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Does the tenant have to move out at the end of the lease? (Ontario)

November 13th, 2011 · 9,866 Comments · ontario landlords, Residential Tenancy Act (Ontario)

Question:  Is The End of the Lease the End of the Tenancy in Ontario?

This is one of the most common questions from new landlords in Ontario.  And it should be.

In other provinces in Canada a lease is treated like a regular contract.  When the contract ends both parties have choices:

Choice #1:  Renew the contract

Choice #2: Renegotiate the contract

Choice #3: End the contract

Many new landlords ask their tenants to sign a fixed term lease thinking it’s just like a normal contract.  Here’s the landlords way of thinking:

“You are signing a one year fixed term lease from November 1st, 2011 to October 31st, 2012.”

It the landlords mind what this means is:

“You are moving into my property for one year at a set rent price.  So you move in on November 1st, 2011.  You have to move out in a year, on October 31st, 2012, unless you want to continue and I want you to continue.”

Except in Ontario things don’t work this way.

The landlord and tenant can also agree to renew the tenancy agreement for another fixed term period, or enter into a new lease.  If the landlord and tenant agree to enter into a new lease, the terms of the lease can only be changed in accordance with the Act.

The end of a fixed term tenancy or lease does not mean that the tenant has to move out or sign a renewal or new lease in order to stay.

The lease is renewed automatically on a month-to-month basis (if the rent is paid monthly) or week-to-week basis (if rent is paid weekly).  This means the landlord and tenant do not have to sign a new fixed term lease when the term of the lease runs out.  All the rules of the former lease will still apply to the landlord and tenant.

Security of tenancy

Tenants have security of tenancy.  This means that a tenant can continue to occupy the rental unit until:

  • the tenant decides to leave and gives the landlord proper notice that they intend to move out (see the Board’s brochure on How a Tenant Can End Their Tenancy for more information),
  • the landlord and tenant agree to end the tenancy, or
  • the landlord gives the tenant a notice to end the tenancy for a reason allowed by the Act, and
    • the tenant agrees to move, or
    • the tenant does not agree with the landlord’s notice, the landlord applies to the Board, and the Board issues an eviction order.

If the landlord gives a tenant notice to end the tenancy, the tenant does not have to move out.  The landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (the Board) for an order allowing the eviction of the tenant.  The tenant has the right to go to a hearing and explain why they should not be evicted.

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