Special Clauses to Protect Landlords & Their Rental Properties
A lease or rental agreement sets out the rules landlords and tenants agree to follow in their rental relationship.
- Assignment of lease: The clause should state that you are renting to the tenant on the lease and no other and that the tenant is not allowed to sublet, assign, or otherwise transfer the lease to another person without the consent of the landlord.
- Joint and Several Liability : Joint and several liability means that each party to the lease is jointly and individually responsible for fulfilling the terms of the lease agreement. This is important when there are multiple tenants on the same lease. If one of the tenants defaults on the lease, this provision stipulates that the others are responsible for fulfilling all lease obligations.
- Smoking : Due to the known health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke and the damages that may be caused by growing marijuana or cannabis plants, increased risk of fire and increased maintenance costs;
a) No Tenant, resident, guest, invitee or visitor shall smoke a Marijuana or other tobacco cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarette or any similar product whose use generates smoke or vapors within the building and the Leased Premises. This prohibition includes all residential units within the building, all balconies and patios, enclosed common areas, as well as outside within 9 meters of doorways, operable windows and air intakes.b) “Smoking” shall include inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying of any tobacco or electronic cigarette or similar product whose use generates smoke or vapor.c) No Tenant shall grow any Marijuana, Cannabis or similar plant in any part of the Leased Premises.
- Pests : To protect you from having to deal with the poor housekeeping habits experienced with tenants your lease must specify who is responsible for pests and under what circumstances. In your lease as an example, you can add clause saying " I am only responsible for pests for the first two weeks of the tenant moving in. After that, the lease assumes the tenant and their living conditions were the cause of pests."
- Plumbing : The drains and sewage pipes have been checked and are 100% functioning so if a blockage develops after the start of the tenancy it is the responsibility of the tenant to get the drains cleared and operational not the landlord. If tenants flush diapers ,cooking oil etc down the drain they will be responsible for the bill to unclogging the drain !
- RENEWAL. In Ontario, when a residential lease expires, and there is no new lease, the tenancy automatically becomes a month-to-month tenancy.The only risk for tenants without leases is that, in small buildings, or houses where the landlord is also the owner, there is a risk that the landlord can evict the tenant with only 60 days’ notice if the landlord claims that his or her family is going to move into the tenant’s unit. " This lease agreement is not constructed to be automatically renewed at the end of the term for which drawn, however the intent to renew this agreement by the Tenant(s) will be assumed. All parties will need to sign a new agreement in order to activate a renewal term." If Tenant(s) intends to vacate the Premises at the end of the lease term, Tenant(s) must give at least sixty (60) days written notice prior to the end of this lease. If sixty (60) days’ notice of non-renewal is not given prior to lease term, Tenant(s) are responsible for the equivalent rent amount due for the sixty (60) days after notice is given, even though this lease does not automatically renew.
- Pets: Landlords are free to screen and investigate whether or not their prospective tenants have pets. However, once a landlord accepts a tenant, in spite of any verbal agreements or contract stipulations, landlords cannot evict tenants for pet ownership under most circumstances. A landlord is not allowed to charge a pet deposit.Landlords can collect a pet rent deposit that equals up to one month’s rent. However, this deposit cannot be a security deposit (as these are not allowed in Ontario). That means the landlord cannot apply this deposit to any damage caused by the pet and must return the deposit to the renter at the end of the tenancy (with interest, as stipulated by the guidelines). Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act does not permit landlords to include “no pet” clauses in rental agreements. The only exception is if the property is a condominium and the condominium corporation’s declaration prohibits pets. Then alandlord can refuse to rent to a person who has a pet.
- Until a person actually enters into a rental agreement, there is no tenancy; the person and their pets are not protected.A landlord cannot evict a tenant simply because they were unaware of a pet, or because the pet was adopted after the tenant moved in. A tenant can only be evicted if a pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction to others, or is considered to be inherently dangerous. Even then, the landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order terminating the tenancy . Your rental contract should stipulate that any damage beyond normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the tenant.
- If they have a pet, you may want to further specify that " Any damage caused by the animal (e.g. claw marks in door frames, urine stains on carpet, etc.) is the responsibility of the tenant so that they are aware that they must pay these costs ". Make sure you take timestamped pictures of the property right before the tenant moves in, paying careful attention to door frames, doors, and carpeting so that you can prove damages if you need to. The Residential Tenancies Act does provide some small relief for landlords in that it requires pet owners to properly feed, clean and care for their animals. Failure to do so is an “illegal act” and is grounds for eviction.Pets are usually not a major cause of concern, beyond minor damages – which you can clearly lay out in your contract as being the responsibility of the tenant . If a landlord had any allergies to pets or if other tenants in the building are severely allergic to the animal your tenant owns. Landlords can add a clause " Tenant must have written consent from the landlord to keep a pet on the premises and that the premises is not subject to the pet clause void because the landlord has severe allergies to pets ". Another caveat to this is that most municipalities in Ontario have their own restrictions on the number of pets that can live in any individual home. In Toronto for example, no dwelling can house more than three dogs, or more than six cats.
- Wear & Tear Damage : At the beginning of every tenancy a landlord should be going through the empty rental unit with the new tenant with a checklist. This checklist, that the tenant will be required to sign, is part of the move in inspection. Along with the checklist, a few digital photos stored on a cheap memory stick showing the condition of the floors, walls, bathroom, kitchen, etc., are also good to have. The checklist, along with the photos, establish a baseline of the condition of the premises that the tenant received when they moved in. section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act which provides that a tenant is responsible for the repair of undue damage to the rental unit and the complex whether caused wilfully or negligently by the tenant, occupant, or other person permitted by the tenant to be in the residential complex. Nail holes from pictures are "normal wear and tear" and are to be expected in the proper use of a rental unit. "Painting" just because the unit needs a paint job after being lived in is also not a permissible charge back to a tenant. Damage Security deposits are not allowed in Ontario . Landlords/property managers should inspect premises regularly to determine tenant compliance with ongoing maintenance/repair obligations.
If you are Looking to Lease your Condo or Home ?
For past 12 Years Jimmy Singh Real Estate Team have been helping clients find the right tenants for their homes and investment properties, Call Us Today
519-933-2559 ( London, St.Thomas & Surrounding Areas )
647-961-2639 ( Greater Toronto Area & Golden Horseshoe Area Ontario)
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and not intended as or to be relied upon for legal advice. Consult with a lawyer for your unique situation.We recommend confirming the use and wording of each clause with the local landlord-tenant authorities .