What Landlords Should Know About the New Ontario Standard (Form of) Lease
You have probably heard about the new lease Ontario Standard (Form of) Lease, and as of April 30 all other rental/lease agreements are no longer valid. The SLA (Standard Lease Agreement) put out by the government is mandatory for new tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condos, and secondary units, such as basement apartments. Exceptions that SLA does not apply to include retirement and nursing homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities.
However, there are many things that you should be aware of while using the SLA. The 13 page SLA includes a 6 page Appendix A, that is filled mostly with legal advice for tenants. When reviewing the SLA, you may notice that there are many clauses missing and it is important to recognize this. You are permitted to add clauses that don’t conflict with the standard text. Some clauses you may consider adding to an Appendix B are as follows:
- Tenant does not own a pet and won’t obtain one during this tenancy. If Tenant does then Tenant shall immediately sign Landlord’s standard Pets Agreement
- Tenant won’t waste utilities (e.g. running water, including broken toilets, leave lights or other appliances on when not used, leave doors/windows open when heat is on). Tenant will immediately report malfunctioning equipment
- Tenant must clean and maintain the Premises and agrees to be liable for repair of damage costs to the Property caused by Tenant’s or
guests’ willful or negligent conduct
- Alterations or any kind requires Landlord’s written approval except approved picture hooks and window coverings
Some other aspects of the SLA that you should be aware of are as follows:
Section 6 states a landlord must provide electricity usage details for the previous 12 months, but privacy legislation prevents the landlord from obtaining that information if the previous tenant paid for their own electricity. The SLA should say that if a landlord acting reasonably can’t obtain this information, they don’t have to provide it.
Section 10 states a landlord must follow the Ontario HRC with respect to smokers, which suggests smokers might have some in-suite smoking right. According to HRC, housing providers have a duty to accommodate the code-related needs of tenants, but smokers are not specifically identified as one of the 14 protected grounds. Some claim that smoking is actually a disability because it’s addictive, and the category of people with mental disabilities have a disproportionately high number of smokers.
Section R of the appendix states a tenancy agreement can’t prohibit pets. The RTA contains a single sentence about pets: “A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.” That doesn’t mean a landlord can’t deny a tenancy applicant because they own a pet or advertise a no-pets policy, excluding service animals.
The new SLA can be difficult to understand and as a landlord it is important to ensure you and your investment are protected. Understanding the terms set out in the lease is important, and protecting yourself by adding additional clauses in an Appendix B can be extremely helpful. At BarrieInvesting, we have experience working with the new lease agreement and we are more than happy to help guide you through the SLA. Contact us today Matt 705-739-3432 or Dom 249-877-7785.