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Renting in TorontoWhile most of our time as Toronto real estate agents is spent buying and selling houses and condos, we also help people find rentals in Toronto. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about renting in Toronto:

  1. Rent Control The Ontario rent increase guideline for 2020 is 2.2%. In 2019, it was 1.8%
  2. Selling a Tenanted Condo or House  Owners may sell a tenanted property BUT if there is a valid lease in place, the new Buyer must assume the lease and tenant (meaning they can’t increase your rent when they take possession or kick you out). If the new owner wants to move into the unit you occupy, they may only do so at the end of your lease. We wrote more about selling a tenanted property here.
  3. Pets  The Residential Tenancies Act allows tenants to have pets – even if a tenant signed a lease saying they wouldn’t have pets (technically, landlords can’t ask tenants to contract out of their basic rights). BUT: landlords can refuse to rent to you if you have a pet – they just can’t kick you out for having one once you’ve become a tenant. Some condos restrict pets – and the Condominium Act generally takes precedence over the Residential Tenancies Act (meaning the condo rules are more important than the tenancy rules).
  4. Damage Deposits Landlords aren’t allowed to ask for a damage deposit AND they can’t use the last month’s rent to cover the damage. Refundable deposits for keys are OK.
  5. Rent Pre-Payment Landlords aren’t allowed to ask you to pre-pay a year’s rent, no matter what your employment or credit situation is. Of course, they can refuse to rent to you – but not for a reason that’s protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  6. Entry by the Landlord Tenants must be given 24 hours written notice before a landlord may enter the unit – unless it’s for an emergency. And yes, if a landlord is selling the condo or house, tenants have to provide access if the 24-hour notice was followed.
  7. No Notice of Entry Required  If a tenant has given notice of termination, the landlord may show the unit to prospective tenants between 8 am and 8 pm – although no notice is required, the landlord must try to tell the tenant before entering.
  8. End of  Lease  When a lease ends, tenants are permitted to stay in the property under the same conditions and must give 60 days notice (from the 1st of the month) if they want to move. If it’s been more than 12 months, landlords are permitted to increase the rent.
  9. Toronto’s rental market is extremely competitive and bidding wars happen all the time. A few weeks ago, we tried to show 6 properties to someone moving to Toronto – by the end of the day, 5 of the 6 condos had been rented.
  10. Real estate agents can help. We have access to a whole bunch of rental listings.  If you’re looking to rent in Toronto, you can enlist us to help in your search. The best part? The landlord pays our fees.  If you’re in the market for a Toronto rental, give us a shout – we’d love to help!

Click here to read our complete Guide for Tenants Renting a Property in Toronto.

Comments

  1. Gerald Hughes says:

    I am here in Toronto from seattle to be a bone marrow donor at princess Margaret hospital. I rented an apartment with a 6 week lease but informed the owner that due to the medical procedure, I might need to stay longer. They said verbally that if I gave them 3 weeks notice they were sure it would be no problem and they would inform me if this situation changed. I informed them with 3.5 weeks left (the lease ends may 21) that I needed to stay another week. They said that the apartment was no longer available and my wife and I need to vacate. I am 70 years old and this change will be difficult in many ways. Do I have any legal right to not vacate?

    416 966 0951

    • Melanie Piche says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the Residential Tenancies Act doesn’t cover vacation rentals, so you don’t likely have any rights under those laws. While I’m not a lawyer, I would expect that the law would look to whatever contract you signed to determine if you had a right to extend your stay. My husband and I actually own 2 short-term rentals in Toronto near the hospital, but we’re booked through to the end of May…let me check with a few other people we know who rent out their places and see if they can accommodate you…

  2. If you own a house and have converted part of it to a legal rental unit since Nov 1, 1991 do you have the right to increase the rates?

    Also, if you’re buying a place and you need to renovate it do you have to wait until the lease is finished?

    Thanks,

    Martin

    • Melanie Piche says:

      You can generally only increase the rent by the allowance yearly amount for a house that existed prior to 1991 (a renovation or new apartment doesn’t count). Renovations can happen while a tenant is still under lease but there are a lot of conditions and rules about how you can then increase the rent over the allowable amount. Your best bet is to contact the Landlord/Tenant Board (here’s a link to more info about being a landlord and links to some other resources: https://www.getwhatyouwant.ca/renting-in-toronto-the-complete-guide-for-landlords).

  3. Hi. We are looking into settling in Toronto and plan to land in mid August. Canada will be new to us and we have to start from scratch. Need some advice regarding short term apartment rentals in areas with good elementary schools.

    • Melanie Piche says:

      The short-term rental market is competitive in Toronto. I would suggest you search vrbo.com and homeaway.com for the most options in short-term rentals. Beware Craigslist – there are a lot of scams on there!

  4. I applied to renta a place in the durham region in 2012…..I was told there was another applicant and advised by the rental agent to increase my offer to rent….at no time would I have increased rent, but because I had 3 weeks to find a place, I did increase it by $50.00 per mth. I am now questioning the fact of was there ever another applicant? I don’t think there was! It’s a scam and I was scammed out of $750.00 during the 14 months I rented there. I don’t think Landlords win in this situation because I’ve seen neighbours moving out in the middle of the night and leaving lots of garbage out front because they have no respect for their Landlord. If a Landlord scams a tenant, can you really expect the tenant to have any respect for them?

    • Melanie Piche says:

      Sorry about your situation! If the property was listed with a real estate agent, there are rights and procedures for multiple offers (via the brokerage so that people can’t ‘fake’ a second offer). If it was listed with a private individual, unfortunately they can do pretty much whatever they want and ask for whatever rent they want.

      I too wish there was more respect between landlords and tenants!

  5. There were 2 real estate agents and the Landlord involved in renting the property that I moved into! All 3 scammed me as far as I’m concerned………if they HAVE TO SHOW THE OFFERS, THEN ANOTHER ONE PROBABLE DOESN’T EVEN EXIST!

    Real estate agents who see an offer on a property, can conjure up their own lies, and suck the potential buyer in, just like the shady real estate agents are doing with the renters! MOST LANDLORDS AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE as SEAGULLS!

  6. Melanie.

    I already have a few long term rental condo units in Down Town Toronto.
    Right now I am thinking about short-term rental business.
    can you highlight some key factors I have to look into?

    My concern is most legal aspects of it. like:

    1. Can I rent my current condo unit for a short term? Where the restrictions may be? In the purchasing contract?

    2. Does the city impose some restrictive laws about short-term rentals?

    Regards,
    Andrei.

  7. Brendan Powell says:

    Let me start by saying that I am not a particular expert on the rules and regulations, so you should definitely do your own due diligence!

    That having been said, as I understand it there are two important considerations when it comes to short-term: condo rules and taxes.

    Many if not most condos will have in their rules a minimum rental term length, which can vary–typical would be 3 or 6 months. This will be included in the building’s bylaws and regulations. If you are leasing your condo out for less than that, the condo board has the right to make you stop. Don’t forget that any condo management asks you to keep them up to date on who is renting your unit at any time, even if many owners don’t bother.

    Even if they don’t have a minimum lease length (and I know some that don’t), at any time the board can choose to vote and impose such a rule, and with the higher profile of sites such as AirBnB this is becoming more common.

    I’m not aware of a city rule about short term condos, but if you are renting out a place very short term (I believe less than a month at a time) then the CRA will look at it differently then a normal rental unit–you will be expected to collect HST, and there may be other considerations, as you start to look like a little hotel to them.

    Of course there are thousands of people doing this all over the city, but it’s important to know that most of them are probably breaking rules of some sort.

  8. If I bring a dog over to stay for 2 weeks and my lease says I can’t bring it in and I do bring it and get caught can landlord kick me out even if dog is well trained

    • Melanie Piche says:

      That would depend on where you live and the lease you signed! Generally, landlords can’t kick you out for having a pet – but if it contradicts the condo by-laws, then there are actions they could take…and of course if it’s causing damage or making noise, then they may be able to take action. You should contact the Landlord Tenant Board for specifics.

  9. Hi Melanie,

    I have a question as a tenant. My landlord has given notice that he will be raising the rent in 3 months. I signed a 24 month lease at a fixed rent when I began renting, and am only in month 15 of the lease currently. Is my landlord obligated to wait until the lease ends before he raises the rent?

    Also, in your experience, is a 24 month lease common? It was at my landlord’s insistence. Could it be indicative that he’s looking to sell?

    • Melanie Piche says:

      Unless there is something in the lease agreement that allows him to increase the rent during the term or he has done substantial renovations than he likely can’t raise the rent until the end of the 24 months…but check the lease – it’s possible there’s a clause in there allowing him to do that. Usually landlords who want 24 month leases are trying to reduce their turnover and is normally an indication that they want to keep the property…if they want to sell they usually try to reduce the number of leases in place.

  10. Hi, can i found 2 condos for rent that i really like. can i put an offer on both at the same time to see which one comes through first?

    • Melanie Piche says:

      If you put an offer in with a real estate agent, the offer is a commitment – so if they accept, you are now the tenant. So no, you can’t put in 2 offers at the same time. If you put in 2 applications (as opposed to offers) to a landlord directly, you may be able to do that – that would depend on what paperwork they are having you fill out.

  11. Toby merker says:

    Hi,

    I have a rental property with two tenants in it. One bedroom and a 3 bedroom. The plan is to do renovations on the home to make it wheelchair accessible. There is a ramp outside in front and stone pathway going down the side of the house. I dont see any issues with those jobs.

    However, in the home there is a shared laundry room for both tenants. The laundry room floor is being raise approx 2 feet to be level with the main part of the home and the laundry room is being changed so that each unit has their own separate laundry. The renovations should take about 3 weeks to complete inside in total.

    My question is: what rules and regulations are there for doing renovations while the tenant is living in the property? Other than not having laundry available for about a week in total, there should be no other disruption to the tenants use of the property, except construction noise and the guys working.

    Are the tanants entitled to compensation of any kind? I am not trying to evict them in any way, I understand it is an inconvenience to have the work done but the house will be better off for the work and it is needed to make it wheelchair accessible.

    Please let me know.

    Thanks!!

    • Melanie Piche says:

      You’ll want to contact the Landlord Tenant Board to get a full understanding of the rules for renovating a tenanted property.

  12. Comments on rent control as of April 21, 2017, a Toronto Landlord can only increase rent by the maximum allowed by the province. In 2016, that amount was 2%.
    This is true only for old tenant who is occupying the same apartment. For new tenant (i.e., for initial/current leasing agreement), the rent has been increasing at an increasing rate.
    For example, I rented a one bedroom apartment in 2008 at CAD 860.00. The landlord could not increase my rent that much as I am an old tenant, and I am paying currently CAD 992.00. However, the landlord is currently renting the same types of apartment in the same building to new tenant for around CAD 1375.00. This is a big difference in housing rental market for the old vs. new tenants and for the new tenant the monthly rent has increased from CAD 860 to CAD 1375 during the last 8 years. So, this rent control does not apply for new tenant. The market is not perfectly competitive either as small number of housing corporations control the larger portion of the rental market.

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