What are my responsibilities as a tenant?

Your landlord expects you to meet specific responsibilities as a tenant and to follow what is agreed upon in your lease. But there are also legal expectations you must meet to avoid getting evicted by your landlord. 

Both the landlord and the tenant have their own responsibilities. It’s important to know what is expected of you and the rules in Ontario before you sign a lease.

Tenant Responsibilities 

  • Pay your rent on time: Pay the total amount by the day you agreed to in your lease or tenancy agreement. 
  • Cleanliness: You must maintain a clean home; this means you should not let garbage or other objects pile up and become a health hazard or destructive to the structure. This also includes cleaning up after pets or guests. 
  • Repair damage you cause: Fix anything you or your guests damage or break that isn’t worn from everyday use. Your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board, who will enforce that you must pay for damages.
  • Be reasonable with noise: Do your best not to disturb others living nearby with excessive noise. When you participate in certain activities, always consider how the noise will carry and affect your neighbours. 
  • Obey the law: For example, you must follow the by-laws in your city about overcrowding; this means you cannot have more people living in your unit than is allowed.
  • Honour your lease or tenancy agreement: Follow the terms of your lease. If your lease has conditions that break the rules of the Residential Tenancies Act, you do not have to follow those conditions like a clause that says “no children” or “no pets allowed.” Landlords are not allowed to include a “no pet” clause in Ontario, so even if it is in your lease, it is not legally enforceable.
  • Leave in good standing: When you move out, you must leave the property clean and reasonably in the same state as when you moved in. You must fix any damages you cause to the property.

What a tenant should not do:

  • Do not change the lock on the door: You do not have permission to change the locks on the main entry door without your landlord’s consent.
  • Do not run illegal activities - This includes selling unlawful items and operating illegal transactions from your apartment.
  • Don’t operate a business - You are allowed to work from home, but you can’t use your apartment to run a business that is disruptive to the landlord and other tenants; this includes using the unit as a repair shop (fixing bikes, autos, or machines) using the premises for shipping and receiving packages and storage of goods, and conducting consulting services that would regularly accept customers attending the premises. 

Check your local city bylaws on home occupations for more information on what is acceptable for home businesses.

Remember, you also have rights as a tenant. Find out what are my rights as a tenant? If you need legal advice for a dispute, contact a legal clinic in your area. Go to Find Services Near Me for help.

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Last updated: October 30, 2023 4001269