Housing Law Glossary

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affidavit

An affidavit is a sworn statement in writing. The person making the statement must sign it after they swear an oath or promise to tell the truth, just as if they were a witness in a courtroom.

application

A way to start a case at a court or tribunal, or to ask a court or tribunal to make a decision about a dispute. For example, if a landlord wants a tenant to move out and the tenant does not move, the landlord can make an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Or if a tenant can't get their landlord to do needed repairs, the tenant can make an application to the Board. Application can also refer to the actual form or document used to start a case.

assign

Give your rented home permanently to a new tenant, who is called your assignee. The new tenant takes over all your responsibilities such as paying rent. Usually you need the landlord's permission. Assigning means you have no right to move back in. It is often mistakenly called subletting, but subletting is something different.

by-law

A rule passed by a city or town council. For example, most cities or towns in Ontario have "property standards" by-laws, which say that buildings must be kept in good repair. Tenants have the right to have their landlords comply with these standards. Some by-laws might say how many people are allowed to live in one apartment, depending on its size.

Corporations (companies) also have by-laws. For example, a housing co-operative or a condominium corporation might have by-laws that affect the rights of tenants, members, or owners.

care home

A rented place to live where the landlord provides care services or makes them available to the tenants. Examples of care services are nursing care, supervision of medications, attendant care, and help with daily living activities. A tenant is a care home tenant only if getting the services was a reason they moved there. Retirement homes for seniors are a common type of care home.

deposit

Money you give someone for them to hold and to count towards something you will have to pay later. In Ontario, the only deposit a landlord can make you give them is the amount of rent for one period. Usually this means one month's rent. The landlord can only use this for the last rent payment before the tenancy ends. It is often called a security deposit, last month's rent deposit, or LMR.

disability

In Ontario's human rights laws, the term disability includes many conditions. For example, a disability can be a physical condition, a mental condition, a learning disability, a developmental disability, or a mental illness. Disability also includes being addicted to or dependent on drugs or alcohol.

You could be born with a disability. Or, you could have a disability because you were sick or injured.

evict

Tell or force a tenant to move out. A Notice of Termination from a landlord is often called an eviction notice, even though it does not force the tenant to move out. A Landlord and Tenant Board order forcing a tenant to move out is often called an eviction order.

eviction notice

To evict is to tell or force a tenant to move out. A Notice of Termination from a landlord is often called an eviction notice, even though it does not force the tenant to move out. A Landlord and Tenant Board order forcing a tenant to move out is often called an eviction order.

ex parte

Ex parte is a Latin phrase that refers to a legal step done with only one side participating.

fixed-term

A fixed-term tenancy is an agreement to rent a place for at least a certain length of time. The agreement is often called a lease, and the length of time is called the term. The most common term is one year, but it can be shorter or longer. When the term is over, the tenancy automatically continues as a month-to-month tenancy unless the landlord and tenant agree to another fixed term, or one of them takes legal steps to end the tenancy.

Landlord and Tenant Board

An independent agency set up by the Ontario government to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. It is similar to a court, but less formal. It has "members" who are like judges and make decisions after hearing both sides.

lease

Usually means a written tenancy agreement, often one for a fixed term.

mediated agreement

A mediated agreement is an agreement that a landlord and a tenant make with the help of a Board mediator. It is a way to settle a case without the Board making the decision. A mediated agreement can give the landlord the right to ask the Board for an eviction order later without telling the tenant. It can also take away other rights that landlords and tenants cannot give up in any other way.

mediation

When two sides have a dispute, a third person called a mediator can talk to both of them to try to help them reach an agreement. This is called mediation. A mediator does not have the power to make a decision or force anyone to agree to anything.

month-to-month

A month-to-month tenancy is a rental agreement that does not have a fixed term and where the tenant pays rent each month. It is sometimes called a monthly tenancy. This is the most common kind of periodic tenancy. It automatically renews every month unless the landlord or the tenant takes legal steps to end it.

monthly

A monthly tenancy is a rental agreement that does not have a fixed term and where the tenant pays rent each month. It is sometimes called a month-to-month tenancy. This is the most common kind of periodic tenancy. It automatically renews every month unless the landlord or the tenant takes legal steps to end it.

Notice of Termination

A Notice of Termination is a form that a landlord or tenant uses when either wants to end their tenancy agreement. There are different types of notices, with different numbers like N4 and N5. The notices that landlords use usually have titles that start with “Notice to End Your Tenancy …”.

NSF

Not Sufficient Funds (NSF) means that a person wrote a cheque but did not have enough money in their bank account to cover the cheque. When this happens, the bank usually charges extra fees to both the person who wrote the cheque and the person the cheque was payable to. NSF cheques are sometimes called "bounced" cheques.

order

The decision of a court or tribunal. Usually an order tells someone they must do something. For example, an order of the Landlord and Tenant Board could say a tenant must move out by a certain date, or it might say that a landlord must repair something or lower the rent.

period

A length of time that repeats over and over. A periodic tenancy is a tenancy that repeats or renews after each period until the landlord or the tenant does something to end it. It does not have a fixed term. The most common types are weekly and monthly tenancies.

remedies

A remedy is an order made by a court or tribunal to give someone their legal rights or to compensate them for their rights not being respected. For example, if a landlord is not doing repairs that are needed, the Landlord and Tenant Board could order the landlord to do the repairs, lower the tenant's rent until the repairs are done, or let the tenant move out with short notice. Usually a tenant or landlord can ask the Board for certain remedies by filing an application with the Board.

remedy

A remedy is an order made by a court or tribunal to give someone their legal rights or to compensate them for their rights not being respected. For example, if a landlord is not doing repairs that are needed, the Landlord and Tenant Board could order the landlord to do the repairs, lower the tenant's rent until the repairs are done, or let the tenant move out with short notice. Usually a tenant or landlord can ask the Board for certain remedies by filing an application with the Board.

retirement home

A rented place to live where the residents can get at least 2 care services, most of them are at least 65 years old, and there are at least 6 residents (not counting anyone related to the landlord). Retirement homes are considered care homes, and people who pay rent there are tenants. They are also covered by many other rules in a law called the Retirement Homes Act.

serve

Give or deliver a document to someone. Usually the law sets out what methods you can use to give or deliver the document, who must be served, and the deadline for serving it.

Sheriff

The Sheriff is a government official who enforces or carries out certain kinds of orders made by courts and tribunals. After the Landlord and Tenant Board makes an order to evict a tenant, the Sheriff can make the tenant leave. The law does not let the landlord, private bailiffs, security guards, or police do this. But the Sheriff can ask the police for help if the Sheriff thinks there might be violence.

sublet

Give your rented home temporarily to a new tenant, who is called your subtenant, for part of the term of your fixed-term tenancy. Usually you need the landlord's permission. You are still responsible to the landlord for the rent and for taking care of the place. You keep the right to move back in when the subletting agreement ends.

subsidized

Subsidized housing or subsidy means that a part of a tenant's rent is paid by a government agency or a non-profit organization. To get a subsidy, the tenant usually must have a household income below a certain level. Subsidized housing is sometimes called rent-geared-to-income, or RGI, housing because the amount of rent the tenant has to pay depends on their income.

subsidized housing

Housing where part of the rent is paid by a government agency or a non-profit organization. The part that the tenant doesn't have to pay is called a subsidy. To get a subsidy, the tenant usually must have a household income below a certain level. It is sometimes called rent-geared-to-income, or RGI, housing because the amount of rent the tenant has to pay depends on their income.

subsidy

A subsidy is a part of a tenant's rent that is paid by a government agency or a non-profit organization. To get a subsidy, the tenant usually must have a household income below a certain level. Subsidized housing is sometimes called rent-geared-to-income, or RGI, housing because the amount of rent the tenant has to pay depends on their income.

tenancy

A tenant's legal right to live in their place. Usually this right comes from an agreement between the tenant and the landlord. This agreement might be called a tenancy agreement, a lease, or a rental agreement. It does not have to be in writing to be legal. It can be a spoken agreement or even an unspoken understanding.

tenant duty counsel

Tenant duty counsel are lawyers and community legal workers who can help tenants at most Board locations across the province. They are also usually available by telephone if there is a telephone hearing scheduled. Tenant duty counsel can give free advice about legal rights, obligations and the Board process, help work out settlements with your landlord, or help you talk to Board mediators. There is no charge for tenant duty counsel services.

term

The length of time that an agreement, such as a tenancy agreement, is meant to last. For example, a lease that goes from April 1 to the following March 31 has a term of one year. This is also called a fixed term tenancy. During this time, neither the landlord nor the tenant can end the tenancy unless the other one does something that seriously breaks the agreement.

When the term is over, it does not mean the tenancy ends. The tenancy automatically turns into a periodic tenancy unless the landlord or tenant does something to end it.

Term can also mean a detail or part of the agreement, for example, that the tenant will not hang things from their balcony railing, or that the landlord will provide parking for visitors.

termination

A Notice of Termination is a form that a landlord or tenant uses when either wants to end their tenancy agreement. Termination date is the last day of a tenancy, according to a notice that a tenant or landlord gives to the other, or according to an agreement between them.

termination date

A termination date is the last day of a tenancy, according to a notice that a tenant or landlord gives to the other, or according to an agreement between them.

Tribunal

An agency that makes decisions about applying a set of laws to disputes between people. It is like a court but less formal. The Landlord and Tenant Board is an example of a tribunal. Another example is the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

weekly

A weekly tenancy is a rental agreement that does not have a fixed term and where the tenant pays rent each week. It automatically renews every week unless the landlord or the tenant takes legal steps to end it.