Who is a Tenant and Who is a Landlord?

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We are sometimes approached by clients to determine whether they fall under the Residential Tenancies Act as either a landlord or a tenant. The Act covers most rental units, but some exceptions do apply. Lerners LLP is skilled in navigating clients through the Act, so if you need assistance, be sure to contact us. In the meantime, this blog will help explain these definitions.

Under the Act, either a landlord or a tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to resolve disputes. For the Board to hear your dispute, your rental situation must be covered by the Act. When you enter into an agreement to rent a unit or home from someone for the exchange of rent money, this is often referred to as a tenancy agreement. The written form of this is often referred to as a lease. Under this arrangement, the person who uses the rental property and pays rent for it is known as the tenant. The person who collects the money for rent and allows the other party to live in the rental unit is the landlord.

As mentioned, the Act covers many types of rental units – apartments, houses, rooms in a rooming or boarding house, care homes, retirement homes and sites in a mobile home park. It can also apply to land lease communities. However, there are situations where the Act will not apply, even though the relationship between two parties is similar to the landlord and tenant relationship described above.

For example, the rules provided for in the Act with respect to rent may not cover new rental buildings, non-profit and public housing, and university and college residences. If you are the tenant or landlord in one of these types of rental units, you are still protected by the other rules in the Act regarding maintenance and reasons for eviction. Another exception is for tenants who share a kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord. In these situations, the Act does not apply. 

Matthew Wilson is a residential real estate lawyer in the London office of Lerners LLP.  See Matthew's professional biography for more information about him and his work in the area of residential real estate law, or contact him at 519.640.6357 or mwilson@lerners.ca.