Leases and Renting

Preparing Leases and Title Searches - Howard Nightingale Professional CorporationPeople tend to use the term renting and leasing interchangeably: someone might say. “I’m renting an apartment or I’m leasing an apartment,” for example. But sometimes rental refers to a short term agreement, as is the case with renting a car or a tool for several days, for which you sign a rental/leasing agreement. Rental agreements for the long term, as is the case for residential and commercial properties, involve leases.

While the lessee (the renter) needs to read the lease terms carefully, the lessor must draw up the agreement that protects them. As the landlord, you are putting thousands of dollars of property as well as the future income from it, into the hands of a stranger. Many tenants are honest and fine, but it simply makes good sense to protect yourself and your property from a tenant who isn’t.

One thing landlords of residential properties should know, is that the Ontario government’s laws (Residential Tenancies Act, 2006) cannot be superseded by a leasing agreement. For example, the law states that the stipulated rent cannot be increased for 12 months from the date the agreement takes effect. No leasing agreement can legally change that stipulation. As I write in my blog, Commercial landlords will find that the laws are more flexible, and that they have more control over the specifics of the lease as a result.

Accordingly, in the preparation of leases, Howard Nightingale will:

Draw the lease

There are inexpensive “off the shelf” leases available for sale in stores and on the Internet. Some of them aren’t all that bad, and some are prepared for the Ontario market. Given a good tenant and no problems, these will often work fine. But these are limited in that they are ‘one-size fits all, documents’ and unfortunately, things don’t always go smoothly. In contrast, Howard Nightingale is completely familiar with the laws that apply in Ontario, and will take the time to become familiar with you and your specific needs. The result is a tailor-made lease to protect you to the full extent of the law.

Review and Advise on the lease

Not every situation involves a new lease. You might have an agreement already in effect and need some advice due to a situation that has recently arisen, or you might have a lease in effect for many years and you simply want to check on its current, legal accuracy and effectiveness.
On the other hand, you might be the lessee: tenants also assume a risk when they sign a lease; it’s a legally binding contract for shelter, our first and most basic need. It can give you peace of mind as well as protection to have a legal opinion that ensures the lease is fair, contains standard legal protection and doesn’t introduce anything that could compromise you during the term that the lease is in effect.

Sub-search of title or additional searches and services provided related to the leased premises.

The Ontario Land Registry is now an up-to-date electronic database that provides a wealth of information. In addition to its use for property sales and purchase, it is an effective tool for leasing situations as well. When you lease, for example, you can be affected by any dispute involving the property you have rented. Therefore, you need to know that the owners listed on the lease are the actual owners, that there are no existing liens against the property, no existing sales to take place during your tenancy, and so on. This is why Howard Nightingale will do title searches even for leasing situations.

Draw up commercial leases including negotiations and all other services.

Commercial matters fall under the Ontario Commercial Tenancies Act, 1990. This act is far more flexible than the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 which can be a good thing for both parties to negotiate a mutually satisfactory agreement; on the other hand, that same flexibility means that a close scrutiny of any leasing arrangement is necessary for both lessor and lessee. Please read my blog, Commercial Leases for additional information.


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