The Tenant Is Staying. Where To From Here?

(Article by Lisa H)

As a private landlord, it often happens that you or your tenants may forget to make note of the date that the lease agreement will expire and months can often go by without a signed agreement in place. So what happens then?

Firstly, the landlord doesn’t lose the right to cancel the lease just because monthly payments have been accepted or there have been some breaches in the contract. Sometimes landlords and their tenants can go a few years without renewing a contract and in this case, each party may be unsure of where they stand.

If it comes to the point that as a landlord you want to terminate the lease, you can do so provided that you give a reasonable notice period. It’s often agreed that two months is a reasonable period for a residential property. However, by law, if a lease expires and either tenant or landlord wishes to terminate the agreement, just one month’s notice is required.

If you’re wondering which act defines landlord and tenant rights, it’s the Rental Housing Act, and not the CPA, which many tenants seem to think.

Unfortunately, the widespread publicity pertaining to the CPA has resulted in some unfortunate and inaccurate perceptions among those who would like for consumers to have greater powers. These are people who often haven’t studied the act seriously and this issue all too often arises in the complicated subject of tenant and landlord relationships.

Some tenants pick up the idea that they land up in a free-for-all type of situation and that since there is no signed lease in place, they can act irresponsibly and illegally. The reality, however, is that the when it comes to the property rental matters, the Rental Housing Act of 1999 is still overriding and is not at all superseded by the Consumer Protection Act.

Here are a few salient points from the Rental Housing Act:

  • If a lease expires and the landlord agrees that the tenant can stay without having to sign a new lease, either party is entitled to give one month’s notice to cancel the lease.
  • The preparation responsibilities of the landlord are limited. A landlord is not expected to carry out tasks like dry cleaning the carpets.
  • The lease agreement and any alterations to the agreement don’t have to always be written.

Landlords retain the right to cancel a lease the moment rent is paid late and if tenants are tardy about leaving, a landlord can apply for an eviction order.

There are other clauses in the act that are often misunderstood. A good rental agent will be able to work through the clauses with both parties.

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