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