Landlord and tenant legislation vary across Canada. So, it’s vital that property professionals stay on top of the tenancy laws that apply to their province. Tenancy laws cover areas like how often a landlord can raise the rent and by what amount, and how much notice must be given. The provincial tenancy laws also outline tenant and landlord obligations with regard to repairs and maintenance.
Alberta’s Residential Tenancy Act provides guidance on the dos and don’ts for both landlords and tenants. Fixed-term leases ended on the date prescribed, but all other leases automatically renew if the landlord does not send a notice of termination.
A typical eviction process would be for non-payment of rent. When the rent is late, the tenant may be given the notice to vacate. On the fifteenth day after the notice to vacate has been issued, the property manager can ask the tenant to move out. If they have not moved out that day, the landlord may contact Rental Tenancy Dispute Resolution Services.
Landlords usually ask tenants for a security deposit, sometimes called a damage deposit. The amount of a security deposit cannot be more than one month's rent at the time tenancy starts. The security deposit cannot be increased as rent increases. Tenants can ask for a receipt for any fees paid, showing the amount, date and parties in the transaction. The landlord must pay interest to the tenant at the end of each tenancy year unless both parties agree otherwise.
The landlord is responsible for keeping the rental premises reasonably safe and in good repair at all times, not just at the beginning of a tenancy. Standards for safety and comfort are set out in the Public Health Act and Housing Regulation.
British Columbia’s Residential Tenancies laws were updated this past summer, in July 2021.
Here’s what has changed:
Rent Freeze: Annual allowable rent increases have been frozen until the end of 2021. The earliest a tenant can see a rent increase is January 2022. Landlords must notify tenants of any rent increases three months in advance.
Ending a Tenancy for Renovations: The process for ending a tenancy for renovations is changing. Landlords intending to complete renovations or repairs that are necessary to sustain or prolong the life of the rental unit must apply online to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) for an order of possession. They must have all permits and approvals required, and will need to prove that the only way to complete the work is by ending the tenancy. Tenants will have the opportunity to dispute and provide evidence. If the landlord is granted the order, the tenant will be given four months’ notice to find new accommodation.
Additional Rent increase for Capital Expenditures: Landlords may apply for additional rent increases when they have completed necessary repairs to the rental unit or building. These changes will encourage landlords to invest in their rental property by allowing them to recover some of those costs through modest rent increases approved by the RTB Director.
When a landlord wants to terminate a tenancy, they are required to provide the tenant with written notice on the appropriate form. This notice has to state why the tenant is being told to move, when the tenant has to be out by and it has to also be signed by the landlord. If a tenant refuses to move after receiving the notice, the landlords can apply to The Residential Tenancies Branch for an Order of Possession. The landlord has to pay a filing fee. There is a hearing held, which is when evidence must be introduced, including the Termination Notice. If an Order of Possession is granted, the order can be enforced by the Sheriff’s office. If the tenant or landlord disagrees with the result of the hearing, they can appeal to the Residential Tenancies Commission and a new hearing date will be set.
Deposits & Key Money
A landlord is not allowed to request more than ½ of the first month’s rent from a tenant. The security deposit is held by the landlord until the tenancy comes to an end. A landlord who allows a tenant to keep a pet in the rental unit can charge the tenant a pet damage deposit that is equivalent to ½ month’s rent. This deposit is held by the landlord until the end of the tenancy.
If the landlord finds that there are no valid reasons to withhold the tenant’s deposit(s) as well as the accrued interest, it must be given back to the tenant with a period of not more than 14 days after the end of the tenancy. Requiring key money is against the law. A landlord cannot require a tenant to pay key money under any circumstances.
The landlord can usually increase the rent only once every 12 months. The tenant must be given three months prior written notice of a proposed rent increase.
There are a number of reasons why a tenant can be evicted. The required notice period for eviction depends on the ground for the eviction. Typical reasons for eviction are: The tenant does not leave on the date that is specified at the end of the lease or in the Notice to Vacate. The process to evict someone in New Brunswick usually takes anywhere from 3-6 days to complete. Only a Residential Tenancies Officer or a Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick has the authority to evict a tenant from any rented premises. A Sheriff will only act under the order of a Residential Tenancies Officer or Judge to carry out an Eviction Order.
Deposits & Key Money
It is not legal for a landlord to collect last month’s rent, but a security deposit that is equivalent up to one month’s rent is allowed. Property managers must deliver all security deposits to the Residential Tenancies Office (RTO). If within seven days of a tenancy termination neither party can agree on the appropriate distribution of the deposit, the landlord and tenant can file claims to the RTO. The burden of proof lies with the landlord, therefore they should send a copy of the lease and notice of termination, as well as any evidence that could aid in judgement. The tenant will be asked if they would like to dispute the claim, or amount of money demanded, and then the RTO will adjudicate.
Leases in Newfoundland do not carry on past a year. The tenant and property manager must convene to renegotiate the lease or submit a notice to end tenancy. If the tenant has not moved out, the landlord must complete an application for an order of eviction.
The landlord must provide written notice of their intention to terminate the tenancy before the lease ends. A typical eviction process would be for non-payment of rent. If the rent is still owing 15 days after rent is due, the tenant may receive a notice to vacate within ten days. Assuming the tenant fails to move out, the landlord can apply for an order of possession through Service NL, wherein they will attend a hearing and submit relevant evidence. If the landlord is successful, the order of possession can be enforced by the sheriff’s office
Property managers must collect security deposits from all tenants before they move in. It is returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy or 15 days thereafter with all accrued simple interest. If there is a dispute over the refund of the deposit, both parties can apply to the ServiceNL for the deposit. A security deposit has to be three-quarters of a full month’s rent and no more than the rent payable for the first two weeks.
Nova Scotia’s residential tenancy policies include specific information on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act.
Access Nova Scotia offers landlords Notice to Quit forms which are a method of dealing with tenants who fail to respect their obligations or are arrears in their rent. If the tenant has not left within 15 days of the date specified in the Notice to Quit, one can apply to the director’s office for a hearing.
Typical reasons for eviction are:
• Disturbing other clients
• Failure to clean
• Non-payment of rent
Property managers must return the security deposit to the tenant within ten days of the termination of the lease. If the landlord wishes to claim part or all of the deposit, the landlord must file a Security Deposit Claim to the Residential Tenancy Office (RTO) within ten days of the tenancy’s end. The tenant will be asked if they would like to dispute the claim, or amount of money demanded, and if so, the RTO will adjudicate. A security deposit can be up to half or full month’s rent. The Security Deposit needs to be placed in a trust account and the legislated interest.
The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act governs tenancy agreements and the responsibilities of landlords and their tenants.
The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.
New rules under the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 and existing rules under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 help to ensure that tenants’ rights are protected. This covers evictions for personal use, “renovictions” and bad faith evictions.
Before leases can be terminated, both the tenant and the landlord are responsible for negotiating (or renegotiating) the terms of the lease or terminating the lease. Tenants are required and allowed to provide written notice during a fixed term lease, provided the termination date is not earlier than the last day of the tenancy and is in full compliance with the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).
Landlords may only terminate a tenancy for specific and valid reasons as per the RTA. Fixed leases (i.e. a standard 12-month leases) automatically convert to month-to-month termed leases (with the same pre-negotiated conditions from the termed rental agreement) once the fixed period has come to an end and no notice has been served. The landlord has the right to raise the rent provided they have done so using the proper forms as provided by the RTA with a minimum of 90-day notice.
Prince Edward Island
The Prince Edward Island Landlord and Tenant Act is the go-to for all regulations and laws pertaining to renting a property.
Evictions are not actually supported by the Residential Property Act. If a tenant has not left the rental unit, the landlord can apply for an application for delivery of possession to move all the tenants’ belongings out of the private property. Despite this, the notice cannot actually force a former tenant off the unit.
Common reasons for evictions are:
• Habitual late payments (at least twice)
• Failure to maintain standards of cleanliness
• Non-payment of rent (with 20-days’ notice)
• The tenant has not renewed their lease, as per the lease agreement
The landlord must provide written notice to the tenant allocating the required notice time prior to giving the notice of eviction. The length of notice required will vary from non-payment of rent (20-days’ notice), to failure to adhere to the upkeep of the unit or detracting from the enjoyment of other tenants (one month), to claiming the unit for a family member’s usage (two months).
A landlord is required to request a security deposit on or before the date that the landlord and tenant enter into the binding rental agreement, whether verbal or written. The security deposit that the landlord requests cannot be any more than more than one week’s rent for a week-to-week tenancy or one month’s rent for a month-to-month or yearly tenancy. The security deposit will accrue interest each year at a rate that is set annually by a formula prescribed by legislation.
The Régie du logement oversee the tenancy laws of Quebec.
Unlike other provinces in Canada, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for personal use. Instead, they must submit a Notice of Repossession. The lessor of a dwelling may evict the lessee to divide the dwelling, enlarge it substantially or change its destination. He must then give a written notice to the lessee in a timely manner. Some restrictions apply.
Typical reasons for eviction in Quebec include:
• Disturbing the everyday enjoyment of other tenants
• Damaging property due to violating tenant obligations
• Delayed rent payment (of three weeks)
Quebec legislation does not allow for Security Deposits or Last Month’s Rent deposits. Landlords are specifically forbidden from accepting more than one month’s rent at a time.
Main obligations of the lessor during the lease:
• To give a peaceful enjoyment of the leased property
• To maintain the dwelling in good habitable condition
• To warrant that the property be used for the purpose for which it was leased and to maintain the property for that purpose throughout the term of the lease
• To make all the necessary repairs, except those that are assumed by the lessee
• To respect the laws pertaining to the safety, sanitation, maintenance and habitability of the dwelling or the building
• To make sure that the number of occupants respect the normal conditions of comfort and sanitation
• Not to change the form or destination of the dwelling
The Saskatchewan Tenancy Act spells out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the province.
No increases are allowed during a fixed-term lease unless the landlord and the tenant agree to the amount of the increase and when an increase is to come into effect at the time they enter into the fixed term tenancy. Landlords must inform the tenant at least two months before the end of the tenancy, whether or not they are willing to renew the lease.
Periodic tenancies are week-to-week, month-to-month or any other term that will continue until terminated by proper notice or by agreement. Any notice of rent increase for a periodic tenancy must be given in writing using the Notice of Rent Increase form or Form 5a - Notice of Rent Increase for Approved Landlord Association Members.
A security deposit can only be requested at the start of a lease. The only exception is if the Ministry of Social Services withdraws its guarantee of the security deposit. The landlord may then require the tenant to pay the security deposit. The ministry gives sufficient notice of its withdrawal to allow time for the landlord to collect the security deposit from the tenant.
The total security deposit, including any pet deposit, key deposit or other deposit, cannot exceed one month's rent.
The Residential Tenancy Office oversees the tenancy laws of the Yukon.
The Tenancy Agreement and Security Deposit
• Both the landlord and tenant must ensure the security deposit section of the tenancy agreement is completed.
• Landlords may ask for only one security deposit at the start of the tenancy and it can't be more than the equivalent of one month's rent.
• Both the landlord and tenant must sign and date the tenancy agreement.
• The landlord must give the tenant a copy.
• Tenants must pay rent in full on the day it is due (except if the landlord and tenant agree otherwise in writing or the tenant has an order from the Residential Tenancies Office).
• If a tenant is late paying rent or has only paid a portion of the rent, the landlord may serve the tenant with a 14-day notice to end tenancy.
• The first time the tenant is late paying rent, the tenant can void a 14-day notice to end tenancy by paying the outstanding rent within five days of receiving it.
• If the tenant is late paying rent more than once, they cannot void a 14-day notice to end tenancy by paying the outstanding rent.
Disclaimer: Many of the terms in this article may relate to certain legal rights and obligations that tend to change from time to time. The information provided does not constitute legal advice. If you require more detailed information about the law, contact your provincial tenancy acts.
How Property Vista Helps
Our software has been carefully designed and developed to ensure full compliance with your province/territory’s legal requirements in property management. See pricing and request a demo here.