Defining a Tenant

From Riverview Legal Services


Tenant by Statute

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17

2 (1) In this Act,

...
“tenant” includes a person who pays rent in return for the right to occupy a rental unit and includes the tenant’s heirs, assigns and personal representatives, but “tenant” does not include a person who has the right to occupy a rental unit by virtue of being,
(a) a co-owner of the residential complex in which the rental unit is located, or
(b) a shareholder of a corporation that owns the residential complex; (“locataire”)
(2) In the definition of “spouse”, a reference to marriage includes a marriage that is actually or potentially polygamous, if it was celebrated in a jurisdiction whose system of law recognizes it as valid.

Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3

1 (1) In this Act,

“spouse” means either of two persons who,
(a) are married to each other, or
(b) have together entered into a marriage that is voidable or void, in good faith on the part of a person relying on this clause to assert any right. (“conjoint”)

O. Reg. 516/06: GENERAL

3. (1) If a tenant of a rental unit dies and the rental unit is the principal residence of the spouse of that tenant, the spouse is included in the definition of “tenant” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act unless the spouse vacates the unit within the 30-day period described in subsection 91 (1) of the Act.

(2) If a tenant vacates a rental unit without giving a notice of termination under the Act and without entering into an agreement to terminate the tenancy, and the rental unit is the principal residence of the spouse of that tenant, the spouse is included in the definition of “tenant” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act.
(3) Subsection (2) does not apply if any one or more of the following criteria are satisfied:
1. The rental unit is in a building containing not more than three residential units and the landlord resides in the building.
2. The spouse vacates the rental unit no later than 60 days after the tenant vacated the rental unit.
3. The tenant who vacated the rental unit was not in arrears of rent and the spouse fails to advise the landlord, before an order is issued under section 100 of the Act, that he or she intends to remain in the rental unit.
4. The tenant who vacated the rental unit was in arrears of rent, the landlord gives the spouse a notice in a form approved by the Board within 45 days after the date the tenant vacated the unit, and the spouse fails, within 15 days after receiving the notice,
i. to advise the landlord that he or she intends to remain in the rental unit, or
ii. to agree in writing with the landlord to pay the arrears of rent.
5. The tenant who vacated the rental unit was in arrears of rent, the landlord does not give the spouse a notice referred to in paragraph 4 within 45 days after the date the tenant vacated the unit, and the spouse fails, before an order is issued under section 100 of the Act,
i. to advise the landlord that he or she intends to remain in the rental unit, or
ii. to agree in writing with the landlord to pay the arrears of rent.
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to,
(a) a rental unit described in section 7 of the Act;
(b) a rental unit that is in a care home to which Part IX of the Act applies; or
(c) a rental unit to which section 6 of this Regulation applies.


Tenant by Contract

Arora v Wieleba, 2016 CanLII 37551 (ON SCSM)

18. In any event the execution of the second version of the lease in late August 2014 would appear to have no effect on the rights and obligations as between these two parties. The defendant was otherwise liable under the original lease and it is not apparent what exchange of consideration occurred between these parties to support the second version of the lease. Its net effect would appear to be nothing more than an agreement to change one of the four tenants other than her. The fact the plaintiff agreed to let another tenant (Ali) out of the original lease did not oblige him to release the defendant also.

Tenant by Spousal Status

Angela Foot v. Kenny Dias; Carlos Dias; Jason Stroud ONLTB TST-30893-12

1. In summary, I find the Tenant has no standing to bring this application as she is not a tenant of the rental unit. The Tenant agreed in a separation agreement with the Other Tenant that she is not a tenant, a position consistent with that of the Landlords. Disputes involving separation agreements are outside of the Landlord and Tenant Board's jurisdiction.

5. Subsection 9(1) of the Act provides only a tenant or a landlord can bring an application to determine whether the Act applies, and the italicized excerpt from the separation agreement above contains a specific acknowledgment that the Tenant is not, in fact, a tenant of the rental unit. The question of how the Tenant can later become a tenant of the rental unit without the consent of the Landlords is not one for me to consider here.

6. The separation agreement also matches what I understand would have been the Landlords' position regarding paragraph 6 of the application, which alleges the Tenant and the Other Tenant have a verbal tenancy with the Landlords. In any event, Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the separation agreement pursuant to subsection 21.8(1) of the Courts of Justice Act if it is the case the Tenant now intends to resile from it. Extrinsic evidence as to who might have paid rent when is irrelevant in view of the explicit acknowledgment of the parties in the separation agreement as and Landlords' position.

7. The Tenant lacks standing to bring the application. The application must therefore be dismissed.

TNL-73624-15 (Re), 2015 CanLII 79133 (ON LTB)

6. DJ has not abandoned the rental unit. Although DJ does not live there any more, DJ’s spouse AJ and DJ’s children are still living in the rental unit. The rental unit is not abandoned as long as occupants who were living in the rental unit while the Tenant was still in possession are still living in the rental unit.

7. DJ is no longer in possession of the rental unit. He vacated the rental unit no later than August 1, 2015, by which date he had removed all of his personal belongings from the rental unit.

8. It is uncontested that on August 7, 2015, the Landlord discovered that MP has been living in the rental unit. It is also uncontested that MP was in possession of the rental unit when the application was filed and he is still in possession of the rental unit.

15. Subsection 3(2) of Ontario Regulation 516/06 (the ‘O'Reg’) provides that if a tenant vacates a rental unit without giving a notice of termination and without entering into an agreement to terminate the tenancy, and the rental unit is the principal residence of the spouse of that tenant, the spouse is included in the definition of “tenant” in subsection 2(1) of the Act.

16. However, paragraph 5 of subs.3(3) of the O'Reg states that subs 3(2) does not apply if certain steps are not taken by the landlord and the spouse to regularize the spouse’s tenancy in the rental unit. These steps include the landlord giving the spouse notice that he or she has 15 days to tell the Landlord that he or she intends to remain in the rental unit or agree in writing to pay the arrears of rent.

17. In this case, the parties did not take the steps required to regularize the spouse’s tenancy in the rental unit. In particular, the Landlord did not give the spouse notice that she has 15 days to tell the Landlord that she intends to remain in the rental unit or agree in writing to pay the arrears of rent.

18. Therefore, AJ is not a “tenant” because subs 3(2) of the O'Reg does not apply.

CEL-76187-18 (Re), 2018 CanLII 88608 (ON LTB)

8. It does not matter if the Occupant received the N14 because that form could not be used in the circumstances. As set out in the N14 instructions, this form can only be used if a Tenant moved out of the unit without an agreement to terminate the tenancy and the spouse of the Tenant is still residing in the rental unit. In this case there was an Agreement to End the Tenancy (N11) signed by the Landlord and Tenant. As a result of the N11, the Occupant cannot elect to be deemed a “Tenant” in accordance with section 3(2) of O.Reg. 516/06 by completing the N14.

9. The Occupant testified that her husband was made to leave the rental unit because he became abusive. She subsequently received correspondence from the Landlord informing her that she was not a named Tenant on the lease agreement.

10. The Occupant stated that she informed the Landlord that she would like to stay in the unit but did not understand why the Landlord asked her to pay the first and last month’s rent deposit. When the Landlord insisted, the Tenant agreed to make the payments but requested some time to save up for it.

TSL-85517-17-RV (Re), 2017 CanLII 71334 (ON LTB)

3. KK says he was the long term common law spouse of the Tenant, and as such automatically became a tenant of the unit upon GM’s passing. It was a closeted relationship, because that was their preference. KK never disclosed the nature of the relationship to the Landlord, or in the discussions with the Landlord’s legal representative, or when he sought advice concerning the Landlord’s application.

4. Some weeks after the consent order under review had been issued, KK was speaking with a friend who was aware of his relationship with the Tenant and told KK that the relationship should give him certain rights in the tenancy.

5. Section 3 of the Ontario Regulation 516(06) includes the following definition of “tenant”:

3. (1) If a tenant of a rental unit dies and the rental unit is the principal residence of the spouse of that tenant, the spouse is included in the definition of “tenant” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act unless the spouse vacates the unit within the 30-day period described in subsection 91 (1) of the Act. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 3 (1).

10. In these circumstances, I cannot find that KK’s failure to raise the argument at the original hearing that he should be considered a tenant of the rental unit by virtue of his relationship with GM instead of an unauthorized occupant gives rise to any of the recognized grounds to interfere with the consent order he entered into with the Landlord.. The request to review is therefore dismissed.

EAL-58285-16 (Re), 2016 CanLII 88072 (ON LTB)

14. The Landlord’s Legal Representative also argued that (NC) cannot meet the definition of a tenant by virtue of having been the spouse of (DM) because subsections (3)(1) and (3)(2) of the regulations O. Reg.516/06 do not apply to social housing pursuant to subsection 3(4)(a) of the regulations O. Reg.516/06.

23. In reference to the case of Jemiola v. Firchuk (2005) O.J. NO.6085, the Court states at paragraph 9 of the decision “The definitions of “tenant” and ”tenancy agreement “ are broad and inclusive and should be broadly and liberally construed. The Court of Appeal has affirmed that the Act is remedial legislation with a “tenant protection focus“ and that an expansive, liberal approach should govern its interpretation “. The Court in this decision also decided that the appellant was not a tenant.

24. The purpose of the Act as stated in section 1 of the Act, is to provide protection to residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions. The Act does not provide the same protection to occupants.


Jemiola v. Firchuk (2005) O.J. NO.6085

13 We are satisfied that there was evidence before the Tribunal that entitled it to conclude that an implied tenancy agreement did not arise between the appellant and the landlords. The Member was not prepared to characterize the single payment of rent and the July letter as amounting to an agreement to create a tenancy. The landlord and his agents acknowledged that Mr. Jemiola was living in the unit, but the legislation does not prohibit tenants from having room-mates, family and friends living with them. The Member found, correctly in our view, that this does not necessarily confer on them the status of tenant.


Tenant (Other)

SOT-66425-16 (Re), 2016 CanLII 57313 (ON LTB)

2. This application was previously heard and resolved by another member of this Board. The Divisional Court, in Elguindy v. Destaron Property Management et. al., 2016 ONSC 3662, subsequently granted an appeal from the earlier hearing order, and ordered that the application be re-heard by a different member of the Board.

3. At the de novo hearing, the Respondent's representative raised a preliminary issue. It was submitted that EE and IE are not tenants, and have no standing to bring this application. In response, EE argued that, by benefit of having paid rent and residing in the rental unit, an implied tenancy exists between himself and the Respondent.

4. It was on this very issue that the Divisional Court had granted the appeal and ordered a new hearing.


11. However, I am also mindful of the Divisional Court's pronouncement in Jemiola v. Firchuk, [2005] O.J. No. 6085 (Div. Ct.) which stated that while “tenant” should be broadly and liberally construed, it should also be recognized that,

“… the legislation does not prohibit tenants from having roommates, family and friends living with them. The Member found, correctly in our view, that this does not necessarily confer on them the status of tenant.”

12. Further, while EE is correct in submitting that “occupant” is not defined within the Act, this does not mean that there is no such thing as a non-tenant “occupant” of a rental unit for the purposes of the Act. It is recognized in various provisions of the Act that there may be occupants that are not tenants. One need only look at a number of provisions in the Act referring to “occupants,” and "other members of (a tenants') household," including:

- Section 22, which states that landlords may not interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of rental units by a tenant or “members of his or her household;
- Section 60, which allows landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “other members of his or her household,” misrepresent their income;
- Section 61, which allows landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “another occupant of the rental unit commits an illegal act…;”
- Section 62, which allows landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “another occupant of the rental unit…” wilfully or negligently causes undue damage;
- Section 63, which allows landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “another occupant of the rental unit” wilfully causes undue damage or uses the rental unit in a manner inconsistent with use as a residential premises;
- Sections 64 and 65, which allow landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “another occupant of the rental unit” substantially interferes with reasonable enjoyment of a residential complex by other tenants or a landlord, or a landlord’s lawful rights, privileges or interests; and
- Section 66, which allows landlords to apply to terminate a tenancy if a tenant or “another occupant of the rental unit” seriously impairs the safety of any person in the residential complex.

13. Just as the Act recognizes that persons other than tenants may reside in a rental unit, it also recognizes that persons other than tenants may pay rent, as section 2(1) of the Act defines “rent” as “includ(ing) the amount of any consideration paid or given or required to be paid or given by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord or the landlord’s agent for the right to occupy a rental unit...” [emphasis added]

14. Turning to the question of whether there is an implied tenancy, the Divisional Court recognized that at the prior hearing of this application, there was the following evidentiary indicia of an implied tenancy, which was again put forward at the re-hearing:

- EE has paid rent directly to the Respondent Landlord for more than two years;
- EE has lived in the rental unit for more than two years; and
- The Respondent Landlord was aware that EE resided in the rental unit accepted his rent payments, and approached him about filling out an "occupancy form."

15. It is worth noting that implied tenancies usually arose where, before the continuation of expired leases on a month to month basis was made automatic by statute, tenants continued to occupy rental units and continued to pay rent after fixed term tenancies had ended. However, implied tenancies could also arise where tenants moved out or died, but other persons paid rent to landlords for the right to remain in rental units.

16. In my view, consideration of the evidence in its full context in the current case did not support the creation of an implied tenancy between EE and the Respondent. The evidence did not show that EE paid rent for continuation of a lapsed or terminated tenancy. He testified that he has lived in the rental unit, and paid the rent, since the commencement of his son's tenancy, which is still in effect. The tenancy with AE has never lapsed or terminated. The Landlord's staff members have approached EE about being added in writing as an occupant, not a tenant. These facts comfortably support a conclusion that EE has lived in the rental unit as an occupant by benefit of his son's tenancy, that he has paid rent on behalf of his son, and that he has never become a tenant himself.

17. Based on my conclusions, I have determined that there is no implied tenancy, or any landlord and tenant relationship, between the Respondent Landlord and the Applicants, EE and IE. The tenancy is with AE. EE and IE are occupants, and members of AE's household, by benefit of AE's tenancy.