Real Estate

Tenant's Rights when landlord is selling Townhouse

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 7th, 2022 7:51 am
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2020
11 posts
1 upvote

Tenant's Rights when landlord is selling Townhouse

I am posting this on behalf of a friend.

He has been renting a 3 bedroom townhouse now for over five years. He has been paying his rent on time and has asked for limited maintaince. The rent has been increased annually as per the Ontario rental increase guidelines.

Recently, due to sudden increase in Ottawa rental/property prices his landlord has indicated to him that he will be putting the property on the market to sell.

What are the rights of tenant's in this situation?

In Ontario do tenants have any rights in terms of allowing people to view the property?

His suspicion is that he wants him out and then rents property / townhouse to another tenant at higher market rates. Can landlord in Ontario do this?

Any advise or guidance on this situation?
29 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
19428 posts
17919 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
Confused. Does the tenant think the landlord is trying to get him to move out early and then rent the vacant unit to someone else? What makes the tenant think the landlord isn't trying to actually sell the property because it is no longer a good investment? There has to be more to this story.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
1357 posts
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I'm inclined to say the landlord more likely is indeed selling and cashing out on his townhouse after the huge run-up in prices lately. In fact I strongly considered selling my own Ottawa townhouse because the price has gone up so much. (Difference is my tenants just left as they are moving away from Ottawa, so I wouldn't be kicking anyone out.)

If the landlord is indeed selling then most likely your friend is unfortunately out of luck...technically he can refuse to vacate and hope another investor buys the house and lets him stay, but if the buyer wants to move in themselves there is nothing your friend can do.

It's probably in his best interest to start looking for a new place, ask for the appropriate compensation from his landlord, and if he really thinks the landlord is just going to rent to someone else, he can monitor it to make sure the house does go on the market for sale not rent. If he finds out the landlord is turning around and re-renting it, he'll definitely have a case against the landlord in the LTB.
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
13006 posts
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Edmonton
Robert052 wrote: I am posting this on behalf of a friend.

He has been renting a 3 bedroom townhouse now for over five years. He has been paying his rent on time and has asked for limited maintaince. The rent has been increased annually as per the Ontario rental increase guidelines.

Recently, due to sudden increase in Ottawa rental/property prices his landlord has indicated to him that he will be putting the property on the market to sell.

What are the rights of tenant's in this situation?

In Ontario do tenants have any rights in terms of allowing people to view the property?

His suspicion is that he wants him out and then rents property / townhouse to another tenant at higher market rates. Can landlord in Ontario do this?

Any advise or guidance on this situation?
The tenant has to allow showings. The guidelines for that are available on the LTB website.

If the new owner is purchasing the property to rent it out, then the existing tenant's lease would just carry forward at the same rate. To evict, the new owner would have to get the old owner to submit an "Evict for Personal Use", properly filled out with valid dates. The existing landlord cannot evict just because he thinks it would be easier to sell a vacant property.

Have your friend sign up with an account if he likes, and not to sign anything or accept any verbal statements from a realtor or landlord. If they try to pull a fast one, the LTB will.come down hard, and he would be eligible for things like moving costs and rent differential.

C
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2020
11 posts
1 upvote
From what I know the property has a positive cashflow and was purchased as a rental property in 1997 i.e. over 20 years ago.

The owner has multiple rental properties and manages it through incorporated company.

The rental townhouse prices have increased in past 12 months and the landlord cannot change market rent to existing tenant i.e. limited to Ontario regulated increase of 2.2% in 2020. The motive to to get rid of existing tenant to be able to charge significantly higher market rate!
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2017
1817 posts
1860 upvotes
As others have said he cannot evict the tenant because he wants to sell. He has to make the sale happen then if the new owners wants to move in rather than rent it out he/she can evict the existing tenant. No need for your friend to move before the sale occurs.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2020
11 posts
1 upvote
In terms of showing, can the landlord have one showing everyday?

Any tenant rights for privacy and quiet enjoyment of premises while they are paying full rent?
Deal Addict
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Jan 2, 2012
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Toronto
Robert052 wrote: In terms of showing, can the landlord have one showing everyday?

Any tenant rights for privacy and quiet enjoyment of premises while they are paying full rent?
Good article from a lawyer here: https://www.epsteinlawyers.com/tenants- ... y-ontario/

Landlord has the right to do as many showings as they want, every day. As long as 24 hours notice given, and between 8am and 8pm. Tenant can't refuse the showings, and they can be done while tenant is home or away. Tenant has no obligation to do anything special when showings occur (like do any special cleaning), they can just go on with their routine while the people are viewing the home (which I"m sure makes for some awkward showings and makes the place harder to sell).

If the tenant is on a month to month rental (so not on a fixed term lease), then if new buyer wants home for personal use the tenant will be legally evicted. If tenant is on fixed lease or buyer wants home as investment, the tenant can stay.
Jr. Member
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Oct 25, 2018
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Kelowna
jk9088 wrote: If he finds out the landlord is turning around and re-renting it, he'll definitely have a case against the landlord in the LTB.
I keep reading that the LTB sides heavily with the tenant, but even so, the real life ramifactions of a landlord losing an LTB fight seems to matter very little. From an article about renovictions in Toronto:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/0 ... -edge.html
A recent “renovictions” case involving a nearby building at 795 College St. found that despite ruling the landlord for that building had blatantly disregarded the law — forcing tenants out, ignoring their requests to return, and finding new ones to pay more than three times the rent — the LTB doesn’t have the power to get the original tenants back in their homes. The board fined the landlord $75,000, but that’s money it can recoup from the higher rents in less than a year.

LTB seems a bit useless in this case.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 4, 2020
11 posts
1 upvote
Thanks, Rob 444 for the info & link. I'll pass it on...

Follow-up query: Is there a reasonable time for landlord for selling the house or can the viewings go on endlessly?
Last edited by Robert052 on Feb 3rd, 2020 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Jun 7, 2017
1043 posts
834 upvotes
BC
OP, you've included a bunch of irrelevant info. I'll summarize the answer: Selling has no effect on tenant. Of course, tenant must allow showings.

Landlord (current or new) can evict for personal use. This is not a selling issue.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 8, 2007
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Way Out of GTA
It’s amazing how hard it is for many tenants to simply type “landlord is selling Ontario” as a search and go do some cursory reading themselves. There’s a wealth of info on it.

It’s that lack of initiative why many landlords are able to say simply “I’m thinking of selling” and tenants get all in a panic with no clue what their rights and responsibilities are vs the landlord.
Deal Addict
Dec 24, 2009
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Evil landlord wants to charge the market rate!!
Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2017
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GTA
My friend (new landlord) had a similar situation. My friend put it on rent immediately after buying and previous tenant contacted my friend and said he will sue him (lol). The tenant can only go after his previous landlord, but the new landlord has no obligation to rent to the previous tenant as long as long as the agreement of purchase and sale calls for vacant possession and has no statement of personal use.
Deal Addict
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Jan 2, 2012
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EndlessRide wrote:
I keep reading that the LTB sides heavily with the tenant, but even so, the real life ramifactions of a landlord losing an LTB fight seems to matter very little. From an article about renovictions in Toronto:

LTB seems a bit useless in this case.
It's easier for a corporation landlord with multiple units to eat the $25K fine per case of bad faith eviction.

But for a typical investor with a condo unit or something they are renting out, a $25K fine (plus potentially more damages from tenant) would be tough to swallow and a big deterrent to attempting a bad faith eviction. Plus qualifying for a renoviction in the first place (even if done in bad faith) requires an actual major reno to begin with.
headleygrange wrote: My friend (new landlord) had a similar situation. My friend put it on rent immediately after buying and previous tenant contacted my friend and said he will sue him (lol). The tenant can only go after his previous landlord, but the new landlord has no obligation to rent to the previous tenant as long as long as the agreement of purchase and sale calls for vacant possession and has no statement of personal use.
Right if the original landlord evicted the tenant by stating personal use of purchaser, but purchaser gave no such statement, then any fine/damages as a result of tenant going to LTB would be on them. Of course the new owner may get dragged into the legal process if the original landlord tries to claim they did give some claim of personal use.
Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2017
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rob444 wrote: It's easier for a corporation landlord with multiple units to eat the $25K fine per case of bad faith eviction.

But for a typical investor with a condo unit or something they are renting out, a $25K fine (plus potentially more damages from tenant) would be tough to swallow and a big deterrent to attempting a bad faith eviction. Plus qualifying for a renoviction in the first place (even if done in bad faith) requires an actual major reno to begin with.



Right if the original landlord evicted the tenant by stating personal use of purchaser, but purchaser gave no such statement, then any fine/damages as a result of tenant going to LTB would be on them. Of course the new owner may get dragged into the legal process if the original landlord tries to claim they did give some claim of personal use.
How can previous landlord make that claim? A buyer almost never meets the seller and all RE transactions are carried out electronically through the realtor.
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Jan 2, 2012
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headleygrange wrote: How can previous landlord make that claim? A buyer almost never meets the seller and all RE transactions are carried out electronically through the realtor.
If faced with a $25K fine for bad faith eviction, I wouldn't be surprised at any claims made to try and weasel out of it or say it was a misunderstanding.

Not saying the claim would have any chance of success, just that the current owner may be dragged into it to confirm to LTB or courts their side of the story. As long as no indication of personal use was in purchase agreement nor a declaration done, new owner should be safe.
Jr. Member
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Oct 25, 2018
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rob444 wrote: It's easier for a corporation landlord with multiple units to eat the $25K fine per case of bad faith eviction.

But for a typical investor with a condo unit or something they are renting out, a $25K fine (plus potentially more damages from tenant) would be tough to swallow and a big deterrent to attempting a bad faith eviction.
Depends on how far below market rate the rent is. In the example above, the landlord increased rent by 3X.

If I had a tenant paying $1K/month and I knew I could rent it out for $3K/month, I'd totally eat the $25K LTB fine because I know from Year 2 onwards, I'll be clearing an extra $24K per annum.

I'm sure a lot of other landlords are doing the same cost(fine)/benefit calculations...
Deal Addict
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Dec 13, 2016
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Robert052 wrote:
The rental townhouse prices have increased in past 12 months and the landlord cannot change market rent to existing tenant i.e. limited to Ontario regulated increase of 2.2% in 2020. The motive to to get rid of existing tenant to be able to charge significantly higher market rate!
I am sorry, but as of now what you have is guessing and assumptions.

Your "friend" should treat this as a townhouse sale. You know, people do not live forever and some of them do want to cash in from time to time. If he is not selling the townhouse then why is your "friend" worried about the potential visits.

If your "friend" is evicted your tenant has the same right as the landlord - go to the board and ask for compensation. Until then he/she should obey the law as most landlords do with a non paying tenant.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
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EndlessRide wrote: Depends on how far below market rate the rent is. In the example above, the landlord increased rent by 3X.

If I had a tenant paying $1K/month and I knew I could rent it out for $3K/month, I'd totally eat the $25K LTB fine because I know from Year 2 onwards, I'll be clearing an extra $24K per annum.

I'm sure a lot of other landlords are doing the same cost(fine)/benefit calculations...
Or just pay the tenant a few months rent to leave, and have the place empty for a year. All legal.

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