Area of Law: Landlord and Tenant
Answer # 429
Tenants' rights if care services are providedRegion: Ontario Answer # 429
Types of housing with care services
Generally, tenants whose landlords provide care services have different rights from most other residential tenants in Ontario. Care services are usually included in retirement residences, special group homes, or boarding homes where the landlord assists with tenants’ health treatment or daily living.
Rights of care home tenants
There are six legal differences that affect the rights of care home tenants. These include: the requirement for a Care Home Information Package to be given to new tenants, the requirement for a written tenancy agreement, the ability of the landlord to enter a tenant’s unit, the landlord’s right to charge the tenant for certain services over and above the rent amount, the notice required for a tenant to move out, and the reasons why a landlord may evict a tenant.
1. Care Home Information Package
First, before entering into a tenancy agreement with a new tenant in a care home, the landlord is required to provide the new tenant with a Care Home Information Package containing information about the facility and services. This may include: charges for different types of accommodation or alternative care services and meals; minimum staffing levels in the care home; and, a description of any internal procedures for dealing with complaints.
If the tenant is not given a Care Home Information Package, the landlord cannot legally increase the rent or any charges for meals for care services until the tenant receives the required information.
2. Written tenancy agreements
Second, tenancies that include care services are required to have a written tenancy agreement which details the cost of rent, meals, and other care services. The agreement must also include the fact that the tenant has the right to consult someone else, such as a friend or relative, about the agreement. It is important to note that the tenant has the right to cancel the agreement within five days of signing it.
3. Landlord’s right to enter the rental unit
A third difference is that, under certain circumstances, the landlord or its employees are allowed to enter the tenant’s unit at any time without notice to fulfill their duties under the agreement. This may include entering without notice for the purpose of cleaning the tenant’s rental unit, or entering to check the condition of the tenant. However, the tenant has the right to cancel the landlord’s right to enter by informing the landlord in writing.
4. Landlord’s right to increase fees for services
Fourth, the landlord can only raise the rent every 12 months by an amount that the Ontario government sets and must give 90 days notice in writing before doing so. However, there is no limit on the amount that can be charged, or the amount of any increase in charges, for meals and care services, as long as the landlord gives the tenant at least 90 days notice in writing.
5. Tenant notice requirements to move out
Fifth, a care home tenant can end their tenancy by giving the landlord 30 days’ notice in writing. This is less notice than other tenants are required to give.
6. Valid reasons for eviction
Lastly, a landlord can only evict a care home tenant for a good legal reason, which usually means that the tenant has not paid rent or is seriously disturbing other tenants.
Under the law, a tenant who receives care services can also be evicted if the landlord can no longer provide the proper care services needed by the tenant. If the landlord wants to evict a tenant for this reason, they are required to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to have the tenancy terminated. Before the Board makes a decision, the tenant will normally have an opportunity to explain their side to the Board. However, the tenant may be required to first attend a mediation session. Mediation is an informal meeting between the landlord, the tenant, and a government appointed mediator. The mediator assists in resolving the problem but does not decide whether the tenant should be evicted. A tenant does not have to settle the issue at mediation, and may choose to have the Board make a decision.
For more information about the rights of a tenant living in a care home, visit the Landlord and Tenant Board.
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