As a tenant in Ontario, it’s crucial to be well-versed in your legal rights to ensure a secure and comfortable living situation. The Human Rights Code and the Residential Tenancies Act  serve as the foundation for these rights, protecting against discrimination and ensuring fair treatment. In this guide, we’ll delve into key aspects every tenant in Ontario should be well-versed in to navigate the intricacies of their tenancy successfully.

Before You Rent: Your Right to Non-Discrimination

Discrimination has no place in the tenant selection process. The Human Rights Code protects you from discrimination based on various factors such as race, religion, or family status.  Explore resources like to learn more and combat discrimination effectively.

After You Move In: Key Rights Every Tenant Should Know

Moving into your rental property grants you several essential rights:

  1. A Safe Home: Irrespective of pre-existing issues, tenants are entitled to a safe and well-maintained dwelling.
  2. Tenant Insurance: Consider tenant insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen accidents and associated expenses.
  3. Access to Vital Services: Access to heat, water, electricity, and fuel is your right; your landlord cannot shut off these services arbitrarily.
  4. Privacy Protection: Your landlord can only enter your home for specific reasons, such as repairs or emergencies.
  5. Controlled Rent Increases: Your landlord can increase rent once in a 12-month period, subject to legal limits.
  6. Protection from Unlawful Eviction: You can only be evicted for valid reasons, and you have the right to a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Understanding Renters’ Rights in Ontario: Key Considerations


As a renter, understanding your rights is crucial in preventing exploitation. Some key points to be aware of include:


  1. Discrimination Complaints: The Landlord and Tenant Board can review issues starting from the application process, ensuring your right to rent without discrimination.
  2. Illegal Rent Deposits: Know your rights regarding various deposits; not all requested deposits are legal.
  3. Landlord’s Entry into the Unit: Your landlord can only enter your unit under specific circumstances and with proper notice.
  4. Protection Against Vital Service Cutoffs: Your landlord cannot cut off vital services, and you can file a complaint if threatened.

Rights & Responsibilities: The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)

The Residential Tenancies Act provides a framework for the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in Ontario. It covers various aspects, including rent increases, eviction procedures, and dispute resolution through the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Documents in Required for Renting in Ontario: A Checklist

Before renting in Ontario, familiarize yourself with the necessary documents for the application process:

  1. Employment Letter and Pay Stubs
  2. Bank Statement
  3. References from Canada
  4. Credit Report

Eviction Rules in Ontario:  A Tenant’s Right to Contest

Understanding the legal grounds for eviction in Ontario, including non-payment of rent, personal use by landlord, property sale, or renovations, is vital. Tenants have the right to contest evictions through  hearings facilitated by  the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Tenant Responsibilities: Upholding a Positive Tenancy

While landlords bear distinct responsibilities, tenants play a pivotal role by:

  • Paying rent promptly
  • Reporting issues without delay
  • Permitting property entry for repairs
  • Maintaining cleanliness and order

What is Covered by a Rental Lease?

  1. Rental Discounts and Deposits: Landlords and tenants in Ontario can negotiate rental discounts for a specified period and determine whether a rental deposit is necessary. However, a rental deposit cannot be used as a damage deposit, and only a rent deposit and key deposit are legally permissible.
  2. Services and Utilities: Clauses addressing responsibility for utilities, such as electricity, heat, and water, should be mutually agreed upon between the landlord and tenant.
  3. Smoking Regulations: The law prohibits smoking in common indoor areas, but tenants and landlords can establish rules regarding smoking, including cannabis, within the rental property.
  4. Term of Tenancy Agreement: The lease should clearly state the move-in date, the duration of the tenancy, and whether it’s a fixed-term or monthly tenancy.
  5. Tenants Insurance: The agreement may include provisions about whether tenants need liability insurance, and tenants might be required to provide proof of coverage if requested by the landlord.

Prohibited Clauses: Safeguarding Tenants’ Rights

Certain clauses are strictly prohibited by the RTA, ensuring fairness and protection of tenants’ rights. These include restrictions on changes to the rental unit, subletting, pet restrictions, guests restrictions, additional deposits or fees, and payment for repairs that fall under the landlord’s responsibility.

Rental Increase Limits: Governed by Ontario Government Guidelines

The Ontario government provides guidelines for rental increases based on the Consumer Price Index. As of 2020, the limit was set at 2.2%, with landlords mandated to  provide a 90-day written notice before implementing any increase. However, a rent freeze was implemented in 2021, temporarily preventing rent hikes.

Rights as a Tenant in Ontario: Clarifying Common Concerns

  • Overnight Guests: Landlords cannot restrict tenants from having overnight guests, however, tenants are responsible for any disturbances or damages caused by their guests.
  • Pets: While landlords can inquire about pets during the application process, they cannot evict tenants for owning pets once a lease is signed. Exceptions include violations of local by-laws or if the pet poses a danger.
  • Lease Termination: Landlords can legally terminate a lease for valid reasons, including non-payment of rent, property damage, disturbances, or engaging in illegal activities. No-fault reasons, such as personal use or property sale, require proper notice.

Landlord Selling Property: Navigating Challenges and Understanding Rights

  • Challenges Faced by Tenants: The process of a landlord selling a property presents challenges for tenants, including security and stability concerns, difficulty finding alternative housing, and the need for awareness of legal rights.
  • Understanding Your Rights During a Sale: Tenants must meticulously review their tenancy agreements, engage in a constructive dialogue with the landlord to  address concerns, and seek solutions that balance the landlord’s  objectives with the tenant’s rights.  In cases of ambiguity or conflict, seeking legal advice becomes crucial, with tenants having access to dispute resolution avenues.

Being informed about your rights as a tenant in Ontario empowers you to navigate the complexities of the rental landscape.. From understanding lease clauses and intricacies to addressing  challenges of a landlord selling the property, tenants can ensure a smoother and more secure living environment  through proactive engagement and informed decision-making.