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Different laws for residential and commercial tenants

Region: Ontario Answer # 423

Generally, the law gives substantially more rights to residential tenants than commercial tenants. However, it is not always obvious whether a tenancy is residential or commercial.

Residential tenants covered by the Residential Tenancies Act

In Ontario, if a tenant rents an apartment, house, or room in a house as their personal residence, they are normally considered to have a residential tenancy agreement and are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Landlord and Tenant Board

The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) enforces residential landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities under the Act. The LTB has updated the methods available to Ontario tenants for accessing its services. This includes:

  • matters can be scheduled for video, telephone or written proceedings, and
  • applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board can be e-Filed.


Commercial tenants have fewer rights

If a tenant mainly uses the premises for business, or signs a commercial lease, they are usually considered to be a commercial tenant with fewer rights than a residential tenant. In Ontario, commercial tenancies are covered under the Commercial Tenancies Act. However, even if a landlord requires a tenant to sign a commercial lease, or if the municipal zoning by-laws consider the premises commercial, a tenant may still be considered a residential tenant if the premises are mainly used as a home.

For more information about tenancies in Ontario, visit the Landlord and Tenant Board. Visit Tribunals Ontario for a step-by-step video about how to make an electronic filing with the LTB.

Help for tenants

A criminal record will affect your ability to be approved for a residential lease. To erase your criminal record, learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

If you are having financial problems, it may be difficult to rent an apartment or condominium. You can get help to clear your debt and repair your credit. For easy-to-understand debt solutions on your terms, contact our preferred experts 4Pillars and rebuild your financial future. With 60 locations across Canada, they will help you design a debt repayment plan and guide you with compassionate advice. No judgment. For help, visit 4Pillars or call toll-free 1-844-888-0442 .

If you are a tenant, you can add your monthly rent payment to your credit report using FrontLobby . This can:

  • Improve your credit score on average 33pts to 84pts
  • Build good credit faster with a new rent tradeline
  • Unlock credit rewards (better bank loans, credit cards, mortgage rates)

Help for landlords

For legal advice and assistance with a residential tenancy and applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board, contact our preferred Landlord and Tenant experts Nicola (Nick) Giannantonio Legal Services .

If you are a landlord, you can pull tenant credit reports and report monthly rent payments to the credit bureaus using FrontLobby . This helps you:

  • Attract, screen and reward great tenants
  • Ensure rent is paid on-time, every month
  • Recover debts from unpaid rent

FrontLobby Landlord & Tenant ONFrontLobby Landlord & Tenant ON

NG Legal Services Landlord and Tenant ONNG Legal Services Landlord and Tenant ON

4Pillars Landlord & Tenant Ontario All Topics May 20184Pillars Landlord & Tenant Ontario All Topics May 2018

Pardon Partners – Landlord ONPardon Partners – Landlord ON


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