HOUSING STABILITY: Skills for Successful Resettlement. September 2016

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1 HOUSING STABILITY: Skills for Successful Resettlement September 2016 Presented by: With support from:

2 Today s Agenda 1. Introductions and Expectations 2. Activity: Housing Truth or Fiction? 3. Issues in Housing Law 4. Remaining Questions 5. Evaluation

3 Areas of law that the clinic practices: Landlord and Tenant (Housing) Social Assistance (Ontario Works, ODSP, CPP, CPP-D) Employment Human Rights We also give referrals to other community groups and agencies that might be able to help, especially for areas of law we do not directly practice If you have questions, contact us at: (905) or

4 We are providing legal information and not legal advice. If you have a specific legal problem, you should contact our clinic to get legal advice.

5 Vocabulary Tenant: A person who pays rent in exchange for a place to live. Landlord: The owner of a place to live that is for rent. Rent: The money a tenant pays the landlord in exchange for a place to live. Lease: Also known a the tenancy agreement. It is the agreement between the landlord and tenant to rent a place to live. This agreement sets out each party s rights and obligations. Rental Unit: The place where the tenant will live.

6 Vocabulary Residential Tenancies Act: A law that states the government s rules that most housing landlords and tenants must follow (not for commercial leases or if a bathroom or kitchen in the unit is shared with the owner) Landlord and Tenant Board: The board that deals with most problems between most landlords and tenants. Evict: To force a tenant to move out of his or her apartment (or rental unit). Eviction: The legal process of forcing a tenant to move out.

7 Housing Truth or Fiction? Finding a place to rent in Halton is easy

8 Housing Truth The rental housing vacancy rate in Halton in 2015 was 1.3% The total number of 3 or more bedroom units in Halton decreased by 0.2% in 2015 The average rent in Halton for a 3 or more bedroom units increased 7.5% between 2011 and 2015

9 Housing Truth or Fiction? Social assistance (OW and ODSP) shelter allowances cover the actual cost of a person s shelter

10 Housing Truth The maximum monthly shelter allowance for a family of 6 On Ontario works: $801 On Ontario Disability Support Program: $990 The average monthly rent in Halton in 2015 was $1,245, an increase of 4.7% from 2014 The average monthly rent in Halton for a 1 bedroom in 2015 was $1,120 The average monthly rent in Halton for a 3 or more bedroom in 2015 was $1,540

11 Housing Truth or Fiction? Government subsidies are readily available to supplement rent costs

12 Housing Truth Halton Region provides rent-geared-toincome (RGI) assistance to 3,262 households 3,906 households were on the RGI waitlist as of Dec. 2014

13 Housing Truth or Fiction? A tenant must move out at the end of a fixed term lease (e.g. one year) A tenant cannot be evicted without another place to go, especially if it is winter, or if they are a family with children and it is during the school year

14 Housing Truth or Fiction? A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a refugee A landlord is not obligated to fix something that was broken when a tenant moved in if the tenant knew about it and agreed to move in anyways

15 Housing Truth or Fiction? There is a cooling off period after signing a lease. A tenant can change their mind before they move in.

16 Housing Law In Ontario there are many laws that give people rights and obligations when they are renting a place to live E.g. the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) Not all people are protected by every law. It is important for you to find out more about a housing arrangement so you know what laws do apply As a first step you should get a copy of the lease (tenancy agreement)

17 Renting a Place When a person rents a place, they are making a legal contract with the landlord This is often called a "lease", "tenancy agreement" or "rental agreement" It can be in writing or just spoken It is always best to get any agreement in writing Make sure you understand what you are agreeing to.

18 A Tenancy Agreement will help answer questions like: Who has a valid tenancy agreement? Who is named as a tenant? Who is names on the tenancy agreement as an occupant? Is someone guaranteeing the rent?

19 Paying rent A tenant and/or guarantor are obligated to pay the rent in full every time the rent is due Get a receipt You can ask for a receipt and a landlord must give you one, free of charge.

20 Rent Increases Rent increases can only happen every 12 months Must get 90 days written notice of it from landlord Can only increase the rent by guideline amount unless landlord applies for an above guideline increase Guideline amount for 2016 is 2.0% There are totally different rules if you are in a subsidized unit

21 Repairs and Maintenance A Landlord must do all basic repairs and maintenance without increasing the rent. keeping the building in a good condition making sure the building is safe to live in making sure there is a source of water and a way to heat the home

22 Repairs and Maintenance Tenant Responsibilities: YES: Ordinary cleanliness of the unit Repairing or paying for the repair of damage to your unit caused by wilful or negligent acts by you or your guests Pay rent even if the landlord has not met his or her repair and maintenance responsibilities NO: ordinary wear and tear damage (ex. 10 year old carpet)

23 Repairs and Maintenance Landlord responsibilities: Providing and maintaining your unit, all of the things that came with your unit (ex. appliances), common areas, and the building: in a good state of repair fit for habitation following health, safety, housing and maintenance standards

24 Repair Problem Checklist Follow the Seven Steps to Solving Tenancy Problems Remember to: Write a letter to the landlord asking them to fix the problem and set out a timeframe keep a copy of the letter Call your local property standards by-law enforcement office and/or the health department and request an inspection File a T6 application at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) if no resolution

25 When can a landlord enter a tenant s unit? Option 1 - With 24 hours written notice between 8 am to 8 pm to: Do repairs or inspect the unit to see if any repairs are needed Show the unit to a possible buyer, insurer, or mortgage lender Let a real estate agent show the unit to a possible buyer Have a property inspection done before making the building into a condominium Come in to the unit for any reasonable purpose listed in your rental agreement

26 When can a landlord enter a tenant s unit? Option 2 - Entry without notice: If the tenant agrees to let the landlord enter If there is an emergency The rental agreement says that the landlord provides cleaning services The landlord makes a reasonable effort to let the tenant know that he or she is entering between 8 am to 8 pm to show your unit to a new tenant if: The current tenant has given notice to move out, or The landlord has given the tenant a notice to move out, or The tenant and landlord have agreed that the tenant will move out

27 Ontario Human Rights Code This law says that every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to rental housing. A landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant or prospective tenant because of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, gender expression, marital status, colour, nationality, religion, country where you were born, disability, receipt of social assistance or because you have children living with you.

28 How to deal with discrimination and harassment If a landlord is harassing a tenant - either based on a OHRC ground or not a tenant may file an application about tenant rights (T2 application) to the LTB If the LTB agrees that a landlord harassed a tenant, it could order: The landlord stop the harassing behaviour The landlord pay a fine The landlord reduce or pay back some of the tenant s rent The landlord pay the tenant other damages

29 When the lease is up, what can a tenant do? A tenant does not have to move out just because the lease/term has expired Renewal is not required If a tenancy is for a fixed period of time, the tenancy will automatically continue on a month-to-month basis

30 Four Ways to End A Tenancy 1. A tenant and a landlord agree to end the tenancy (use form N11) 2. A tenant gives the landlord notice (use form N9) 3. A tenant finds a new tenant to take over the place ( assignment or subletting ) 4. Get the LTB to order the end of the tenancy

31 Eviction A landlord must have a reason to get an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) A landlord must follow the procedure under the RTA to get an eviction order and the landlord cannot change the locks, turn off heat or utilities or try to force a tenant out of their unit without an order from the LTB It is important to carefully read any notices a tenant may get and DO SOMETHING such as fix up the problem, talk to the landlord, and go to any hearing that is scheduled. If you get confused or need help, you can call the Legal Clinic for advice

32 Eviction Notice Checklist The tenant must be served with a written notice The notice must have specific information Notice must follow specific timelines related to the reason for termination Notices can be challenged by the tenant A tenant does not have to move out just because they get served with a notice read the fine print and get legal advice as soon as possible. 33

33 Eviction procedure: Notice of Termination given by landlord Application to Terminate a Tenancy made by landlord Preventing eviction/agreements/consent orders/mediation Hearing at the LTB Eviction order Preventing eviction after the LTB makes an eviction order Sheriff Enforcement of an order Review/Appeal of an order

34 Seven Steps to Solving Tenancy Problems 1. Discover your problem dealing with the problem as it comes up 2. Know your rights Knowing where to get information 3. Know what you want What remedy are you looking for

35 Seven Steps to Solving Tenancy Problems 4. Know who to speak to Who to speak with to resolve the problem 5. Communicate clearly Putting things down on paper 6. Be organized Keeping documents, getting receipts, making notes 7. Know when to get help Important contacts

36 Possible Transition Issues From sponsorship to independence? Affordability? Location? Security of tenure? Others?

37 Halton Community Legal Services Dorval Drive Oakville, ON L6K 3W7 Phone: (905) Fax: (905)

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