Do rental agreements need to be in writing?
NEW: Yes. Under the new Residential Tenancy Act, rental agreements must be in writing and must include the required information from Section 11(2) of the Act. The landlord must provide a copy of the tenancy agreement to the tenant within 10 days of entering the agreement.
Does a unit need to be inspected before move-in?
NEW: Yes. Under the new Act, a landlord and tenant must inspect the unit together and the landlord must complete an inspection report (Form 5- Landlord Condition Inspection Report). Once the inspection report is filled out, both the landlord and tenant must sign it and the tenant must receive a copy of the report.
What if a tenant doesn’t show up for the inspection?
Both the landlord and tenant should be at the inspection and a landlord must offer a tenant at least two reasonable opportunities to complete the inspection together. If the tenant does not show up for the inspection on either occasion, the landlord must inspect the unit alone, complete and sign the report and provide the tenant a copy.
Can a rental agreement be changed after the tenant has moved in?
A rental agreement can only be changed after the tenant has moved in if both parties agree to the changes or with an Order from the Rental Office. Any changes must be consistent with PEI’s rental laws.
How does a change in landlords affect a rental agreement?
The new landlord must provide the correct name/s of the landlord and/or their agent, as well as an address and phone number to the tenant. They must also provide written notice to the tenant stating the amount being held as a security deposit and the interest on that amount.
Does a tenant have to pay a security deposit?
A landlord may require a tenant to pay a security deposit as a condition of entering into a tenancy agreement or as a term of a tenancy agreement. However, a landlord cannot require a security deposit at any time other than when the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement.
Can a landlord require more than one security deposit?
No. A landlord cannot require more than one security deposit for a rental unit.
Can a tenancy agreement include a condition that a landlord can automatically keep a security deposit?
No. The tenancy agreement cannot include the condition that the landlord can automatically keep all, or part of, the security deposit.
How much can the security deposit be?
A landlord cannot accept a security deposit that is greater than the rent for the rental unit. If the rent is paid weekly, it would be the equivalent of one week’s rent. If the rent is paid monthly, it would be the equivalent of one month’s rent.
What happens if a landlord accepts more than the allowed amount for a security deposit?
If a landlord accepts a security deposit that is greater than the amount permitted under Section 14 (3) of the Act, the tenant may deduct the overpayment from rent or file a Tenant Application to Determine Dispute with the Rental Office (Form 2A).
Does the landlord have to provide a receipt for the security deposit?
Yes, the landlord is required to give the tenant a written receipt stating the amount of the security deposit, the date of receipt, and the rental unit address.
Once the security deposit is given to the landlord, where does it go?
The landlord must deposit the money in an interest-bearing account at a financial institution located in the province authorized to accept deposits. This must be done within two banking days from when the landlord received the security deposit. If the landlord has three or more rental units, the interest-bearing account must be a trust account used exclusively for security deposits.
Does the security deposit earn interest?
Yes. When a landlord returns the security deposit to a tenant, they shall include the full amount of the deposit, plus any interest that has accrued over the time that the landlord has held the security deposit. The amount can be determined using the Interest Rate Calculator on the Rental Office website.
How long does a landlord have to return the security deposit?
A landlord has 15 days from when a tenancy ends to make a determination regarding the security deposit. The landlord can decide to:
- pay the security deposit back in full with interest, or
- file an application to with the Rental Office keep all or part of it, or
- pay back part of the security deposit with interest and file an application with the Rental Office to keep the remainder of it.
Can a landlord keep all or part of a security deposit without filing an application?
Yes, there are 2 exceptions that allow a landlord to keep all or part of a security deposit without filing an application:
- if the landlord and tenants agree in writing that the landlord will keep all or part of the funds, or
- if the landlord has an Order from the Director against the tenant for an unpaid amount.
What are the steps for a landlord to follow regarding the return of a security deposit?
If a landlord plans to keep any or all of the security deposit and interest, the landlord must file a Landlord Application to Determine Dispute with the Rental Office (Form 2B) within 15 days after the tenancy has ended. The relevant option on the Form is (e) “to make claim against the security deposit”.
What if the tenant agrees to the landlord retaining an amount from the security deposit?
A landlord may keep all, or a portion of, a security deposit if, at the end of a tenancy, the tenant agrees in writing that the landlord may keep the amount to pay a liability or obligation of the tenant.
Other than a written agreement with the tenant, are there any circumstances where a landlord can automatically keep a security deposit without having to file an application with the Rental Office?
A landlord may keep a portion of the security deposit if the Director of Residential Tenancy has previously ordered the tenant to pay an amount to the landlord (Example: for damages or for rent owing) and the amount is unpaid at the end of the tenancy. The amount owing can be deducted from the security deposit when it is returned to the tenant.
What happens if a landlord doesn’t return the security deposit or file an application with the Rental Office within 15 days of the tenancy ending?
A tenant can file a Tenant Application to Determine Dispute with the Rental Office (Form2A). The relevant option on the Form would be (h) “to request the return of the security deposit“.
Are there consequences to a landlord not returning a security deposit or filing an application with the Rental Office within the required 15 days?
Yes. The landlord will not be able to make a claim against the security deposit and may be required to pay the tenant double the amount of the security deposit.
How can a landlord repay a security deposit to a tenant?
A landlord can repay a deposit by sending a cheque by ordinary or registered mail to an address provided by the tenant, by giving the deposit personally to the tenant, or by using any form of electronic payment or transfer to the tenant.
What if a tenant does not provide a forwarding address to a landlord for the return of the security deposit and the landlord does not have other contact information?
If a tenant has not provided an address to a landlord in accordance with clause 40(5)(a) within six months after the end of the tenancy, and the landlord has made reasonable efforts to repay the security deposit in accordance with subsection 40(5), the landlord may keep the security deposit. The tenant will no longer have a right to the security deposit.
Rent and Rent Increases
How often can a landlord increase rent?
A landlord may increase the rent once every 12 months. The landlord must give the tenant at least 3 months’ notice for the annual allowable rent increase.
How much can a landlord increase rent?
In 2023, the maximum allowable rent increase is 0% on all units for the period between January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.
The Director of Residential Tenancy has set the 2024 maximum annual allowable rent increase at 3% on all units, effective January 1, 2024.
Can a landlord increase the rent between tenants or if the rental unit is vacant?
The general rule is no, however under the new legislation, there are limited exceptions.
Can a landlord charge more rent if a new roommate moves in?
How do I find out what the last tenant paid?
You can ask the landlord. The rent paid by the last tenant must also be provided in the new written Tenancy Agreement.
Can a tenant agree to pay rent that has been improperly increased?
No. Even if the tenant agrees, a landlord cannot increase the rent above the allowable amount without an Order from the Rental Office.
What are my options if a landlord has improperly increased the rent?
File a Form 2(A)- Tenant Application to Determine Dispute. The relevant section of the form is (b) to request a return of rent due to an unlawful rent increase.
Does a landlord have to return rent they have collected improperly?
Yes, with an Order from the Rental Office.
Can a landlord ever increase my rent over the allowable?
Yes. A landlord can file an application to request an additional rent increase by filing a Form 9 – Landlord Application to Request Additional Rent Increase with the Rental Office. The Rental Office must hold a hearing and issue an Order that approves, denies, or partially approves an increase before the increase can be charged.
Important: If a landlord filed an application for a greater than allowable rent increase before the new Residential Tenancy Act came into effect, the application will be processed under the old legislation (Rental of Residential Property Act) and there is no limit on the increase that a landlord may request. If a landlord filed an application after the Residential Tenancy Act came into effect, the application will be processed under the new legislation, which limits any rent increase to 3% above the allowed amount.
Is a verbal eviction notice valid?
No, the only valid eviction notice is a Form 4(A) – Eviction Notice- Tenant has 10 Days to Dispute or a Form 4(B) – Eviction Notice- Tenant has 1 Month to Dispute.
Can a tenant dispute a Notice of Eviction?
Yes, a tenant can dispute a Notice of Eviction. The tenant must file a Form 2(A)- Tenant Application to Determine Dispute within either 10 days or one month of receiving an Eviction Notice, depending on the reason for eviction. If you have received a Form 4(A), you have 10 days to dispute the eviction and/or pay the outstanding rent owing. If you have received a Form 4(B), you have one month to dispute the eviction. When completing your application, you should select (a) To dispute a Notice of Termination (Form 4) on the Form 2(A).
Can a landlord evict a tenant because the rental unit has been put up for sale?
No. Selling the rental unit is only grounds for eviction if the rental property has less than 3 units, there is a signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the purchaser, or their close family member, intends to live in the rental unit.
Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord wants to move into the rental unit?
Yes, a tenant can be evicted where a landlord or their close family member, in good faith, will be moving into the rental unit. Where this happens, the landlord is required to offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to the tenant or compensate the tenant one month’s rent plus reasonable moving expenses.
Can a tenant be evicted for having a pet?
If a landlord and tenant agreed that there would be no pets, breaking that agreement by having a pet can be grounds for eviction. Even if pets are allowed, if the pet is disturbing other tenants, or causing damage, this can also be grounds for eviction. Service animals are always permitted.
Can a tenant be evicted for smoking in the unit?
Is there a grace period for late rent payments?
No. A landlord may serve a tenant the day after rent was due with a Form 4A- Notice of Eviction- Tenant has 10 days to Dispute for non-payment of rent. However, if the tenant pays all of the rent that is due within 10 days, the Notice of Eviction becomes void.
Can a tenant be evicted during the winter months?
Yes, the eviction rules are the same year-round.
A tenant has received a Notice of Eviction Form 4, does the tenant still need to pay rent?
Yes. A tenant who has received a Notice of Eviction is still responsible for rent up to the date the tenant moves out.
Can I be evicted if my landlord needs to complete repairs and/or renovations?
Yes, as of November 1, 2023, a landlord may file an application with the Director of Residential Tenancy to evict a tenant in order to repair or renovate a rental unit.
Important: A landlord must receive approval from the Director of Residential Tenancy in order to evict a tenant for repairs/renovations that are extensive enough that a tenant must leave the unit while the repairs/renovations are being completed.
Evictions for Renovations/Repairs
What is the process to evict a tenant in order to repair and/or renovate a unit?
- The landlord must file a Landlord Application for Approval for Renovations / Repairs (Form 6) with the Rental Office.
- The Director of Residential Tenancy must approve the application filed by the landlord.
- Once approved, the landlord must provide the tenant with an Eviction Notice (Form 4B). The reason for eviction selected must be “to do repairs or renovations” (option (e) on the Form 4B). The landlord must provide the tenant with at least 6 months’ notice.
I’m a tenant and I received an Eviction Notice from my landlord in order to complete repairs/renovations. Can I dispute it? If so, how?
Yes, a tenant may dispute the eviction notice provided by the landlord. The tenant must file a Tenant Application to Determine Dispute (Form 2A) with the Rental Office within 1 month of receiving the eviction notice.
I’m a tenant, can I move back into the unit once the repairs/renovations are complete?
Yes, if you are being evicted because your unit requires repairs/renovations and the landlord has received approval from the Rental Office, the tenant has right of first refusal. This means that once the repairs/renovations are completed, the landlord must give the tenant that was evicted the first priority to move back into the unit.
If a tenant wants to move back in, what do they need to do?
If the tenant chooses to move back in, the tenant must give the landlord notice in writing before they vacate the rental unit (which means before the repairs/renovations are started).
What if the landlord doesn’t offer the tenant right of first refusal?
If the landlord does not offer the tenant the right of first refusal, the tenant may file a Tenant Application to Determine Dispute (Form 2A) with the Rental Office. The landlord may be required to pay the tenant 3 months’ rent and reasonable moving expenses for not complying with the Act.
Does the landlord need to provide compensation to a tenant if they are being evicted so that the unit can be repaired/renovated?
Yes, if a tenant is evicted because a landlord is completing repairs or renovations, the landlord must compensate the Tenant 1 months’ rent and reasonable moving expenses. This is set out in subsection 70. (1) of the Residential Tenancy Act. The tenant should receive this compensation by the vacate date indicated on the Eviction Notice (Form 4B) that was provided by the landlord. The vacate date is the day that the tenant must be out of the unit.
What if the repairs/renovations will take less than one month?
If a tenant is being evicted for less than one month (because repairs/renovations won’t take longer than that), and the tenant intends to move back in, the landlord must provide compensation to the tenant for the time they will be required to be out of the unit.
Example: If repairs will only take two weeks, the landlord is required to compensate the tenant for two weeks, not a full month.
What if the landlord doesn’t provide compensation?
If a landlord fails to give the tenant the required compensation by the vacate date, the tenant may file a Tenant Application to Determine Dispute (Form 2A) with the Rental Office to request that the compensation be paid.
Repairs and Maintenance
Can a tenant withhold rent because there are problems with the rental unit?
No, a tenant who withholds rent for any reason may be issued a Form 4(A)- Eviction Notice – Tenant has 10 Days to Dispute and may be evicted.
Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance to the rental unit?
The landlord is responsible for keeping the rental unit in a good state of repair, regardless of the rental unit’s condition when the tenant moved in. The landlord should ensure that the unit complies with the health, safety, and housing standards required by law.
A tenant is responsible for keeping the unit clean, unless the tenancy agreement includes that the landlord will clean it. The tenant is also responsible for proper sorting and disposal of garbage, compost, and recycling.
What can a tenant do if the landlord refuses to complete necessary repairs?
If a landlord refuses to complete necessary repairs, the tenant can file a Form 2(A)- Tenant Application to Determine Dispute with the Rental Office. The relevant section is (i) To request a determination that my landlord contravened my right to quiet enjoyment, entered the rental unit unlawfully, prohibited and/or restricted access to the rental unit, changed the locks or failed to secure the rental unit, failed to repair or maintain the rental unit, or any other material term of the tenancy agreement.
Who is responsible for damage to the rental unit?
A tenant is responsible for any damage that is above and beyond normal and reasonable wear and tear. The tenant must either perform repairs or have repairs done to the unit for damage that is caused by the actions or neglect of the tenant or a person allowed to be in the unit.
Tenants are not responsible for reasonable wear and tear to the rental unit or common areas of the property.
Whose responsibility is it to sort the waste materials?
The tenant is responsible for sorting and disposing of garbage, compost, and recycling.
Entering a Rental Unit
Can a landlord enter a tenant’s rental unit?
If there is an emergency, or if the tenant agrees, the landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit immediately. In all other cases, a landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit only after providing 24-hour notice in writing, and the entry must be between 9:00AM and 9:00PM. The same rules apply to people acting on behalf of the landlord (examples: property managers, repair people, real estate agents).
Can a tenant object if the landlord wants to enter the tenant’s rental unit?
The landlord is entitled to enter the rental unit in accordance with the rules mentioned above. The tenant may choose to be present, but the landlord does not have to wait until the tenant is home to enter the rental unit. The landlord also cannot require the tenant to be absent or present during the entry.
The Rental Office
What is the difference between a notice and an application?
A notice is a document given by one party (a landlord or a tenant) to the other party.
An application is submitted to the Rental Office to request an Order.
A landlord or tenant disagrees with an order issued by the Rental Office, what can they do?
Any party dissatisfied with an Order received from the Rental Office may appeal the Order to the Commission. This is done by filing a Notice of Appeal. For more information about rental appeals, please visit the Rental Appeals section of the Commission website.