June 12, 2018
What Are My Rights as a Landlord?
When you sign a lease, you enter into a contractual relationship with your tenant. It’s a necessary part of the rental process, and it’s designed to protect you as well as your renters. Unfortunately, landlord-tenant relations often become litigious. Many property owners and renters find themselves in mediation or expensive legal situations.
One of the most important steps you can take to ensure a mutually respectful relationship with your residents is to know the rights – theirs and yours.
In every province and territory across Canada, landlords are responsible for ensuring that their rental units comply with health, safety and maintenance standards. Their properties must meet local building codes, fire safety codes and zoning bylaws. But while tenants have many legal rights and legitimate expectations of their landlords, there are also laws in place to protect you.
As a landlord, you have the right to:
Choose the tenant
You have a say as to who can live on your property. It’s your right to choose prospective tenants based on their income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history and guarantors. However, you must never discriminate when selecting renters. It’s illegal to accept or refuse tenants based on disability, age, religion, race, ethnic origin, marital or family status, sex or sexual orientation.
Be paid rent on time
You have the right to be paid rent in full and on the date it’s due. This date must be clearly stated in the tenant lease agreement. It’s best to use standardized lease forms, which you may be able to find at your local rental authority or through nearby business supply stores. If you have tenants who chronically make late payments – or who don’t pay at all – you have the right to seek compensation through the court system and to begin the eviction process.
Enter the premises, with notice
Your rental units are your property. You must always respect the fact that tenants live there, but you have the right to enter, with reasonable cause and appropriate notice. If you need access to rental units to complete maintenance, repairs or inspections, show the property to prospective renters, or respond to an emergency, you can do so. Just don’t show up unannounced or, worse yet, let yourself in unannounced. For scheduled entry, such as doing repairs, let renters know in advance what date and time they can expect you or your maintenance workers to access the unit. In case of emergencies, call ahead to your tenant, and if you can’t reach them directly, give them the opportunity to answer the door – don’t simply barge in.
Increase the rent
Laws about rent increases, including amount and frequency, vary by jurisdiction. Depending on where you operate your business and the type of tenancy you offer (weekly, month-to-month or yearly), you may be required to give a set number of days’ notice before raising the rent. And you must always provide proper documentation of the upcoming increase. But make no mistake: It is your right to increase rent. Just remember that it’s best not to raise rent too often. And you should always try to keep your prices competitive. Good tenants won’t stick around if your rent is unreasonably high – and good tenants are invaluable.
Evict a tenant
The most common reason for eviction is failure to pay rent. However, other reasons may apply, like willful destruction of the property or disrupting other residents. For example, in some places, owning a pet when the lease prohibits against it isn’t grounds for eviction. But in other jurisdictions, that breach could be enough to evict the tenant if their animal is excessively noisy or causes damage to the building. It’s important to know the specific laws for your province or territory so you can make informed decisions about eviction, and take appropriate action to protect your property and remaining residents.
How Property Vista Helps
We’ve gathered a range of resources to help you run your business more effectively; see our sections on Property Laws and Industry Trends. We also offer a suite of online property management software tools. Get started here to learn more about how we can help you operate well, within your rights.