In General:

  • Read the lease terms carefully
  • Keep a copy of all documents for your records
  • You can negotiate any of the terms of your lease; you have the right to change or omit undesirable portions of the lease, if both tenant(s) and landlord agree to the changes; if something has been crossed out or changed in ink on the lease, make sure both tenant(s) and landlord initial the changes
  • The Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) will override any lease terms which do not comply with the RTA
  • The landlord is responsible for “normal wear and tear” of the rental premises; either sign an Inspection Checklist upon moving in, or take photos or video of the existing conditions, so that you won’t be held responsible for unwarranted damages at the end of your lease
  • A lease is a legal contract; once you’ve signed one, you are responsible for the rental payments until the end of the term

What to Expect in a Lease:

  • The name and address of the landlord and tenant(s);
  • The address of the rental property;
  • The agreed upon monthly rent amount, with or without utilities (be specific - heat? hydro? water? Parking? cable t.v.? internet?, etc );
  • The term of the rental period (usually 12 or 8 months, or month-to-month) and specific dates of occupancy;
  • When the rent is due (e.g. on the first day of each month);
  • The amount and terms of the rent deposit;
  • Which repairs are your responsibility, and your obligation to do repairs at the request of the landlord (if applicable);
  • Who is responsible for snow shoveling and cutting the lawn; who will supply the tools to do so, and maintenance of such;
  • The notice period that the tenant is required to give when terminating a tenancy, such as 60 days prior to the end of the lease term;
  • Subletting rules;
  • Specific restrictions, such as no additional tenants, pets, smoking,
  • When and how a landlord can enter the rental premises;
  • Conditions for termination of a lease (by either party);
  • Terms for dispute resolution (late payment, damage and repairs);
  • Emergency contact information for tenant and landlord (may include phone, fax or email)


Of Special Interest:

  • The landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the lease within 21 days of signing;
  • Landlord must provide tenants with a rent receipt;
  • Security/damage/key deposits are not allowed in Ontario; landlords are only allowed to collect a rent deposit, which can equal up to one month’s rent. This money will be held in trust and can only be applied toward your last month’s rent. Landlords must then pay the tenant interest on that amount at the end of the lease term;
  • A landlord can ask for post-dated cheques, but a person cannot be refused a rental unit for refusing to give them;
  • The landlord and tenant can agree to extend or renew the tenancy on the same terms and conditions, or on modified terms and conditions. If the parties cannot agree on the terms by the end of the lease, the tenancy automatically becomes a month-to-month tenancy;
  • Typically, landlords must give 24 hours written notice in order to enter a rental premises. The notice must specify the reason for entry, the day of the entry and time of entry between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm. A landlord can enter a unit without written notice if there is an emergency or if the tenant consents to the entry.
  • A tenant cannot and should not withhold rent in exchange for repairs; the landlord could then file suit against the tenant for non-payment of rent
  • If you are renting a premises IN WHICH YOU ARE SHARING A KITCHEN AND/OR BATHROOM WITH THE LANDLORD AND/OR HIS/HER DAUGHTER, SON, SPOUSE, or other immediate family member, you are not covered by the Residential Tenancy Act; make sure you have a written agreement detailing the terms of your rental situation in case of future disputes.