Ont. introduces standard residential lease forms to prevent ‘confusing’ and ‘illegal’ terms

Ontario is implementing a standard lease form that will become mandatory for most private residential rental agreements signed after April 30, 2018.A new standard lease guide will be made available in 23 languages on April 30

The new forms will apply to rented homes, apartment buildings and condos, as well as secondary units like basement apartments. But not to seniors’ homes, mobile home parks or most forms of social housing.

The provincially standardized paperwork is designed to replace the current patchwork of rental agreements used across Ontario, many of which are based on templates downloaded from the internet.

Housing Minister Peter Milczyn said in a statement on Wednesday, “Renters told us that their leases were often confusing and contained illegal terms. Landlords, especially smaller ones, say a standard template makes it easier for them to do business.The new form we developed helps balance the interests and responsibilities of both parties.”

Milczyn said basic information such as total rent and when rent is due will be spelled out in “easy-to-understand language.” The new forms also outline the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and include a breakdown of what can and cannot be included in a lease, such as bans on pets or guests.

The decision builds on the Liberal government’s Fair Housing Plan, which also includes an expansion of rent controls to all private rental units, safeguards against sudden dramatic rent increases, and measures to rein in speculative real estate investment.