If you are a residential landlord or tenant in Ontario, there is a complex system of governance that most tenancies are subject to. Navigating the law can be difficult on your own. The best way to protect your interests is to hire an experienced housing lawyer if you are involved in a landlord tenant dispute.
Many residential landlords are uncomfortable with the prospect of new, unscreened individuals entering into their rental properties. That anxiety may lead to the inclusion of a “no guest” or “no roommate” policy being added into the lease. These clauses are unenforceable and in fact by restricting a tenant’s right to have guests or roommates in their unit, landlords run the risk of their tenant filing a harassment claim. Tenants are responsible for the behaviour of their guests (and other occupants) when they are in the residential complex. The current law in Ontario protects a tenant’s right to use their home in similar ways that a homeowner would, as such a tenant has the right to bring in guests or other occupants.
Tenant’s Harassment Claim
The courts and the Landlord and Tenant Board have ordered compensation to tenants where a landlord has attempted to restrict a tenant from having guests or moving in another occupant (such as a roommate or new romantic partner). The Board can order compensation of up to $25,000 (more if it is a corporate landlord), as well as issue a fine. A tenant would proceed with a harassment application by filing a T2 Application About Tenant’s Rights.
In extremely limited circumstances, if there are more people occupying a unit than Municipal Health and Safety Regulations specify (approximately more than 1 person per 100 square feet) a landlord may be able to evict a tenant for overcrowding. This is an extremely rare application and overcrowding must be very severe for the Board to intervene.
Landlords cannot limit guests, nor their length of stay, nor can they forbid a tenant from moving in a roommate. Similarly, a landlord cannot raise the rent simply because there is an additional occupant in the unit. However, tenants are responsible for their guest’s conduct. So, if a guest/roommate damages the property or causes other problems in the residential complex, the landlord has the option of proceeding with an eviction of their tenant (other occupants would be forced to vacate as well in the event of an eviction).
If you are involved in a landlord tenant dispute, you should contact a housing lawyer as soon as possible to protect your interests. Mehdi Au LLP has experienced housing lawyers on staff who can assist you with your matter.
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