learn a lot just from reading your blogs and the questions that you have answered... but I've never seen this one asked....

    When I 'took over' the house it was on a new lease - previous leaseholder's agreement had expired. The lease terms were identical, but previous leaseholder had usede his last month's deposit to pay for the last month's rent. Ergo, I was required to come up with a new 'last months rent' deposit - and when push came to shove it turned out that only 2 of the 6 people who had rooms in the house had ever paid first and last when moving in. Since they were already tenants sharing the house, I figured I could not ask them to now cough up their last months rent... I have slowly been whittling down the amount iowed for the last months' rent after making an arrangement with the property owner. However, now b ecause she needs the money to cover the cost of a new furnace in another property she is on my case for the balance owing... and threatening me with an N1(?) if it isn't paid by the end of this month.

    Can she do that? it's not rent that is due yet, but at the same time, I guess she could say that the lease is invalid becasue the terms were never completely satisfied in that I still owe on the last months rent deposit. Where do I stand on this?

    Thanks for your time reading!

    Bob

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    Replies
    1. Bob: There is something terribly odd in these facts. You can't really have a new lease with sitting tenants in your house. A Last Month's Rent deposit is not required. If one is demanded, not paid, but possession is granted the landlord can't evict for the failure to pay up the Last Month's Rent. How you are liable for a last month's rent that covers the whole house (with existing tenants) is a mystery to me. These people will have their own leases with the landlord? Are they supposed to be your tenants? Or are they supposed to be your roommates? There is something very strange about this scenario. Please do consider meeting a lawyer or paralegal to discuss your situation. On the surface at least it sounds like you are being taken advantage of and are being made to pay for things that you are not required to pay.

      Good luck

      Michael K.E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  54. I have a question we live in an apartment were we pay for 2 spots and my daughter moved in and one of the tenants have given us permission to park in there spot as it is not being used the landlord is now threatening to have the car towed away and he is stating we are subleasing it as per speaking with the landlord and tenant act there is no ruling about this and another tenant can let anyone use there parking spot - my daughter is not on the lease - they told us we have to find a parking spot out of the building - live in the City of Barrie - what are my rights

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: If one of the other tenants has a parking spot that is theirs then they are certainly entitled to allow your daughter to use it. This is not a sublet issue. If the landlord is going to behave like this consider a T2 application to the Landlord and Tenant Board alleging harassment by the landlord. Presumably the landlord is being paid for the parking spot by the other tenant and he is not out of pocket. If the parking spot is included in the other tenant's lease then it isn't his anyway.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  55. Mr. Thiele

    I have a 4 bedroom house and I rent out 3 rooms to cut down on my expenses. However, in the last 3 months, all utilities have increased in cost, and it seems that the current tenants are absorbing more utilities than in the past...

    If I want to rase the room rentals (which inlcude all tulities and internet and phone and tv() how much notice must I give or can I only legally incfrease the rent when someone mocves out? Also, cam I allowed to establish a two-tier rate (eg $600 for one person, $800 for two people)?

    Thank hyou for your time, sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The first legal question to be answered is whether your rental property, the units, and the tenancies are covered by the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act. The housing you describe may be considered a rooming house even if it is not technically compliant with rooming house bylaws. Rooming houses are indeed subject to the Residential Tenancies Act and those "rooms" and the tenants in them have the same rights as people in other rental accommodation.

      If the tenants in the rooms are covered by the RTA then you have to provide a Notice of Rent Increase in the usual form. That is Form N1 and is available on the Landlord and Tenant Board website. You have minimum notice periods and likely maximum increase amounts. The details are on the form.

      It is possible of course that the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to your house and the current occupants. Alternatively, weird facts could result in some of the occupants having Residential Tenancies Act protection and some not have protection. There are certain exemptions to the RTA the main ones being found in section 5. One of the more common exemptions relied upon is the required sharing of a kitchen and/or bath with the owner. Take a look at section 5 and see if any of these exemptions apply to you. If so, you are not required to comply with the RTA respecting rent increases etc.. You are likely then in a contractual relationship and the terms of your agreement would bind you.

      With respect to varying the amounts of what people pay. Whether the rental units are RTA covered or not, there is nothing that requires you to charge the same amounts to different tenants. Each deal stands on its own.

      Hope that helps

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry - I should have clarified.... we all share the 2 bathrooms and 2 kitchens, the fridges/freezers, the living room and dining room... the money that they pay goes towards the rent and the utilities/tv/cable but does not exceed those costs - in other words, I end up paying a larger chunk at the end of each month than they do. Nobody has a 'rental greement' - it has always been just a 'move in, pay first and last - let me know a month ahead that you intend to move out' sort of arrangement.

      Delete
  56. In your article from January 6, 2015 GUESTS, GIRLFRIENDS, BOYFRIENDS, and other VISITORS: WHAT CAN THE LANDLORD DO?
    You discuss that the landlord cannot restrict visitors in the apartment. Can 1 tenant restrict the visitors of another tenant or not allow specific people to come into the apartment? We have a situation where 1 roommate is refusing to let the girlfriend of another roommate sleep over. Any advice? How can you fix it or get out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Unfortunately, the Residential Tenancies Act does very little to regulate the relations between or among roommates. If you can't come to an agreement it generally results in one of the tenants moving out and a change in the makeup of the apartment. Sometimes it results in the tenancy being terminated entirely. There simply isn't a statutory code governing this kind of issue.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  57. Hi Michael,

    My girlfriend is a student currently renting a basement apartment with 3 other individuals, there are 4 bedrooms in total, a bathroom, kitchen and shared living space. She pays her rent on time, and although not specified in her contract, her landlord agreed (orally) that guests are okay to stay.

    I am planning on going up to visit in February for 10 nights, and my girlfriend has not told her landlady because:
    A) She has been very controlling and invasive with the other roommates and their guests (limiting their stay to three nights, although this is not specified in the contract)
    B) She is very conservative, and so we do not want to draw attention to the fact that we are gay-to add to the drama.
    C) When asking if my girlfriend's mom could stay a weekend, her landlady hesitated (Come on... it's her mom!) and recommended she stay at a hotel instead...

    The landlady is very polite, but she is over controlling and invasive (she will knock on everyone's room door to see that they have done their chores, etc.), and is definitely acting as an unwanted surrogate mother.

    I am not noisy (she did not know I even visited last time), nor do I take excessive showers or damage any part of the rental. I understand lying is not the best way to go about it, but is she in the right? Can she do this? Do the circumstances change in my described situation?

    I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I really hope to hear a legal opinion on the matter. I do not want my girlfriend to be pushed around, nor do I want to violate the landlady's legal rights either. I hope to hear from you.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The first issue is whether the rental unit and tenancy is RTA covered or whether there is an exemption. Does the landlady live in the premises and share a kitchen and/or bath with the tenants? If so, the landlady has a great deal more control over the premises as the tenancy will be exempted from the RTA under section 5 of the RTA.

      If the unit is RTA covered your girlfriend has greater rights and security of tenure. Her landlady can not be as demanding and controlling as you describe. That being said, there is also a balance to be struck here because you describe a rental unit that sounds like a rooming house. The presence of additional people in a rooming house can be a very big deal. Common area space being shared becomes challenging when all of a sudden the facilities are being dominated by non-tenants. If this becomes unreasonable it can be a basis for termination of the tenancy on proper notice etc.. Simply having a guest is certainly not enough to terminate the tenancy--it will be a matter of degree and the impact that the guest has.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  58. Hello Michael,

    I think this post is fabulous simply because the majority of us tenants take what's written in a lease to be legal. They certainly read that way.
    I'm hoping for a touch more clarification regarding someone moving in.
    My concern is that I live in subsidized housing. Having said that, I also pay full market rent. I'm assuming I can have my boyfriend move in with me. My fear is the housing authority. They make it very clear that only those listed on the lease can live there. Visitors are not allowed to be there for more than 14 days. If they are, then they must file an application and be approved.
    Because they are public/subsidized housing do they fall under a different category as a landlord? If i do have my boyfriend move in with me, can they in turn ask us to leave?
    I should also add I started off with a lease the first year but am now month to month.
    On a side note, my son wanted his room to be in the basement and I agreed seeing as there's myself and 3 teenage boys but only 3 small bedrooms. After 5 years they said he wasn't allowed to have his bed down there and to remove it. It's actually a futon, so I told my son just to keep it in the couch position during the day. Am I ok to do that?

    Very sincerely and gratefully,
    Sherry

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    Replies
    1. I think I answered most of my questions myself.. even though it's subsidized housing, they fall under the same authority except when it comes to rent increases. Seeing as I'm already paying full market rent and cover all the utilities myself, I should be able to have my boyfriend move in as anyone else could.

      Delete
  59. So if I sign a lease and did not put anyone else on it and after or before moving in decide to have a friend move in with me, do I have to put them on the lease officially or they can come live with me as the lease is in my name and i do not have to add them to anything?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: You do not have to put this additional person on the lease as a tenant. You may remain the sole tenant and this other person is simply an occupant, roommate or guest. Note that if you let this person behave like a tenant and rent is paid directly by this person to the landlord and this person interacts with the landlord like a tenant and years go by with it appearing that you are both tenants then it is possible for the Board to determine that your roommate is indeed a tenant even though that person's name is not on the lease as a tenant.

      Remember of course, that as the tenant of a rental unit you are responsible for the activities of your guest and that you can be liable for damage caused by that guest or the people that guest allows onto the premises.

      Hope that answers your question.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  60. Hello Michael,

    Thank you very much for your article. I am a student in Ontario and I live in an apartment building in Hamilton, and the lease is for a specific bedroom within a unit that includes 4 other bedrooms. One girl lives in each bedroom. It's a large unit, lots of space, large kitchen, a couple bathrooms. The landlord does not live in the building. The unit is just myself and four other girls. My boyfriend lives in another city, and will come to visit on weekends. We are not loud, he does not use the common area in the unit (doesn't watch tv, etc) but will cook breakfast/dinner sometimes. My roommates do not find him a threat to their safety in any way, but they do not like the idea of a person in the apartment overnight for 1-3 nights per week. Can my roommates/the landlord threaten to evict myself/keep my boyfriend from visiting me on the weekend? I am concerned that they will make up false accusations such as more noise (but we are both very quiet people), increased utilities (the room would be heated and the light in my room would be on regardless, and whether the oven cooks a big piece of salmon or a small piece of salmon I do not see the difference in utilities being a substantial difference), and crowding (however this is not a problem because we are mostly out during the day in the library or in my room quietly. However I am afraid that my roommates/the landlord can make up these false accusations to try and evict myself or ban my boyfriend. Can this be done?

    Also, if I leave my apartment briefly to attend a class or get groceries, is my boyfriend legally required to leave the premises of my room and exit the apartment until I return?

    I don't want to get pushed around by roommates creating unnecessary drama, but I also want to be within my rights and the law.

    Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There is no easy answer to your question and that is because of the nature of your living arrangement. If you were living in your own apartment then of course your boyfriend could come and go as he pleased and the landlord could say nothing about it. However, in you case you are effectively living in a rooming house. You have exclusive use of only your bedroom and the rest of the space is shared communal space to be used by the other tenants of the rooming house/apartment.

      In one sense, you have an absolute right to have guests and you have the right to have the guest stay over and for that guest to use the common facilities as an extension of your right to use those facilities. The law would be offended if the rule were that all persons in rooming houses couldn't have guests, or that their guests couldn't use the facilities or share a meal, or do any of the normal things that people do.

      However, you have to see that there is a line which, when crossed, makes the entire living arrangement unmanageable. What if every person in the rooming house (except one) had guests like you or what if they had two guests all the time like you. What does that do to the availability of facilities--bathroom, kitchen, living room? Is this fair to the person who doesn't have guests? Is having this many people over a substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by other tenants?

      The Residential Tenancies Act is not very helpful in sorting out these issues. When I've dealt with them I proceed from the basis that all tenants in the type of rooming house you are living in have to expect that there will be guests and other people in the space who visit and stay with other tenants. I don't think that you can ever make that reality illegal or pass house rules that completely prevent these kinds of "normal" human activity. However, there is a line. When the behavior of any one tenant in the rooming house--by having constant guests, too many guests, or whatever else the complaint is, causes a substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by those other tenants, then I think the offending tenant can indeed be evicted for having guests etc.. I emphasize it is not having one, or the occasional guest, but it is a pattern of behavior that on an objective behavior is deemed to be a substantial interference. As you may surmise, what constitutes a substantial interference will also turn on the quality and nature of the residential complex (how big the kitchen is, how many bathrooms there are to share, how much relaxation space there is).

      Hope that helps

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  61. Hi Michael,

    I signed a group contract with 6 other people (7 in total) that we would live in this house over the course of a year. I had a room on the third floor, while my girlfriend got two rooms on the first floor. As the summer passed, I never really used my room on the third floor as I generally stuck around with my girlfriend on the first floor, so I decided to sublet my room on the third floor and told my roommates that I would pay for the Internet bill to cover any cost of utilities that I might accrue for them over the course of me living with my girlfriend (the money I pay is in fact well over any utilities that we would have to pay). Later on we got in a horrible situation and now my roommates are telling me that what I am doing is known as "theft by conversion" as I am technically stealing from the landlord. I just wanted to get some advice on this situation in particular as we are all paying the landlord some outstanding bills and now people are telling me have to pay a greater portion or else they will sue me.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There is a whole lot of ill will in your relationship with your roommates--likely more than what you have put here. The allegation of "theft by conversion" is not the brightest thought than anyone ever had. If that's the rocket science you are dealing with let them sue and good luck to them.

      In my view your situation goes back to the original agreement---the group contract. What does this group contract say about bringing in other roommates? Is this contract between your group and the landlord (i.e. a lease) or is it a contract amongst the roommates?

      If the contract that you are referring to is simply a single lease between your group and the landlord then what it contains about bringing in additional roommates is likely irrelevant. As the tenants you may have roommates, guests, visitors, long term visitors etc. without the landlord having a say in it. The landlord only gets a say if there is a sublet or assignment--neither of which is what you've done by bringing in another roommate. "Subletting" and "Assignment" by definition require the tenant(s) to vacate the rental unit. Because you have not vacated the rental unit the additional roommates in your room are not sublets or assignees but are roommates. You can charge roommates for use of the place and for contribution to the expenses. This is not stealing from the landlord and is perfectly legal.

      What is problematic though is exactly what you have tried to deal with. As one tenant, in a group of tenants, on a single lease there are certain expectations of each other. Your co-tenants expect to live with each other and not with a whole bunch of other strangers that any of the other co-tenants bring into the unit. Your co-tenants expect a certain availability of common facilities (bathroom, living room, kitchen) based on the agreed number of co-tenants. The same goes for costs of running the rental unit. Your co-tenants likely do not want to share the extra expense of other people when only you are getting money from those people.

      Then, of course, there are a whole bunch of issues when 7 strangers agree to rent a house together. Everything from locking doors, eating each other's food, cleaning and running the house, parties, noise, music, etc. etc. etc.. These issues can quickly make the living circumstances intolerable.

      Delete

    2. To avoid incompatibility or to try to create an acceptable environment co-tenants will sometimes enter into a roommate agreement or set out certain rules and expectations. If these rules are comprehensive enough and people are more or less on the same page then the relationship can work.

      Bringing another person into the rental unit is one of those hot button issues that can create havoc. You don't say whether you sought the consent of your roommates. You don't say anything about the money that you are charging the new roommate. I think it is implied that you are charging a certain amount to this new person and paying a lesser amount to cover the increased utility costs and pocketing the profit. This is likely at the root of your roommates' complaints.

      Your roommates have to share space with an additional person. They get no financial benefit from it. You do, and that seems unfair to them. They are identifying it as theft from the landlord--which it isn't. But is you selling the benefits of the house to a new person--which benefits belong to your group of co-tenants and not you alone.

      All things being equal, my view of solving the problem is for you to propose to put the rent money that the new person is paying into the pot for the benefit of the original group of tenants. The original group then splits the over-head of the house equally. Everyone of the original group shares in the financial benefit of the new person and hence is compensated for the reduced availability of common elements (bath, kitchen, living room, etc.).

      Of course, there are a number of points and counter points and if anyone gets too hung up on these issues the whole relationship is going to fall apart. If you have to add the new roommate money to the pot then you of course will look closely at any of your co-tenants bringing in longer term guests and the added cost of that and wanting a credit or deduction for that. The ways in which you can drive each other crazy will become unlimited and likely the relationship will have to end.

      Good luck with this. 7 strangers taking a lease together is rarely going to work out very well.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  62. Hi
    i am renting an apartment and the landlord excludes both the swimming pool and the gym (part of the condominium), can he do that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I haven't had this kind of question before and had to think about it for a while. The norm is that the amenities of a residential complex are included in the services and facilities that are provided to a tenant. Those services and facilities must work, must be repaired if broken, and have a value reflected in the rent should the landlord decide to remove them. However, it seems to me that context is everything and condominium living is an interesting example of a unique context. The complex that you live in very likely has multiple owners, possibly a different owner for every unit. The services and facilities within the building may not be included for every unit owner in the building unless those services and facilities are separately paid for by the owner. It is in this context that I do think an owner/landlord could exclude these services and facilities from a lease at the commencement of a tenancy and not provide them to a tenant. Nothing however stops you from approaching building management to see if you can get a pass or pay for use as the case may be.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  63. here is my question I live in a Co-op Now we have a member who moved in then brought a friend to move in with him not a problem. What my question is If the member who signed the membership agreement moves out without telling the co-op and leaves the non member in the unit is the Co-op obligated to let the non member take over the unit ?
    A quick response would be really appreciated
    Linda

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    Replies
    1. Hi Linda: Short answer is "no" in the vast majority of Co-ops. Much depends on your Co-op rules and by-laws and I presume it is possible for such a person to acquire rights--but it would be unusual to grant them.

      Not even in Landlord and Tenant law under the RTA is a landlord required to transfer a unit to a non-tenant. Timing is key and you need to act diligently once you are aware of the unauthorized transfer.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  64. hello have a question our tenant moved in a single guy ,moved in his girl friend we let him do laundry when it was just himself and loan him a satilite box his girl friend missed used laundry and he so we will not allow them to use it then he stopped paying rent and we cut off the satilite both are not in agreement he would not give as back satilite box so we went in to get it then he came up to our apartment made threats and damage proporty and assulted my husband and i he owes 3300.00 rent sayes he doesnt have to leave how can he keep staying here and what are our rights

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi: The first thing to determine is whether your relationship with the downstairs tenant is covered by the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act or not. If your tenant is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) then you need to proceed under the RTA to serve a Notice of Termination and then apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to terminate an evict. If this is an RTA covered relationship then from the few facts you provide I can see two notices already that you can serve---termination for non-payment of rent (N4) and termination for illegal act (N6) for assaulting your husband. I hope you called police as well.

      From your question I have the sense that you are not very experienced with the technicalities of landlord and tenant law. I urge you to find a local lawyer or paralegal who is experienced in Landlord and Tenant law and let them handle this for you. It will cost you some money but you are far more likely to get the result you want if you hire someone who is experienced.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  65. Hi Micheal, I am moving in with my girl friend in may. she lives in a 3 bedroom house, each person has there own lease with the land lord and have there own bedrooms. I am wondering if i need to have the other roommates and or land lords permission before moving into the house and sharing one of the three bedrooms with my girlfriend. Just want to make sure i cant get kicked out after the fact of moving in. Thanks

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    1. Hi: I'll make the assumption that your girlfriend's lease is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. This means that you girlfriend has the protection of the RTA and that the landlord must follow the rules of the RTA. If the landlord lives in the house and a bathroom and/or kitchen is shared with the tenants then the relationships are likely exempt from the RTA and your girlfriend does not have the protections of the RTA.

      RTA protection is important as it gives your girlfriend security of tenure. In short this means that it is very difficult to evict her. An RTA tenant is allowed to have roommates and guests in their rental units. A landlord has no right to prohibit guests or roommates.

      That being said, scroll up and read some of the comments under this article. You moving in has the potential of creating massive disruption and making the roommates very mad. Your girlfriend, from your description, lives in a rooming house. She shares common facilities with the other rooming house tenants. Your presence in the house is going to impose on the limited resources of the common facilities. To the extent that you become a nuisance presence the other tenants are going to complain to the landlord and the landlord is going to take it up with your girlfriend. There may be a demand that you move out, the landlord may threaten your girlfriend with eviction proceedings--meaning you are out and she is out.

      While evicting your girlfriend for your presence is unlikely to be successful, an angle could indeed be that your girlfriend is substantially interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by having you there constantly and dominating the common facilities for everyone in the house. Depending on the circumstances this could indeed work.

      While you do not technically need permission from the other tenants it would certainly be a good thing to get, if possible, so that there is peace and good relations in the house.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  66. Your statement: "The take away from this article should be that tenants in Ontario have a virtually unrestricted right to have people move in, visit, and stay with them in their rental units" is simply untrue. People have free reign on having guests, but the concept of unauthorized occupants is covered in the RTA and your suggestion that any tenant can have any number of people move into a rental unit and the landlord has no say in it is completely misleading.

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    1. Hi: Nice of you to make the point but I disagree for the following reason. If a tenant moves out of a rental unit and puts someone into possession of the rental unit that person becomes an "unauthorized occupant". The concept of an "unauthorized occupant" is closely linked to a sublet or assignment of the rental unit that is entered into without the consent of the landlord. Where there is an illegal sublet or assignment a landlord has the right to bring an application to remove the unauthorized occupant failing which the unauthorized occupant becomes a tenant, with the passage of time, by the RTA deeming an assignment of the tenancy to the unauthorized occupant.

      Aside from the foregoing, you are not going to find any reference to "unauthorized occupants" of rental units when the tenant remains in possession of the rental unit. My statement that tenants can have people move in, stay with them in their rental units, without the landlord having a say about it is in fact true. The "unauthorized occupant" provisions of the RTA do not apply in this context.

      To take it further, not only does the RTA not give the landlord any power to control who the tenant shares their home with, the Ontario Human Rights Code will impose significant financial penalties on landlords who try to interfere with a tenant's living arrangements vis a vis guest/roommate/romantic partner. There is indeed caselaw on point.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  67. Hi Micheal , Great to see you doing this by the way .

    Its Heather here , you know me ..lol

    You said there is an exception to "social housing " on this subject , are people on low income allowed to have a guest and if so for how long ?

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    1. Hi Heather: I wish I had the specific answer off of the top of my head. I do not. Certainly tenants in low income housing are permitted to have guests and visitors. There is nothing wrong with that and it would be illegal to prevent it. However, there is a time threshold for most non-profit organizations in Ontario. Entirely off the cuff and from the gut I think it is 30 days. There may be an element of having to give notice to the landlord about long term guests as well and perhaps a way to extend the time of a guest.

      The guest issue is only an issue because of subsidized rent. The presence of another income in the household requires that household to report a change of household composition--which then includes the income of the person who is the guest which then rejigs the rent. I suppose it is wrong to say that guests are prohibited in low income households--they are not. However, a landlord providing low income housing is required to monitor the household composition and calculate the rents correctly taking into account who is living in the unit.

      Your lease should have a clause respecting guests and the reporting requirement in it. If you can not locate it do contact your office to inquire as it is your duty to report changes in household composition and if you fail to do so there can be unfortunate consequences.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. I asked a similar question earlier...according to my housing authority the limit is 14 days..what I had wondered was if that would still apply if I'm paying full market rent.
      I'll play it safe and assume it does.

      Delete
    3. Hi Sherry: If you are paying market rent then there should be no issue. However, what I'd ask of your housing provider is whether having guests in your home for a longer period of time effects their view of your eligibility for the housing that you are in.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  68. Hi Michael,

    I just signed my first lease which is geared towards college/university students. I will be renting a room in a house, and up to 6 other girls are renting other rooms in it. In the excitement of signing my first lease, I didn't actually read it properly. Now I see that it includes provisions which I thought were illegal, and I'm not sure what to do about it now.

    - Guests cannot stay over more than 3 nights in a month. For every guest that stays past this limit, the tenant owes $50 per night
    - No pets without written approval from Landlord

    I'm also unsure about these things:

    - Landlord can install security cameras in common areas and entrances (basically everywhere but bathroom and rooms?)
    - Landlord can access common areas at any time.
    - Laundry must be done during specific hours.

    I've talked to my future roommates, and other people who have rented through the property manager (no one seems to have actually met the landlord/property owner we make our cheques out to). They all say the property manager's a great guy and have no complaints. Given that that's the case, I'd like to stay here because it's a convenient location for a fair price. But I'm unclear on what my rights are now that I've signed the lease, and what to do if the property manager or landlord wants to reinforce something that he shouldn't. I'm particularly concerned with the guest rule, and being told to pay additional funds for having guests over.

    I also overheard the property manager offering cheaper rent to someone that will be renting in a different location if he would report any mishaps going on in that house. He called it a "family/friend discount", and he didn't seem like he was trying to hide the fact that he was offering this. Is this suspicious, or could there be legitimate reasons for doing this, like excessive noise complaints or something?

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    1. Hi: I suppose that the most important thing for you to know is that any lease clause that is contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act is void and unenforceable. In situations where you are renting the entirety of a rental unit (fully self contained) it would be easy to say the guest rule and the $50 charge is void and unenforceable. However, you are renting a room in what is essentially a rooming house. This changes the landscape a little bit. Bringing guests into a rooming house for lengthy periods of time changes the dynamic in a rooming house completely and if your roommates complain about the presence of another person then you can face eviction proceedings. I suspect that the purpose of these lease clauses is to set out a framework to support harmony in the house. I do think that the $50 clause is void and unenforceable. The 3 night rule may be enforceable in the sense that having a long term guest may interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises by the other rooming house tenants.

      Camera's in the common areas is an interesting concept. Certainly we see cameras more and more in the common areas of apartment buildings. However, I have not heard of camera's being installed in rooming houses where the common areas are actually living space. Not having specific caselaw on point I need to guess as to the legality of this lease clause. My view is that it is illegal and breaches the implied privacy rights that every tenant has through their entitlement to "quiet enjoyment" of the rental unit. What I envision when you describe the cameras is the ability of the landlord to watch tenants leave their bedroom, go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, etc. etc.. Frankly, that's creepy and I don't think the Board would stand for it.

      The part about renting to a "family friend" or a spy if you want to call it that is perfectly fine and legal. The landlord can make deals to have someone "watching" the house etc., and there is technically nothing wrong with that. I think it is a positive sign that the landlord is open about it.

      Landlord "access" at any time is something to consider in context. Landlord entering a house, hallways, etc., on the basis that his is common areas is in my view illegal. I've had cases to that effect. In the case I tried on this issue the adjudicator focused on the nature of the common areas. If the common areas were spaces in which there was no expectation of privacy then it was easier to allow the landlord to enter those areas without notice. Where use of the common areas came with an expectation of privacy the Board held that notice was required.

      Laundry hours is again an attempt to maintain sanity in a rooming house. If the roommates get along and the laundry does not disturb anyone then you can likely do laundry 24/7. However, if the laundry is noisy and disruptive the rule is there to preserve the peace---which is not illegal.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  69. hi, I have an urgent question I am hoping you can help me with. Me and my partner rent an apartment, but are leaving for a few months. We are letting friends stay here to take care of the place (plants, etc). Now our landlord is saying we need approval first. Does letting friends stay here qualify as "unauthorized occupants" under the RTA (i.e. he can not approve them or file to evict) or is that only in the case of sub-letting? We are scheduled to leave town soon and the arrangement is already made, so we need to figure this out quickly, and don't want to be stuck in legal proceedings while away. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi: The legal question is whether what you are doing amounts to a sublet. If you are subletting then indeed the landlord has the right to be consulted and his consent is required (section 97 Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)). Whether this amounts to a sublet is easier to answer if you know what a sublet is--by definition that is. Fortunately, "sublet" is defined in section 2(2) RTA. It provides as follows:

      Interpretation, sublet

      (2) For the purposes of this Act, a reference to subletting a rental unit refers to the situation in which,

      (a) the tenant vacates the rental unit;

      (b) the tenant gives one or more other persons the right to occupy the rental unit for a term ending on a specified date before the end of the tenant’s term or period; and

      (c) the tenant has the right to resume occupancy of the rental unit after that specified date. 2006, c. 17, s. 2 (2).


      So, have you "vacated" as the definition requires? Frankly, in my view I don't think you have. Vacating to my understanding includes moving out all of your things and turning over control to new people for a fixed period of time (see the definition). My sense is that you have turned over your place to friends who are acting as house sitters. This, in my view, is not subletting. If it isn't subletting the landlord has absolutely no say and not right to require his "consent" being obtained.

      The landlord may disagree and the landlord may seek to terminate the tenancy on the basis of an unauthorized transfer. He would have to file an application and the Board would serve a Notice of Hearing. There is little that you can do to prevent this from happening while you are away. To deal with this potential I'd authorize the friend to get your mail (the Notice of Hearing will be served by mail). Either before you leave, or authorize your friend to retain a local experienced counsel to show up for you at the hearing date. You can also authorize your friend to speak for you at the hearing if they are willing. If you were retaining me I would simply attend at the hearing and ask to adjourn the matter until you return. I'd also know your "facts" and make the clear point that this can't possibly amount to a "sublet" by definition. With you being unavailable the case would simply have to wait for your return. In the face of an unreasonable decision to proceed etc., there are other options as well. I don't, however, see it getting that far.

      Hope that helps somewhat. Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  70. Does this apply to city housing as well?? Such as Sudbury housing.

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    1. Hi Cassie: As soon as you mention subsidized housing you need to start thinking "special rules" in relation to the rent that will be calculated. In a sense, anyone in social housing is entitled to have whatever guests they like in the same way that tenants in private rental housing have that right. However, there is a very big "BUT". Where a tenant in a social housing situation is in receipt of a subsidy the housing provider calculates the subsidy based on income of the tenant as well as income in the household. In some instances, moving a person into a social housing unit may affect the tenants entitlement for subsidy and eligibility for continued occupation of the unit. For this reason, and in this context, it is best for a tenant in a social housing context to ask what the rules are in relation to longer term guests and the implications of having someone move into the unit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking. If the answer seems unduly harsh contact your local legal clinic to have them take a look at the position being advanced by the social housing landlord. They can not just do what they want--however, they do have more power over the amount of your rent.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  71. Any experience with Habitat for Humanity homes? Are the rules the same?

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    1. Hi: No experience in particular. Presuming the home is in Ontario the question will turn on the nature of the relationship between Habitat for Humanity and the person(s) moving into the home. If it is a residential landlord and tenant relationship then that relationship will be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. There will be no opting out if the nature of the relationship is within the jurisdiction of the RTA.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  72. Hi Michael,

    Seven months ago two friends of mine signed a one year lease for a two bedroom apartment. When I lost my place, they agreed to let me stay here in the spare bedroom with them. After a couple of weeks we started to get complaints from the superintendents stating that I had to be on the lease to stay here. We applied for me to be added to the lease and there were no other problems there. Now my girlfriend is having issues with her room mates who have decided to not pay their gas bill. She has been staying here for most nights because her place is cold and we were going to let her stay here permanently. We are again getting the complaints again and now they wont let her join the lease.

    Does she need to be on the lease to live here? Do they have a right to kick her out for no reason other than that she isn't on the lease? Can we get in trouble for continuing to let her stay here?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hi michael
    I have an inquiry for a friend... she lives in a geared to income unit but its a pirvate co op and not social housing. She has her boyfriend come kver and occasionally spend nights. Recently she recieved a letter from the board members at co op that they believed her boyfriend resided with her and that as of july 1st her rent would go back up to market rate. Her boyfriend does not live with her and has his own seperate residence. She even told the board she could provide proof of address for him to prove he does not reside there and they stated its not up for discussion. She has 2 kids as well. Can they do this to her?? And what can she do in turn. Her rent would jump over 500 dollars which is a huge adjustment. Please mail me daniella8826@gmail.com or respond here. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Danielle: Co-op's in Ontario are governed by their own separate legislation (Co-operative Corporations Act) and for the most part not the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA_. Recently, the RTA was amended to allow Co-op's the option of using the RTA processes for eviction proceedings. However, the application of RTA rules to Co-op's is still very limited.

      The calculation of rent, application of subsidies, entitlement to subsidy, also depends on where and how the Co-op is governed. Co-op's are not all the same either. Some are federal, some provincial, and their funding sources vary.

      Hence, the best I can tell you is that every co-op has an extensive set of rules that are written down. Each co-op has an appeals process (usually to the membership) after a board review. If there is a complete departure from the rules or something contrary to the Rules Court oversight is still available. But in short---I can't give you a clear yes or no to can they or can't they do what they're doing. Your friend would be well advised to seek help at a local community legal clinic.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  74. Hi there Michael. Sorry to bug, but I have an issue pertaining to this, and I'd like a bit of understanding. I am renting a Bachelor Apartment in Hamilton, Ontario. Fully enclosed, I pay for Hydro, but not Hot Water/Heat. Lately, my new girlfriend has been spending a lot of time with me. My landlord has told me point blank that if she is around a lot, he will be raising the rent to compensate for showers; laundry; etc. Is this allowed? My lease is barely 4 months old, and doesn't say anything about NOT having people over at my discretion.

    Where do I look? What can I do?

    Brad. bradmcleod76@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Brad:

      The landlord can not raise the rent before the passage of one year from the commencement of the tenancy. Then the landlord may only raise the rent once every twelve months. The amount of the rent increase is typically limited to the annual guideline increase amount (in 2016 it is 2%). However, if your unit is exempt from rent control (depending on age of unit), then your landlord can indeed raise your rent more but still only once in every twelve month period. However, if your landlord makes statements like this then you have very good grounds to resist the rent increase as it would be an improper rent increase to raise it because you have a guest/girlfriend. You are entitled to have a girlfriend over without the landlord's consent as well as other guests. The only limitation would be not to substantially interfere with the reasonable enjoyment by other tenants or the landlord. Running up utility bills because of hot water because of a girlfriend does not count.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  75. Hello Micheal,

    I am moving my girlfriend out of her current housing situation on the 9th and have been invited by her (a tenant/ occupant) to assist in moving her property from her house to my car.
    However the landlord is attempting to refuse me entry to the house at the request of his daughter (a tenant as well) who has a personal disagreement with me. This disagreement does not extend past an exchange of words that upset her.

    from what you said they cannot prevent me from entering as i have been invited by another tenant into the house, given that i do not cause damage or intentional disruption to the house.

    the endeavor will only take a few hours to move my girlfriends property to my car and then we will be gone.

    I wanted to ask you what the specific clauses and sections are in the RTA that i can use to defend my girlfriends right to a guest as a paying tenant?

    thank you for your time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The right to have guests is not specifically spelled out in the RTA. It is a right that is implied in the quiet enjoyment aspect of a tenant's lease. Caselaw has recognized a tenant's right to have guests and tenant's who have had this right interfered with have successfully claimed compensation against landlords. That being said, I'm not entirely clear that your girlfriend is an RTA covered tenant. If she is sharing a kitchen and bath with the landlord's daughter she is likely not covered.

      Locating the legal language authorizing your presence in the unit does not, I think, necessarily solve your problem. It is unlikely that anyone is going to read caselaw and given that the landlord's daughter and the landlord are prepared to go so far as to prevent you from assisting your girlfriend it is unlikely that they will be convinced by anything you might say. You might find that the landlord or the landlord's daughter might also attempt to escalate the situation or worse make an inaccurate allegation to attract police attention. You would be gambling that a police officer would side with you and your girlfriend on the Landlord and Tenant law aspect of the issue. However, police officer's are generally concerned about keeping the peace and if they are called to a location because of wild allegations they may feel that you not being there is the best way to resolve the keeping the peace issue.

      Given the foregoing, I'd recommend that you head to the local police station and speak with someone there to arrange to be accompanied to the property by a police officer who will keep the peace while doing the work. That officer, arriving with you, is apprized of all that goes on and can take any necessary action. Often, in my experience, the officer will arrive with you, speak with all concerned, and then leave for a period of time to let you do the work with everyone's understanding of what is going to happen. The officer could also suggest that landlord's daughter leave for a couple of hours if she is so troubled by your presence.

      I know that this sounds like an unreasonable amount of work to simply "move" your girlfriend, but if the landlord and his daughter are itching for a fight you are escalating the situation by simply showing up and disregarding the landlord's wishes (even though those wishes are not legal if this is an RTA covered tenancy). Get the cover of police assistance or at least attend at the police station to advise what is going on, what your intentions are, and that you may need help. A report like this that is "in the system" can also favour you in the event of wild allegations being made against you (sadly this kind of thing happens). If you can have other witnesses with you that would be helpful or, if you're inclined and have the hardware, running a go pro or phone video camera with sound the entire time that you are there will at least create a record. I know it sounds terrible but you might just save yourself incredible hassle by taking these few extra steps (nothing is quite as convincing as to the truth than a video with audio!).

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  76. My daughter's previous landlord put her and her roommates through hell. Used race and religion to bully them. Installed a camera pointing at their front door and monitored every person coming and going. Threatening letters and unnecessary 'monthly' inspections. Ridiculous noise restrictions. Then told them they had to leave in the middle of winter. I called the LTB and their response was that she would be best to move. It was a nightmare!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: It certainly sounds like a nightmare. The advice you got from the Landlord and Tenant Board is interesting. It seems to me that you got an answer grounded in the practical reality of life as opposed to the theoretical remedies that could be pursued at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

      Certainly, your daughter and her roommates would have the right to pursue claims against the landlord and to get orders requiring the landlord to stop the behavior. With proper proof your daughter would certainly have "won". However, as the Board advice reflects, sometimes you have to ask yourself what is the cost of winning? Presumably your daughter and her roommates had the resources to move and could do so. This got her out of an ugly situation a whole lot quicker than going through a landlord and tenant board proceeding.

      Whether moving was the right thing to do or whether going the legal route to stay or pursuing the legal route after moving these are all choices that your daughter and her roommates had/have. As long as they make their choices knowing all of the options there is nothing wrong with choosing to move out.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  77. Hello,
    I am renting an apartment in Toronto (3 apartment building and the landlord does not live on site) and am on a year lease. I am away for the summer and while I am away I let a friend of mine who is visiting Toronto stay in my apartment over the weekend. My landlord sent me an email asking if I knew someone was staying in my apartment over the weekend. I responded and said yes. My friend then messaged me to say the landlord was extremely rude to her and asking who she was and why she was there and telling her I had not asked permission. She was upset at how aggressive he was and he then sent me another email asking me who was staying and why. I have not responded and am not sure how to respond. If I am not in town am I allowed to have someone stay? They were only there for two nights and it seems very reasonable to me so I was surprised at his response. Any advice before I respond to him would be greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There is no problem with letting your friends/family/acquaintances stay in your unit. It is yours and you may do as you please in this regard. The landlord's reference to not asking permission is with respect to a sub-let of the rental unit. If you plan to sub-let (i.e. move out, turn over possession to another person for a fixed period of time and then return), then you would have to follow the sub-letting rules which includes getting the landlord's permission which may not be unreasonably withheld. Letting a friend stay is not the same as sub-letting and you do not need permission for that. With respect to the landlord's questions one would hope that the question is only to ensure that people in the building are lawfully present and nothing further.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  78. Does this apply to college residences as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: When it comes to educational institutions and housing provided by them you need to look closely to see whether the Residential Tenancies Act applies at all. The RTA at section 5(g) provides an exemption for housing provided by education institutions. Take a look at the section. If it applies, the law as you are reading here will generally not apply to you.

      THE RTA DOES NOT APPLY TO:

      (g) living accommodation provided by an educational institution to its students or staff where,

      (i) the living accommodation is provided primarily to persons under the age of majority, or all major questions related to the living accommodation are decided after consultation with a council or association representing the residents, and

      (ii) the living accommodation does not have its own self-contained bathroom and kitchen facilities or is not intended for year-round occupancy by full-time students or staff and members of their households.



      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  79. Btw, I believe Toronto Community Housing posts a limitation publicly on bulletin boards at subsidized housing: "Long-term guests are restricted to 90-day maximum stays."

    Under what authority is this exception made?

    It makes sense to restrict long-term guests that abuse the spirit of subsidized housing; I know a few people who abuse the system by leeching housing off of people who waited in line and qualified for subsidized housing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Toronto Community Housing and other social housing providers are most often providing subsidized housing. The rules for subsidized housing are indeed very different than the rules for people in private rental housing or people paying market rent. The rules you are referring to flow from the authority under the Housing Services Act 2011 and likely are rules made by the service manager under the authority of that Act. The guest rules are likely different or are calculated differently from city to city or service manager to service manager. In subsidized housing long term guests can eventually form part of the household and their income would become relevant to the subsidy being received by the tenant. After a certain period of time the guests income would have to be disclosed for rent calculations. Aside from that, the presence of long term guests, with income, may effect continued eligibility for housing.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  80. https://www.torontohousing.ca/residents/your-tenancy/Documents/Addition%20to%20Household%20Composition%20Form%20part%202.pdf

    can you help me with this becuz it's says only 30 days within a 12 month period for guests

    https://www.housingconnections.ca/pdf/Board/2006/Apr24_2006/13-2006-rent%20supplement%20guest%20policy.appendix%201.fnl.pdf

    i have RGI i don't know which one to follow or if both of them are just to scare people

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: You really are best to speak with your landlord and get a certain answer to a clear question. In a subsidy situation your right to having guests can impact on your lawful monthly rent. Therefore it is important to speak with your landlord and get a clear direction.

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  81. Hi Michael,

    I've been living in a basement apartment for four yrs, we signed a lease for the 1st year but nothing since,I have changed roommates a few times with the landlord knowing,I had my boyfriend move in over two years ago and my landlord put up our rent by $100 per mth,as all utilities were included, I thought this was ok, I'm not from Canada! My boyfriend and I have broke up and he moved out, I have spoke to my landlord about reducing my rent,but he just keeps saying rent goes up not down, we have had yearly increases,what can I do?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Rosemarie: You have to get before the Landlord and Tenant Board in a case that puts the lawful rent at issue. You will then need to argue what the lawful rent for your unit is. Based on the very limited information you have provided, my guess is that the $100 rent increase that your landlord applied to your rent was indeed illegal. I presume that your landlord never served a Notice of Rent Increase for the extra $100---he just increased the rent. Based on appellate authority, the rent increase would be void and could not be "deemed" legal under the RTA (there is a provision in the RTA that suggests that rent charged for more than one year is deemed legal--this section does not mean what it appears to say based on caselaw from the Court of Appeal).

      There are other arguments to be made, but again on the limited facts you provide, I would expect to not only get a rent reduction but a rent rebate of the $100 per month extra that you paid over the last two years.

      You say that there have been yearly increases--presumably with an N1 notice of rent increase? This will make for an interesting issue as the N1 may have been based on an unlawful rent to begin with. You might find, or at least would argue, that the amount of the rent increases would also have to be returned to you (with interest).

      Again, there are arguments against your position--but your position is a strong legal argument. If your landlord lawyers up you might find that the "resolution" is to accept what was paid in the past but to reduce the rent now by the $100 per month of the increase. You will need to "lawyer up" for this case as the way this works is not a matter of simple logic--in fact some might say it is anything but logical. Try a local community legal clinic with landlord and tenant law experience or a local lawyer or paralegal with landlord and tenant law experience---to point them in the direction I'm thinking of take a look at the case law under the "rent deemed legal" provisions of the RTA and the basis for your case should become clear.

      Good luck to you. If you happen to be in Ottawa I would be pleased to help you out.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  82. Hello Michael....

    I've been 'lurking' on your blog for ages and find it very informative... and now I find myself in a situation where I could sure use a bit of guidance...

    Couple of issues:

    1. When I first moved in, I signed an 'offer to lease' = the lease itself was never presented, and I guess we (landlord and I) have been living off the terms of the offer all this time. So, with no lease, am I a leasee as far as the term of the lease or am I a month to month tenant?

    2. When I moved in, I although the offer said 'first and last' I was unable, at the last minute, to pay the last month's deposit, but the landlord said I could pay that off over time... now another lawyer friend (who is NOT a 'property lawyer', he does criminal law, says I don't have to worry about paying the landlord that last month's rent because there's no legal requirement under the LTA to do so.... is he right?

    3. The house has been in need of repair - there's a constant mould issue and the possibility of asbestos in the attic. Landlord asked me to buy some spray for the mouold, but that didn't help - in fact it was so bad, I had to get mould resistent primer and repaint 3 of the rooms - notifying the landlord that it was being done. Landlord then asked me to take care of other repair issues and said she'd pay me, just not as much as a contractor. Now the landlord doesn't want to reimburse me for out of pocket material and labor but wants to deeduct it from my outstanding last month's rent... can he do that? Should I keep doing the repairs or should I file a form and require that the landlord bring in a contractor? The situation is so bad a city inspector came and wrote up an order for certain things to be repaired and the landlord is asking me to do them...

    ANY information or guidance would be most appreciated!

    Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rob: An interesting number of issues in your questions. In the context of Residential Landlord and Tenant Law in Ontario we have an interesting provision with respect to the nature of leases. Leases may be oral, written, or implied, and frankly they can be a little bit of all of these. Of course, the written lease is the nicest lease to have because the terms are clearly set out. An oral and/or an implied lease need to be proven as to the terms which can be difficult because the terms are not written down. Can you have a fixed term lease that is not written? I think yes as I have not seen any cases to the contrary and certainly the perspective taken in academic texts suggests that a lease may indeed be a mish mash of oral, written, and implied terms.

      With respect to the Last month's rent deposit. There is indeed quite a risk on the part of a landlord in not collecting the entire last month's rent before allowing occupancy of the rental unit. Once in possession, there is no mechanism for collecting the last month's rent deposit if it has not been paid and the tenant can not be terminated for it. In this sense, your friend is correct. There are ways to try and "fix it" on the part of the landlord and if things are not well documented some landlords will get creative. The solution for landlords, who are willing to wait for the LMR, is to instead collect the LMR and not the first month's rent. The first month's rent will therefore immediately be in arrears and the landlord could apply to terminate based on non-payment of rent.

      The need for repairs seems extensive and the fact that Property Standards is showing up to write orders indicates that something serious is going on. Generally speaking, it has been my experience that tenants who do maintenance and repair work in the rental units (especially their own), tend to get the short end of the stick. The Landlord and Tenant Board does a poor job in recognizing tenant work in exchange for rent reductions or rent credits. So, in my view, it is best to pay your rent in full and then enter into a separate contract for repairs and maintenance spelling out clearly what those services and repairs will be and set a price. You want a deposit and clarity so that you can sue the landlord when the landlord does not pay. What you are describing in your comment above is worrisome. You have a landlord that clearly has serious maintenance issues in their investment property--involving water damage and mold and they are focused on "cheap". I'm not sure if you are a contractor or not but if you are why would you give your landlord a break on the price? And if you're not a contractor--stay away, you're only going to get yourself sued and likely have nothing but headaches in collecting for the work you do. In my view you should have the landlord do the repairs properly with qualified individuals and get the City to back you up with Orders.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  83. hello Mr Thiele

    I rent a room in a house and share the amenities with the leaseholder, who I guess is my landlord. I was paying $600 a month which includes all utilites, (light, heat, water etc) as well as TV and internet access.

    He's just notified me that because hydro and gas rates have gone up, he's raising my rent by 25 dollars a month starting August and he's 'chopping' the tv to 'basic cable' instead of all the current channels we now have.

    Can he do this? It's a verbal rental agreement basically - nothing in writing other than my rent receipts every month.

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bob: As I understand the facts you are paying "rent" to the tenant of the rental unit. Your roommate, the tenant, pays rent to the landlord? If this is accurate the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to your situation. You are not in a landlord and tenant relationship with your roommate that is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. Your relationship with your roommate is covered by a contract/agreement.

      Whether the terms of your deal can be changed depends on the circumstances. Usually, with reasonable notice in these circumstances, parties to a roommate agreement like this can give notice of changing terms. The notice needs to be reasonable enough to allow the other person time to make a decision about what they are going to do--i.e. accept the terms, move out, make other arrangements.

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  84. Hello Micheal, I moved into an apartment built in 1969, when I moved in I was told everything was to be updated, I have been here 3 years now and I still do not have a bathroom exhaust fan, just a hole in ceiling that blows dust in when it is very windy outdoors, I still do not have GFCI bathroom receptacles after 3 years. My landlord told me if I install an air conditioner I would have to pay a surcharge of $175.00 for the summer season and made me sign agreeing to that under duress. Also, I can only have a visitors parking pass if my guests are staying longer than 5 days, otherwise they must use the newly installed pay meters, several tickets have been issued because of the new meters. The front door security cam has not worked for 9 months and regular maintenance requests are never completed, many not even attempted. They keep saying the heat will be fixed next fall, it averages 60 degrees here in winter. What do I have to do at the landlord tenant board to get everything fixed safe and a rent reduction for waiting 3 years? It seems like they do everything to make us want to move on purpose.

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    1. HI: Your list of issues with the premises raises a number of legal issues. I think to start, you need to focus on the lack of repair and non-functioning parts of the apartment. The application you use is a T6 Tenant Application about Maintenance. It is worthwhile looking at that application form, in blank, to see the types of remedies that the Board will consider. Having a sense of that will let you start to think about what kind of evidence you will collect to prove the non-repair in the apartment. Once you have done that, I would step back and contact the property standards department of your city/town/township. Assuming you are in an urban centre you will discover that your city has a property standards by-law that gives an incredibly broad authority to a property standards officer/inspector to make orders against a property owner to fix problems. To the extent possible you want this to happen. The reason is that the Property Standards Order is tremendously valuable evidence. Further, the Property Standards Officer can be summonsed to appear at a hearing and can testify as to the condition of the unit. As an "official" without (in theory) an axe to grind these officers are quite credible.

      Aside from Property Standards, you will want to collect photographs of non-repair, video of non-repair, receipts for expenses associated with non-repair, and whatever else happens to be useful to prove the existence of and impact of the non-repair. Think also about other government authorities for inspections. The GFCI issue could be an electrical concern--try Technical Standards Safety Authority (TSSA) or call local hydro company for guidance of where to address your concerns. Those orders or directives are also useful. Governmental authority inspections and orders get some of the required work done and they are evidence of the lack of repair before the work is done.

      You will also want to file a T2 application--tenant's rights, as the impact of the non-repair has interfered with your reasonable enjoyment of the premises. This is compensable by way of a rent abatement. Again, consider the blank form to see the types of remedies the Board will entertain and then think about what kind of evidence you have to prove how the non-repair has impacted you.

      Note please, that under the Residential Tenancies Act you are looking at a one year limitation period--meaning you can only go back one year from the date of application to the Board--hence time is of the essence.

      Your air-conditioner charge is complicated. It is indeed permissible for a landlord to charge a tenant for the extra electricity that an air conditioner would use. The amount of that charge is not whatever the landlord wants and it is not a profit centre for the landlord. The landlord is limited to the extra cost of the electricity. If determining the actual cost is difficult a reasonable estimate is permitted. So, is $175 reasonable for the summer season? You can answer that question by getting your calculator out and doing some math (a gen X answer) or you can find an app to do the math (a generation Z answer). You will need to have consumption information from your air-conditioner itself--it is on the stickers when you buy the air-conditioner--and the BTU of the air-conditioner. With the cost of a kilowatt hour from your local utility you can do the math. If you have an efficient window air-conditioner (meaning relatively new) my guess is that $175 is on the high side but this makes assumptions about how long you will run the air conditioner and how hot it typically is in your location (i.e. how long is the cooling season?) If the charge is out of whack you can file an application for a return of the illegal charge. Of course, write to your landlord first setting out what the charge should be. If your reasonable math shows only a small difference--forget it.


      Delete

    2. The parking issue is interesting too. If, when you moved in you had guest parking and people could visit you then this is a service that came with the place. If that service has now been taken away and it costs people to visit you that changes the attractiveness of the building and it changes the terms of your tenancy. You can pursue this issue at the LTB for a rent abatement--I would calculate the cost that your guests pay to visit multiply over the month and ask to reduce the rent by this amount or alternatively, ask for a guest parking pass.

      On an overall basis you are describing a rental unit that isn't worth the rent you are paying for it. Your rent includes all of these things working and it includes your right to enjoy these things. Use the T2 application for a general rent abatement, going back one year, for all the things you haven't had or didn't get.

      That's a start for you. Good luck in pursuing this and I remind you that time is ticking!

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    3. I would like to add that I pay for my own electricity, and the extra charge for installing an air conditioner is on top of my regular hydro bill which costs would only be added to my present hydro bill. Thank you

      Delete
    4. Hi: Isn't that interesting. Then the $175 is just a charge because they want more money? Seems like it. I can't think of any basis under the RTA that makes this charge legal in any way.

      Michael Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  85. Hello Mike,

    I have been living in an apartment building for the last 3 years. I have my mom, who is over 70 years of age sometimes coming from outside the country visiting me.

    Every time she arrives here, I have to copy her passport and visa and write a letter to the landlord asking for permission for her to stay and for a certain period of time. They usually give me a FOB that is programmed not to work for all facilities but mostly allowing entry to the building and laundry room. I recently renewed her visa in Canada and wrote a letter to the landlord asking for her to stay until her visa expires. They call me today and asked for a phone of her and copy of her ticket. I find this is not reasonable as they have copy of her passport and visa. It seems to me that they may think I am renting out part of the apartment to another person (other than my mom). Can they really ask for her photo and ticket? Thanks.

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    1. Hi: What!!!???? Before I go off on a rant, I must ask and confirm that you are living in Ontario and that you are not living in social housing (i.e. government supported housing)? If you are living in subsidized housing then your landlord as a social housing provider does indeed have some interest in who is living with you as it impacts your rent. Social housing providers also have the right to prohibit assignment and subletting (private landlords have a lesser degree of control as well), and hence knowing who is living with you can be the business of a social housing landlord. That being said, providing your landlord with a copy of your mother's passport, visa, photo and tickets seems exceptionally intrusive to me---especially if you not living in subsidized housing. If you are a market rent tenant and/or have a private landlord then the landlord's demands in all respects---photo, passport, permission, tickets, etc., are entirely unreasonable and not their business at all. You don't need permission for your mother to visit and stay with you (if not in subsidized social housing).

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  86. Hi Michael,

    Is it legal to refuse to sign the lease agreement with multiple adults that intend to live in an my apartment, i.e. both husband and wife, instead requesting to sign the agreement with only one person? That would be whoever has better employment.

    I've been through this enough times where people split up and the remaining person is unable to pay. In one case a person would sublet a room to a new tenant every 2 months. Most recently the wife left, and the husband has been considerably late for the the last 4 months. In the meantime his new girlfriend has moved in with her three children of her own and numerous visiting relatives.

    Thanks,
    Andrea

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea: You do not have to enter into a lease with all occupants of a rental unit. It is fair enough to only be in a landlord and tenant relationship with one of the occupants. Whether this will solve the problem you describe or not is not something I would want to bet on. You have little control over people moving in etc., so long as the tenancy is ongoing. You will need to be careful as well, if you intend to only have a single landlord and tenant relationship, not to treat the other occupant(s) as tenants. If you accept rent from occupants, deal with them as if they are tenants, receive notices from them, and essentially interact with them as tenants then the landlord and tenant board may hold that they are indeed tenants notwithstanding what the lease says. If its important to you I would be inclined to get a written acknowledgement from the tenant and occupants that any payment of rent an occupant may make or deliver is on behalf of the tenant and that dealing with the occupant, giving and receiving notices, etc., is all done by the occupant on behalf of the tenant and that there is no intention to enter into a Landlord and Tenant relationship with the occupants--i.e. it is agreed that they do not acquire the status of tenant unless agreed to in writing by virtue of the interactions. This may not ultimately be binding but it could indeed be very helpful to have.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  87. Michael... You have offered some great advice on the forum and I'm sure everyone aware of this page appreciates it. I have an urgent problem now...

    I live in North York which is part of the GTA. I rent a 6 bedroom house and because I'm close to the university, rent out rooms to students to defray my rent costs.

    Someone filed a complaint that this is a 'rooming house' and North York is zoned for 'single family occupancy' only.

    The city inspector showed up, did a walk through and just called me to give me a heads-up that the house is not in compliance and the property owner will be given a notice that she has to make changes so that it is in compliance - in other words, toss us out.

    So, the questions that I have are related to that - first off, I have a 1 year lease - it ends next June. Can the city force her to evict me prior to the end of that lease? If so, when she gives notice, does it have to be on the first of the month or can she give me a 60 day notice any time during a month and then I have to move out within that 60 day period even if the 60 days ends on say, the 12th of the month?

    The next question is, once she gives me the notice, technically she's 'in compliance' - does the authority then transfer to the LTB or is the authroity of the LTB usurped because it is a city by-law issue? In other words, would I be able to go to the LTB and challenge the notice (with the endorsement of the property owner of course in this instance since she really doesn't want me out of here) and claim hardship etc and get the LTB to order an extension of the notice?

    And finally, what constitutes "family" - the inspector I just talked to gave me a long rambling explanation that included 'living as a family' - and how is that determined, other than by a city inspector who it seems, applies his own judgement on each individaul case basis?

    This is sort of urgent - since, right now, until I get information from you and others as to how to proceed and how my landlord should proceed, it looks like we have to be out of here sometime in September or October?

    Thanks

    Terry

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    Replies
    1. Hi Terry: It will be best if you retain a lawyer to assist you. Perhaps try one of the local community legal clinics that handle Landlord and Tenant matters. There is very little that you can trust in the assessment of your house as a "rooming house". Cities have been playing around with this for quite some time trying to address complaints from neighbours about groups of students living in homes. The reality is that a lot of these by-laws simply don't work. It will be worthwhile to have a lawyer look at the local by-law and apply the facts to the law.

      With respect to where the "power" lies, that all remains with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The community trying to evict tenants from an illegal rooming house--with the help of the Superior Court of Justice--was found to be invalid in an Ottawa case called Fraser v. Beach (you can find it on www.canlii.org).

      The landlord will need to decide whether she is in breach of some city by-law or not. She can appeal, fight the ticket, or do as she likes. If she rented to you on a single residential lease her argument against any ticket is, I think, rather straightforward [subject of course to the wording of the North York by-law] You are entitled to remain in the premises and you are entitled to have roommates. If having "roommates" is contrary to a by-law then perhaps the by-law needs to be challenged. Perhaps it is you who should be ticketed for taking in roommates? Will the by-law fly in the face of what you're doing? Again, comparing the facts to the wording of the by-law is key here.

      With respect to your eviction--if that is going to happen---the power lies with the landlord and tenant board. This means that your landlord needs to find a valid Notice of Termination to serve you and your landlord needs to have a hearing with the Board. There really aren't any other shortcuts---review Fraser v. Beach. In that case the Board dismissed the landlord's application to evict even though the landlord agreed to shut down the rooming house as backed up in a Court order.

      Hope that helps somewhat. You need to see a lawyer to put all of the facts in front of him/her and let an analysis of your circumstances be done so that you have a comprehensive legal opinion. You might find, if you are fortunate enough to have a local community legal clinic, that you are not the first case with similar facts and that the outcome is more predictable than you might expect.

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Below is Fraser v. Beach link

      http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2005/2005canlii14309/2005canlii14309.html?autocompleteStr=fraser%20v.%20beach&autocompletePos=1

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    3. Thank you Michael.... I owe you a bottle of whatever you drink!!!

      Delete
  88. I have lived with my daughter for the last two years in a two bedroom high rise in Toronto. My daughter is now finished college and is planning to get a two bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and another friend, and I am planning to downsize to a one bedroom. My question is, rather than moving, can my daughter take over the lease on our current apartment (she is not on the lease but has always been named as an occupant)? Rents are ridiculously high in this city, and the same style of apartment we live in is now advertised for $300 a month more than when we moved in, so it makes more sense for her to stay here, but I'm afraid that the corporate landlord won't allow it when they could make more money from it if we all moved out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Your options for transferring the tenancy to your daughter under the Residential Tenancies Act requires an "assignment" of your existing tenancy. You could approach the landlord and they would allow you to assign the lease to your daughter who is already an occupant of the unit. The landlord can say yes, or no. The landlord is not required to allow an assignment of a tenancy and can simply say "no" which then gives you the right to terminate the tenancy.

      While the landlord may get more rent by renting to new tenants it is also possible that to get more rent your unit would have to be renovated and upgraded. Perhaps the landlord is in a position to do this work or is fine with incurring the turnover costs of a rental unit going vacant and being re-rented. Perhaps the landlord places value in knowing the kind of tenant that you were and how your daughter has been. This may motivate the landlord to allow the assignment. Then again, perhaps not.

      If the landlord says no to the assignment request you do not have to move out. You can stay put and still decide what you are going to do--perhaps stay there until your daughter finds and appropriate place and you find the ideal one bedroom.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  89. Hi
    Before this becomes an issue we as seniors are wanting to know where we stand on the issue. My husband and I rented a four bedroom house along with our three students.
    The students names were put on the lease. Under the house insurance we have we act as a family butone student has moved out so we want to replace him with another student. I looked into and found an insurane that will cover 3 students but under my old insurance they only want two students.
    Our landlady also new that so asked me to finding her an insurance coverage for coverage of our place for three students and ourselves.
    We have a student teacher that is interested in the room who will come and go from mid September to the end of February. It would only be 16 weeks. This student comes and goes 26 days then 36 days then 46 days. Can we use the guest clause to satisfy all perameters regarding the insurance and landlady who did not get the insurance for us to have three students under their insurance.
    We would appreciate hour thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Unfortunately I am not going to be much help to you. The Residential Tenancies Act (the law governing residential landlord and tenant relationships in Ontario) does not squarely address tenant insurance. Insurance in Ontario is regulated under a different statute.

      With respect to coverage, exclusions, and all conditions attached to issuing a policy and keeping it in good standing I recommend that you speak with your insurance broker and keep a documented exchange about the kind of coverage you need and how the home is being occupied. It is important to be accurate in speaking with the broker as the insurer is entitled to know what kind of risk is being insured. It is of no use to get a policy that is only voided after an incident due to irregularities.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  90. I live in a high rise building. Recently the landlord decided to start charging visitors for parking and installed parking meters. In our city, we rarely have parking meters and most parkings are free. Also the landlord has problems maintaining the elevators. Few of the tenants are planning to go door to door to ask tenants for support to go for a collective action to the city to prevent landlords from charging visitors for parking. We will approach other tenants to see the best approach to do this. Can we go door to door in the building and distribute flyers to the tenants about their rights and encouraging them to take action with us? do we need permission for the land lord? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello: Thank you for this interesting question. Tenants do indeed have the right to organize a tenant association. You do not have to get the Landlord's permission and in fact, if the landlord tries to interfere with the formation of a tenant association or takes eviction proceedings against a tenant(s) because of it the Board is prohibited from terminating those tenancies.

      As you are likely discovering, forming a tenant association is a lot of work. Consider getting some organizing help from a local community legal clinic as they can guide you about the legal issues and explain how collective action can be taken to address issues affecting all of the tenants. Some clinics will indeed send someone out to speak with groups of tenants to explain the legal implications and the benefits of associating.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  91. Hi Michael,

    My lease specifically states that only the people named in the lease(only I am listed) may occupy the premise. I originally thought that it would be voided by section 4 but my landlord is pushing back and said they will evict me if I don't sign a new lease with my girlfriend on it with increased rent. I don't want to have her on the lease in the event of a break-up etc, since it'll be impossible to lower the rent or even remove her.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The landlord's demand is illegal. If you can get the landlord's demand in writing that would make for a very good case at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. You do not have to sign a new lease and you do not have to agree to a higher rent. That being said, you are sure to upset your landlord and if you live in premises that are partially exempt from rent control you might find yourself receiving an N2 Notice of Rent Increase bumping your rent an unreasonable amount as punishment for asserting your rights. Getting the landlord's demand in writing would be helpful to thwart such a rent increase (if your unit is partially exempt from rent control).

      Note that the landlord saying they are going to evict requires the landlord to get an order from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. The landlord will not find a legal basis to get such an order. If you do get served with a Notice of Hearing speak with duty counsel before the hearing. They should be able to cite the caselaw you need to prove the legality of your position (and the illegality of the landlord's).

      It is not possible to legally evict a person covered by the Residential Tenancies Act without first getting an eviction Order from the landlord and tenant board. Any self help remedy that that landlord would use is illegal. If your landlord threatens such a tactic consider calling the Investigations and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Housing. They can charge the landlord and also warn him not to take illegal steps.

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  92. Hi michael, Ive had a friend of mine living with us for about 2 weeks now as temporary till she goes to school. My landlord has called me saying that she needs to leave by the 15 of next month (september) or my rent will increase.

    We have no lease or paperwork stating any rules of the rental. Since she is living with us temporarily is he allowed to do this?

    We are currently paying gas and hydro but landlord pays water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Logan: The landlord is not permitted to raise the rent because you have a friend living with you for a temporary period. In fact, your friend could move in permanently and this would not be a lawful reason to raise your rent. The landlord may only raise the rent using a Form N1 or Form N2 and it has to be in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The RTA does not allow a landlord to raise the rent because tenants have guests or get permanent roommates.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  93. My mother and her sister both live in the same apartment building. They have decided to move in with one another. When they do move in together the building will raise the rent of the apartment they move into by 300-400 dollars a month. They are elderly, 99 and 97 years old. and are looking to me for guidance. What do I do ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tia: I presume of course that this is in Ontario, that your mother and her sister each have their own apartment and that they are the named tenants on the lease for each of their apartments. While the lease may have expired a long time ago, they are still the tenants on the lease and the original lease terms will continue to apply to them. I presume they are month to month tenants in their own units.

      It is certainly fair enough that they would want to move in together--especially at their ages! The question for you now is. Will they both give up their apartments and move into a new and bigger apartment? Or is only one of them giving up their apartment and that person is moving into the apartment of the other one?

      If they are moving into a new apartment under a new lease the landlord may charge whatever it likes for the new apartment. The landlord does not have to give a break to your mother and aunt.

      However, if either of them is giving up their unit and moving in with the other, then the landlord is not allowed to raise the rent because of the "roommate" moving in. The landlord is limited to raising the rent in accordance with the law and raising the rent because of the presence of a roommate is not a lawful reason to raise the rent.

      If a landlord wants to raise the rent on an existing tenancy the landlord must serve a Notice of Rent Increase--either a Form N1 or Form N2. The rent increase for many rental units is limited by a maximum percentage set by the Ontario government (max = 2%). If your mother/aunt live in a building that is subject to full rent control and they are continuing to live in one of the two apartments then the maximum increase is in accordance with the annual guideline amount.

      If your mother and aunt live in a building that is only subject to partial rent control then the landlord is not limited by the amount that the rent can be raised. It is the age of the building the generally speaking affects whether the apartment is subject to full rent control or partial rent control. Newer buildings are generally partially exempt from rent control which means that the landlord may raise the rent an unlimited amount (once a year) using a form N2. However, raising the rent a large amount because a roommate is moving in (using an N2 form) would in my opinion be illegal. The N2 (partially exempt rent increase) can not be used punitively for a lawful activity.

      Hope this helps

      good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  94. Hi Michael,

    I am a landlord and found out from my neighbor that my tenant is renting out the living area to travelers through Airbnb. I do not know how often this is happening, as my tenat keeps saying it is legal to have guests. These are not guests. These are travelers paying for a hotel-like accommodation. I don't know how much money he is bringing in. I am also concerned of my insurance and if I am covered. Does he have the right to take money from total strangers, and then I have to make my insurance covers this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi:

      I think I will have to write a separate article on this question as I have had it before. The short answer, in my opinion, is that it is entirely illegal for a tenant to rent out his or her apartment out through Airbnb. Doing so, in my legal opinion, is contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act.

      Your are right to be concerned about the issues you raise and I do think you have an insurance problem with this kind of use as Airbnb rental is a different risk than renting to tenants.

      When I get a chance I will write an article explaining how Airbnb rentals are illegal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  95. Hello Michael,

    I am an undocumented tenant (no contract was signed) and I am currently residing in a household where I live with my landlord. Recently, she told me that I am not permitted to bring over guests, particularly males. Is this legal for her to do? And if not, how can I deal with this situation in a civil manner? What rights do I have as a tenant in this situation?

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    1. Hi: The big package of "rights" that people commonly understand tenants to have in Ontario flow from a statute (law) called the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The RTA is a thorough code that governs almost every aspect of the landlord and tenant relationship. In fact, landlords and tenants are not allowed to contract out of the RTA because the RTA makes any agreement that contravenes it "void".

      As you can imagine, the RTA is a great equalizer and prevents landlords from imposing random rules and obligations on tenants. In the context of having "guests" and I presume your emphasis on "males" is to suggest guests for a sexual purpose the RTA combined with the Ontario Human Rights Code makes it illegal for a landlord to ban "guests" (for any purpose not just for sexual reasons).

      Hence it is exceptionally important for any person wanting to claim the protection of the RTA to find a way to be covered by it. Not every living arrangement and not every relationship that looks like a tenancy is covered by the RTA. When a relationship is not covered by the RTA the big basket of rights that the RTA gives a tenant do not necessarily apply.

      One of the most common exemptions is in section 5(i) of the RTA which provides an exemption in circumstances where the tenant is sharing a bathroom and/or kitchen with the landlord. Hence, if you are sharing either of these facilities with the landlord you do not have RTA protection. This means that your right to have "guests" as protected under the RTA is not applicable to your particular circumstances because you are not in an RTA protected tenancy.

      If you are not RTA protected you need to look at the legal terms of your relationship. Unfortunately, you describe the relationship as being undocumented which likely means that certain rights, responsibilities and obligations were not specifically contemplated or agreed upon when you moved in with the owner of the unit.

      In many instances you would effectively be considered a "roommate" if there is no RTA protection. As a roommate, without a roommate agreement, you have very little control over the rules and regulations of the household. The owner/landlord has the right to set the rules for the premises and this may include a "guests" rule.

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    2. Certainly, the lack of a written agreement is not ideal for the landlord either. I think the law generally recognizes that people have the right to have "guests" and that the social aspects of being human would be presumed as rights implied in your oral contract with the landlord. Arguably it is incumbent on your landlord to have made the "no guests" rule very clear before you moved in.

      While I don't think that the law will give you the right to have guests in the non-RTA covered property over the express wishes of the owner/landlord, I do think it is arguable on your part that the imposition of this rule after you've moved in is unreasonable. I think you could use the rule as a basis to terminate your relationship and move and you could argue that the expenses of moving and associated costs should be paid by the owner/landlord. The logic of this is to ask who, as between you and the landlord, should be responsible for the costs of this no guests rule? My personal view, presuming certain facts, is that one can reasonably expect a roommate/lodger to want to have guests--sexual or otherwise. I think that most people in a lodging situation would expect there to be some rules--courtesy related--but that generally the opportunity to have guests would not be completely prohibited. I think that regular people would expect a complete prohibition on guests rule to be unusual and that if the owner/landlord wanted to impose such a condition on the relationship that this needs to be spelled out before the relationship is entered into. Otherwise, the complete prohibition on guests is not within the contemplation of a ordinary person.

      Hope that helps somewhat.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  96. Hello michael thank you for posting ive foundnit very helpfull, however i do have some unanswered questions in regards to my situation. So the lease has a party of 5. My dad me my brother and two sisters. My sister moved out Nd my girlfriend moved in my landlord decided to raise the rent 75$ but before that already raised it 25$ for utility increase. Is he allowed too? His reasons were because of utility usage. Is he allowed to do so? Ive already paid one month do i have to keep paying and can i get my money back? I have to contact the board correct? Thank you for your time!

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    1. Hi: The exact nature of your rights depends on certain facts that I can't determine from your question. However, let us presume that the Residential Tenancies Act applies to your rental agreement and that your apartment/rental unit is subject to full rent control (meaning it isn't partially exempt due to it being a newer rental unit). Further, I'll presume that there are no exemptions applying to your rental unit. These assumptions are not exceptional as most rental units in the province are under the Residential Tenancies Act in this way. The exception is that an increasing number of rental units--as they are being built since the late 1990's--are partially exempt from rent control meaning that rent increases are not limited to an annual guideline amount.

      So, all that being said, the rent increases and utility increases you describe are suspicious and I expect they are illegal. The rent increase guideline percentage in 2016 is 2%. Unless your rent is $3750 per month the increase of $75 is illegal (presuming your rental unit is subject to full rent control).

      With respect to the utility increase this is typically illegal as the landlord can not just raise the charges for utilities because of people coming and going in the rental unit. If utilities are included in the rent then that is the end of the story. The $25 increase is illegal. Landlord's do have an option for charging back increased utility costs but it isn't through a process of simply demanding more.

      If the assumptions I've made are correct you can indeed get this money paid back to you. I recommend that you meet with a community legal clinic or duty counsel at the Landlord and Tenant Board to assist you in making a written demand to your landlord (first) and then filing the appropriate application to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  97. Hi Michael.. I am living in a house with 2 other girls.. My landlord has leased out a single room to each of us and we have a common kitchen and washroom. I have the residential Tenancy Lease Agreement signed with him. Recently I have been bringing in my fiance to stay overnight with me for a couple of times during the week. we stay in our room most of the time and do not cause any disturbance to the other house mates. Also, we leave in the morning before they even wake up. However, one of my house mate has raised concerns that my fiance is in the house frequently and has been threatening to take legal action against me and call the police to escort him. I tried to talk to her and she agreed that he can come in only once a week and if he comes in more than once she could call the police. What rights do i have in this situation? I feel I am targeted and harassed.

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    1. HI: An interesting question and one that comes up not infrequently when the living arrangement is in a de facto rooming house. From how you describe it, it sounds like you and each of the other two girls have your own separate lease with the landlord. You are not all on one lease. This makes a difference in determining who has to sort out this mess and whether you, or the other girl, has recourse to the landlord.

      Presuming you have your own separate lease then you can report this girl to the landlord as harassing you and intimidating you. Threatening to call the police because you have a guest is simply not acceptable. If there is indeed a problem with your guest, or his presence generally, then the other girl can complain to the landlord and the landlord can serve you with a Notice of Termination. You can then fight that Notice of Termination in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act. By-passing the landlord and threatening to call the police--impliedly threatening a complaint that will cause your boyfriend to be arrested?--is not acceptable. In my view, this threat is enough to serve a Notice of Termination on the other girl (by the landlord).

      The ultimate question is whether a person in a rooming house is entitled to have overnight houseguests. Generally speaking the answer is "yes". There is no lawful way to prevent a tenant from having a guest or "relations" on a casual basis with people in their rental unit. It is not up to the landlord to tell tenants whether they can share their space with another person or persons. Certainly, many landlords in rooming house situations do try to impose houserules limiting or restricting guests totally or after certain hours. The enforceability of these rules is questionable.

      Where the presence of guests in a rooming house can lead to termination of a tenancy is when the presence of the guest substantially interferes with he reasonable enjoyment of the premises by other tenants or the landlord. This is an objective standard and not what a particularly sensitive person may feel. For example, if the guest hogs the showers, walks around improperly dressed, dominates the common use services--i.e. parking, living room, laundry, fridge space, etc. etc., then this can be grounds to terminate the tenancy of the tenant who is having the guest over. The ground of termination is not the presence of the guest but the impact of the guest in the residential complex.

      I hope that helps a bit. You may wish to consider getting legal advice from a local community legal clinic or lawyer or paralegal. They could be helpful to you in writing to the landlord and setting out your position.

      Good Luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  98. Hi! I'm living in some form of low income apartment and I very recently am letting a couple of homeless friends stay with me temporarily, not permanently, not paying me.
    My neighbor has complained to me about this after only 1 day, stating that my building is supposed to be safe for women, and is women only. I am entirely unaware of this women only rule and there is a married couple living in the apartment next to us.
    She told me that my lease does not allow for overnight guests.

    The level of income my friends have, combined with mine may still be under the yearly limit as they only receive Ontario Works and I'm on ODSP.

    She was concerned because one of them is a 'creepy man' who has done literally nothing to her.

    Does my landlord have a right to not allow these people to stay with me?

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    1. Hi: Your question touches on various different requirements and possibilities and due to a lack of information I can't comment for certain about what you are asking. However, I am pleased to generally address the issues, as I see them, and you can further investigate your own situation.

      Firstly, it should be clear that whether you are a tenant with a low income housing provider or with a private landlord at market rents your rights with respect to the premises are largely and virtually identical subject to very specific exceptions. You are entitled to have guests and a "rule" prohibiting guests is likely unlawful. You are responsible for the behavior of your guests and if they do something that is contrary to your lease or the RTA that may lead to the termination of your tenancy in accordance with the RTA (after a hearing at the LTB).

      The enforcement of any "issues" (let's call them that) is not up to your neighbor. Certainly, approaching a neighbor to raise concerns is quite reasonable so long as everything remains civil and appropriate. However, beyond that, it is not up to your neighbor to try to enforce rules and her suggestion that it is contrary to your lease to have friends stay over is over the top (i.e. none of her business). It is one thing to express concerns but quite another to start lecturing you on your legal obligations to your landlord.

      In any event, you are entitled to have overnight guests and any clause that outright prohibits overnight guests is likely unlawful. That being said, overnight guests may indeed (and eventually) have an impact on you. Whether you are paid or not, in the context of social housing where you are receiving a housing subsidy, the presence of other income earners in the household can impact your housing subsidy--i.e. it would need to be recalculated to take into account the incomes of the people in your household. In every situation that I am aware of (in relation to social housing providers), the income of guests is not relevant until the passage of a certain amount of time. The presence of guests (even over-night ones) does not immediately affect your rent. It is if these guests stay too long that your rent can be affected. The exact number of days that this is--is also spelled out (though likely not in your lease). Contact your landlord to ask how long you can have guests stay with you before you have to report their presence. This is a reasonable question to ask and there is nothing untoward about it. You can be sure that your neighbor has already complained to the landlord and they will in one form or another already "know" about your guests. Once you know the rules, from your landlord, you can decide how to proceed.

      When living with a social housing provider there are specific exemptions set out in the Residential Tenancies Act. Note that the structure of the exemptions is that tenants living with social housing providers initially get all of the same rights as market rent tenants with private landlords. Then, some specific rights are removed or exempted under the RTA from applying to tenants receiving subsidy or living in social housing. The generally exemptions relate to rent calculation, rent increase and decrease notice periods, and assignment and subletting.

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    2. Lastly, you mention this "safe for women" building and for "women only". It would be very strange for you to be living in such a building and not being aware of it. I think it would actually be impossible for you not to be aware of it if it is indeed true. You would have seen this in your lease, would likely have been asked for permission to do a criminal background check and likely would have been asked to agree to certain restrictions in the use of the rental unit. As it seems that you are unaware of anything of the sort it is highly unlikely that what your neighbor says is true. Even if it is true, I can't imagine how it would be enforced against you if nothing was in your lease etc..

      Some might wonder about this "safe for women" thing and single sex building. Is this possible? The issue in relation to programs like this is whether the restrictions and exclusions somehow infringe the Ontario Human Rights Code. There are "crime free" housing programs that do offer the kind of protections suggested by the phrase "safe for women". You see these programs at various buildings and landlords, working with the local police, put a program together to background check the tenants and make the building "safer" through various security measures. Some of these programs have been deemed lawful.

      Again, I don't think that it is possible for you to be living in a building that is under a specialized housing program (ex. Crime Free), without knowing about it. This fact would have been openly disclosed and promoted to prospective tenants.

      Hope that helps. Ultimately, the short answer to your question is that you have a right to have guests stay with you. However, with the passage of time their presence may impact your eligibility for social housing and or your subsidized rent.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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IMPORTANT NOTICE

Any answers provided are intended to reflect the Law of Ontario, Canada. The answers are not legal advice and no one should rely on the answers provided as legal advice. The answers are intended to be general information about Ontario Law and are the personal view of the author based on the limited facts provided to the author. The answers may not be legally accurate and may indeed be contrary to the law of Ontario. Answers and conclusions drawn may have been different if facts had been shared that have not been disclosed in the comment/question. This blog is intended to assist people in learning about Ontario Landlord and Tenant Law. However, if you have actual legal problems this blog should under no circumstances replace proper legal advice obtained by retaining a lawyer or licensed paralegal to advise you. Nothing in this blog, comments submitted or answers provided, gives rise to a solicitor and client relationship. Comments are published as submitted and commenters should be aware that if they identify themselves in a comment that their identity will become public upon the comment being published. Comments that have been published may be deleted upon request to the author.

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About Michael Thiele

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Ottawa lawyer and partner at Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP.  Graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.  Called to the bar in Ontario in 1997.  Undergraduate degree at Colby College, Waterville Maine, U.S.A.