What Do I Need to Know About the Standard Lease Document?
The Standard Lease Document is Mandatory For Most Types of Rental Housing.
Effective April 30, 2018, most landlords are required to use the new Ontario Standard Lease. Certain landlords are exempt from this requirement, including care homes, mobile home parks, social housing, ( i.e. Toronto Community Housing Corporation). All other landlords must use the standard lease.
The standard lease is great news for both landlords and tenants. We see all the time the issues that come when landlords draft their own leases. They often contain illegal terms, ( i.e. banning pets, require late payment fees, or require tenants to shovel snow), and can be written in a way that makes it difficult for a landlord to be able to enforce their rights, and tenants to understand their obligations. The new standard lease, will help eliminate illegal clauses, and make it easier for landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities.
If a tenancy was entered into on or after April 30, 2018, the landlord must use the standard lease. If a landlord decides to use a different document, tenants have the right to ask their landlord to use the standard lease, even if they already signed a different lease. If a landlord refuses, a tenant may withhold one month's rent. If the standard lease has not been provided thirty days after a tenant began to withhold the rent, the tenant does not have to repay the rent they withheld. But the tenant must then continue to pay the rent on a monthly basis moving forward. Essentially, the month of rent the tenant legally withhold, amounts to a financial penalty for the landlord. A tenant cannot be evicted or required to repay the amount of money the tenant withheld, unless the landlord provided the standard lease within thirty (30) days from the time the tenant began withholding the rent.
In addition to withholding the rent, tenants have the ability to terminate a fixed term tenancy early if the landlord refuses to use a standard lease within twenty-one (21) days after the tenant requested the use of it in writing. The tenant must give sixty (60) days written notice to terminate the tenancy. If the landlord eventually provides the standard lease to the tenant, but decides to add a new term to the lease that was not contained in the previous lease, the tenant may still provide sixty (60) days notice to terminate the tenancy.
In all cases, whether your landlord is using the standard lease, or a different lease, the terms cannot violate any section of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 (the "RTA"). Any lease that violates the RTA is void and unenforceable, including a term in the standard lease.
For easy access, we have included the link for our readers to obtain a copy of the new standard lease: Lease Form