The City of Toronto provides support and information to residents in rental units who are at risk of losing their home and being evicted.

Most people living in rental housing in Ontario must abide by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which is the Provincial law that governs landlord and tenant relations. It outlines both your rights and your obligations as a tenant. It does not apply to student residences or other institutional settings.

Below is a summary of your rights as tenant as outlined in the Provincial  Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

Lease

  • Most landlords must use the standard lease template
  • If your lease expires, you do not have to renew it because you automatically become a month-to-month tenant and are still covered by the RTA
  • A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because you receive public assistance (e.g. Ontario Works) or because of your race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, or disability

Rent & Other Fees

  • When you are new to a private market rental, the rent can be set by the landlord
  • Once you move in, the RTA’s rules around rent changes come into effect. Find out what the maximum a landlord can increase your rent by without the approval of the Landlord & Tenant Board
  • If a key deposit is required, it can only cover the replacement cost of the key
  • Your landlord can ask for last month’s rent at the start of your lease but no more than that. It must be used to cover the last month’s rent – it is not a damage deposit

Who Can Be In Your Home

  • Landlords must have a valid reason to enter your unit and must provide written notice 24 hours before entering
  • You cannot be evicted for having a roommate, unless they:
    • cause problems for other tenants
    • damage the property
    • cause overcrowding in the unit
  • You cannot be evicted for having a pet, unless the pet is:
    • dangerous
    • making too much noise
    • damaging the unit
    • causing others to have allergic reactions

Maintenance of the Unit

  • If your landlord is responsible for heating your home, you are entitled to a minimum of 21° Celsius from September 15 to May 31
  • If you have a concern about maintenance in your apartment or in the common areas of your building, visit RentSafeTO for Tenants to learn about what to do

Eviction

  • The landlord cannot change your locks or tell you to leave
  • Only the police can evict you. Before that happens, the landlord must:
    • provide a notice terminating the tenancy giving the reasons
    • apply to the Landlord & Tenant Board for an order to evict you
    • If there is a hearing and you have a right to attend and present your facts

Demolition of Rental Housing

If your building is subject to a development application you may be asked to move out early but the development process can take years, so you shouldn’t have to move immediately. You are also entitled to:

  • A minimum of four months notice to leave
  • Alternative housing or a minimum of three months rent
  • Return to the development in a similar unit at a similar rent
  • A moving allowance
  • Additional compensation to address the hardship of moving

Below is a summary of your responsibilities as tenant as outlined in the Provincial  Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

Lease & Rent

  • A prospective landlord can ask you to provide information about your income, credit references and rental history when you apply for a rental
  • Pay the first month’s rent when you move in
  • Pay the agreed upon rent on the agreed upon time

Maintenance

  • You must not withhold rent, even if you are unhappy with your landlord’s maintenance record
    • If you have a concern about maintenance in your apartment or in the common areas of your building, visit RentSafeTO for Tenants to learn about what to do
  • Keep your unit clean
  • Repair or pay for any repairs damage that you caused or that were caused by your guest(s) or roommate
  • If you change your locks give the landlord a key immediately

Who Can Be in Your Home

  • You must let your landlord enter your unit if they have a valid reason and have provided written notice 24 hours prior
  • Get your landlords consent if you want to sublet or assign your unit
  • You may have to move out if your landlord needs your unit for his personal use or for that of a family member or caregiver

If you are behind on your rent, financial supports exist, including:

  • Loans
  • Rent reduction
  • Tenant Defence Fund
  • Emergency Energy Fund

Learn more about each of these financial support for renters options.

Housing Stability Fund

The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) provides money for emergency housing needs to people receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in the city of Toronto. It is intended to prevent homelessness.

Rent-Geared-to-Income

Rent-Geared-to-Income is a housing subsidy or benefit offered by the City of Toronto to make rent affordable for households. Learn more about the program, how to apply and what your responsibilities are if you are living in a subsidized unit.

Ontario Works

Ontario Works provides money for food, shelter and other costs to people in financial need who meet the eligibility criteria.

These organizations can help you understand what you need to know as a tenant and may be able to help you keep your home:

Organization Description Contact Information
Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) Settles disputes between property owners and tenants and provides information to landlord and to tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act Telephone: 416-645-8080
Toll-free: 1-888-332-3234
TTY: 1-800-268-9242
Government of Ontario’s Rental Housing Enforcement Unit Identifies if and fines a tenant or landlord who has committed an offense of the Residential Tenancies Act. Telephone: 416-585-7214
Toll-Free:
1-888-772-9277
Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (Tenant Hotline) Answers questions about tenant rights in Toronto Telephone:  416-921-9494
Email:  hotline@torontotenants.org
Commissioner of Housing Equity Works with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) tenants to understand their situation and help them make a plan to avoid eviction. Telephone: 416-632-7999
Email: info@oche.ca
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) Supports individuals who are experiencing housing issues related to eviction and human rights. Telephone: 416-944-0087
Toll free: 1-800-263-1139
Email: cera@equalityrights.org
Legal Aid Onatrio Community legal clinics offer free legal advice to low income tenants. Telephone: 1-800-668-8258
Tenant Duty Counsel Program (TDCP) Offer legal advice and limited legal assistance to low income, unrepresented tenants on the day of their hearing. Same-day drop-in service. Telephone: 416-597-5855
Toll free: 1-866-245-4182
311 Toronto Residents are encouraged to contact their landlord first to make service requests for issues such as pests, low or no heat, plumbing problems, leaky ceilings or problems in common areas of the building. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team. Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889
Email: 311@toronto.ca
Housing Help Centres Non-profit agencies that help people find and keep housing and avoid eviction. Please contact individual centres for support.
211 Provides information about other services not managed by the City of Toronto that are in your community. Telephone: 211 or 416-397-4636
Toll-Free: 1-877-330-3213
TTY: 1-888-340-1001
Email211update@findhelp.ca

If you have to leave your home, learn about how to find housing or access an emergency shelter.