Suite meters are electrical meters that a landlord can install in residential rental units to measure how much electricity is used by each unit in a building. Where a suite meter is installed in a unit, the meter records only the amount of electricity used by that specific unit.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), a landlord and tenant can agree to have the tenant pay a suite meter provider for the tenant’s electricity costs instead of the landlord paying these costs. However, there are rules that a landlord must follow.
If a landlord wants to ask a tenant who is already living in the unit to pay for the electricity costs, they must follow the rules for “current tenants".
If a landlord wants to ask a person to pay electricity costs on a unit that already has a suite meter which the person wants to rent, they must follow the rules for “prospective tenants”.
Before a current tenant can become responsible to pay a suite meter provider for the cost of providing electricity to the tenant’s unit, a landlord must:
Before entering into a tenancy agreement with a prospective tenant which requires the tenant to pay for their own electricity costs, a landlord must provide the prospective tenant with information about the electrical usage for the unit and about the electrical efficiency of the refrigerator (see Landlord Must Give a Prospective Tenant Information).
If electricity is the primary source of power to heat a rental unit, a landlord cannot terminate their obligation to supply electric heat.
However, if there is a separate meter to measure the electricity for other uses in the rental unit, the landlord and tenant can agree to transfer the responsibility for paying the electricity costs for these other uses.
A landlord does not need a current tenant’s consent to install a suite meter.
However, a landlord must get the tenant’s consent before the landlord can tell the suite meter provider to start billing the tenant directly for the electricity costs for the tenant’s unit.
It is up to the tenant to decide whether or not they want to start paying for their own electricity costs. They do not have to agree to the landlord’s request, but if they do agree, it must be in writing.
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has an approved form, Tenant Agreement to Pay Directly for Electricity Costs that a landlord must give to a tenant to ask for the tenant’s consent.
Before deciding whether to consent, the tenant should carefully read the agreement form and the other information that the landlord is required to provide.
The landlord must tell the tenant how much their rent will be reduced if the tenant agrees to start paying for their own electricity costs. This rent reduction is intended to offset the additional money that the tenant will have to pay to the suite meter provider once the tenant starts paying their own electricity costs. This information must be given to the tenant before the landlord gets the tenant’s consent.
The landlord must inform the tenant of the amount that their rent will be reduced per rent period. For example, if a tenant pays rent monthly, the landlord would set out how much the tenant’s monthly rent will be reduced.
The landlord must also show the tenant how the landlord calculated the amount of the rent reduction. The RTA has specific rules that a landlord must follow when calculating the amount of the rent reduction.
Exception: In most situations, if a tenant lives in rental unit in a non-profit building, the landlord is not required to reduce the rent according to the RTA.
Before obtaining a current tenant’s consent, the landlord must also give the following information to the tenant:
As well, if a tenant asks for a copy of the agreement between the landlord and the suite meter provider, the landlord must give the tenant a copy.
The landlord must give the tenant the best information the landlord has about the age of the refrigerator. The landlord must also give the tenant any available information they have about the refrigerator’s energy efficiency.
These rules only apply if the landlord provides the refrigerator in the unit.
The landlord must give the tenant contact information in writing for the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The landlord must also give the tenant a written statement that tells the tenant that they can contact the OEB if the tenant has a dispute with the suite meter provider.
If the tenant consents to start paying their own electricity costs, the tenant should complete the agreement form and return it to the landlord.
Before transferring the responsibility for electricity costs to the tenant, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days notice before the changes takes effect. This information must be provided so that the tenant knows the date that:
If the tenant does not consent to start paying their own electricity costs, the tenant does not have to return the agreement form to their landlord.
The landlord will continue to be responsible for providing and paying for the tenant’s electricity, even though the landlord may have installed a suite meter in the tenant’s rental unit.
If the tenancy agreement will require the prospective tenant to pay the electricity costs, the landlord must give them information about the electricity used by the previous tenant. This information must be for the most recent 12 month period that ends before the date that the landlord gives this information.
The landlord must let the prospective tenant know if the unit was vacant during that time and, if it was vacant, how long it was vacant.
The landlord must also provide the prospective tenant with information about the age of the refrigerator in the unit, and with any available information about its energy efficiency. This rule only applies if the landlord provides the refrigerator in the unit.
If a landlord decides to install a suite meter in a rental unit, they must follow the rules in the RTA. The landlord must tell a current tenant when and for how long the supply of electricity to the tenant’s unit will be interrupted. Although the landlord doesn’t need the current tenant’s consent to install a suite meter in the tenant’s unit, the landlord must:
A tenant or former tenant can apply to the LTB if the landlord does not follow the rules in the RTA about suite meters. The application is made on the Form T7 – Tenant Application About Suite Meters.
There are a number of reasons why a tenant or former tenant can make this application. Some of the reasons include:
Information about these and the other reasons for filing an application about suite meters can be found in the Instructions for the Form T7.
This brochure provides general information only. For more information about the law, or to obtain copies of the LTB’s forms and publications, you can: