Residential Tenancies Act
The Residential Tenancies Act regulates Ontario’s rental housing market and allocates certain rights and responsibilities among landlords and tenants. The Act, among other things, stipulates the content of tenancy agreements (sections 10 to 19), the responsibilities of landlords with respect to the privacy of tenants and the repair of rental units (sections 20 to 32), the responsibilities of tenants (sections 33 to 36), the manner in which tenancies can be terminated (sections 37 to 94), the rules relating to the subletting of rental units (sections 95 to 104), the rules relating to rent (sections 105 to 136), and the installation of smart meters and apportionment of utility costs (sections 137 and 138).
The Act is subject to a number of exemptions of relevance to service managers and housing providers. Section 7 of the Act states that a number of provisions do not apply to rental units in residential complexes that fall within the scope of the Social Housing Reform Act. These non-applicable provisions deal primarily with notice by landlord at end of term, the subletting of rental units, and rules relating to rent. See section 6 of General Regulation 516/06 for a detailed description of the exclusions.
As the RTA is relatively new, there are a number of questions about its interpretation and application that have yet to be definitively answered. For example, it is unclear how section 21 of the RTA—which, when read with the relevant regulation, states that heat is a vital service that is to be provided between September 1 and June 15—will interact with municipal by-laws, such as Toronto’s, which stipulates a shorter time period in which heat is to be provided. Similarly, it is unclear how the Landlord and Tenant Board and courts will interpret section 61, which allows landlords to give notice to terminate the tenancy for illegal acts—illegal acts is not defined in the RTA. Also potentially of concern to housing providers is section 82, which allows tenants to raise issues in their eviction hearing without notice to the landlord. If the issue raised by the tenant is one which could have been the subject of an application by tenant, the Board can make an order on that issue as if the tenant had made an application.
Obviously, the RTA is of great importance to service managers and housing providers—for a more detailed guide to its many provisions, please see Ontario Tenants Rights website.
Link: Residential Tenancies Act (www.e-laws.gov.on.ca)