Ontario is introducing a new standard lease that will be mandatory for private residential leases signed on or after April 30, 2018, including tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condominiums and secondary units (such as basement apartments).
Currently there is no standardized form for rental agreements between landlords and tenants in Ontario. The new lease form is written in plain language and is templated to capture basic information, such as names and addresses, the total rent, due date, and any rules or terms about the rental unit or building. It also outlines the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords, and explains what can (and cannot) be included in a lease. For example, landlords cannot ban guests or pets.
“Renters told us that their leases were often confusing and contained illegal terms,” said Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. “Landlords, especially smaller ones, say a standard template makes it easier for them to do business. The new form we developed helps balance the interests and responsibilities of both parties.”
While the form does not apply to most social and supportive housing, retirement and nursing homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities, or commercial properties, the government says it is planning to develop separate standard leases to address the unique needs of other types of residential tenancies. Beginning April 30, 2018, a standard lease guide will be available in 23 languages.
“We appreciate the Ontario government’s work to develop a standard lease,” said Geordie Dent, Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations. “The standard lease will help protect tenants by providing clarity around their rights. It is easy to understand and will eliminate much of the confusion we have seen in the past around residential tenancies.”
In an update from FRPO to its members, President and CEO, Jim Murphy, wrote: “The [Feb 7th] announcement follows several consultation sessions and drafts in which FRPO provided feedback. We were adamant that additional items, such as parking or insurance, be able to be included in the lease. We are pleased an “additional items” section has been included as reflected in Section 15. We are also pleased to see that the issue of smoking is addressed in Section 10 with an option for landlords to request tenants not smoke.”
In addition, FRPO will be working with the province to host member webinar information sessions, and will update members when these sessions are finalized.