A rental lease or agreement is a binding contract between a tenant and a landlord. Although a verbal agreement may be as binding as a written one, most landlords prefer one in writing. A mandatory document that binds the tenant and landlord in the Residential Tenancies Act, the Lease Agreement also outlines the services provided by the landlord and the responsibilities of tenants in addition to both their obligations.
Typically rental agreements featured complex statements and legalese terms. They also contained terms that were almost illegal and clauses that enforce very specific conditions. So, to make things more straight forward, The Government of Ontario introduced the Standard Lease in 2018.
Since then, there have been some amendments to the lease and the new changes are being enforced from 1st March 2021. All rental agreements signed in Ontario from March 1, 2021 should make use of the new version of the Ontario Lease Agreement.
Download Ontario Standard Lease 2021 from here
Download from Ontario Central Forms Repository
Here are some of the important changes made to the Ontario Standard Lease
- The tenant can request a copy of the lease and can withhold rent up to a month if not shared by the landlord within 21 days. If the lease copy is not given to the tenant after a month, rent need not be paid for that month. The tenant can terminate the lease with a 60-day notice, at any time, in case the agreement is not ever shared with the tenant.
- Landlords cannot alter the sections of the lease. This will prevent any unlawful clauses from being added or important sections from being excluded.
- Landlords no longer need to serve tenants with the “electricity consumption form” for sub-metered units.
- The “Additional Terms” section allows landlords to include any additional clauses if needed, but only with the consent of the tenant. These clauses must comply with Residential Tenancies Act and should not include any unenforceable clauses.
- Fines levied on landlords for unlawful termination of tenancies have been increased.
It is in the best interest of landlords to utilize the Ontario Standard Lease, though, not using it may not render the agreement void, it might hold grounds for a tenant to break their lease at any time. However, all agreements made prior to March 1, 2021 are still valid and need not be re-signed.