We signed a 12 month lease in Toronto Nov 9 2020 (first tenants in a new building). We paid the first 2 and the last 2

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Customer: Hi. We signed a 12 month lease in Toronto Nov 9 2020 (first tenants in a new building). We paid the first 2 and the last 2 month's rent up front.
JA: Hi. Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Ontario
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: Our Landlord reached out on August 9 (90 days before the end of the first 12 months) notifying us about a rent increase (3900 instead of 3600). There was no official form (https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms/) attached in the notice.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We want to stay on a month-to-month basis. Now, the landlord tells us we need to pay the new rent and rwrite 12 new cheques
Answered by Debra in 1 hour 1 year ago
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Debra
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Debra, Expert

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer. My name is***** will be working on your question today and I am looking forward to our conversation.

Customer
Thanks Debra
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Debra, Expert

Please note that I am working from my computer and not actually texting. If you don’t answer back for a while I may not be online when you do but I will never desert you and will check back often. As well, as I am working from home it is possible that I will be interrupted but I will always return back as soon as I can.

I know your question is important to you and I will be giving it the time and attention it deserves.

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Debra, Expert

I am sorry to hear of this difficult situation.

Some of this is odd so can you please confirm that you do not share a bathroom or kitchen with this landlord?

Customer
We don't share any bathroom or kitchen with anyone else
Customer
A few questions: 1) do we need to accept the new rent? 2) do we need to maintain 2 month's worth of deposits? 3) is there any reason we could not pay month-to-month with for instance wire transfer of the funds?
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Debra, Expert

I didn't think so but this is very troubling. First, it's unlawful for the landlord to ask for more than first and last month's rent when you move in. So you are entitled to one month's rent back.

Second, once you are on a month-to-month tenancy you most assuredly do not have to sign a new lease and in fact you should not.

Third, you do not have to provide posted cheques. The landlord cannot require that.

Finally, the rent increase is unlawful. First, there is a rent increase freeze until January 2022. Second, the rent increase for 2022 is at most 1.2%.

Does that clarify the law and help as a starting point?

Please do not hesitate to ask any follow up questions related to this response and know that I will respond as soon as I can.

Customer
This is super helpful. Regarding the rent increase, this is a new building, finalized last year, and we are the first tenants. I believe this could give the landlord the right to increase our rent, no?
Customer
This is what our landlord's agent wrote us:
"As I explained over the phone for rental continuation after the term.
Per RTA, 60 days before expiration, Landlord and tenant should settle the continuation of the rental whether signing another year lease or so called "Month to Month" leasing means tenant can move out anytime as long as giving the landlord 60 days notice.Some of the RTA can be overridden as long as both parties are mutually agreeable. As per original lease agreement, 2 months deposit was in place, when it comes to extension, the original terms and conditions will be extended except rent increase.The standard way of doing it is you will be providing a 2 months deposit at the amount of $7800. The landlord can let you use the original deposit $7200 as future last 2 months, you start paying the September 9's rent at $3900.Your rent is due at this moment, it needs to pay asap. In general, tenants will write 12 post dated cheques to the landlord. Whatever doesn't use should you move out before 12 months end, the remaining cheques will be returned.For a rent increase guide, you can refer to the RTB website for references.
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17"
Customer
Is there any sort of substance in what they are claiming? i.e. that we need to agree on month-to-month 60 days in advance; that we need to adhere to the 2 month deposit per the original lease; that our rent would be due now.
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Debra, Expert

It is 100% incorrect. You are automatically on a month-to-month tenancy. Your rent is capped and there is no rental increase until 2022. My answer above is correct and their explanation is incorrect and verging on nonsensical.

Customer
Thanks so much Debra. Going into 2022, is an increase of more than 1.2% allowed for new buildings? We have read multiple places stating that the rules are different for newer buildings. For instance "The guideline applies to most residential rental accommodations covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. It does not apply to rental units in buildings occupied for the first time after November 15, 2018, social housing units, long-term care homes or commercial property." (https://news.ontario.ca/en/bulletin/1000340/ontarios-2022-rent-increase-guideline)
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Debra, Expert

I cannot find anything that says the rent freeze doesn't apply to you. Please contact the landlord and tenant board tomorrow (first thing so you can get through) and ask them.

Customer
I could even find that the freeze does apply to us: https://www.ontario.ca/page/residential-rent-increases
Customer
This is so helpful Debra. Thank you.
Customer
Then, there is more..
Customer
There was floor repairs during July and August, rendering the condo unliveable (there was no floor in the hall, kitchen and living room). We had to stay somewhere else. We had trouble finding out what our rights are, but it seems unreasonable we should pay rent for time we couldn't live in the apartment. What are we entitled to/not entitled to in this case?
Customer
Also please see the agreement attached. There is a section saying that we need to give notice 60 days in advance for the month-to-month to go into effect "The TENANT, if not in default hereunder, shall have the option, by written notice, given to the LANDLORD at least Sixty (60) days before the end of the lease term, to renew the lease for a further One (1) year term (or continue on a month-to-month basis) on the same terms and conditions found herein". Would the lease not continue on a month-to-month basis regardless?
Customer
Further, after reviewing the lease agreement, can you confirm that we should be entitled to 1 month worth of deposit instead of the per-contract stipulated 2 months. I.e. that the RTA take precedent over the agreement?
Customer
lastly (for now), if there is a 1 month deposit, when should we be paying rent to our landlord the next time? Oct 9, or Nov 9?
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Debra, Expert

The RTA takes precedence and you should not have to pay next month's rent but please call the Board to confirm.

You should pay rent when you have no access to the premises but they have to pay for your accommodations if they are not providing you with a comparable unit for free.

You are for sure on a month-to- month tenancy after the fixed term ends.

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Debra, Expert

Thank you for trusting us to help you here at JustAnswer.   If you need more clarification or have a follow-up question just reply and we can continue our dialogue. If you would like to ask me new questions please start a new post and if you do if you say “This is only for Debra” I will be sure to give your post top priority.

Thank you very much!

Best wishes,

Debra

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