My Rights

New place? New situation? Take the time to learn more.

Do you know your legal protections in the housing market?

Several questions may be on your mind. You should know that the law provides a specific framework for an rental unit lease. You have rights that protect your interests as soon as you sign the lease. It is important to know them well.

The lease

Certain aspects of tenancy, including rent amount, included services, move-in date, and lease duration in fixed-term tenancies, are negotiable between tenant and landlord. Since April 30, 2018, most rental agreements must adhere to the government's standard lease format, integrating mandatory legal clauses and optional, mutually agreed upon terms.

A tenancy agreement, also referred to as a "rental agreement," is a contract between you and the landlord of a property. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions under which you agree to rent an apartment or room. These terms encompass aspects such as the rent amount and the duration of the lease.

In Ontario, tenant rights and responsibilities are primarily governed by provincial legislation, overriding specifics of rental agreements. Legally mandated provisions, such as landlord responsibilities for maintenance and repairs, are implicit in every tenancy agreement, irrespective of their explicit inclusion in the contract.

You are entitled to receive a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Tenants are legally entitled to a copy of the signed rental agreement. Landlords are required to provide this, along with their legal name and address, within 21 days of the tenancy commencement or agreement signing. Non-compliance permits tenants to withhold rent until receipt of these documents, but obligates immediate rent payment upon their provision.

An oral tenancy agreement is permissible.

Verbal tenancy agreements are valid, but it is advisable to document discussions regarding repairs, utilities, amenities, lease terms, and other relevant details to prevent future disputes. If the agreement is not formalized in writing, maintaining a record of verbal agreements is recommended for clarity and reference.

→ For more information, consult the Leases and agreements page on CLEO’s website.

Rent Increases in Ontario

The Ontario government sets the rent increase guideline annually. For 2024, it's 2.5%. Under the RTA, some tenants may face rent increases of any amount if their rental agreement doesn't specify limits. However, landlords are restricted to raising the rent just once in a 12-month period.

Landlords usually can't raise your rent more than a set percentage, called the “guideline,” which the government decides every year. For 2023, it's 2.5%; in 2022, it was 1.2%. If your rent is going up, the notice (Notice of Rent Increase (Form N1)) should say how much and that it's within this limit.

LTB Approval

If your landlord wants to hike your rent more than the guideline, they've got to get the okay from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The rent increase notice should tell you if they've applied for this or if it's already approved.

You have the right to challenge this at the LTB if you get a separate notice about your landlord's application. The LTB only allows bigger increases for specific reasons, like major repairs or high property tax jumps.

If the LTB says yes to the increase, you should get a heads-up about the landlord's application and the LTB's decision. If you haven't heard anything about an application to the LTB, it might be a good idea to check with them.

→ For more information, consult the Rates and increases page on CLEO’s website.

How to Oppose a Rent Increases

Should you choose to move out instead of paying the higher rent, it's important to give the proper notice , typically 60 days, or take other steps to avoid any ongoing rent obligations. This notice period corresponds with the landlord's requirement to provide a 90-day notice for rent increases.

You have the right to contest a rent increase if it requires approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. However, if the increase is within legal limits and doesn't need this approval, your options are either to negotiate a lower increase with your landlord or accept it.

If you decide to stay, there's no need for additional paperwork. Regarding lease renewal, you're not obligated to sign a new lease at the end of your current term. Some landlords might imply that you must either sign a new lease or leave, but this is not accurate.

If you want to stay but don't want to sign a new lease

Should your current lease be nearing its end, your landlord may propose that you sign a renewal for an additional period or a specified term, like a year. However, it's your choice whether to sign a new lease or not. Be aware that some landlords may incorrectly assert that your options are limited to either signing a new lease or vacating the premises, which is not the case.

If you don't sign a new lease and don't issue a move-out notice, you'll automatically continue as a monthly or weekly tenant, with only your rent subject to potential increase, while all other lease terms remain unchanged.

→ For more information, consult the Decide if you want to stay or move page on CLEO’s website.

Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGI)

Navigating above guideline rent increases in Ontario involves understanding the process and your rights as a tenant. The Landlord and Tenant Board, formerly known as the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, oversees these matters, ensuring fair practices.

Requesting Information

When faced with an above guideline rent increase, you have the right to request relevant information from your landlord. This includes details about the specific expenses or circumstances that warrant the increase. Your landlord is required to provide this information within a reasonable timeframe.

Applying for Review

If you believe an above guideline increase is unjustified, you can apply for a review with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The application process involves completing a form and submitting it to the Board. You should also provide your landlord with a copy of the application.

The Review Process

The Landlord and Tenant Board will assess your case during the review process. This includes evaluating the reasons your landlord provided for the increase. If the Board finds that the increase is not justified or that the proper procedures were not followed, they may adjust or deny the increase.


It's essential to act promptly. If you wish to challenge an above guideline increase, you typically have 60 days from the date you receive notice of the increase to file an application. Failing to meet this deadline might affect your ability to contest the increase.

Legal Representation

While tenants can represent themselves during this process, seeking legal advice or representation is an option. Legal professionals can help you understand the complexities of the law, gather evidence, and present a strong case.

Remember, regulations can change, and it's wise to consult the official resources provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board or seek legal advice to ensure you are well-informed and prepared when dealing with above guideline rent increases in Ontario.

The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board of (LTB)

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) plays a crucial role in overseeing residential tenancy matters in Ontario. Formerly known as the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, this board serves as a neutral authority to ensure fair practices and resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.

Timelines and Procedures

It's important to be aware of timelines and procedures when dealing with the LTB. Filing deadlines, hearing dates, and other procedural details must be adhered to. Familiarizing yourself with the specific rules related to your case will ensure a smoother process.

Filing a Dispute

If you encounter issues with your rental situation, whether it's related to rent, repairs, or other matters, you have the option to file a dispute with the LTB. The process involves filling out the appropriate forms and submitting them to the board. These forms can often be submitted online.

Communication with the Other Party

Upon filing a dispute, the LTB will notify the other party, be it your landlord or tenant, about the matter. This initiates the process of communication and potential resolution. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their side of the story and provide evidence to support their claims.

Mediation and Resolution

In many cases, the LTB encourages mediation as a first step towards resolution. Mediation involves a neutral third party assisting both parties in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. If mediation is successful, an agreement is reached, and the case is settled.

Hearing Process

If mediation fails or isn't suitable for the situation, a hearing will be scheduled. During the hearing, both parties present their evidence and arguments. The LTB member presiding over the case will make a decision based on the presented information and relevant laws.

Enforcement of Orders

Once a decision is reached, it becomes an order that both parties are required to follow. This might involve actions such as paying owed rent or making repairs. Failure to comply with the order could result in further legal action.


Have more questions about your housing rights?

Visit CLEO's website- or their great tool Steps to Justice.

Do you need personalized help?

There are many Legal Aid Clinics across Ontario, find one near you right here!

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