Tenant Duties


Although, a tenant buys the right to occupy temporarily somebody else’s housing, being a tenant in Ontario comes with many responsibilities that described in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The Act covers all aspects of Landlord-Tenant relationships:

  • the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • the procedures of resolving disputes between landlords and tenants through either mediation or adjudication
  • the rules for rent increases in most residential rental units and procedures to enforce these rules
  • the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board

The main responsibilities of any tenant are as follows:

Paying rent on time

Verbal or written tenancy agreement should be clear about: the day that rent payments are due; the way on how rent payment is to be delivered to the landlord; and the method of payment. It is very important that rent payments are made on time. The rent is late if the full amount is not paid by midnight on the day it is due. A landlord does not have to accept partial payment of rent. Payments are usually made by either cash or cheque. The tenant must deliver the rent payment to a place agreed to or set by the landlord. If a rent payment is mailed, the tenant should mail it in advance so that it gets to the landlord by the due date. The tenant should allow at least five days for delivery. A landlord must give the tenant a receipt for any rent payment.

Tenant is not allowed to withhold rent

A tenant should not withhold any part of the rent, even if the tenant feels that maintenance is poor or a necessary repair has not been done. A tenant could be evicted, if they withhold rent without getting approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Tenant’s responsibility for cleanliness

The tenant is responsible for ordinary cleanliness of the rental unit, except to the extent that the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean it. The tenant has to keep the home in a way that most people think is clean.

Tenant’s responsibility for repair of damage

A tenant is responsible for the repair or fix of undue damage to the rental unit or residential complex. The tenant must repair or pay for the repair of any damage to the rental property caused by the tenant, the tenant’s guest or another person who lives in the rental unit. This includes damage in the tenant’s unit, as well as any common area such as a hallway, elevator, stairway, driveway or parking area. It does not matter whether the damage was done on purpose or by not being careful enough – the tenant is responsible. However, the tenant is not responsible to repair damage caused by normal “wear and tear”. For example, if the carpet has become worn after years of normal use, the tenant would not have to replace the carpet.

Changing locks

A tenant shall not alter the locking system on a door giving entry to a rental unit or residential complex without the consent of the landlord. The tenant is not allowed to change the locking system on the door that gives entry to the rental unit unless they get their landlord’s permission.

Tenant not to harass, etc.

A tenant shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a landlord.

Tenant to be reasonably quiet

A tenant should not disturb others who live in the same building.

Reasons to evict tenant

The Residential Tenancies Act permits a landlord to terminate a tenancy early for several reasons. Most provisions for early termination of tenancy provide a tenant the option of avoiding termination by correcting the problem within a specific time frame. If a landlord gives a tenant(s) a notice that he/she wants them to leave, and they do not agree, a landlord have the right to file an application and have a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board. If a tenant does not agree with what is in the notice, they do not have to move out of the unit. This means the landlord would be required to apply for an eviction hearing and order through the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant to be evicted for specific grounds including (but not limited to):

  • non-payment of rent
  • persistent late payments
  • undue damage
  • interference with the reasonable enjoyment or lawful right of the landlord
  • overcrowding
  • impairing safety
  • illegal act

Do not forget that as a tenant, you also have rights.

CP Paralegal Services can give you an advice on all residential tenancy matters or represent you at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board.

We are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and can ensure you are in compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act.