My Landlord is Selling Their House in Ontario, What Next?

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on July 23, 2024

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated July 23, 2024

Visit author page

5 minute read

Article Contents

Landlords can sell their Ontario property at any time, but that doesn’t mean tenants have no rights during the process. The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) protects renters when a landlord wants to show the home to prospective buyers; perform appraisals, renovations, or repairs in preparation for a sale; and transfer ownership of the property.

Tenant Rights When a Landlord is Selling a House in Ontario at a Glance

  • Tenants cannot be evicted before the expiration of their lease, even if their landlord wants to sell.
  • Landlords aren’t required to inform their tenants that they plan to sell. That said, they have to give notice if they plan to show, renovate, or photograph the property in relation to the sale.
  • The new homeowners have to honour any pre-established lease agreements or, if they wish to move into the home for personal use, follow the proper eviction procedures.

In 2023, 3% of Canadian renters were evicted from their homes. More than half of these cases are due to the landlord wanting to sell, use, or renovate the property. Amidst rising rental prices, this leaves many tenants worried about the security of their housing situation.

Can a landlord sell their house in Ontario while it’s occupied? Do tenants have to leave immediately once the home they’re renting is sold? Is there compensation for tenants when a landlord sells their property? What happens if the new owner wants to move in? We answer these questions and more below.

Ontario Landlord Is Selling Their House? Here Are Your Tenant Rights

If your landlord plans to sell the home you’re renting, it’s important to know what rights you have as a tenant. The Residential Tenancies Act provides the following safeguards:

You Can’t Get Kicked Out for the Sale

A lease binds both the tenant and the landlord, which means that both parties have to abide by its agreements, including and especially the termination date. Furthermore, the new owner assumes all of the responsibilities of the old landlord, including your rental agreement. 

If your lease ends after the sale is finalized, neither your former landlord nor the new owner can legally force you to move out before that date. However, you also can’t break your lease early, even if you don’t like the new owner.

One of three things can happen after your lease ends:

  1. You become a month-to-month renter under the terms of your original lease. Either you or the new owner/landlord can terminate the lease with at least 60 days’ notice. 
  2. You and the new owner agree to a new lease. This is entirely optional – you cannot be forced to renew or sign a new lease. 
  3. The new owner gives you notice (at least 60 days) of their intention to move into their home at least 60 days from the date of eviction through an N12 form (eviction notice for personal use). For example, if your lease ends on the 15th of June, your landlord has to serve you an official notice on or before the 15th of April. They must also compensate you for one month’s rent before the lease expires.

There is one important caveat. If, in the process of inspecting, preparing, or renovating the home for sale, the landlord finds that you’ve breached the terms of your lease (such as excessive damage or an unlisted tenant), they can terminate it and evict you following the relevant procedures.

Keep in mind that these regulations only apply to Ontario and not other provinces/territories. For example, evictions in Quebec are handled very differently. 

Landlords Can’t Get You to Move in Bad Faith

A landlord can’t trick you into vacating their home by lying about the reason for the eviction. 

For example, if a landlord claims they plan to move into the property and evicts you under those pretences, they can’t immediately turn around and rent it to someone else for higher rates. The law states that the owner (or an immediate family member) has to live in the property for at least 12 months before they can rent, sell, or demolish it, lest they face a fine of up to $25,000 plus any damages.

Similarly, landlords can’t perform “renovictions” or evictions under the false claim of making extensive renovations to the property. If a landlord issues you an N13 (eviction notice for renovation), you get 120 days’ notice to vacate the property and have the right to move back once the renovations are complete, barring further N13 notices.

If you think your landlord is acting in bad faith, you can file a case and potentially get compensation – or even reinstatement into the unit you were evicted from illegally.

Landlords Have to Follow Rules for Viewings

Landlords are well within their rights to show their property to prospective buyers, but there are several guidelines in place to minimize the impact on the tenant.

They have to provide at least 24 hours notice before the viewing. One exception is if you’ve already given your landlord notice of your leaving – landlords still have to make reasonable efforts to provide notice, but there’s no minimum notice window. 

Viewings can only be scheduled from 8 AM to 8 PM. Tenants can be present for the showing or leave if they wish, but they cannot refuse entry to the landlord. Landlords can show the property to buyers even without the tenant home, as long as they’ve given proper notice. But if your landlord is showing the property excessively or late at night, you can contest it.

Additionally, you can’t be forced to stage the property for showing. That said, it’s reasonable to expect a well-maintained home. If your landlord is showing the house while occupied in Ontario, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure the house is clean and tidy. 
  • Remove or hide any personal belongings.
  • Keep pets in a carrier or make other arrangements for the duration of the viewing.

Landlords Can’t Take Pictures Without Your Consent

A tenant has a right to privacy that extends to their belongings. This means landlords can’t take pictures of the property that include your personal items in the frame, unless they have your prior consent. 

However, some leases have a clause that permits photography under specific circumstances. If you signed such an agreement, your landlord may be able to take pictures without notice. 

tenant & landlord rights in ontario

Cash for Keys

It’s possible to go outside the rules of the RTA and negotiate directly with your landlord. In a “cash for keys” agreement, you agree to vacate the property before the end of your lease in exchange for a lump sum from the landlord. While this can vary, the amount typically equals the security deposit or a full month’s rent.

Some factors to consider when calculating a fair cash-for-keys exchange are the cost of living in your area, how much rent you’re paying versus the current market rates for rentals, court fees and other costs of eviction avoided by not going down that route, and the costs of moving (financial and otherwise).

Key Advice From My Choice

  • If your landlord decides to sell the home you’re renting, you don’t need to move right away. Wait for an official eviction notice, which gives you at least 60 days to move out once your lease expires.
  • Align with your landlord on the important details, such as the date of termination and sale; what (if any) renovations are required; changes in management and payment procedures; and more.
  • Make the showing process as easy and seamless for your landlord as possible. It’s in your best interest to help them sell their property faster, as it means fewer viewings and less inconvenience for you. 

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