Tenants, know your rights: Understanding Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act

September 12, 2017
Article Source
The Varsity

With rental prices in the housing market averaging an all-time high of $2,000 per month, and with virtually zero vacancies, affordable units for students involve strict competition in Toronto. The university's Housing Services is a resource that helps students navigate the housing market, encouraging students to read and understand their rights as tenants.

For many students, the start of the new school term means trying to negotiate their way through the Toronto housing market for the first time. Without prior experience or knowledge of the rights codified in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), student renters may fall into a trap of signing leases that violate their rights.

Places4Students, a partner of the University of Toronto Students' Union, is an online classified website that allows landlords to advertise their units to student renters. As a partner with various schools across North America, the organization also works to educate students on their rights as renters to ensure they stay protected. As part of this mission, Places4Students has outlined key aspects of Ontario’s RTA, particularly regarding the concerns most prevalent to students. The major findings include:

1.       Your landlord cannot include a "no pets" clause as part of your tenancy agreement. Exceptions to this include pets that cause significant damage to the unit, pets that disrupt the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants, and in units where another tenant has an allergy.

2.       Your landlord cannot prohibit you from having guests visit or spend the night in your dwelling, as long as it does not pose a significant disturbance to others in the unit.

3.       A landlord must give 24 hours notice before entering your unit. Exceptions to this include emergency situations, if you consent to entry when they arrive, if your lease includes cleaning services at regular intervals, or if a landlord is showing the unit to prospective tenants between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm and with reasonable notice upon agreement of your lease termination.

Read more: Tenants, know your rights: Understanding Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act