In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2000 (RTA)
governs the relationship between residential landlords and tenants. The Act sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. It regulates matters such as rent increases, ending a tenancy, settling disputes, as well as addressing many other issues.
The Residential Tenancies division of the provincial government’s Service NL is responsible for mediating and adjudicating disputes between residential landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies has a website containing extensive information for landlords and tenants. You can ask questions relating to your specific situation by dialling 1-877-829-2608 (toll-free from all areas of Newfoundland and Labrador).
Please note that this is general information only and not a complete statement of the law. The Residential Tenancies Act is currently under review by the provincial government and is expected to be updated in 2019.
The RTA applies to most rental housing in Newfoundland and Labrador, however, some types of living arrangements are not covered by the RTA.
Some examples of living arrangments that are not covered include:
An inspection should be the first step taken before a tenant accepts the responsibility for a rental property.
Your rental agreement forms the basis of the contractual relationship between you and the landlord. Whether it is oral or written, the agreement is a legally binding contract between both parties.
There are various types of rental agreements, including;
Each rental agreement, whether oral or written, is presumed to contain certain basic rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2000. These conditions are called statutory conditions and must be followed –even if the lease says otherwise. A condition in the rental agreement that is contrary to any of these statutory conditions has no legal effect.
A security deposit, sometimes called a damage deposit, is a sum of money the landlord requires the tenant to pay at the beginning of a rental agreement, in addition to the rent paid.
While a landlord can ask for post-dated cheques to pay your rent, he/she cannot ask for any pre-payments of rent, such as pre-payment of the last week’s or last month’s rent. He/she also cannot ask for any single rental payment that is more than any other regular payment.
Regardless of how little you think your belongings are worth, consider how much it would cost you to replace everything you own—furniture, appliances, clothing, supplies and personal belongings.
Housing discrimination can be a significant problem in a competitive market. However the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, 2010 outlines the grounds on which discrimination is prohibited.
Please note that this list is not exhausted and may be updated.
The landlord and tenant have a number of obligations, some of which we will highlight below. The information below comes from the Residential Tenancies website and is only a partial list. For more detailed information, visit the landlord & tenant section of the Service NL website.
A tenant must:
A landlord cannot increase rent during the term of a fixed term lease.
A notice of termination is a written document that one party uses to inform the other that they must or are about to vacate the premises. Unless the landlord and tenant agree in writing upon a longer period of notice, the tenant must normally give the following notice if terminating the rental agreement:
Termination without reason
Termination where uninhabitable
When a landlord fails to maintain a rental premises in a state “fit for habitation”, the tenant can give the landlord notice that the rental agreement is terminated and that they are leaving the premises immediately.