Why is it important to use an Ontario Standard Lease?

Did you know that tenant can withhold 1 month of rent if you do not provide an Ontario Standard Lease? 

On February 7, 2018, Ontario’s Ministry of Housing released the new Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease).  It’s also commonly known as the Ontario Standard Lease.  

This new lease is supposed to make it easier for landlords and tenants to understand the rights and responsibilities they have under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.  (Yep, it’s mostly check boxes, definitely more simplified)

It is also an attempt to reduce illegal and unenforceable terms in tenancy agreements, and reduced the number of disputes seeking resolution at the Landlord and Tenant Board (not sure if that’s really working). 

As landlords, we MUST use an Ontario Standard Lease.

What if we don’t use the Ontario Standard Lease?

If the landlord does not provide the tenant with a Standard Lease, the tenant is allowed to:

  • Withhold one month’s rent, or

  • Give the landlord a 60 days’ notice to end their tenancy early.

What if I forgot to use a lease? 

  • If you didn’t use an Ontario Standard Lease from the start, you have 21 days to provide one after the tenant makes a written request

  • If you couldn’t provide one after 21 days, tenant can withhold 1 months rent or give 60 days to terminate the tenancy.

  • After the tenant withhold rents, landlord has 30 days to provide the standard lease.

  • If the landlord doesn’t do that, the tenant doesn’t have to repay the withheld one month rent! 

  • Tenant is only allowed to withhold one month rent and expected to continue to pay the rest of the rent. 

What if the tenant doesn’t agree with the terms?

  • If the landlord provides a standard lease within 21 days of the written request, and the tenant doesn’t agree with the terms, the tenant can give a 60 days notice to end their tenancy early. 

  • However, the tenant can only end the lease early if it’s before 30 days of the standard lease being provided. 

In summary, just to save us from the complexity of all these rules.  Just use an Ontario Standard Lease to start.  Then you don’t have to worry about all these days and the possibility of tenant withholding your rent and trying to get it back!