If you live in the Ontario area, you've most likely heard of Bill 132-Sexual Violence & Harassment Action Plan Act. Here's a brief summary of the bill:
"Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, proposes greater responsibility on the part of landlords, employers and educational campuses to respond to situations involving sexual violence or harassment. The bill also seeks to improve sensitivity and compassion from law enforcement authorities, greater supports for complainants and an improved enforcement model for sexual assault survivors navigating the criminal justice framework."
There are various statutes being amended by this bill and the most significant for landlords is the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. Section 47 of this Act currently states that a tenant paying month to month rent is required to give at least 60 days' notice to a landlord when planning to move out.
Bill 132 amends this section in the following ways:
- Notice: Tenants or joint tenants who are survivors of sexual or domestic violence will be allowed to give a shortened termination notice of 28 days, rather than the previous 60. However, the tenant is required to provide the landlord with a copy of the court order or restraining order stating that the tenant or a child living in the unit has experienced domestic or sexual violence. Once the 28 day notice has been given and the tenant vacates, they are not required to pay rent beyond that point.
- Confidentiality: Landlords will be required to keep the notice and the legal documentation confidential in order to protect the tenant until after they have left the unit. Unless there is a police investigation going on, the landlord would not be allowed to disclose any information to anyone, including a joint tenant, child welfare, immigration or police services.
- Penalties for Misuse: The offenses section is being amended to protect both landlords and tenants. Landlords should be protected from tenants misusing this privilege, while tenants will be protected from landlords not honoring the confidentiality. These changes are significant for Ontario landlords. Prior to this change, landlords did not get involved in the relationship between tenants.
These changes are also significant to us at Real Property Management as well. Part of our services to landlords and tenants is knowing and understanding how the law works with regards to the rights and responsibilities of both parties. These changes in the law will be reflected in our policies and procedures as well.