Last month, the Ontario government released a new, “easy to understand” standard lease that will be mandatory for any private residential leases signed on or after April 30, 2018. This lease applies to apartments, condominiums, houses (including single and semi-detached) and secondary units like basement suites. It does not apply to care homes and other supportive housing, or commercial and other non-residential arrangements, although further standard documents are reported to be expected in the future.

What does the new standard lease include?

The new lease is designed to be easy for landlords and tenants to understand. It includes basic identifying information, how much rent is payable, and any terms or rules associated with the rental or building such as hydro or deposits. It sets out certain obligations of each party, and some of the basic legal rights of tenants, such as the rights not to be harassed or discriminated against.
The stated aim of the new lease is to increase fairness and protections for tenants, as well as predictability for landlords. Both parties are to have a clear understanding of their respective rights and obligations.

New lease agreements and related penalties for landlords

Existing leases that began prior to April 30, 2018 will still be valid, to the extent that they comply with the Residential Tenancies Act. Landlords that do not use the standard lease after that date may face penalties imposed at the hands of their tenants. If a tenant makes a written request for a standard lease and the landlord does not comply within twenty-one days, the tenant may withhold rent for up to thirty days until the lease is provided. If the Landlord does not provide the standard lease within thirty days of withheld rent, the tenant is under no obligation to repay that amount.

Kitchener Waterloo lawyers for residential landlords and real estate transactions

At Duncan Linton LLP, our experienced lawyers handle all manner of commercial and residential real estate and leasing matters. We can advise clients as to how the new standard residential lease will impact their current tenancies, and answer any questions relating to new lease agreements. To speak with one of our lawyers, contact us online or call 519-886-3340 to make an appointment.