Tuesday, 29 September 2015

RENT RECEIPTS: WHAT IS REQUIRED FROM A LANDLORD

In Ontario, tenants are entitled to receive a receipt for rent that they pay.  This is true even if their rent is paid by cheque, electronic transfer, or other instrument that would appear to be its own receipt.    The landlord's obligation to provide a receipt is set out in section 109 of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.  That section provides:


109. RECEIPT FOR PAYMENT ---(1)  A landlord shall provide free of charge to a tenant or former tenant, on request, a receipt for the payment of any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent or any other amount paid to the landlord.

(2)  FORMER TENANT--Subsection (1) applies to a request by a former tenant only if the request is made within 12 months after the tenancy terminated.


The obvious use of a rent receipt is that it allows a tenant to prove that the rent has been paid.  However, that is not the only reason that a tenant may request a rent receipt.  There are certain tax credits available to some tenants that may only be claimed with a proper rent receipt.  Further, a tenant may need the receipt to prove payment of rent to other agencies or in other court proceedings.   It is for this reason that the law very clearly requires a landlord to provide a receipt when requested to provide one.



While the obligation to provide a receipt is clear it is not always clear what a receipt needs to contain.  Many landlords buy a generic receipt book at Staples and simply fill in the spaces provided in that book.  For the most part, receipts like this do not meet the legal requirements imposed by the Residential Tenancies Act.


Aside from the section 109 requirements, the Regulations to the Residential Tenancies Act spell out the details of what a valid rent receipt must contain.  Section 9 of Ontario regulation 516/06 states that a document constitutes a receipt for the purposes of section 109 of the Residential Tenancies Act if it includes, at a minimum, a) the address of the rental unit to which the receipt applies; b) the name of the tenants to whom the receipt applies; c) the amount and date for each payment received for any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent, or any other amount paid to the landlord and shall specify what the payment was for; d) the name of the landlord of the rental unit; and e) the signature of the landlord or the landlord's authorized agent.

As you can see from this section of the regulation the standard receipt from a generic blank receipt book will not constitute a receipt.  By the wording of the regulation any document that a landlord provides to a tenant that does not include the mandatory information will not legally be considered to be a receipt.  Accordingly, a landlord who provides such a document is contravening the law when the tenant makes a request for a rent receipt.

I've pasted into this article a blank rent receipt that I have prepared which, if you compare it to the section 109 requirements and the section 9 requirements of the regulation, meets the mandatory requirements of the law. 


Michael K. E. Thiele
www.ottawalawyers.com









53 comments:

  1. Michael,

    Thank you for your post. As a tenant, can I request that I be provided a receipt following payment of each months' rent? If my landlord agreed to provide a receipt, but would only do so every 6 months to show payment for 6 months, or at the end of my lease to show payment for the full 12 month period, is this legal? Or do I have a right to a monthly receipt following payment of rent each month?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: You have a right to monthly receipt and you are entitled to that receipt at time of payment. This is especially important if you pay cash. Guard your receipts if you pay cash as the presumption about whether rent is paid or not generally goes against a tenant if a receipt can not be produced.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. hello sir,
      I wanted to know if rent receipt could be used as a document for address proof for health card in Ontario toronto

      Delete
  2. Michael, I have a question. A friend was renting an apartment for 3 years and gave the LL notice to move out. The LL sued my friend, claiming damaged for smoke, claiming they had to repaint & clean the carpets. She is a smoker, but the LL knew this at the time of rental. What should she do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I'll start with stating the obvious. If your friend has been sued then she needs to file a statement of defence to the claim that she received. Presumably this is in the Ontario Small Claims Court? If so, she will have received instructions with the claim. She can also find the Defence form and a guide on how to fill it out by searching/googling Ontario Small Claims Court forms.

      On the merits of this claim. I don't have enough information from what you have provided to explore all possible defences. Your friend should see about consulting with a lawyer if even just for an hour to get some ideas on how to defend. My starting point in a meeting like that would be to first look at the lease. I would have a specific interest on any smoking clauses in the lease (i.e. was smoking prohibited?).

      Aside from that I would then focus on the legal requirements imposed on a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Under the RTA a tenant has a duty to maintain a rental unit to a standard of ordinary cleanliness. Was the unit up to this "standard" at the time that your friend moved out. If so, then the landlord has no claim.

      After three years it is reasonable to expect that the landlord would have to have carpets professionally steam cleaned whether there was a smoker in the apartment or not. Query if there is anything extra about this steam cleaning. It would be worthwhile to look at the invoice from the carpet cleaning company. Query as well, did you friend get the unit with cleaned carpets three years before or is this the first time they've been cleaned in many years?

      With respect to painting it is important to realize that painted interior walls are considered to have a useful life (i.e. the paint job has a useful life) of 10 years under the regulations to the RTA. While it isn't a hard and fast rule, 10 years as a guide is very helpful in determining or apportioning responsibility. You know that the paint job in your friend's apartment was at least 3 years old meaning that the landlord already got 3 years of value out of the paint job. If the paint job was brand new when your friend moved in, and the landlord proves that she ruined the paint job by her conduct, then the most the landlord could get towards a new paint job is 70%. If the paint job was not new when your friend moved in then it will be important to get the age of the paint job. Your friend could also plead in her defence that the paint job was old, damaged, etc. (if it was of course), to highlight that a paint job was needed regardless of anything she did.

      Painting to deal with "smoke" is perhaps one way to go about it. The other way, of course, is get out a bucket, some TSP, and wash the walls. It is at this point that you begin to get a sense of how serious the smoking was. Are the walls coated in nicotine and smoke residue? When pictures were taken off the wall was there an outline of the picture because the rest of the wall was covered in smoke residue? Even if there was, this does not necessarily make your friend liable for the cost of cleaning or covering the smoke. However, asking these questions begins to get at the heart of the "ordinary cleanliness" question. Was this apartment left in a reasonable condition given that the tenant was a smoker? Or was the condition of the place exceedingly dirty even in the context of a smoker? Begin to answer that question and I think you will have a sense of how a court might go on this.

      There is, as you say, another argument and that is that the landlord knew your friend was a smoker when he rented to her. By not prohibiting smoking the apartment building he had to know that dealing with smoke residue on walls and throughout the unit was something that would have to be dealt with and that it would be expected as part of ordinary wear and tear. That is, in my opinion, a strong argument against this claim.

      Good luck to your friend.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  3. Michael, thank you for this blog and taking the time to write these very useful posts. I moved into an apartment 13 months ago. Although it wasn't included in the (generic) lease, the landlord promised to replace the old leaky fridge before I moved in (I have emails that attest to this). They even claimed they had already ordered the fridge before I moved in. To make a long story short, 13 months and multiple email exchanges later, still no fridge. After agreeing to some of the landlord's illegal demands like threatening to rip up our lease agreement after we had signed it if I didn't provide them with post-dated cheques, and demanding I pay a deposit for the house keys, this is the last straw... More than a year later, the landlord keeps changing the story on the fridge and won't tell me when it will be delivered. What are my options at this point?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Digbeu: If the fridge does not work then you could proceed on the basis that the landlord has not repaired the fridge. Repair and maintenance applications are done under a T6 application before the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. On the other hand, if the fridge is working but it is just old, then the landlord does not have an obligation to replace it under the repair and maintenance obligation. The promise to you goes to heart of the contractual arrangement between you and the landlord. The emails you have, promising a new fridge, are great evidence of that. You should take a look at the T2 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. It is a tenant's rights application. You can ask for a rent abatement for 12 months for having to put up with the old fridge and you can ask for an ongoing abatement until the fridge is replaced and an order requiring the landlord to replace it.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
    2. Hi Michael,


      Thank you for your blog. I need your help. I've been living with my roommate who was* my friend for 4 months. She has seasonal depression so the winter is here and she wants to kick me out. We currently live in a 2 bedroom but she asked the landlord to switch to a one bedroom unit and signed for that new place. I am no where on any lease other than our Facebook conversations that I'm living with her. She is giving me one month notice to move out. Is that legal? Should I not get 2 months? please help, And thank you

      Delete
  4. I need a landlord letter for .y child's tax credit but my landlord won't give me one, what can I do

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  5. My friend's landlord is withholding rent receipts until such time as she pays him for an exterminator charge. He claims her cat infested the space with fleas (how he can prove that, I'm not sure - that's another story). But - she is willing to pay just to get the receipts, but our question is: Is the tenant entitled to see a copy of the invoice from the exterminator? The landlord is charging her directly and I think it's only fair that she sees what she's paying for? Please help :(

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi: The landlord is not allowed to withhold rent receipts. This is explicitly against the law. Your friend may file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board requiring the landlord to provide her with a receipt. She may also consider withholding future rent payments until she has received her outstanding receipts.

      With respect to the exterminator's invoice the tenant is certainly entitled to see it. It is highly questionable whether the landlord is permitted to charge the tenant with this expense in any event. In most instances pest control is the landlord's responsibility and can not be passed on to the tenants. If your friend is willing to pay then certainly the landlord is not entitled to charge any more than what was actually paid.

      Good luck
      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much! She no longer lives there so rent withholding is not an option. But he threatened collections on the extermination fee, so maybe a little Landlord and Tenant Board "threat" may alter his position. Thanks again :)

      Delete
  6. Hello Michael,

    Thanks for your post. I have a tenant that was always late on laying rent and didn't give notice to move out so they had not paid rent since January 2016 until today. So I filed an eviction notice and set out a court date for non payment. She did provide first and last when she started renting so January was technically paid but since she didn't give any notice until early February 2016 that she would leave, I filed to get two months of non payment from her on February 2nd 2016. She mentioned that she wants her receipts and post dated cheques back but she failed to meet me at a given time and now wants to go to court for her receipts. I have no problem providing the receipts but I believe she wants to go to court saying that I failed to provide the receipts as comeback. Please advise me on my situation. Thank you very much. Regards, May

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    1. Hi: It is a little unclear what is going on here. I'm understanding that you are proceeding to a hearing for termination for non-payment of rent. Two months of rent are in issue. The Last Month's Rent will only be applied to the last month once the Board terminates the tenancy and evicts her. You don't use or give credit for the LMR until the last month of the tenancy is determined. For any period of time beyond the last month the Board will award you a daily rate of compensation presuming you asked for it in your application.

      I don't see much of a defence or great argument in the issue of receipts. Bring your receipt book to the hearing and have with you the receipts for rents received for which the tenant does not have a receipt. Be prepared to explain that the tenant did not show up for a meeting--as you described above. Nothing about the receipts issue will excuse the non-payment of rent. Given that the tenant pays by cheque (you must have had NSF cheques?) the critical importance of a receipt is diminished from a situation where rent is paid in cash (though the law still entitles the tenant to a receipt).

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  7. Unmarried tenants who are filing with the CRA separately, but who live together in the unit I rent to them, are asking for separate rental receipts for half the total rent to each of the two of them. Is this allowed or am I only to issue a receipt to one of them (I've heard that only one person can claim rent even though the unit is occupied by multiple people)? They are both listed on the lease agreement, but they are unmarried and have not lived together long enough to be common law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The blog article sets out the extent of the legal requirements respecting rent receipts as reflected in the Residential Tenancies Act. Whether you choose to issue two receipts for half the rent for each month paid actually implies more than what you know to be the case. You rented one unit on one lease to two tenants. How they split the rent or the obligation to pay is not any of your concern and in fact you want to maintain that they each have an individual obligation to pay the entirety of the rent. Providing a split receipt (half to each) may imply that each of them are only liable for half of the rent. Further, it may imply that there are two separate tenancies in the same rental unit. Certainly there is evidence to the contrary (i.e. the lease), but creating two separate receipts as requested may create confusion.

      My inclination would be to issue one receipt with both names on the receipt for the full amount of the rent paid. I expect that they can use such a receipt as needed and certainly you are not required to provide anything more than that.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  8. Thank you for clarifying!

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  9. Hello, As a tenant, I have given my 60 day notice and have asked for my rental receipts for 2015. My question is, after asking for the reciepts how long does a landlord have before they have to produce them? Is there a specific time line set in place?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello,
    My landlord is attempting to charge me $150 for providing a rent receipt. Are they allowed to do that? I've been at the same place for 3 years and have never been charged in the past.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: As you can see from the article above, the landlord's obligation in Ontario is to provide a rent receipt free of charge. Your landlord's demand for $150 for a receipt is ridiculous and illegal.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  11. Hi Michael,

    My landlord claims in an email that because he is a new immigrant he cannot afford to 'replace/ replace" things. This was in response to a defect in the construction of a new shower floor i.e. the drain coukd not be removed for a plumbing inspection to determine cause of odours coming up drain. He then refused ti allow me to bring in my own plumber for 'an inspection of any kind".

    Extending some "compassion" that because he is a newcomer,he might be cash strapped/house poor I got along w/o the inspection or repair . Months later, I found out that the 2nd unit apartment is not registered and therefore illegal.... It's never had any inspectuons- fire, building, ESA etc.

    Is this discrimination based on prohibited ground of citizenship/status under OHRC i.e., I am Canadian citizen with both RTA and OHRC housing rights however feeling compelled to overlook the landlords unlawfull act of advertising a legal apartment which isn't legal and compelled to overlook his resposibility to repair because he lead me to feel sorry for him because of his financial circumstance : "struggling immigrant". In the end, Municipal Property Standards has ordered that he convert property to single unit use...I am therefore now being evicted.

    Beverly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beverly: If you are being evicted it must still be done in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act. Just because a unit is "illegal" is not grounds to terminate and evict someone. It is still a rental unit and as such you have the rights of a tenant under the RTA.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  12. I have a tenant who is moving out due to the home being put up for sale. She has never asked for rental receipts in the past but is now asking for 13 years worth of receipts. She has always paid by cheque. How far back do I legally have to go in providing receipts? Do I have to provide monthly receipts or can I issue a letter stating she has lived there 13 years and always paid rent. What is my legal obligation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melanie: If you take a look at the article above you will see that the RTA does not really have a time limit for providing receipts as long as the receipt is requested within 12 months of the termination of the tenancy. That being said, I don't see any need to require a monthly receipt. You could write one big receipt acknowledging the essential elements of a "proper" receipt as reflected in the RTA. For those details look up at the article and you will see what a rent receipt needs to have in it. You could make one generic receipt that sets out the date ranges, amounts paid etc..

      Good luck
      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. Thank you, my land lord is following the advice of a mean Realtor who I have reported to the licensing board. They are trying to force me out with fraudulent paperwork and I have proof of the lie. I have spent 4 years living here with no issue between us till this time. I want receipts for the cash payments made. Thank you for the "date ranges" because I was unsure how to proceed with that. If the land lord refuses to sign the receipt for the last 12 months what do I do?

      Delete
  13. Hi Michael,

    My tenant gave me the notice at the end of February and moved out the day after. We did not reach any mutual agreement on the amount that she owed me for the 60 days notice (March and April). she did not pay me anything. Now she offered to pay me only 100$ and asked her rent receipts of 2015 and 2016. I could re-rent the room from mid of April, that means my ex tenant owes me for 45 days.

    Now the questions are:
    1- Having said that she owed me 675$ for 45 days rent, should I provide her with the receipts?
    2- All was verbal agreement, but I have witness who is the other tenants and confirms that I told them about 60 days notice period before they moved in.
    3-We shared Kitchen and living room, I should go to the Small Claim Court or to the LTB?
    4- Can I give the rent receipts of 2015 and 2016 in the court once I got my money back, or I should give them now to her?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zara: Sounds like you are RTA exempt because of the shared kitchen. Hence the rent receipt requirement in the RTA does not apply. When sharing space as opposed to renting there may also be a "board" component to the payment. Before giving a receipt for "rent" consider speaking with your accountant for tax advice on what to call the payments received.

      With respect to providing receipts--never provide a receipt for money not yet received as the receipt is proof of payment.

      As for your entitlement as to notice it will be the terms of your contract that apply. An oral contract is enforceable but the terms are harder to prove. If you choose to take legal action it would have to be at the Small Claims Court as the tenancy is likely RTA exempt under section 5(i).

      Good luck.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  14. hi michael,

    my sister and i lived together for 3 years in an apartment and she is asking for rent receipts. the lease was in my name but the landlord was aware she lived there.

    she paid cash or e-transfer for her rent to me and i paid the landlord by cheque.

    because her name was not on the lease though do i write her rent receipt or does my landlord?

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Halima: If the reason for asking for the receipts is for tax purposes you should consult your tax preparer as to what is appropriate. I doubt that the landlord would issue a receipt to her as she did not pay rent to him/her/it. I don't think that you are writing "rent" receipts as contemplated for tax purposes because you are not a landlord. I think that what you are likely doing is giving your sister a copy of the rent receipt that you have received and the two of you use the same receipt and claim your proportionate share of that receipt. Again, confirm this with your tax preparer or accountant to see if this is how Canada Revenue Agency wants this situation dealt with.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  15. Hi, I have a question. I am Jewish, my landlord is Jehovah's Witness. Ive asked several times for them to respect my Shabbat, Friday after sunset to Sat at sunset as far as any repairs or visits to the house. I sent also a list of my holidays. But the landlord will still email me and say ' I know it's your Shabbat but I need to fix this or that...just leave the door unlocked and I won't disturb you." But the issue is we do no work, nor make others work on Saturdays.' What can I do about this? Thank you so much. Shalom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: What a wonderful question! A question that is guaranteed to stir passions in the only way that religion can. I'm going to give you an answer as to how I would proceed but I will acknowledge that my answer reflects my own views about religious accommodation. There is a counter view and many, I'm sure, will argue that people of faith are free to exercise their "freedom of religion" but only inside their houses of worship and not in the real world where the unobservant/atheists are required to respect the exercise by a person of their faith.

      So, my answer. I think that your right to exercise your religion is a protected right as a Canadian. That much, I think is obvious. Your right to practice your religion in the context of your own rented residential dwelling I think is still a generally guaranteed right but more specifically a protected right in rented residential housing under the Ontario Human Rights Code (HRC). That protection is found in section 2 of the Ontario Human Rights Code--religion is referred to as "creed".

      The HRC, section 2, provides for rights in accommodation and freedom from harassment in accommodation based on the grounds listed--which includes "creed". The Residential Tenancies Act over-rides other Acts except for the Human Rights Code (see section 3(4) RTA).

      The argument goes that the Residential Tenancies Act needs to be interpreted subject to the HRC. Your landlord's demand to enter flows from a lawful right to enter on notice (s. 27 RTA) in order to carry out a repair. This section appears to give the landlord this right on an unqualified basis. You have no right to be home, no right to be present, etc.. It is generally accepted that entry for these purposes do not have to be coordinated for the tenants convenience.

      That being said, I think it is equally clear that sections of the RTA need to be interpreted in accordance with the HRC. This is certainly clear from the duty to accommodate cases (Walmer Developments. v. Wolch). These cases stand for the proposition that the legal rights that a party may have under the RTA must be interpreted in such a way that the legal right does not in fact discriminate against the tenant.

      My view is that your landlord, by insisting on entering your unit to effect a repair during Shabbat is using a legal right in the RTA (s. 27) to interfere with the exercise of your religion. Section 27, in my view, needs to be interpreted to be subject to the exercise of your religion--meaning no entry on Shabbat or other religious holidays of significance.

      To me the foregoing argument is "obvious" especially in the context of routine work that can be done on other days. It is difficult to see how this accommodation may cause your landlord undue hardship or so thoroughly mess up his system so as to be unworkable.

      The foregoing being said, there will be instances where I think religious rights will be trumped by the circumstances. A section 26 entry for emergency on Shabbat will likely trump your religious rights (for example the emergency is flood, fire, threat to life). I think also that if the contemplated work proposes a scale or timetable that is sufficiently complex or which reflects a significant financial commitment that is made significantly more complex or expensive by accommodating you that your right may be over-ridden in that example. However, generally speaking, I would expect that for the vast majority of instances that your landlord is required to respect your exercise of your religion and not enter on these dates.

      As your landlord seems to be intent on ignoring your requests or is failing to appreciate the significance of Shabbat within your household you may have no choice but to file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board seeking an order requiring the landlord to refrain from giving notice and entering for routine maintenance work on Saturdays and other set religious holidays.

      Hope that helps.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  16. Hi Michael,

    Very useful and informative article. Especially with respect to what the receipt should look like. My previous landlord issued us a generic receipts, like ones sold at Dollarama.

    I sent 2 messages to my previous landlord about the receipt used to file ones income tax. I asked if he could provide us with this. Out of the 5 years, we only received 1. He has not responded to date.

    As I mentioned, the monthly rent payment receipts he gave us when we paid our rent was the generic receipt book ones. And especially reading your article, I see that what we were issued were actually not even legal.

    My question is, what is the best course of action to deal with this situation? From what I understood from the article, I am entitled to the annual income tax receipt for filing income tax and we should have been provided with this during tax filing season without having to remind him. Especially considering the fact the he also works for the CRA.

    Any and all information/insight would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: The receipt you are entitled to is a rent receipt and you can see from he article and the sections of the RTA what is required to be contained in the receipt. You are entitled to the receipt at the time of paying or if you agree otherwise whatever works for you. Certainly, if there is any cash involved you should get a receipt immediately. The content of the receipt is determined by the statute (i.e. Residential Tenancies Act) so there shouldn't be a debate about it. If you are having difficulty getting a proper receipt then the recourse is to file a T2 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. This is especially the case if the receipt you are getting is in someway having a negative impact on you---for example with CRA or with ODSP or with a Social Housing provider. Receipts are used in different ways by different tenants and it is not up to the landlord to decide what is "good enough".

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  17. Hello:
    I have tenants who moved out a day early than the notice they provided and requested the hydro company to read on the day they moved vs the date of notice causing a cost to me. They also left damage that was previously not noted on the damage inspection report when they moved in and I would like to know the best way to file to receive the cost to repair. They were new immigrants and I never did get a SIN from them so I am not sure I can take them to collections. They their rent and have none outstanding only the above.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Michael,

    I have been tenant with same landlord for the past 20 years. The last 2 years, he emailed me the lease renewals, i signed the renewal and returned to him with 12 cheques. He emailed acknowledging having received renewal + cheques. However he returns a copy of the renewal with only my signature, NOT having any signature from his side.

    -Is my lease still valid without his signature ?
    -What can do i if he doesn't return a lease renewal with his signature (i can face eviction on short notice).

    Thank you very much Michael

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for the blog, it is really helpful. I have a question regarding being a landlord. I am renting out one room to a friend in my condo but i am still living in the condo. Which forms do i need to fill ? And the rent receipts you mentioned in the blog, can i print off by myself or theres a special place to buy them ?

    thank you very much
    Abby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abby: You are describing a "roommate" relationship as opposed to a Landlord and Tenant relationship covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. Section 5(i) of the Residential Tenancies Act provides that the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply where the owner shares a kitchen and/or a bathroom with the "tenant". I presume that is the case for you. Hence the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to your living arrangement.

      That being said, it is a good idea to draft up a roommate agreement to cover all of your respective rights and obligations. If you are going to draft an agreement you should ensure that it is comprehensive and contemplates all potential occurrences and circumstances.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  20. Hi Michael

    We paid my landlord first and last when we moved in.

    We argued about when our last tenancy date would be. We felt we gave adequate notice for May 31st end. He believes it was June 30 (even tho he admitted to finding a new tenant to make up for our "shortfall").

    Fast forward to today, we were unable to attend our first LTB hearing to respond to his l9 claim and our appeal was denied.

    We have an order against us which states ONLY the following:
    - we were in possesion of the unit when the application was filed.
    - we vacated the unit May 30th
    - we owe rent from May 1 - May 31st.

    I called the LTB and asked them where my last months rent is to be applied...they told me he never mentioned it in court or the l9 update form.....

    So now, we can not file a t1 because we are no longer tenants, he has an order saying we are in arrears (when we are not). And we have proof of payment for every single month set out up until May 31st (if you include last months rent).

    When we asked for receipts he wrote back that he was going to take the order to Small Claims and Garnish our Wages.....

    I wrote back that I will charge him criminally for filing a false affidavit. We seriously, just want receipts and to know where they are applied. If he states a receipt is for June should that not be set out in the LTB order? Should it not state when our tenancy ended & to which month our last months rent is to be applied?

    I know this is complex but I really need help...I will be paying a lawyer to divisional appeals court when I have already paid my dues to this guy.

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    Replies
    1. Hi: This is what I understand from your comment above. You entered into an oral lease agreement for one year. There is a dispute of the term of that one year--you say May 31 and Landlord says June 30. There is no written document confirming the term. You gave notice to terminate for the end of term--which means you gave it at least 60 days before the end of May 2016. You did not pay May rent because you believed that the last month's rent deposit covered it.

      The landlord did not agree that your last month's rent covered May as he believed that your last month is June. Hence he filed an L9 application against you (which is not for termination but only a Judgment for unpaid rent). You did not attend the hearing so it proceeded without you unopposed. The landlord confirmed to the Board that you vacated the unit but that you owe the rent for May. The Board granted an Order to the landlord for May rent.

      You say that your appeal was denied. I presume you mean that your Request to Review was denied. This is quite unfortunate and it is difficult to see how the Board denied it. Perhaps it was the grounds on which you put in the Review? The usual grounds are that you were unable to participate because something happened that prevented you from showing up. This almost always works as a ground to at least get a hearing. However, you could have also put in the Review that the Order contained a serious error--that being that May rent was already paid. If you have cancelled cheques or proof of payment for each month starting with the commencement of the tenancy straight through to the end of May 2016 it is exceptionally difficult to see how the Board would not have allowed that Request to Review to proceed. Unfortunately, if it was indeed a Request to Review that your filed (you refer to it as an appeal) then you have used up your "one" review and can't apply again for a Review.

      The T1 application that you speak about costs $45 to file. You do not have to be in possession to file it. Landlord's may only file an application at the Board if the tenant is in possession. Tenant's may file applications at the Board even after they are out of possession. The tenant's time limit is usually one year from the date of the event complained about. Not applying your last month's rent deposit to May 2016 is still something that you can pursue at the Board.

      An appeal to the Divisional Court is a serious endeavour and very expensive. You would need to show an error in law to have a successful appeal. Appeals on wrong findings of fact are not grounds for appeal. This is set out in section 210 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The reason for this limitation is to encourage finality of decisions at the Board level. If you intend to appeal you have 30 days from the date of the Order to be appealed to deliver your Notice of Appeal.

      Hope that helps. If you file a T1 make sure you have your evidence ready and available for the hearing.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  21. Hello Michael,

    So we have a tenant living in the basement, his father claims all of sudden after 13 months that he has a learning disability and we have to direct all contact to him. Now there was never a claim by the father or proof that he is the power of attorney of our tenant so do we have to reply to his text messages as he has been constantly harassing us.

    As we believed that we are only entitled to respond the the tenant himself and ignoring his father, his father is now threatening report us to CRA because we are receiving cash payment. The fact is is we did reported our rental income to CRA just not aware that we need to provide a recepit.

    Is there any case against us in this situation?

    Thank you for your time! All information is greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I presume that your basement tenant is over the age of 16? In Ontario, a person over the age of 16 is entitled to rent a residential unit without discrimination because of age. Every person over the age of majority for renting an apartment is presumptively competent to manage their own affairs. As you have lawfully contracted with your basement tenant, that tenant has a right to privacy and is entitled to expect that you do not transmit his private information to the world--including to his father.

      It seems to me that you should ask your tenant about the repeated contacts from his father. The tenant may direct you in writing to cooperate with the father and disclose information or he may choose not to do so. The choice to authorize disclosure to a third person will be the decision of the tenant in the basement.

      If your basement tenant is incompetent or incapable of making decisions for himself (personal care or with respect to his financial affairs) there will be a valid power of attorney or a Court order of some kind appointing someone in this capacity. The father's statement that his son has a learning disability is hardly enough to give him any rights whatsoever.

      The father's behaviour is atrocious and utterly unacceptable. The threats are disturbing and he is clearly trying to blackmail you based on his assumption that you are not declaring the rental income to CRA. HIs nonsense is worth reporting to the police and asking the police to speak with him and require him to never speak with you again.

      The issue of not providing a receipt is not significant. If the tenant wishes to have a receipt you are required to provide him with one. Nothing turns on whether you gave a receipt at the time of the payment or not. It is perfectly acceptable to receive rent in cash--though I do recommend providing a receipt at the time of receiving the rent and if the tenant is willing, get them to countersign your copy of the receipt (i.e. use a receipt book with a carbon copy--available in any stationary store).

      Hope that helps

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  22. Hi. I'm renting a room in a house. Moved in and paid rent for the month, Nov 1st. Did not sign a lease. Got a receipt though. Generic receipt but it's pretty obvious that it's a rent receipt. After noticing a few things about the room and house, I tried to negotiate a better deal for next month. She didn't like that... thought it was rude I guess. She then said she doesn't want me living here anymore. Said she wants me out as soon as possible and she can have me evicted because the receipt is too vague and I didn't sign a lease yet. She did offer to give me a partial refund based on the number of days left in the month. Can she do this? Even though I paid rent for the whole month, can she force me out before the end? It's very hard to find a place on such short notice and especially in the middle of the month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rogan: The first thing to figure out is whether you are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) or not. The "rights" that you typically hear about in Ontario are the rights that come from the Residential Tenancies Act. If you are covered by the RTA the things you describe would not be legal. Under the RTA (and as an RTA tenant), you have security of tenure. Once you are covered by the RTA your rights can not be taken away without a hearing in front of the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. Hence, the things you are describing are not legal if you are covered by the RTA.

      It is unclear from your question whether you are covered by the RTA. I have my doubts because of your statement that you are "renting a room in a house". If you are living in a room in a house with the landlord and you are sharing a kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord then you would not be covered by the RTA. There are other exemptions as well which need to be considered.

      If you are not covered by the RTA this does not automatically mean that what the landlord is doing is okay or legal. You still have a contract with the landlord and that contract/licence still comes with rights. If the landlord is terribly unreasonable or breaches your agreement with her without just cause then you could sue her for damages. Of course, the lawsuit process is difficult and time consuming and expensive---so there is a question about whether it is practical--and this usually depends on how unreasonable the "landlord" has been.

      If you are RTA covered consider taking a look at the Landlord and Tenant Board website for information. Additionally, if you are RTA covered you could complain to the Ministry of Housing Investigations branch about the threat of illegal eviction and they may contact your landlord to warn her that her actions are not legal.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  23. Hi Michael. No, the landlord does not live here. She rents out all the rooms in the house to other people. We all share bathroom, living room and kitchen. would that make a difference?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Rogan: The difference is quite significant. It is the difference between being covered by the Residential Tenancies Act or not. Rooming houses are covered by the RTA--even illegal rooming houses. Nothing in your comment/question suggests the applicability of any other exemptions so I think you are likely covered by the RTA. The other exemptions are in section 5, 6, 7 of the RTA--they include things like hotels, guest houses, agricultural premises, work associated housing, travelling public, school housing, correctional housing, etc.. You may want to take a look at section 5 to see if it captures your housing situation. Just google "Residential Tenancies Act Canlii" and take a look at the sections. However, based on what you've said here I don't think there are any exemptions that apply to you.

      What this means is that you are now on a month to month tenancy. You did not have to sign a lease. A lease in Ontario is oral, written, or implied. Any of the three forms of a lease are legally valid. The receipt may be vague but she gave you possession of a room and your evidence is that you have paid. It would be very strange for a landlord to give a tenant possession without getting some payment. You are more likely to be believed that the receipt represents your rent payment than her outright denial of ever being paid by you. Your lease is month to month meaning it renews on a monthly basis whether the landlord wants it to or not. Your lease may only be terminate on the grounds provided for in the RTA. The term ending is not grounds for terminating the lease---like I said, it continues automatically. If your landlord wants to end your lease then she needs to serve you with a Notice of Termination and she needs to apply to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order. You can fight that application.

      So--the significant difference between RTA covered and not RTA covered rental accommodation is the degree of protection that you have. As you can see, being RTA covered gives you a lot more protection and rights. Hence my focus on the question of whether you are likely RTA covered or not.

      Hope that helps

      Good luck to you

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  24. Hello Michael,

    The landlord is refusing to provide receipts which I understand from your article is illegal. He has also been refusing to replace something in the house that is malfunctional. We suspect the reason is he has not declared the house as a rental property. He and his family still receive mail at this address. My question is are we still covered by the RTA in this case? Can he still prove we are tenants and can we still prove he is a landlord? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eloise: There isn't really a process for declaring a house to be a rental property. What you may be thinking is that the landlord has not declared the rental income on his taxes. There isn't really a way for you to know that. If he hasn't, that isn't your problem and it does not affect whether you are a tenant or not. You are a tenant whether he declares the income or not.

      You are definitely entitled to rent receipts. I presume you pay be cheque? (A cancelled cheque is not a rent receipt). If necessary you can apply to the Board for an order requiring the landlord to provide receipts. Seems like an extreme thing to have to do but given you have a maintenance issue you may wish to file a combined application (a T2 and T6 together). This will get you the action you need and the Order will by its existence answer your question as to whether you are an RTA covered tenant or not.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  25. Hello Michael,

    I have read a lot of your responses to questions. Thank you for being so helpful to everyone here!

    I have a tenant who has given me just over a month's notice of moving out. I let her know that our rental agreement and Ontario law states a minimum of 60 days written notice needs to be given. I told her that if she needs to leave that is ok, but she would still need to pay me for rent for December. I know that the I can take her to small claims court, but that will end up costing close to the amount that she owes. What do you suggest I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: While the tenant is required to give you a minimum of 60 days notice to the end of term the law provides that when the notice is short that the rent obligation is capped at the first lawful termination date. If your tenant, as yours is, leaves early with short or improper notice you have an obligation to minimize your damages and re-rent the premises. This is called mitigation and is a legal requirement imposed on you. If you fail to try to mitigate or your efforts are deemed lacking the tenant would have that as a defence in any claim that you advance.

      Presuming you show serious efforts at mitigation and simply are unable to re-rent the premises within time then you may indeed sue the tenant for the short notice. Of course, the costs of doing so, the time involved, and the risks of being sued back by the tenant for lack of maintenance, repairs, things that weren't working, speaks against bothering with such a claim. Often enough, the amount of money you are suing for simply isn't worth the hassle--especially given that even after winning a judgment you are not guaranteed to get paid. The burden--and cost-- of enforcing the judgment falls to you if the tenant does not voluntarily pay. Also, you should note that some tenants will be judgment proof if their income is excluded from execution (i.e. ODSP, Ontario Works), or effectively judgment proof if their income is being garnished by a higher priority debt like child support.

      That being said, you can gain a strategic advantage if you file an L9 application against the tenant for non-payment of rent--presuming your facts work that way. Presumably you have a last month's rent (LMR) on deposit that the tenant wishes to apply to the last month that she is living there--but which is not the technically correct last month (i.e. she wants to apply the LMR to November). Do not apply the LMR to November because pursuant to a lawful notice of termination the LMR is applied to December. That means your tenant is in rent arrears right now. Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board using a Form L9--this is basically like suing the tenant. You can not get an eviction order by using the L9 (nor can you ever use the rent arrears covered by the order issued pursuant to the L9 for a termination for non-payment of rent application), however, you can get a judgment for the rent arrears. This judgment is enforceable through the Small Claims Court. It is a "nicer" order because it is much faster and cheaper to get.

      Note that the L9 route is only available if the tenant is currently in arrears of rent. If she has paid you for November and there is no LMR on deposit then this won't work. If she continues to live in the unit into December for a few days and does not pay rent then you can immediately apply to the Board on the L9. The trick with the Landlord and Tenant Board is that you may only apply if the tenant is in possession of the rental unit. As soon as she moves out your only legal route is the Superior Court (which includes the Small Claims Court).

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  26. Michael,

    I moved out off an apt. which was a month to month lease, gave my landlord a notice which he was fine with. Now after having moved out an now tax season is here, I am needing receipts for filing my taxes. So I have e-mailed him requesting them, he got back to me and stated that he will have to adjust the receipts for supposed damage that was done to the unit, then send me the receipts. Is this legal ? I should also state that when I moved into the unit there was never no agreement in regards to last months rent or a damage deposit requested only that I would have to pay my fixed rent amount each an every month, which I did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: What an odd thing for the landlord to want to do. Short answer is that it isn't legal and the landlord can't just call your rent money whatever he would like.. Depending on the timing of your termination (i.e. time limit) you can apply to the Board to get the receipts you need.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. hi Michael, I rent only a bedroom in a house, the bathroom is shared they provide the toilet paper, cleaning etc. there is a common area with a tv I can use, and I can use the laundry room. do they have to provide me with a receipt for rent even its just a bedroom. thanks

      Delete
    3. Hi: The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will not apply to your situation if you are sharing a kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord/owner. The legal requirement to provide a receipt for rent is contained in the RTA. Because the RTA likely does not apply to your situation I am unaware of any law/statute that would require your landlord to provide you with a receipt. Your relationship is a commercial relationship and certainly it is reasonable to expect a receipt. Unfortunately, if a receipt is not provided on request I am unaware of the legal basis to force the owner to provide you with a receipt.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete

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.