Land­lord has the right to col­lect full rent from any sin­gle ten­ant in a joint ten­ancy

Ottawa Sun - New Homes - - HOMES - BY DICKIE & LY­MAN LLP

A: You have good rea­son to be con­cerned. It is com­mon for ten­ants to share apart­ments to re­duce costs. Typ­i­cally, land­lords re­quire mul­ti­ple ten­ants to sign one lease so that all the ten­ants are in­di­vid­u­ally re­spon­si­ble to the land­lord for all the obli­ga­tions un­der the lease. Leases al­most al­ways make the ten­ants’ obli­ga­tions “joint and sev­eral.” That means each of the ten­ants is li­able for the full rent un­less the lease spec­i­fies oth­er­wise.

In prac­tice, mul­ti­ple ten­ants will typ­i­cally split the cost of the rent and may even pro­vide their por­tions of the rent to the land­lord in­di­vid­u­ally. In law, how­ever, the land­lord has the right to de­mand the full rent from any sin­gle ten­ant. The land­lord is not al­lowed to col­lect the rent twice, but if one ten­ant can­not pay, the land­lord may col­lect the full amount from the other ten­ant. You may want to in­sist that your room­mate go back to the orig­i­nal ar­range­ment to en­sure that the full rent is paid to the land­lord on time.

Joint and sev­eral ten­ants are also re­spon­si­ble for the ac­tions of other ten­ants when those ten­ants de­fault on other obli­ga­tions un­der the lease. For ex­am­ple, if one ten­ant dam­ages the prop­erty, the land­lord may de­mand com­pen­sa­tion from any of the ten­ants. If the dam­age is not re­paired or the land­lord not com­pen­sated, the land- lord can serve a no­tice of ter­mi­na­tion and ap­ply to the Land­lord and Ten­ant Board to evict all of the ten­ants.

While it ap­pears that your room­mate even­tu­ally pays the rent, be­ing per­sis­tently late in pay­ing the rent is a ground for evic­tion at the end of the lease term. If the room­mate’s late pay­ments per­sist, you will be in dan­ger of be­ing evicted. Your room­mate’s be­hav­iour may also af­fect the qual­ity of the ref­er­ence pro­vided to your fu­ture prospec­tive land­lords.

Any un­paid rent or other amounts ow­ing to the land­lord can af­fect your credit record whether or not those amounts are owed due to your room­mate’s be­hav­iour. The land­lord can pur­sue you for any out­stand­ing amounts owed by your room­mate. You can claim the amounts from your room­mate, but that is not a de­fence to the land­lord’s claim against you when you are a joint and sev­eral ten­ant.


For On­tario rent in­creases to take ef­fect be­tween Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, the guide­line rent in­crease has been set at 1.8 per cent. This is the max­i­mum per­cent­age by which a land­lord can in­crease the rent for res­i­den­tial ten­ants with­out ap­proval from the Land­lord and Ten­ant Board.


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