Renting in Ontario

Last Updated: June 13, 2022


Read about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Ontario under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and processes at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

If you are experiencing a problem with your rental unit or agreement, you can also visit our online tool, Navigate Tribunals Ontario, that will ask you a series of questions and guide you along possible solutions tailored to your situation. You can find information about your rights and responsibilities, the LTB’s processes, and learn what you can do.

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The Residential Tenancies Act

The RTA sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who rent residential properties and sets out a process for enforcing them.

Landlords and tenants of most residential rental units are covered by most of the rules in the RTA. A rental unit can be an apartment, a house, or a room in a rooming or boarding house. The RTA also applies to care homes, retirement homes, sites in a mobile home park or land lease community. In addition, the RTA sets out the process for resolving non-profit housing co-operative (co-op) eviction disputes.

The RTA does not apply if the tenant must share a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord. Many of the rules about rent do not apply to non-profit housing, public housing, and college and university residences.

More information about the RTA can be found in the guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

It is an offence to break certain rules in the RTA. Learn about the Rental housing offences and what you can do if your landlord or tenant has broken any of these rules.

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Before a Lease Begins

For most new tenancies, the landlord and tenant must use and sign the Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease) developed by the Government of Ontario before the tenant moves in. However, there may still be a valid tenancy agreement if this form is not used. A tenancy agreement begins on the date the tenant is able to move into the rental unit, even if the tenant does not move in on that date.

The LTB does not cover issues between a landlord and a tenant before a lease begins. However, if a landlord and tenant sign a lease and the landlord collects a rent deposit from a tenant but then does not allow the tenant to move in, the landlord must return the tenant’s rent deposit. If the landlord does not, the tenant can file a Form T1: Tenant Application for a Rebate of Money the Landlord Owes at the LTB. A tenant cannot file this application if they decide not to move into a rental unit after signing a lease.

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Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants

Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

The RTA contains information about landlord’s rights and responsibilities regarding rent, maintenance and repairs, entering a rental unit, ending a tenancy, and more.

Information about a landlord’s responsibilities can be found in the guide to the Residential Tenancies Act. Read more on how a landlord can end a tenancy.

The RTA also sets out rules for landlord’s rights and responsibilities at the beginning of a tenancy and after it has ended. New tenancy agreements must be in writing using the Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease) developed by the Government of Ontario.

If a standard form lease agreement is not used, then on or before the date the tenancy begins, the landlords must provide the information for new tenants guide to new tenants which contains information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the LTB and how to contact the LTB.

After a tenancy is terminated, the RTA has rules for landlords when a tenant moves out of a rental unit but leaves property behind.

Former Tenants

A landlord may apply to the LTB to collect money from a former tenant if the tenant moved out of the rental unit on or after September 1, 2021 and the landlord believes the former tenant owes:

  • rent or compensation
  • an amount for charges related to NSF cheques
  • costs for unpaid utility bills (utilities mean heat, electricity and water)
  • costs for damaging the rental unit
  • costs the landlord incurred because the former tenant or someone else visiting or living in the rental unit substantially interfered with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment or lawful right, privilege or interest

If you are experiencing a problem with your tenant or your tenancy agreement and are not sure what you can do, you can visit our online tool, Navigate Tribunals Ontario, to help map a solution to your problem.

Suite Meters

If a landlord provides electricity as part of the tenancy agreement but chooses to install suite meters and transfer the electricity charges to the tenant, some rules apply.

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Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

The RTA contains information about tenant’s responsibilities regarding rent, maintenance and repairs, damage, how a tenant can end a tenancy, and more. More information about tenant’s responsibilities can be found in the Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

If a tenant or former tenant believes their rights have been interfered with by a landlord, superintendent or agent of the landlord, they can file an Application About Tenant Rights (T2) with the LTB. Examples of a landlord interfering with tenant rights include:

  • illegally entering the unit
  • substantially interfering with the tenant's reasonable enjoyment of the premises
  • harassing, obstructing, coercing, threatening or interfering with a tenant
  • failing to make evicted tenant's property available during a 72-hour period after the enforcement of an eviction order
  • altering a locking system on a door giving entry to the unit or the complex, without giving the tenant replacement keys
  • withholding the reasonable supply of any vital service, care service or food that it is the landlord's obligation to supply under the tenancy agreement or deliberately interfered with the reasonable supply of any vital service, care service or food
  • not giving the tenant a written copy of the tenancy agreement for a care home or, the tenancy agreement did not include information about the care services and meals and/or the charges that tenant and the landlord agreed to

If you are experiencing a problem with your landlord or your tenancy agreement and are not sure what you can do, you can visit our online tool, Navigate Tribunals Ontario, that will ask you a series of questions and guide you along possible solutions tailored to your situation.

If a tenancy is terminated by the LTB the landlord can go to the sheriff to have a tenant removed from the unit and get the locks changed if the tenant doesn't leave. This is a legal eviction. If a landlord changes the locks without getting an LTB eviction order while the tenant is still living in the rental unit this is considered an illegal lockout, and the tenant can file an application at the LTB asking that they be allowed to move back into the unit.

Information for New Tenants contains information for tenants about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the LTB and how to contact the LTB.

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Co-tenants and Roommates

The RTA governs the relationship between the landlord and the tenant or tenants. If a tenant is experiencing a problem with another tenant, they cannot file an application at the LTB against a tenant.

If more than one tenant rents from the same landlord and are on the same lease agreement, the tenants must work out any problems they have. The landlord cannot assist tenants with disputes if they are on the same lease agreement.

If more than one tenant rents from the landlord and are on separate lease agreements, either renting different units or sharing common space in the same unit, the tenants can talk to the landlord if they are experiencing problems with other tenants.

Roommates or other occupants who are guests of the tenant(s) do not have any rights or protections under the RTA and cannot apply to the LTB. A tenant cannot be evicted simply for having a roommate. However, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants. For example, if the roommate is making a lot of noise, damaging the unit, or there are too many roommates (overcrowding), the landlord can serve a notice of termination and apply to evict the tenant and any other occupants of the unit.

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Representatives

A party to an LTB application may be self-represented or may appoint another person to represent them in an LTB proceeding. If an LTB party authorizes a representative, the representative is responsible for all communication with the LTB and the other parties and for preparing and presenting the case. Where a party is represented, the LTB will communicate with the party through their representative.

There are certain rules about who can be a representative in an LTB proceeding. For additional information on who may act as a representative in a LTB proceeding and the obligations of representatives, read the Practice Direction on Representation before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

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Mobile Home Parks and Land Lease Communities

The RTA applies to most residential rental units, including mobile home parks and land lease communities. Rented sites in a mobile home park or land lease community are covered by most of the same rules that apply to other types of residential rental units. However, there are some rules that only apply to mobile home parks and land lease communities. Mobile Home Parks and Land Lease Communities provides more information about the special rules.

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Care Homes

Care homes are covered by most of the same rules in the RTA that apply to other types of residential rental units. However, there are some rules in the RTA that only apply to care homes. Rules for Care Homes provides more information about the special rules.

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Rent

Before a tenancy begins, the landlord and the tenant negotiate the rent and decide what services (such as electricity or parking) are included. Once the tenancy begins, the rules about rent in the RTA apply.

Rent Increases

The landlord can increase the rent once every 12 months. The landlord must give the tenant a 90-day written notice of the increase before it takes effect. There are some exemptions to these rules, for example tenants paying rent-geared-to-income in a social housing unit.

In most cases, a landlord can usually only increase a tenant's rent by the guideline set each year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). For information about rent increases and the rent increase guideline for this year and prior years, visit residential rent increases on the MMAH website.

In certain cases, a landlord may be able to request an above guideline increase, but they must obtain approval from the LTB.

If the rental unit was not occupied for residential purposes on or before November 15, 2018, it is exempt from the annual rent increase guideline. This means that a landlord can increase the rent by any amount.

For more information about rent and rent increases, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Non payment of Rent

Rent is considered late if it is not paid in full by the day that it is due. For example, if the rent is due on the first day of the month and it is not paid by 11:59 p.m. on that day, it is considered late as of the second day of the month.

If a tenant is late paying the rent or doesn’t pay the rent in full on the day it is due, a landlord can try to collect the rent with or without evicting the tenant. If the landlord wants to evict the tenant, the landlord must begin the process by serving the tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent (N4). If the tenant doesn’t pay all of the rent owing by the deadline in the N4, the landlord can then file an application to evict the tenant at the LTB.

For more information about what can happen when a tenant doesn’t pay rent, see If a Tenant Does Not Pay Rent.

If a hearing for non-payment of rent is held, the tenant will have a chance to explain why the landlord should not get what they asked for. For example, if the tenant disagrees with the amount of rent the landlord claims they owe or if the tenant needs more time to pay the rent, they can raise these issues. For more information, see Issues a Tenant Can Raise at a Hearing about a Landlord’s Application for Non-Payment of Rent.

Automatic Rent reductions and tax decreases

When a landlord’s property taxes are reduced by more than 2.49% from one year to the next, the RTA requires that rents also be reduced to reflect the decrease in the landlord’s municipal property taxes. This is called an automatic rent reduction.

For more information about automatic rent reductions, see Automatic Rent Reductions and Tax Decreases.

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Maintenance and Repairs

A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair, fit for habitation, and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. If something no longer works due to normal wear and tear or because it breaks or wears out, the landlord must repair it so that it works properly or replace it.

A tenant is responsible for the general cleanliness of the rental unit, except to the extent that the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean it. A tenant is also responsible to repair or pay for the repair of any undue damage to the rental property that they caused or that is not due to normal wear and tear.

Learn more about landlord and tenant responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.

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Ending a tenancy and filing an application with the LTB

Notice to End Tenancy

If you are a landlord and you want to end a tenancy agreement and evict your tenant, you must serve the tenant with a Notice to End Tenancy. There are different notices to end tenancy, depending on the reason the landlord wants to end the tenancy. Each notice to end tenancy has different requirements.

Landlords and tenants should read the “Important Information from the Landlord and Tenant Board” section on the Notice to End Tenancy form for information about the requirements of giving the notice and the options a tenant has after receiving the notice.

If a tenant receives a Notice to End Your Tenancy but disagrees with what the landlord has put in the notice, the tenant does not need to move out. However, the landlord can apply to the LTB to evict the tenant. The LTB will schedule a hearing where the tenant can explain why they disagree.

If you are a landlord and you are not sure which notice to give your tenant, or if you are a tenant who has received a notice from your landlord, you can visit Navigate Tribunals Ontario for information about your specific situation.

If a tenant wishes to end their tenancy, they can give their landlord an N9: Tenant’s Notice to End the Tenancy. There are certain requirements for the amount of notice and the termination date that a tenant must give, “the termination date” section on the N9 Notice has more information.

If a landlord and tenant agree to end a tenancy, they can sign a N11: Agreement to End the Tenancy.

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Filing an Application

If you have a problem with your landlord or tenant, you should talk to each other first. Sometimes problems can be solved with a conversation.

If you can’t solve the problem by talking about it, there are other steps to take before applying to the LTB. For example:

  • If you are a tenant and are experiencing a maintenance issue in your unit, write your landlord and ask them to fix the problem before you file. You can write to your landlord the same way you usually communicate with them, such as by letter, email, and/or text message. Make sure to keep a copy of the written communication.
  • If you are a landlord and your tenant is causing a problem, you need to give your tenant an eviction notice before you can file an application at the LTB for their eviction.

If the problem continues after you have taken these steps, you may file an application at the LTB.

If you are unsure which application to file at the LTB, you can visit Navigate Tribunals Ontario. Navigate Tribunals Ontario provides tailored information about your rights and responsibilities and the LTB’s processes, and assists you in selecting the correct application for your issue.

For more information about filing an application at the LTB and what happens after you have filed, see Filing an Application.

You can save time and money by filing L1, L2, T2, and T6 applications online using the Tribunals Ontario Portal. For most other application types, you can pay online using the payment portal and file by email.

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LTB Applications and Proceedings

Evidence

Anything a party wishes to rely upon at a hearing to support their case is considered evidence. This includes items such as documents, pictures and physical objects and electronic evidence such as audio or video recordings, pictures stored in electronic format, emails, text messages, social media posts.

An item does not automatically become evidence once it has been given to the LTB or the other parties. It is up to the adjudicator (also known as a Member) hearing the application to decide whether to accept each item as evidence during the hearing.

Caselaw and written submissions containing legal argument may be accepted by the adjudicator during the hearing but are not considered evidence.

A party who wishes to rely on evidence at the hearing should submit it to the LTB and to the other party before the hearing. Parties must provide a copy of all evidence they intend to use for their upcoming hearing by email to LTB.Evidence@ontario.ca. The documents should be provided at least seven days before the hearing or five days in the case of responding evidence, unless the LTB orders or directs otherwise. If you are unable to use email, you can submit your evidence by regular mail or courier to your LTB regional office. For information about evidence, see the Practice Direction on Evidence.

You can submit evidence for L1, L2, T2, and T6 applications online using the Tribunals Ontario Portal.

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Serving Documents

Giving documents to another party is called “serving” the other party. An approved method of service must be used when a landlord or tenant serves documents to another party. For example, when a landlord gives a tenant a notice of entry, a notice of rent increase or a notice of termination, or when a tenant gives a landlord a notice of termination. The timing for serving the notice depends on the reason so be sure to read the instructions carefully. There are also special rules that a landlord must follow if they are serving a former tenant with documents after the tenant has moved out.

After an application has been filed with the LTB, in most cases, the LTB will serve the application on the other party, but there are exceptions. Occasionally, the LTB will order a landlord or tenant to give a copy of their application, notice of hearing or another document to the other party. In these cases, parties should ensure they are using an approved method of service identified in how to serve a landlord or tenant with documents.

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Requesting a Summons

A summons is a document that requires a person to attend a hearing as a witness. It can also require the witness to bring certain documents with them.

The LTB may decide to issue a summons on its own or at the request of a party.

If you want someone to go to a hearing as a witness, you should ask them if they are willing to go. If the person agrees and you believe that they will go to the hearing, you do not need to request a summons. However, if the person does not want to go to the hearing, or if they need an official document in order to get time off from work, you can request a summons. If your request for a summons is approved, you will be required to pay the witness. Learn more about requesting a summons, serving the witness and the costs.

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Mediation

If parties have a hearing scheduled at the LTB, the parties can agree to attempt mediation to settle the application.

During mediation, a neutral person talks with you and the other party to see if both sides can come up with a solution to the problem. Mediation discussions at the LTB are led by a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) and are confidential. The DRO will explain your rights under the RTA but they will not give you advice.

Parties using Tribunals Ontario Portal can use the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) tool to negotiate, among themselves, a settlement of the issues in dispute. It is a negotiation between parties in a safe space which is monitored for abuse and which provides tips on negotiation. It’s also the space where people can request the assistance of a DRO.

If the parties reach an agreement while using ODR, they can ask the LTB for assistance and a DRO will be assigned to the matter. This is also the case if the parties reach a standstill. A DRO can help the parties determine if they wish to engage with mediation as the next step in the process, or if the matter will proceed to a hearing instead.

ODR can result in early resolution of an application through a payment plan, consent order or mediated agreement with the assistance of a DRO. It may also result in the applicant wishing to withdraw their application, in which case a withdrawal request can be submitted through the portal. Some other benefits of ODR include easier access to a DRO, having all file information in one easily accessible place, and accessing documents/evidence quickly and easily.

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Hearing

If your application is scheduled for a hearing, the LTB will send a Notice of Hearing to the parties which will include the following information:

  • the type of application that has been filed
  • the purpose of the hearing
  • the date, time and type of hearing that will be held

If you need legal advice, you can find it here - for tenants from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and for landlords from the Landlord Self-Help Centre, both funded by Legal Aid Ontario.

Most LTB hearings are scheduled virtually. The LTB has information available for participating in a hearing with Zoom and for participating in a hearing by telephone.

During the hearing, you and the other party will have a chance to question witnesses, give evidence and make arguments about the facts and the law.

The adjudicator controls the hearing. Because the adjudicator is neutral, he or she cannot provide legal advice or tell you how to present your case. It is up to you to present evidence that supports your position. The adjudicator may ask questions during the hearing.

When the hearing is over, the adjudicator might tell you their decision right away or they might “reserve” the decision, which means they will take more time to consider your evidence and submissions. In either case, you will receive the decision in writing explaining the result. This decision is called an order.

For information about what to expect at your hearing, read the Important Information about Your Hearing.

Some types of applications, motions and requests can be decided without holding a hearing. This is called an ex parte order. Ex parte orders can only made for L3 applications and L4 applications, but an adjudicator must review and can decide to send the application to a hearing before making a decision.

Some LTB hearings are scheduled as a Case Management Hearing. A case management hearing provides an opportunity for parties to explore settlement of the issues in dispute, usually with an LTB Hearing Officer, who is trained in dispute resolution. If parties are unable to resolve all the issues in dispute, the LTB will make directions to facilitate a fair, just and expeditious merits hearing, or in appropriate circumstances, make orders finally determining matters agreed to by the parties or not in dispute.

If you have a case management hearing scheduled, see the practice direction for more information about what to expect and how to prepare for your hearing date.

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Requesting an Accommodation

If you require an accommodation to participate in a hearing, or you believe the format will result in an unfair hearing (for example: you do not have access to a telephone, computer and/or the internet), you can submit a Request for Accommodation form to the LTB. The form should be submitted as soon as possible so that the LTB has enough time to consider your request before the hearing. You may send the form by email, mail, or courier.

For more information on requesting an accommodation, visit Request an Accommodation. If you would like to request to change the format of your hearing, please see Request a Change to my Hearing Format.

Tribunals Ontario’s Accessibility and Accommodation Policy and the Practice Direction on Hearing Formats outlines how the LTB may consider your request.

Other parties to the application will be able to see your accommodation request. If you are concerned about sharing sensitive medical information, you should let the LTB know when you submit your request.

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After an Order has been Issued

Once the LTB issues an order, it is final. The LTB will not change the order because a party does not like the decision or because a party believes that a different decision should have been made. However, if a party believes that the order has an error, they may be able to make a request depending on the type of error.

If you receive an order from the LTB but you think there is a mistake in the order, such as a misspelled name or address or an incorrect calculation, you can make a Request to Amend an Order.

If you think that there is a serious error in an order, or that a serious error occurred in the LTB's proceedings or you were not reasonably able to participate in the hearing, you can make a Request to Review an Order.

If you believe the LTB adjudicator incorrectly interpreted or applied the Residential Tenancies Act or made some other legal error, you can either make a Request to Review an Order at the LTB or appeal the decision to the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Justice. You may wish to get legal advice.

In some cases, an order may be made without holding a hearing or notifying the tenant. This is called an ex parte order. The order is based only on the information provided by the landlord. If a tenant doesn’t agree with an ex parte order, they can ask for a motion to have the order "set aside" or cancelled.

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Paying Money into the LTB

In specific situations, the RTA allows a party to an application to pay money into the LTB, or an LTB adjudicator may also direct a party to pay money into the LTB. The money is held in the LTB’s Trust account until the application is resolved.

A “payment-in” to the LTB can only be made if:

  • the tenant is making the payment to stop their eviction based on their landlord’s application to evict them for non-payment of rent,
  • the tenant filed a maintenance application and asked if they could pay their rent into the LTB, and the LTB permitted this, or
  • a LTB Member directed or ordered a party to an application to make a payment into the LTB.

To pay money into the LTB, the party must first obtain a Deposit Acceleration Slip (deposit slip) from the LTB. It has the LTB’s trust account number and the party’s application number on it. The LTB has a trust account with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). A party’s payment is deposited in this account.

Learn more about how to pay money into the LTB: Paying Money into the Landlord and Tenant Board.

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Requesting Information from a File

If you wish to request information from an LTB file, you must make a request in writing. You can complete the Tribunals Ontario Request for Records form or you can send a letter to Tribunals Ontario. Your form or letter can be sent to Access.TO-TDO@ontario.ca or mailed to:

Tribunals Ontario
Access to Records and Information Office
15 Grosvenor Street, Ground Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2G6

If you send a letter, you must make it clear you are making a request for records. You should include your contact information and provide a detailed description of the information you are requesting. The records may be sent to you electronically if you provide an email address.

For more information and to make a request for records, see Requesting Information from a File.

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If you need legal advice, you can find it here - for tenants from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and for landlords from the Landlord Self-Help Centre, both funded by Legal Aid Ontario.

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