Time Limit on Residential Leases

Essentially, there’s no time limit on a residential Lease. The provisions under the Residential Tenancies Act prevail over any agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant.

While many tenancies start out for a year, upon expiration there is an automatic renewal month to month continuously without an end.

For many tenancies “rent control” is in place. This means that the monthly rental amount has fallen behind inflation and current rents in the area.

The victims here are the Landlords. Their expenses and mortgage payments may be increasing, but their rental payments are just not keeping up.

This might be good for political parties in elections, but it doesn’t make any sense in the rental world.

First, Landlords would be very, very reluctant to pay for the cost of any improvements. Why would they? They are not going to see that money again. As time goes by, Landlords ultimately become “slumlords”. Why? Again, it’s not financially sound to continue to invest.

Ultimate Ten (10) Year Limit

As a consequence, I would propose a 10 year limit on all tenancies. That’s it, that’s the end of it! Both parties will be able to walk away, or strike a new deal. But, effectively, the Tenant doesn’t own and control the property forever.


There would be an element of fairness reinstated into the system. This would be “attractive” and more Landlords would seek to acquire properties. By increasing the rental pool, this should bring down the cost of rentals.

By providing a “reward” to the Landlords, this should remove the impediments to making financial improvements to the property.

There will be certain Tenants who after living in a particular location for a decade, can no longer afford it, and will just have to move on. This means that new Tenants who can afford the property will occupy the premises. Overall, the property, the maintenance undertaken with respect to the property and the area will improve. There will be fewer “rundown communities”.

The downside is that some Tenants will have to move in with relatives or seek assistance through subsidized housing. That’s true! But, that issue befalls the government and the taxpayers as a whole, not a particular Landlord.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker


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