Tenant rights and landlord rights in prince edward island

Governing or Regulatory Body

Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property

Name of Act / Regulations

  • Rental of Residential Property Act and Regulation

Types of Housing/Living Arrangements Covered by the Provincial Legislation

Furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished residential properties including: any type of house, dwelling, apartment, flat, tenement, room, mobile home and land rented as a mobile home site.

Exclusions: Properties provided by an educational institution, such as a college or university, to its students or faculty; properties licensed under the Community Care Facilities and Nursing Homes Act; properties licensed under the Tourism Industry Act except when such properties are provided as accommodation for a guest for a continuous period of one month or more; properties that provide some type of therapeutic or rehabilitative services or temporary shelter such as transition housing and hostels and other such properties which have supervisory services as that term is defined in the Community Care Facility and Nursing Homes Act; properties acting as group homes under the Welfare Assistance Act, properties normally occupied by the owner and vacated by the owner for a period of not more than seven months during any given calendar year. Jurisdiction over co-operative housing is limited.

Types of Rental Periods

All fixed term leases are required to have a fixed term with a predetermined expiration date. Whether verbal or written, month-to-month and week-to-week tenancies are also permitted.

Is a signed lease required?

A signed lease is not absolutely required, but it is highly recommended. A verbal agreement between a tenant and a landlord is still legally binding. In the event that a written rental agreement is used, the landlord has to provide the tenant with a full copy of the agreement in place within a period of not more than 21 days of the date the agreement was signed. If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with a copy of this agreement, the tenant is not obligated to abide by any of the terms mentioned in the lease that go above and beyond what is mentioned by the Act, unless and until the landlord provides the tenant with the copy of the rental agreement.

Those who enter into a written agreement or renew an existing written lease and do not sign the province’s standardized rental agreement, Standardized Form of Rental Agreement, are deemed to have done so all of the provisions listed in the Rental of Residential Property Act and the standard agreement are still in place.

Is a signed move in/move out inspection report required?

No. Although a checklist is highly recommended for landlords and tenants, one does not have to be used or signed.

Deposits

The security deposit that the landlord requests cannot be any more than more than one week’s rent for a week-to-week tenancy or one month’s rent for a month-to-month or yearly tenancy. A landlord is required to request a security deposit on or before the date that the landlord and enter into the binding rental agreement, whether verbal or written. The security deposit will accrue interest each year at a rate that is set annually by a formula prescribed by legislation. When the tenant move out of the rental property, the landlord has to either give back the deposit plus accrued interest within ten days or deliver a notice to the tenant stating their intention to keep part or all of it. The Notice of Intention to Retain security Deposit must be served to the tenant, and the tenant can dispute the landlord’s reasons for wanting to keep it. The tenant has 15 days to file an Application Re Determination of Security Deposit with the Director of Residential Rental Property. A tenant should give the landlord their forwarding address when they move out, so they know where to send the deposit to.

Key Money

Requiring tenants to pay key money is unlawful.

Post-dated Cheques

Landlords are allowed to request post-dated cheques from tenants, but the Act does not specifically cover how rent is to be paid. If a rental agreement signed by a tenant stipulates that payment is to be made by post-dated cheques or by pre-authorized withdrawals or any other type of payment method, the tenant is bound by the agreement and must adhere to it.

Renewal of a Lease

In the event that a fixed term rental agreement is in place and is not terminated by the landlord or tenant, upon its expiration date it will automatically turn into a month-to-month rental agreement. If the fixed term rental agreement includes an option to renew, and the tenant does not renew the fixed term, the landlord has the right to serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination.

Terminating a Tenancy (Lease): Notice and Timing

A tenant is not able to terminate a fixed term rental agreement other than at the end of the fixed term. A tenant who wants to terminate a fixed term rental agreement early is required to apply to the Office of the Director to terminate the agreement that is in place, but permission to do so is not usually given. Landlords may only terminate a rental agreement for specific reasons that are laid out in the legislation and cannot terminate simply because a fixed term rental agreement has come to an end. However, if the lease includes an option to renew and the tenant does not renew the lease, the landlord has the right to serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination that basis alone. After a fixed term agreement converts to a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord is no longer able to force a tenant to sign another lease or agree to another fixed term arrangement. When a lease gets renewed, unless it is otherwise agreed to, other than the new term of the lease, all other conditions of the lease stay the same.

Depending on the specific circumstances of the situation, parties may have to serve a notice or a document to a landlord, to a tenant, to the Director of Residential Property or to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. A number of delivery methods, including personal delivery, certified, regular or registered mail are permitted.

In the event that there is a fixed-term rental agreement, which is usually year-to-year, the tenant is required to give written notice to the landlord at least two months before the end of the lease. For a month-to-month tenancy, the tenant has to provide a written notice of termination to the landlord on or before the day that rent is to be paid and at least one month before the tenant wishes to move out.

In addition, a landlord can end a periodic tenancy in the event that:

  • Unpaid rent: 20 days notice must be given
  • Interfering with the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property by other tenants, failing to fulfill all of the tenant’s responsibilities for regular cleanliness of the interior of the property or for damage caused by the tenant or guests of the tenant, damages beyond reasonable everyday wear and tear, and the damages have not been repaired within a reasonable amount of time: 1 month notice must be given.
  • A family member moving into the property, purchaser wants possession of the property, demolition or conversion of the building for another purpose, required renovations that can only be done if the premises is unoccupied: 2 months notice must be given, unless it is possession of a mobile home site, in which case a total of 6 months notice has to be given.

NOTE:

The fact that a landlord is putting the property up for sale is not a valid reason for terminating the rental agreement. If the purchaser of the property wants to terminate the rental agreement because a family member wishes to move in, the purchaser must give the current tenant, and not the vendor, property notice.

Assignments and Sublets

When there is a fixed term rental agreement for six months or more in place, the tenant has the option of subletting or assigning the rental unit, but the landlord must approve. The landlord is not allowed to deny a request for a sublet or assignment without good reason. If a tenant believes that the landlord is unreasonably withholding consent for such a request, he or she may apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property for an order authorizing the sublet or assignment.

Rent Increases: Notice and Timing

The annual allowable percentage rent increase is set by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) on an annual basis. This rate can be different for heated and unheated rental properties. Any landlord who wants to increase a tenant’s rent must provide the tenant with a Notice of Increase in Rent of Residential Premises at least three months prior to when the rent increase is set to take effect. In addition to service this notice to the tenant, a landlord who wants to raise the rent by more than the allowable rates set by IRAC is required to apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property for approval. Landlords may not raise the rent until a fixed-term lease expires. Rent increases are directly tied to the property and not the tenant. A landlord is able to increase the rent for a unit, but only once every 12 months, and the amount of rent increase is the same regardless of the number of people living in the unit, whether or not it changes hands. The rent for a new tenant must be the same as for the previous tenant if a rent increase in that year was already applied.

Late Rent Payments

The only way that a late rent payment can be charged is if the written rental agreement contains provisions for a penalty for late payment of rent, and the penalty cannot be larger than one per cent per month of the monthly rent.

Evictions

The term eviction does not occur in the Rental or Residential Property Act. Instead, a landlord is required to apply for an application for delivery of possession if the rental agreement is terminated and the tenant does not move from the premises.

As stated above, there are a number of reasons why a tenant might be evicted, and the required notice period the landlord has to give depends on the reason(s) given for the eviction. The primary reason for eviction is failure to pay rent. If the rent is due on the first day of the month and the tenant fails to pay by the second, the landlord can legally issue a notice of termination. A tenant can invalidate the notice by paying all of the outstanding rent within a period of 10 days of being served the notice or the tenant will have to vacate by midnight of the 20th day after the notice is given.

If a tenant gets more than two Notices of Termination that include nonpayment of rent as the reason for termination, the landlord can apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property for an order to terminate the tenancy based on persistent late rent.

There is no statutory requirement in the legislation for more than two Notices; however, as a matter of evidence, numerous notices are typically required to prove persistent and habitual lateness.

If a notice of termination is served by the landlord, the tenant can file an application with the Director within a period of not more than 10 days to set aside the notice of termination and the application is dealt with in the form of a hearing involving both parties. If the tenant does not file an application to set aside the notice of termination within 10 days, it is assumed that the tenant has accepted the termination and is expected to vacate the premises on the date specified in the notification. If the tenant refuses to vacate, the landlord has the right to file an application requesting possession of the residential property.

Fine Points

Landlord Entry

Except for emergency situations, landlords are not legally permitted to enter the rental property without the expressed consent of the tenant unless the landlord has already served a written notice stating the date and time of the entry within a period of not less than 24 hours. The time of entrance stated on the notification must be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

May the tenant withhold rent for repairs?

No, but a tenant can apply at any time during the rental agreement to the Director to inspect the property and make an order for any repairs that the Director determines are necessary.

Changing Locks

The landlord and tenant are entitled to keys to the locks to doors to the property at all times, so neither can change the locks without the expressed consent of the other while the rental agreement is still in effect.

Pets and Smoking

Is a landlord allowed to refuse to rent to a tenant who has pets?

Yes, provided the reason given is valid and does not violate the Human Rights Act.

Can a landlord include a no-smoking clause in the lease?

Yes.

If there is a no pets and no smoking clause written in the lease and the landlord finds out that the tenant has a pet and/or is smoking in the unit, can the landlord legally evict the tenant?

Yes. If a tenant violates the lease by having a pet or smoking inside the rental property, they could be given a termination of rental agreement notice.

NOTE:

This does not apply to tenants who pre-date the policy. If a landlord institutes a no pets and/or no smoking in the building policy, any smoker or pet owners who already live in the building are grandfathered in. Any new tenants are subject to the new rules, but it cannot be imposed retroactively.

Contact Information

For general information about renting in Prince Edward Island contact:

Office of the Director of Residential Rental Property
5th Floor, Suite 501
134 Kent Street
P.O. Box 577
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7L1
Toll-free: (PEI) 1-800-501-6268
Tel.: 902-892-3501
Fax: 902-566-4076
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/



Landlord and Tenant Act
http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/l-04.pdf
(See provincial contact above.)

Rental of Residential Property Act
http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/r-13_1.pdf

Human Rights Commission
Contact and other basic information about the commission.
http://www.gov.pe.ca/humanrights/index.php3?number=72187
(See provincial contact above.)

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission
An independent organization that handles appeals from decisions or orders of the Director of Residential Rental Property. Information on how to appeal and related forms can be found on the Commission website.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/appeals/rental/

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (Rental)
A description of this program for landlords, which provides assistance for repairs to self-contained units occupied by low-income tenants.
http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/ab/onre/onre_016.cfm

Rental agreements
Outlines what landlords and tenant should know before entering into a rental agreement.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/document.asp?f=rental-agreements.asp
http://www.gov.pe.ca/infopei/index.php3?number=20580
(See provincial contact above.)

Director of Residential Rental Property
This page explains the role of the Director of Residential Property and has an extensive list of forms to be used when a dispute develops between landlords and tenants.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/
(See provincial contact above.)

Forms and Processing Fees
A list of forms related to landlord-tenant relations, along with the applicable fees (if any apply).
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/forms/rentalforms.asp

Rate of Interest on Security Deposits
Describes how interest rates are calculated and provides a table listing the allowable interest rate for each year from 1981 — present.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/document.asp?f=interestrates.asp

Allowable Rent Increases
Explains what allowances are available for rate increases and includes a table that lists the allowable increase rate from 1989 — present.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/rental/document.asp?f=rentincreases.asp

Appeals
This site has extensive information on appeals.
http://www.irac.pe.ca/appeals/rental/