For some time now tenants have been bound to a 60-day notice period to terminate a monthly lease. This means tenants need to provide a minimum of 2 months’ notice to their landlords in order to end a monthly lease, while continuing to pay rent and abide by all provisions under the lease during these 2 months’.
The Ontario government has recently implemented a new notice period of 28 days to end a lease for reasons of violence and abuse. If a tenant is experiencing violence or abuse, or a child living with the tenant is experiencing violence or abuse, the tenant may end the tenancy by giving the landlord at least 28 days’ notice.
The tenant must complete a Form N15, along with either (1) a “Tenant’s Statement About Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse” OR (2) a copy of a restraining order or peace bond issued by a court within 90 days of the notice.
A “Tenant’s Statement About Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse” is a form generated by the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. The form requires the tenant to make a statement saying that either a spouse or former spouse; person you live or lived with; person you are dating or dated; or someone who lives in your unit who is related to you has caused you, or a child living with you, to suffer bodily harm or damage to property; to fear for your safety; to be held by force against your will; or to suffer sexual violence. The tenant must sign and date this form. The tenant can be fined up to $25,000.00 for providing false information.
This new law allows for tenants in an abusive relationship to leave the tenancy quicker and easier, however it also causes strain on landlords. The landlord is not allowed to inquire into the truth of this statement and the landlord is sworn to secrecy in regards to the notice. A landlord cannot advertise or show the unit until the tenant has moved out. Individual landlords could incur a fine up to $25,000.00, and corporate landlords a fine up to $100,000.00, for breaching secrecy.
The 28-day notice only applies to cases of violence or abuse, and hefty consequences follow for both tenant and landlord if the proper procedures are not followed. For all other cases, the 60-day notice period remains for termination of monthly leases.
This new law can be found in section 47 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.
Megan Whelan is an associate at the law firm of Cobb & Jones LLP. For more articles, visit the Library page at www.cobbjones.ca.