Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Tenants have rights, but, they also have responsibilities. Wouldn’t it be great to if you were prepared and ready to handle any situation that’s thrown at you as a tenant? If you’re unsure about what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant, I can help you become the most informed tenant out there.
What is Liability?
In law, liable means “responsible or answerable in law; legally obligated.” Legal liability concerns both civil law and criminal law and can arise from various areas of law, such as contracts, torts, taxes, or fines given by government agencies. The claimant is the one who seeks to establish, or prove, liability.
How can I be liable?
Whenever you enter into a contract, whether implied or explicit, you are responsible for certain obligation under that contract.
As a tenant, you enter into an agreement to lease a property. Within that contract, there are obligations that you, the tenant, are responsible for. Your obligations, typically, are to maintain the property in a sanitary and clean manner. You also have the obligation to report any maintenance issues. If damage occurs due to your own carelessness, you are responsible to repair the damage.
How to protect yourself from undue liability.
Step 1: When you sign your lease agreement, be sure to read the entire document. In Ontario, there is a standardized lease agreement. This document was created by the government to standardize the language written into the agreement. Most landlords and property management companies have created attachments to the contract. If this is the case, be sure to carefully read them before entering into the lease agreement.
Step 2: Communicate with your landlord. Let them know of any repair issues as soon as you become aware of them. I recommend doing this through email and keeping a copy as a paper trail if issues ever arise.
Step 3: Respect the home you are living in. If you break something, tell the landlord what happened and how you intend to repair the issue. Be responsible for your actions.
While many of the strategies seem commonplace, ignoring them causes more headaches than it’s worth.
Remember, you have agreed to terms and conditions that outline the use of the property.
Knowing how you are liable is vital, because it’s important that you know things too.
What is it?
An eviction is an involuntary cancellation of your tenancy agreement. When you are evicted, you no longer have the right to remain in or re-enter a property. Evictions are ordered through the landlord and tenant board and they operate under the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario. http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/contact/
How can I be evicted?
There are 10 main ways that a landlord can apply for an eviction. They are as follows:
- Non-payment of rent or not paying the rent in full
- Persistently paying the rent late
- Causing damage to the rental property
- Illegal activity
- Affecting the safety of others
- Disturbing the enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord
- Allowing too many people to live in the rental unit (“overcrowding”)
- “Landlord’s own use” (the landlord wants the rental unit for their own use or for use of an immediate family member or a caregiver)
- Selling the house (the landlord has agreed to sell the property and the purchaser wants all or part of the property for their own use or for use of an immediate family member or a caregiver)
- Demolition, conversion or repairs (the landlord plans major renovations that require a building permit and vacant possession)
How to protect yourself from being evicted.
An eviction is a devastating event. You lose your home, your credit, and to many, your self esteem.
Although there are ways to help protect yourself from being evicted, unfortunately, there are no strategies that work 100% of the time. Here are some strategies to give you the best possible opportunity:
- Pay the full amount of agreed rent. This sounds simple and obvious but it’s the number one reason people get evicted.
- Pay your rent on time. Your landlord will begin the eviction process if your late is 1 day late. If you are consistently or chronically late with your rents, they will have a case to evict you.
- Treat the property with respect. You live in the home, however you do not own the home. If you cause damage above and beyond “regular wear and tear” your landlord may build a case of willing destruction.
- Don’t use the property for illicit activities.
- Always think about your fellow tenants and neighbours. If your activities and lifestyle put the health and safety of others in jeopardy, your landlord may build a case to evict.
- Take others enjoyment of the space into consideration. If you regularly have parties that keep others up and awake you will be providing your landlord evidence you’re reducing the enjoyment of the space for other tenants.
- Discuss with your landlord before allowing anyone other than the agreed occupants to stay for extended periods. Overcrowding a rental space can be considered a health and safety risk.
While many of the strategies seem commonplace, ignoring them causes more evictions than any other reason.
Remember, you have agreed to term and conditions that outline the use of the property. If you breach the contract, you are setting yourself up to receive a potential eviction. However, if you use the space in the agreed manner, you are protecting yourself and your family.
Knowing how you can be and can avoid evictions is vital, because it’s important that you know things too.