If you are involved in a Landlord and Tenant dispute, the best way to protect yourself is to hire experienced legal counsel to fight on your behalf. Mehdi Au LLP has experienced housing lawyers who would be happy to meet with you and work on your case.
If you are renting out an apartment, one of the things that can often cause friction is a tenant moving another person (be they a boyfriend, a roommate, a parent, etc.) into the unit without the landlord’s approval.
Many landlords are under the assumption that because a new person is not a party to the lease, the landlord has the right to restrict their entry and/or occupancy in the rental unit, evict the tenant, or alternatively that the rent can be increased due to new users using extra services/utilities. The answer to those queries is a resounding NO, save some very limited exceptions:
- overcrowding which is an extremely high threshold,
- social housing units can restrict occupants to a limited degree,
- if the rental unit is not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (i.e.: a farm labourers unit, a unit without a kitchen and bathroom separate from the Landlord, student housing owned by a university, a hotel, etc.)
Landlords are not allowed to:
- unilaterally increase the rent because of a new occupant and a landlord,
- cannot evict a tenant simply for moving in a new occupant,
- cannot force an occupant to sign a lease,
- nor can they remove an occupant authorized by their tenant them from the unit.
This revelation is typically very distressing to landlords renting out a basement unit as they argue that they were unable to screen the new occupant. Luckily a tenant is responsible for the conduct of their guests in a unit. A poorly behaved guest/occupant may be grounds to terminate a tenancy and evict a tenant. However, by interfering and/or attempting to block an occupant/guest a landlord may face steep penalties (in the form of an abatement, aka a reduction/refund in rent) at the Landlord and Tenant Board should their tenant file a claim. Likewise, so long as a tenant has not sublet a unit without a landlord’s permission, and they still live in the unit, even a clause limiting occupants/guests in a lease is not legally enforceable and is void per the legislation.
Landlords would do well to remember that in renting out a unit at a profit, they are providing someone with a home, not a hotel room. Rental units are subject to the same overcrowding by-laws as other type of housing, however just as homeowners are not forbidden from moving a wife or parent into their home, likewise renters have the same rights to organize their families and host guests, provided their guest comport themselves appropriately (without bothering other tenants, breaking laws, damaging the unit, etc.)
If you are involved in a residential tenancy dispute, the best way to protect yourself and your investment is to hire a housing lawyer to work on your case. Mehdi Au LLP has experienced lawyers on staff who would be happy to assist you with your case.
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