Navigating the intricacies of tenant insurance and rights within Ontario’s legal framework, particularly in the context of a landlord selling the property, presents a complex challenge. However, this comprehensive guide is meticulously crafted to provide you with essential knowledge and strategic preparation, ensuring you are well-equipped to handle such scenarios without extra stress.
Eviction Statistics in Canada
A study by the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) covering July 2022 to June 2023 revealed a significant rise in tenant complaints. Over 3,530 tenants reported forced evictions, marking a 132% increase from the previous year. The data shows a six-fold increase in evictions and repossessions from 2020 to 2023, and these figures only account for reported cases. The reason for the rise in evictions might be landlords looking to evict their tenants increasingly more often. For example, in 2022 in Ontario, the Landlord and Tenant Board saw over 5,550 eviction applications from landlords for personal use, family, or new buyers, a 41% increase from 2019. Things aren’t better in British Columbia. As of May 2023, about 10% of renting households in B.C. reported forced relocations over five years, the highest eviction rate in Canada, according to a University of B.C. report. Notably, 85% of these evictions were considered not the tenants’ fault.
Tenant’s Rights when a Landlord is Selling a House in Ontario
First, let’s get a clear picture of the legal landscape. In Ontario, tenant rights are protected under the Residential Tenancies Act. This act is your shield and sword, providing you with rights that landlords must respect, regardless of their plans to sell the property.
Your Landlord Can’t Evict You When Selling the House
Your landlord cannot evict you solely to sell the house. If you have an ongoing lease, it remains valid even after the property changes hands. The new owner must honour your lease until it expires. Remember, you have the right to stay put until your lease ends, and any attempt to evict you without proper legal grounds violates your rights.
However, tenants can be evicted if landlords find lease breaches like property damage during inspections.
Also, tenants can’t break the lease due to dissatisfaction with a new owner; both parties must honour the agreement or negotiate an alternative arrangement. If you, as a tenant, want to break a lease, there are specific rules and guidelines you have to follow.
Landlords Can’t Mislead Tenants into Moving Out
Landlords cannot mislead tenants into leaving, for example, by falsely claiming they need to move in when they intend to sell the property. Under the rules set in 2017, if a landlord issues an eviction notice for personal use (an N12), they must occupy the property for at least one year. Failing to do so and using the property for other purposes, like renting, demolishing, or selling it, could result in a fine of up to $25,000 and the requirement to pay damages to the tenant.
Your Rights During Showings
When your landlord decides to sell, they’ll likely want to show the property to potential buyers. Both the landlord and the tenant have a set of rules to follow. Here are the main points you need to know:
- Notice of Entry: Your landlord is required to provide a 24-hour notice prior to showing the property, detailing the specific time and purpose of the visit.
- Your Presence: You have the right to be present during showings. However, you cannot obstruct the process.
- Frequency and Timing: Landlords should be reasonable with the number and timing of showings. Excessive or late-night showings can be contested.
- Cleanliness: As a tenant, you must maintain the property reasonably cleanly. However, you’re not obligated to stage the property for showings or undertake any special preparations.
Your Rights in Case of Renovations
If your landlord plans to renovate before selling, they must provide you with an N13 notice, giving you 120 days to vacate. However, if the renovations require you to leave temporarily, you can return once the renovations are complete.
Landlord Can’t Take Photos of Your Space and Belongings
Landlords cannot take photographs of the property with your belongings in view without your consent. This rule protects your privacy and ensures your personal space is not exposed online without your permission. The only exception is if the tenant has consented to a lease agreement permitting photography or sometime later.
Compensation for Tenants When Landlord Sells Property
In certain situations, you may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if you’re required to move out due to renovations or the landlord’s personal use of the property, you might be eligible for compensation, such as one month’s rent.
Landlord’s Rights When Selling a House in Ontario
As you can see, tenants have quite a few rights protecting them if their landlord decides to sell the house. Landlords, however, have some rights too:
- Landlords Have the Right to Sell Their Property at Any Time: Landlords are free to sell their properties at any time and are not obligated to inform tenants, except for necessary entry or termination notices related to the sale. However, they must ensure that any new owner agrees to honour existing tenant leases upon transfer of ownership.
- Landlords Have the Right to Show Their Properties Without Tenant Present: Landlords have the right to showcase their properties to potential buyers even in the tenant’s absence. Tenants cannot demand to be present during these showings, provided the landlord has given the mandatory 24-hour notice before entry. Should tenants obstruct these viewings despite proper notice, landlords are entitled to take legal action.
The Bottom Line
Navigating the waters of tenant rights in Ontario when your landlord is selling the house can be tricky. But armed with the correct information and understanding of your rights, you can ensure a smooth transition, regardless of who owns the property. Remember, knowledge is power; in this case, it’s your best defence against any potential overreach by landlords or new property owners.