What you need to know about paying rent in Ontario

Finding a place to rent in some Ontario cities is fairly competitive. In Ontario, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,099 in April 2015, which was up from $1,072 the year before, according to the CMHC. Rents are more expensive in cities such as Toronto ($1,669), Ottawa-Gatineau ($1,159) and Barrie ($1,122) and many of these cities also see low vacancy rates which ranges from 1.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

To continue living in the place they’re living, tenants are typically expected to pay rent once a month, but there are other legalities surrounding rent payments that renters may not be aware about. It’s important to be aware of the proper rules and regulations before handing over any money or a cheque.

Landlords are not allowed to request security deposits from a tenant. However they are also legally allowed to ask for one month’s rent, prior to you moving in, as a rent deposit. Some landlords may ask for post-dated cheques, but it’s within your right to refuse this request. If you do so, landlords can’t refuse to rent you the unit based on your decision. Also, if a renter requests a rent receipt, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide it.

Paying your rent on time is important since if the monthly rent isn’t paid by a day after it’s due, the landlord may issue a “Notice to terminate for nonpayment of rent”. If the renter is paying monthly, they have 14 days to pay and if they don’t, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for arrears.

Lease agreements aren’t required according to Ontario’s laws, but if a written lease is signed, the tenant must be given a copy of the document within 21 days of the signing date.

If a lease agreement isn’t used, the landlord has 21 days after the renter begins their stay to give the tenant their legal name and address for any communication, whether it’s to notify them that they’re moving out or for any other documents. If the landlord doesn’t do so, the tenant is not obligated to pay their rent until the landlord complies.

Once the initial lease nears expiration, the tenant and landlord can choose to renew it with the same terms or make alterations to it. Both parties need to come to an agreement and if this isn’t possible, the rent must be paid either on a month-to-month basis or a week-to-week basis, depending on the previously agreed terms.

In Ontario, there are rent guidelines that must be followed when there is a tenant living in the property. By law, landlords must only increase the rent once every 12 months and they must give a tenant 90 days notice before doing so. If a landlord wants to make a rent increase beyond these rules, they must have approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board before doing so. If there is no renter in the unit, the landlord can increase to rent by whatever amount they choose.

Before signing a lease agreement or giving your verbal consent to move into a place, make sure both you and your landlord agree on how rent should be paid to avoid any issues down the road.

Visit Renting Toronto for listings on available places for rent in Toronto. Before looking for a place to live, first have a good idea on what you want to look for. Our company has been in the business of placing competent, qualified tenants in owners and landlord’s properties since 1999 and owners have the final say on all prospective tenants.