BEFORE YOU BUY OR RENT
Renting or leasing a condo
Tenants and landlords need to understand their legal rights and responsibilities, potential issues that could arise and how to resolve them.
Before renting or leasing
Landlords must advise their condo corporation that they intend to lease their unit, then they must prepare a tenancy agreement and share a copy with the corporation and their tenant along with the condo corporation’s governing documents.
Landlords can request current address, rental history, references and income information from tenants in addition to a rental deposit and a key deposit.
A landlord cannot ask for a damage deposit but can terminate a lease with notice and ask the tenant for damages, if necessary. Rental deposits can only be used for rent, not damages.
The tenancy agreement
Tenancy agreements must detail the length of the tenancy, rent, utilities, deposits, parking and any other services that must be covered in the rent. Leases must also contain the legal name and addresses of the landlord. The landlord must provide a signed agreement to the tenant within 21 days of the start of the rental period.
Regardless of the lease, all condo community members should know that they must adhere by the Condominium Act and the Residential Tenancies Act as well as the condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules.
The governing documents regulate things such as short-term rentals, pets, smoking, noise or parking and more.
During the tenancy
Tenants are responsible for paying rent, keeping the unit clean, not changing the locks and asking the landlord’s permission to make other changes to the unit. Landlords are responsible for ensuring tenants have privacy in their unit and can use common elements including elevators, pool, barbecue, gym and others as outlined in the governing documents. Tenants should register vehicles and pets, obtain insurance and set up utilities.
Here are some further requirements:
- Payment and Fees: Landlords cannot collect a damage deposit or require the tenant to pay by automatic debtor post-dated cheque. Landlords must pay common expense fees and have a right to collect a rental deposit, a key deposit.
- Vital services: Landlords cannot lock tenants out of the unit, take tenants’ personal property or interfere with vital services such as heat, electricity, gas or water.
- Rent increases: Landlords may increase rent once a year, provided they give tenants 90 days’ written notice and follow the Ontario residential rent increase guidelines.
- Roommates: Landlords cannot increase rent if tenants get a roommate nor can they prevent tenants from having guests, roommates or any additional occupants.
- Pets: Tenancy agreements cannot restrict or prohibit pets, but condo governing documents can.
- Repairs: Landlords must generally keep the unit in a good state of repair. Tenants are only responsible for repairing or paying for any damage that they or their guests cause.
- Insurance: Tenants may be required to have contents insurance by the tenancy agreement or the condo corporation’s governing documents.
- Entry to the unit: Landlords can only enter units while occupied by a tenant and must give 24 hours’ written notice, stating when and why they need to enter the unit unless it’s an emergency. The condo corporation may also need to enter the unit occasionally to test fire alarms or do structural repairs.
Ending the tenancy
Tenancies can end if the tenant gives notice to terminate or assigns their tenancy to another person.
Landlords can also give notice to terminate because they have sold the unit and the person who bought it, their family or their caregiver need to move into the unit.
Buyers that purchase a rental unit with the intent to keep it as a rental property must keep any currently existing tenancy agreements and tenants.
If issues arise, start by reviewing the Condo Authority’s solving common issues pages, which provide information, tools and templates for condo communities to resolve issues collaboratively before they escalate.
You can also file a case with the Condominium Authority Tribunal – an online tribunal dedicated to resolving condo-related disputes about issues like noise, parking, smoking pets and more. Check the Tribunal’s jurisdiction for more guidance.
Depending on the nature of you case, you may consider filing with The Landlord and Tenant Board, which is a tribunal dedicated to resolving disputes between residential landlords and tenants. The LTB also provides information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act.
If you have an issue or concern about a condo manager or a condo management service provider, you can file a complaint with the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario.
Some disputes must be resolved through mediation and if that fails, arbitration. Certain compliance disputes may be resolved via the Superior Court of Justice. It is best to speak to a lawyer first.