Ontario Has A New Standard Lease Which Will Be Used Beginning April 30th. Experienced and Successful Landlords Say That You Can Still Put In Important (and legal) Clauses To Protect You and Your Rental Property
What happens when a tenant wants to rent from an Ontario residential landlord? Both the landlord and the tenant agree to create a business relationship by signing a residential tenancy agreement. This is also called a lease and is signed by both sides.
According a report on CBC news the Ministry of Housing has now created a new mandatory document for landlords and tenants to sign to begin this business relationship. You can download the new Ontario Landlord Standard Lease here.
Standard Lease For Ontario Landlords
The new standard lease will be required to be used by landlords and tenants beginning April 30, 2018. According to some tenant activists Ontario tenants have been demanding this since 2012. Furthermore these activists state this will be an excellent improvement on the current situation to protect tenants from bad landlords.
Are Landlords Bad and Always Trying To Rip Off Tenants As Some Tenant Activists Believe?
According to some tenant activists, landlords write lots of “illegal clauses” into leases to trick poor unsuspecting tenants into traps. They says it’s like a bad cheesy John Wayne western movie, or the “Wild West”, out there with few controls on what landlords can do. The radical activists also state “almost every lease in Ontario you could find something illegal” and they receive daily calls from frightened and scared tenants about these clauses.
OLA Members Disagree. The Reality is Most Landlords Just Want To Find Good Tenants For A Win-Win Situation
First of all many landlords use OLA documents which do not have any illegal clauses. What we have are carefully thought out (legal) clauses which protect both the landlord and the tenants.
For years our members have complained about the poorly written OREA lease document that many new landlords and Realtors use. It’s a document that is inadequate and doesn’t protect landlords properly (especially if you go to Small Claims Court which many of our members have done).
Successful Ontario Landlords Know Good Lease Clauses Are Helpful for Both Landlords and Tenants
While the tenant activists want to label anyone renting out their property as inherently evil it’s not true. Experienced and successful Ontario landlords know that creating smart, legal lease clauses is a key part of their success.
By creating a comprehensive lease, both the landlord and tenant can avoid potential confusion and conflict by making rules clear prior to the tenancy beginning.
For example one long term landlord wrote on the Ontario Landlords Association forum:
“I own a lot of duplexes. Two of the biggest problems I used to face was use of the shared laundry room and use of the yard.
When I first started I didn’t make the usage clear using the real estate agent lease. i used the OREA lease. It was constant tenant vs. tenant conflict. Both sides kept complaining to me. They both wanted me to be “on their side” and evict the other tenants.
When I joined the Ontario Landlords Association I was taught that it was important to go beyond just “how much is the rent” and “who is the landlord/who is the tenant”. I added in information to my tenants about what their laundry privileges were (times and dates for each parties usage) and what part of the yard each side got.
Since I did this the amount of tenant vs. tenant conflict has vanished.
In 2010 I was even thinking of selling! Now my rental business is smooth and it’s scary even thinking I almost bailed as now my cash flow is good and my properties have appreciated greatly! Fellow landlords at the OLA saved my rental business.”
The Standard Lease Distracts From The Real Issues To Help Landlords and Tenants: Changes Are Needed in the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board
Creating a standardized lease sounds good. It sounds fair. And in fact most OLA members don’t mind it (and we contributed ideas to the Ministry as you will read about soon).
However the real key to improve the Ontario rental industry is not a new lease template. The real key is to fix the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board.”
Let’s look at a couple things that need to change.
Ontario Landlords Need To Be Able To Charge A Damage Deposit
When tenants pay a damage deposit they have ‘skin in the game’. This means they will be careful in the property and report any problems quickly to the landlord. With no damage deposit landlords regularly face garbage left behind, dirty properties and worse. This also cause problems with new tenants moving in. They move in and see garbage left around, fridges full of food and worse.
The Landlord and Tenant Board Must Speed Up the Process for Evictions
Even evictions for what should be simple things can take months and months at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
And many OLA members complain about some adjudicators and Tenant Duty Counsel acting disrespectfully and even rude towards small landlords (especially those who can’t afford legal representation and have to represent themselves).
Important News: Ontario Landlords Can Still Add In Clauses in the Standard Lease!
Thousands of Ontario landlords wrote in to us when we asked for ideas when the Ministry was create the standard lease.
One of the most important points we pressed for was allowing landlords and tenants to add “clauses” to the new standard lease…and we got it!
This is really key for landlords, new and experienced alike, from Toronto to Ottawa to Thunder bay to Windsor and every where in between.
The “Additional Terms” Part of the Standard Lease (Go to Part 15, Page 6)
In this section you and your tenant are allowed to agree on things in an “attached form”.
Of course smart landlords will avoid illegal terms such as requiring the tenant to pay for all repairs for the rental. It’s silly to even thing about adding them as good tenants will not want to rent from you. However you can add some important clauses to protect you and your rental business (and protect your tenants too!)
Ontario Standard Lease And Additional Terms
We need to improve the Ontario rental industry to help both good landlords and good tenants. The standard lease doesn’t do this. We need real reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Smart landlords will make sure they use Part 15, Page 6 “Additional Terms” in the Ontario standard lease to protect your rental properties and your tenants.