Understanding a Written Lease

Signing a lease

  • In most cases, you will have the option to either sign a lease with your roommates or sign your own individual lease.
  • Community Legal Education Ontario has put together an online tool designed to tell you what your rights and responsibilities are depending on your situation. Visit their are you a renter with roommates? page for more information.
  • In some leases there will be a parental consent clause which requires a parent to co-sign your lease. By co-signing, they would assume legal responsibility for you and your housemates’ actions.
  • Be sure to carefully scan the last section of a lease as it may contain restrictions and rules on things such as parties, pets, laundry or parking.
  • If there is anything on your lease that you are uncomfortable with, don’t be afraid to discuss these things with your landlord before signing.
    • Tip: Keep a copy of your lease, and always get any changes decided upon in writing.
  • Do no sign a lease unless are blank spaces are filled or crossed out.


  • The amount of rent is negotiated with the landlord.
  • Once the amount is decided and a lease is signed, your landlord may raise your rent after 12 months, based off of Ontario’s rent increase guideline
  • Before you move in, your landlord can request that you pay a “security deposit”, however this must be used as your last month’s rent and cannot be used for anything else.
    • Tip: Always ask for a receipt

Maintenance and repairs

  • If you are covered under the Residential Tenancies Act, your landlord is responsible for the maintenance of your home, including common areas, parking lots and appliances. Although utilities may or may not be covered by your landlord, heat must be provided in the winter.
  • However, if you break anything, you must fix or replace in most cases.
  • It is your responsibility to keep your unit clean (unless your lease states otherwise)
  • For more information visit Community Legal Education Ontario

Moving out

  • If you would like to move out, you must:
    • give your landlord proper notice, using the N9 Tenant’s Notice to Terminate the Tenancy form
    • make an agreement with your landlord so you can move out early,
    • get your landlord to agree to let you assign or sublet your place,
    • give notice if your landlord refuses to let you assign, or
    • get the Landlord and Tenant Board to let you move out early.
  • You must ensure that you select the correct termination date and that the notice is given on time.
  • If you pay your rent by the month, or if you have any kind of fixed-term tenancy, you must give the notice to your landlord at least 60 days before your termination date
  • If you have a periodic tenancy and pay your rent by the day or the week, you must give the notice to your landlord at least 28 days before your termination date.
  • For more information visit Community Legal Education Ontario

Termination by landlords

  • Unless an “eviction order” has been made by the Landlord and Tenant Board, it is against the law for the landlord to evict you.
    • To get an eviction order, landlords must prove legal reasoning (for example failure to pay rent or causing damage)
  • A landlord may ask you to move out through a written notice, however you have the right to refuse if you do not want to leave. If you refuse, the landlord may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a hearing, in which it is important that you attend.
  • If you require assistance, contact 221 Ontario by dialing 221 or TTY 1-888-340-1001
  • For more information visit Community Legal Education Ontario

This information has been compiled by The Landlord and Tenant Board and Community Legal Education Ontario