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What can happen if I don't pay my rent on time?

There are different things that your landlord can do if you do not pay your rent on time.

If you owe rent

If your rent is overdue by even one day, your landlord might give you a Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent (Form N4).

You can cancel this notice by paying all the rent that you owe within 14 days after you get the notice. You must pay within 7 days if you rent by the day or week. Make sure the landlord gives you a receipt for your payment.

Your payment must also include any rent that comes due after the date on the notice.

If you don't pay everything that you owe by the deadline, your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict you.

In some situations, your landlord might choose to ask for payment without asking you to move out. Your landlord could apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to make you pay.

Landlords sometimes ask only for payment if they think they will not be able to find a new tenant. They might also do this if you have a fixed-term lease and they want to keep you responsible for the rent until the end of the term.

Your landlord could also report your overdue rent to a credit reporting agency. This can affect your credit rating and make it harder in the future for you to rent a place or get a loan.

If your rent is often late

If you are often late with your rent, your landlord might give you a different notice, called Notice to End your Tenancy at the End of the Term (Form N8). On the form, your landlord would check the box called, "You have persistently paid your rent late."

There is no exact definition of what "persistently" paying rent late means. It can depend on many things, including how late your payments were, how often it happened, and for how long it has been happening.

You cannot cancel this notice by paying the rent that you owe. In fact, your landlord can give you this kind of notice even if you have paid all your rent.

After giving you this notice, your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict you.

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Next Steps: 

Talk to your landlord

You might want to tell your landlord if you know you will not be able to pay your rent on time. Some landlords might be willing to wait or to work out a payment plan with you.

You may need

Get help paying the rent

If you are having temporary difficulty paying the rent, you might be able to get an interest-free loan from a rent bank. To find out more information about rent banks, go to the Housing Help Association of Ontario website and find your local Housing Help Centre.

If more than half your household income is from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW), or if your rent is subsidized, you cannot use the rent bank program. Ask your ODSP or OW worker what help is available.

If your problem is not just temporary and you can't afford your place, you could think about getting a roommate to share the rent. In most cases, your landlord cannot stop you from doing this, as long as it won't break any local overcrowding by-laws.

Having roommates can create confusion about your rights and responsibilities. CLEO's online tool "Sharing rental housing?" can help you find out which laws apply to your situation.

If you live in subsidized or rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing, you probably have to report the income of everyone in your household, including roommates. This could change your rent or your subsidy. It could even affect whether you still qualify to live there. Find out what the rules are before you decide to get a roommate. Check your rental agreement or ask at the office that makes decisions about rent subsidies.

You may need

Respond to any papers from your landlord

Notice to End your Tenancy

If your landlord has given you one of these forms, read it carefully to see if there is a way for you to cancel the notice before your landlord applies to the Landlord and Tenant Board:

For example, if the notice is for non-payment of rent, you can cancel it by paying the rent within the time limit.

Application to the Landlord and Tenant Board

You might get a Landlord and Tenant Board form whose title starts with "Application to evict a tenant" or "Application to End a Tenancy", especially Forms L1 or L2.

This means your landlord has applied to the Board to have you evicted. You will have to do at least one of the following:

If you do nothing, the Board will probably make an eviction order against you.

If you get an Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes (Form L9) , it means your landlord is asking the Board to make you pay, but not to have you evicted. In this case, your options are similar to the list above, except you do not have to move out, and the Board cannot make an eviction order against you.

You may need

Check your credit record

If you want to know whether your landlord has reported you to any credit agencies, Ontario law gives you the right to get a free copy of your credit report.

You can also ask for your credit record to be corrected if it contains wrong information.

The two main credit reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion.

Reviewed: 
December, 2015

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