A new standardized lease is being introduced in Toronto, GTA, and the province of Ontario as a whole. Coming into effect this month, it will likely have an impact on you as a tenant; here’s what you need to know.
Why has a standardized lease been introduced?
Effective April 30th, residents leasing properties in Ontario will be subject to a standardized lease agreement. This lease will be the same across the whole province in an effort to regulate what is and isn’t included in leases, as well as what landlords are and are not allowed to specify for their tenants. Prior to this regulation, leases presented radically different from one landlord to another, and gave far too much opportunity for the landlord to incorporate illegal clauses in the lease form without the tenant’s knowledge.
What does this mean for me as a new tenant signing a lease?
The lease is designed not only to be standardized and uniform across varying landlords, but also to be easier for tenants to read and understand, shorter to peruse, and with clearer indications of what the rent is and what is included in said rent. On that note, there is also a provision detailing the tenant’s rights surrounding his or her request for the lease: if not received within 21 days, the tenant can withhold rent, and if not produced within a month the tenant is not required to repay rent. In addition, it is important for tenants to be aware of the additional section at the end of the lease allowing landlords to attach additional documents with terms or conditions not specified in the standard lease. Tenants should be mindful to read this section should the landlord be seeking to amend the lease in any way. Ideally, the standardized lease is adequate and if a landlord seeks to alter it drastically (i.e. specifying guest regulations, penalty fess, tenant maintenance duties etc.), it could be cause for concern.
Why does this change matter to me?
The lease is applicable to all residential tenant properties, but will have no impact on you if you are leasing housing in a land lease community, mobile home park, social housing, or living in a care home. It also won’t be applicable if you have already signed a lease prior to April 30th. Validity of prior leases is retained.
With clearer guidelines, regulation across all areas of the province, and with the tenant’s best interest at heart, hopefully these new laws will benefit everyone.