Should I get locked in?
March 14, 2007 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The one year lease for my apartment in Toronto is up. Should I renew it or go month to month?

I don't have any immediate plans to move in the next year, but I can't say for certain that I won't. Is there any disadvantage to not signing another one year lease, but going with the month to month lease instead? Without a full-year lease, can I get evicted more easily? Will my landlord (a professional property management company) be allowed to spike up my rent more without a long-term lease? Thanks!
posted by reformedjerk to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, first of all, if you do nothing, it automatically becomes a month-to-month. You don't need to take any action for that to happen. In fact, I think that it's basically assumed that you'll go to a month-to-month. Are you sure your landlord will sign you on for another year?

The landlord can raise rent only every 12 months, so being on a month-to-month won't affect that.
posted by Dasein at 3:03 PM on March 14, 2007

The landlord can raise rent only every 12 months, so being on a month-to-month won't affect that.

I would think that's true only if specified in the lease.
posted by oaf at 3:36 PM on March 14, 2007

We had a month-to-month lease, and then some water pipes burst and some electrical problems arose and when we complained our landlord decided it would be easier to do a patchwork fix for 30 days and then do the real repairs without any tenants, so we had to move when we really weren't prepared. It sucked bad, and was honestly very traumatic. After that experience, I don't think I'll ever have a month-to-month lease again unless I think there's a high likelihood that I'll be moving in the next year. I'd rather pay a lease termination fee than risk being out on the street.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:43 PM on March 14, 2007

Best answer: IANAL, but, according to the Landlord and Tenant board, your rent can normally only be increased once every 12 months regardless of your lease/month-to-month status.

Lots of information about rent in Ontario is available from the Landlord and Tenant Board (which replaced the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal this year) here.

Information on eviction is here, but I don't find the issue of lease status addressed directly.

Evictions while a lease is in force are limited to a few specific grounds -- such as damaging a unit or non-payment of rent -- but my recollection is that landlords may be able to arbitrarily end your tenancy while you're month-to-month by giving you 60 (or 90?) days notice.

oaf: I'm quite certain that in Ontario the 12 month rule is statutory and is therefore true of all residential tenancies.
posted by onshi at 3:44 PM on March 14, 2007

I'm quite certain that in Ontario the 12 month rule is statutory and is therefore true of all residential tenancies.

Really? Awesome.
posted by oaf at 3:50 PM on March 14, 2007

Best answer: Onshi has it.

Under the law the landlord can only raise your rent once every 12 months (barring certain enumerated circumstances), and only by a prescribed amount (I think it's about 4%, but you might want to check that).

Once your 1 year lease is up, under the law you can switch to month-to-month, and there's nothing the landlord can do legally to stop you. There's zero advantage to you signing a 12 month lease, but any sleazeball landlord will try and get you to do it if they think you don't know your rights.

IAAL in Ontario, but not your lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc.
posted by modernnomad at 4:43 PM on March 14, 2007

Seriously. The only advantage to a lease over a month-to-month tenancy is that on a lease, your landlord can only apply to evict you under some extremely specific circumstances.

Since your landlord is a property management company, this is extremely unlikely. (Unless you have a habit of peeing in the elevators or something.

Really, go month-to-month. Then you can move commitment free with only 60 days notice.
posted by generichuman at 5:56 PM on March 14, 2007

The common understanding here in Toronto is that if you act reasonably, you really can't be evicted by a property management company. On the other hand, an individual landlord can say they want the property for personal use, give a reasonable notice period, and you are out on your ass.

This interesting FAQ suggests that "acting reasonably" is harder than you might think, but what really matters is how it is applied in practice.

Anyway, this all means that a lease could be a good thing if you were renting from an individual or family. Renters may not be willing to sign another lease with you though, it isn't common practice.
posted by Chuckles at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2007

Just confirming what everyone has said so far. We're renting out our house whilst we are living abroad and our property manager told us that even though our tenents signed a multi year lease at the end of 1 year it is really only a month-to-month lease.
posted by smcniven at 4:31 AM on March 15, 2007

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