Everybody faces financial difficulties from time to time. But failing to pay rent consistently can have serious legal implications, potentially ruin future references and harm your credit rating.

If a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, the landlord can:

  • Be understanding of a one-time offence and present an option for paying later.
  • Take the tenant to court.
  • Seek compensation through the courts for multiple missed or late payments.
  • Request help from the provincial or territorial rental authority to order a tenant to move.
  • Proceed with eviction either as soon as the rent is late, or after a 3-day grace period depending on the province or territory.

A notice for non-payment of rent must include:

  • The amount of rent owed.
  • The date the tenant must move out.
  • A statement that states the tenant is allowed to disagree with the landlord’s notice.

TIPS FOR TENANTS...

Before losing your home, there are resources available to help you if you can’t pay your rent, including:

  • A rent bank — offers services from 1 month’s rent to no-interest or low-interest emergency loans for multiple month’s rent with flexible repayment schedules. You must qualify for assistance. Ask the staff at your local municipality, resource centre or community organization to see if one exists in your city or town.
  • Community organizations, charities and religious groups — provide help even if you don’t belong to a particular faith. Many offer assistance in other areas, like food, clothing and daycare, which may ease some of your financial pressure to make rent payments.
  • Rent geared-to-income (subsidized, non-profit or social housing) — charges rent at a fixed percentage of your income (usually 30%). You must meet specific requirements and there is a waiting list.
  • Your landlord — might negotiate a partial rent payment in exchange for providing services, such as lawn maintenance or painting. Only do this for a short-term or one-time situation.
  • Friends, family, and your employer — Even if you feel uncomfortable reaching out, your own network might be able to provide assistance. Consider asking for an advance on your next month’s pay from your employer.

TIPS FOR LANDLORDS...

Procedures and paperwork are extremely important in cases of rent non-payment. If you have a valid reason to terminate a tenancy but make a minor mistake in the paperwork, the provincial or territorial Tribunal may not uphold the action.