24 Apr Ontario’s New Standard Form of Residential Lease Agreement
Beginning April 30th, 2018, nearly all residential leases in Ontario will require the use of a new ‘easy-to-understand’ standardized lease agreement. This new lease is mandatory for all new tenancies that begin after April 30th. All landlords are required to use the new lease, from large corporate landlords, to small landlords that rent out basement apartments; everyone will use the same standardized lease. Only in a few select situations is the lease not required (for example, the standardized lease is not applicable for mobile home communities, retirement and care homes, or supportive housing provided from a social services agency, among others).
The new standardized lease includes an appendix that outlines the legal framework of the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario and includes contact information for the Landlord and Tenant Board.
The new lease is available for download from the Government of Ontario as form 047-2229E Residential Tenancy Agreement.
What’s in the New Residential Lease Agreement?
The new standardized lease agreement is designed to be easy to read and understand. Along side the new agreement will be a companion guide, which will be available in 23 languages. The companion guide will help landlords and tenants understand their obligations in the lease. Both landlords and tenants are encouraged to read through the guide to understand the new lease and how it operates.
Can the New Standardized Lease Be Modified?
The short answer is no. The standardized lease cannot be modified, and extra clauses cannot be inserted into the agreement that modify the language used in the standardized lease.
There is however, an important section for landlords to understand well. The new standardized lease includes a section (the “Additional Terms” section) where the landlord can insert important clauses into the agreement. As discussed above, this is not to allow landlords to insert language that contravenes the standard terms or adds clauses that contravene the Residential Tenancies Act. However, this section is an ideal place for landlords to insert information about shared amenities (e.g. when and how often a shared laundry room can be used, or how a shared backyard will be used, or guest parking rules). Landlords need to be aware that all clauses inserted into this section need to be legal to be enforceable (e.g. no clauses banning pets).
What About an Existing Residential Lease?
Old leases remain effective after April 30th. A lease that expires after April 30th remains valid in accordance with the month-to-month provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act. Any new renewals of an older tenancy will be required to use the new standardized lease.
Landlords, take note – If a tenant requests a renewal lease, you must use the new form after April 30th. If a tenant makes a request for the new standardized lease, you have 21 days to provide it. If a landlord does not provide the new standardized lease, the tenant can withhold a single month’s rent. If the landlord does not provide the standardized lease after 30 days from the withholding of rent by the tenant, the tenant can keep the withheld rent. Accordingly, all landlords should provide the new standardized lease as soon as requested by a tenant to avoid this possible outcome.
If you need help understanding the new Residential Tenancy Agreement, Standard Form of Lease, speak to one of our real estate lawyers. They would be happy to help you understand your rights as a landlord or tenant.