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- This is the Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario. For other jurisdictions, see Residential Tenancies Act (disambiguation).
The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) is the law in the province of Ontario, Canada, that governs landlord and tenant relations in residential rental accommodations. The Act received royal assent on June 22, 2006 and was proclaimed into law on January 31, 2007. The Act repealed and replaced the Tenant Protection Act, 1997. It is believed that the new Act will better serve the interests of both tenants and landlords.
The Tenant Protection Act, 1997 was enacted by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris and proclaimed in June, 1998. The Act retained selected rights and obligations contained in Part IV of the previous Landlord and Tenant Act. (Parts I, II, and III were retitled the Commercial Tenancies Act.) The Tenant Protection Act removed the dispute resolution process, including evictions and rent increases, from the Ontario court system and placed it in the hands of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. It was heavily criticized for a provision under which landlord applications for eviction would be automatically granted without a hearing unless the tenant filed a notice of dispute within five days; this requirement was not obvious from the standard Tribunal forms that were served on tenants, and many tenants, particularly those with poor literacy skills or whose first language was not English or French, would show up for the hearing date mentioned on the notice they received only to be told that the hearing had been cancelled and they had already been evicted. This controversial provision, which had been the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman of Ontario, has been removed from the new Act.
The name of the Tenant Protection Act suggests that it was an act that protected tenants rights. Tenant advocates argued that this was a misleading title, and that tenant rights had been reduced under the new Act; but some judges relied on the name to interpret the Act in a way favourable to tenants. The Tribunal that heard and ruled on complaints was well known for putting the onus on landlords in applications brought by landlords, as the law requires that the applicant bear the onus of proof; in applications brought by tenants against their landlords, the onus is on the tenant.
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