Landlords in Hamilton and the surrounding areas are bound by the laws and requirements outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act. The Landlord and Tenant Board enforces this act and resolves disputes between tenants and landlords if someone makes a claim.
It’s best to avoid these types of disputes and legal mistakes. There are a few important laws that every Hamilton landlord must know before renting out an Ontario rental property. We’re highlighting some of those in today’s blog.
Residential Tenancy Agreement
You aren’t permitted to write your own lease. You have to use the Residential Tenancy Agreement, and you have to provide a copy of it to your tenants within 21 days of both parties signing it. The lease agreement has to include all of the information that the law requires, and it cannot include or require anything that isn’t supported by the Residential Tenancies Act. If you try to include a rule or a requirement that’s contrary to the law, the Landlord and Tenant Board will not enforce it, and your tenant will not be required to follow it. When your tenant moves in, make sure you provide the “Information for New Tenants” brochure that outlines the relationship between landlords and tenants and how the Landlord and Tenant Board can help.
Rental Increases and Deposits
You cannot raise the rent until a tenant has been in place for 12 months or more. If you try to increase the rent during that first year, you’ll likely have to answer for it to the Board, and you’ll need an excellent reason. You have to provide 90 days of notice in writing before you raise a tenant’s rent. And, you have to follow the rent increase guideline. Landlords are permitted to raise the rent more than the guideline allows if they meet certain criteria. You cannot raise the rent more than three percent over the guideline amount for things like capital expenditures or security services.
Maintaining a Habitable Rental Property
As a landlord, you’re required to maintain the property and keep it habitable and safe. You have to follow all health and safety standards and meet all maintenance standards. If a tenant believes you aren’t making repairs in a timely manner or providing a habitable home, they can appeal to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Vital services which must always be functional and provided include heat, electricity, hot water, and fuel.
Laws about Entering the Rental Home
If there’s a fire or a similar emergency, you may enter the home without notice. Otherwise, you need to provide 24 hours of written notice before you go inside the home. You can go in between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to do repairs, conduct an inspection, show the property, or any other legally valid reason. A good relationship with your tenant is crucial in making visits to the property seamless.
There are a lot of other laws and rules you must follow, including eviction procedures. For more information about how to avoid costly and frustrating legal mistakes, contact us at Spotted Properties. We’d be happy to help.