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Standard lease agreements coming to Ontario rentals

Amanda Ferguson | posted Thursday, Feb 8th, 2018

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The Ontario government has waded into Toronto’s hot rental market with the province’s first standard lease for private rentals.

Starting April 30, the standard form must be used in any private residential lease agreement. That includes anyone renting out houses, apartments, condos or basement apartments.

“Ontario is one of the few provinces that didn’t have a standard form of lease for residential tenancies, so we’re actually playing catch up with most of the rest of the country,” says housing minister Peter Milczyn.

There are about 1.25 million private rental homes in Ontario, with about 19,000 units changing hands every month.

This move comes after a number of renting horror stories. Last fall, CityNews helped dozens of international students who were allegedly defrauded out of thousands of dollars by a man demanding key money and several months’ rent in advance to secure an apartment.

The new forms clearly list total rent, when it’s due, and all rules related to the rental unit. It also outlines both landlord and tenant responsibilities. Further, it explains what can and can’t be included in a lease.

“Many tenants are told in their lease that they’re not allowed to have pets, when they can,” notes Georgie Dent, the executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations. “Or that they have to move out, when they don’t have to move out, or that they have to pay money when they don’t. So we’re very excited that confusion, and a lot of that illegality is going to be cleared up.”

Existing leases are still legal. Further, anyone moving into social, retirement or nursing homes, commercial rental buildings, or mobile homes, won’t be covered. The government is planning on releasing separate standard agreements for these types of homes.

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