The standard lease uses easy-to-understand language to help:
- landlords and renters understand their rights and responsibilities
- reduce illegal terms in leases and misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements
- reduce the need for Landlord and Tenant Board hearings to resolve disputes
Who must use the standard lease?
The standard lease will apply to most residential tenancies in Ontario, including:
- single and semi-detached houses
- apartment buildings
- secondary units (for example, basement apartments)
A standard lease is not required for tenancies that have special rules or partial exemptions under the RTA, including:
- care homes (for example, retirement homes)
- mobile home parks and land lease communities
- social and supportive housing exempt from the rent rules under the RTA (for example, housing subject to operating agreements under certain programs or where the tenant receives publically funded rent-geared-to-income assistance)
Other forms of housing accommodation that are exempt from the RTA, such as member units in co-operative housing and transitional housing programs that meet certain requirements, are similarly exempt from the standard lease.
The standard lease form contains:
1. Mandatory fields that must be completed and cannot be altered or removed.
These fields include basic information that is included in every lease, including:
- the names of the landlord and renter
- the tenancy term, rent amount and services included
- other terms which landlords and renters can agree to, such as rent deposits, key deposits, smoking rules, and renter's insurance
2. Optional additional terms, which allow landlords and renters to agree to terms or responsibilities that are unique to the rental unit.
Additional terms not consistent with a mandatory term of the lease or the RTA, are considered void and unenforceable.
3. General information for landlords and renters on rights, responsibilities and void/unenforceable conditions, including:
- ending a tenancy
- illegal charges
- landlord entry
If you sign a lease on or after April 30, 2018, it must be a standard lease.
If you sign a lease on or after April 30, 2018 that does not use the standard lease, renters can ask the landlord for one in writing. The landlord must provide one within 21 days.
Renters cannot ask for a standard lease if they signed a lease before April 30, 2018, unless they and their landlord negotiate a new lease agreement with new terms on or after this date.
Additionally, renters cannot ask for a standard lease if they sign a fixed-term lease before April 30, 2018, and it renewed automatically to a month-to-month tenancy after April 30, 2018.
If a landlord fails to provide the standard lease within 21 days after a renter has asked for it in writing, the renter may withhold one month's rent.
If the landlord fails to provide the standard lease within 30 days after the renter has begun withholding rent, the renter does not have to repay the one month's rent. Please note, you cannot withhold more than one month’s rent and you must continue paying your rent for the term of your lease, even if your landlord never gives you the standard lease. However, if a standard lease is not provided, special rules allow you to end your fixed-term lease early.
Ending a tenancy early
If the landlord does not provide the standard lease within 21 days after the renter has made a written request, the renter may give 60 days' notice to terminate a yearly or fixed-term tenancy early.
If the landlord provides a renter with the standard lease after the renter has asked for it, but the renter does not agree to the proposed terms (for example, a new term is added), the renter may give the landlord 60 days' notice to terminate a yearly or fixed-term tenancy early.
To terminate a tenancy early in this case, the renter must give the 60 days' notice no later than 30 days after the landlord provided the standard lease.
In both cases, the effective date for termination must be the last day of a rental period (for example, the end of a month).
Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board by calling 1-888-332-3234 to learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the RTA.