Looking for a way out... of your rental agreement within a violent relationship

By LS Matt Schlauch

Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2017


Ontario’s “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment” was introduced by Ontario’s Minister for Women’s Issues and came into effect earlier this year. This bill amends six provincial statutes to bring Ontario’s laws in line with a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic violence.

Some of the key changes come to Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) which includes:
• A shorter termination period for breaking a lease agreement
• Landlord confidentially requirements

The RTA will allow tenants who have concerns for their safety or the safety of a child living in the household to give 28 days notice to a landlord to end their tenancy. This is down from the current 60 days, which is common for most agreements. These changes apply to monthly, yearly and fixed-term leases.

What you need to end tenancy agreement on short notice
Tenants will have to provide their landlords with the following:
• Provide notice of termination.
• Complete the “Tenants Statement about Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse” form at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/. You can find the form listed under “Forms for Tenants”.
• An order under Section 810(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada, an order made under Section 46(3) of the Family Law Act, or an order made under section 35(2) of the Children’s Law Reform Act issued not more than 90 days before the date of notice was given, OR
• A written statement from the tenant alleging the following acts have been committed to the tenant/child: an intentional or reckless act that caused the tenant/child to fear for their safety, that caused bodily harm, forcible confinement or sexual violence.

Landlord Confidentiality Agreements
New RTA confidentiality rules state the landlord must hold the termination agreement in the strictest confidence. When dealing with a tenant who is moving out due to a domestic violence situation, the landlord must deal with that tenant directly.
The landlord cannot slide a letter under your door or disclose to co-tenants that notice has been given. If the landlord violates your confidentiality, this is an offence under the RTA which can lead to a fine of $25,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a cooperation.

What if you have nowhere to go?
There are many organizations that can assist you in finding a place to live or provide safe places to stay such as:
• Garrison Petawawa Victim Services Coordinator
Garrison Petawawa (Military Families)
Phone #: 613-687-5511 ext. 5900

• Bernadette McCann House for Women
Phone #: 613-732-3131

• Columbus House for Boys and Girls (12 to 21)
Columbus House for Young Parents
Email: thughes@columbushouse.ca
Phone #: 613-732-9877

•Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County 24 Hour Support
Phone #: 1-800-663-3060

The intent of this article is to inform and does not replace the advice of a lawyer or legal counsel.