What are your rights in Canada as a renter

Renting your first home in Canada

Manoj just got off the phone with a friend who already lives in Canada and who was sharing his experience as a renter.  Sensing the end of the call Shalini asked, “So how do they like renting?” Manoj casually replied, “Well, they’ve had a good experience. Their landlord is nice and if they have any questions about their legal rights, there is a handy hotline number they can call for free advice and feel at ease.”


Your rights as a renter


In actual fact, Landlord and Tenant legislation is enacted at the provincial level and so each province will vary in their rules and regulations.  For example, looking at Canada’s largest province Ontario, it has legislation called the Residential Tenancies Act that came into effect January 1st, 2007 and is much more in the tenant’s favour than say Alberta’s.  Much of this has to do with the fact that Toronto, Ontario’s and Canada’s most populous city, has had a very low vacancy rate (as low as 0.8 per cent in the 1980’s) and the government intervened with legislation to protect tenants. In Alberta by comparison, the vacancy level never reached so low that similar legislative intervention was necessary.  The vacancy rates for the 6 largest Canadian cities are all currently under 2 per cent.

Furthermore, the Landlord and Tenant Board (Ontario) was created to disseminate information about the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario as well as to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. In this way, the tenant has a say and can be heard which is a tremendous help. The site is a wonderful source of free and accurate information.

Of particular help is a full listing of the various forms that landlords and tenants use for everything from rent rebates, maintenance issues, subletting or assigning, or giving a landlord notice that you as tenant are going to terminate the tenancy and vacate. There are specific guidelines when it pertains to notices. For example, a tenant has to give their landlord formal written notice via a Form N9 of their intention to terminate a tenancy and vacate and this minimum notice period is 60 days in Ontario. It might seem confusing but spending a minimal amount of time will enable a newcomer to quickly familiarize oneself with the laws pertaining to residential tenancy issues. Knowing your rights as a renter will help to protect you from being taken advantage of by landlords.

…spending a minimal amount of time will enable a newcomer to quickly familiarize oneself with the laws pertaining to residential tenancy issues.

To start, look up the legislation for the province you wish to locate to and visit their respective web site. They have been very well written and laid out to make them very user friendly.

As Manoj took a seat at his computer, he visited the site and realized in short order that it wouldn’t take too long before understanding the legal and business customs of renting a place wasn’t going to be a mystery to him or Shalini for much longer.

Ed Frezza

Landlord Tenant Boards in Canada:

Alberta: http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/landlords_tenants.cfm

British Columbia: http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

Manitoba: http://www.gov.mb.ca/cca/rtb/

New Brunswick: http://app.infoaa.7700.gnb.ca/gnb/Pub/EServices/ListServiceDetails.asp?ServiceID1=637&ReportType1=All

Newfoundland: http://www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/landlord/residential_tenancies.html

Nova Scotia: http://www.novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/land/residential-tenancies.asp

Ontario: http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca

Prince Edward Island: http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/document.asp?f=rental-agreements.asp

Quebec: http://www.rdl.gouv.qc.ca/en/droits/droits.asp

Saskatchewan: http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/information-for-landlords-and-tenants

Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto.  He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.  His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio.  His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership.  This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.