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Renting on PEI

This booklet discusses rental of residential property in Prince Edward Island. On PEI, landlords and tenants are overseen by the Office of the Director of Residential Property, a division of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC). This agency is a “quasijudicial tribunal”, which means they can hear cases and make determinations. Communication between landlords and tenants should be in writing in case of a tribunal.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact IRAC’s Office of the Director of Residential Property at 902-892-3501 or visit www.irac.pe.ca/rental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Housing Co-operatives

Members of a Housing Co-operative should note that they are not covered by the provisions of the Rental of Residential Property Act. Housing Co-op members should consult their bylaws, the Co-operative Associations Act, or contact CLIA or IRAC for further information.


Rental residential property can include apartments, houses, boarding houses, mobile homes, and condominiums.

Before agreeing to rent a unit, you should inspect the apartment for damage. You can take photos. This inspection should be done jointly with your landlord. This can help prevent future problems.

As a renter, you have the right to:

  • Privacy;
  • Quiet enjoyment;
  • Health and safety.

Privacy & Personal Information

You have the right to privacy in your rental unit. If your landlord would like to enter your rental unit, he or she (s/he) must give you written notice at least 24 hours in advance of when they would like to enter your apartment. This written notice must include the date and time your landlord wishes to enter. Your landlord’s visit must be between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm. The only exception to this is in the case of an emergency, such as a water leak.

When you first enter into a rental agreement, your landlord may ask you for some financial information. This is a reasonable request if your landlord wants to be certain you are able to afford your rent and utilities.

If you are not able to provide your landlord with this assurance, s/he may require a co-signer on your rental agreement. Your co-signer will be held responsible to pay the rent if you cannot or do not pay. If you cannot provide a co-signer, the landlord may not allow you to rent the apartment.

Your landlord has the right to ask for the names of everyone living in the rental unit.

Quiet Enjoyment

You have the right to “quiet enjoyment” of your rental unit. If another tenant’s noise or behaviour is preventing you from enjoying your home, you should complain in writing to your landlord. With correct documentation, your landlord has the right to terminate the rental agreement of the disruptive tenant. If you are concerned about your neighbour finding out who made the complaint, you should ask your landlord to respect your privacy. However, if the case goes to an IRAC hearing, your landlord may not be able to guarantee your anonymity.

Health & Safety

Your landlord must keep the property “in a good state of repair and fit for habitation during the tenancy”.

If there is a problem with your heat, water, electrical power, gas, appliances, garbage collection, sewers, or elevators, the landlord must fix this immediately.

Both landlords and tenants must act against health risks, like bed bugs. If the problem violates a Public Health by-law, it also must be fixed immediately. If the landlord or tenant won’t address the health risk, contact Environmental Health as well as Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).


Rules about smoking are usually included in the conditions of the rental agreement or lease. It is up to your landlord whether smoking is allowed on the premises. If you are sensitive to smoke and need a smoke-free environment, it is a good idea to ask your prospective landlord if smoking is allowed in any of the other rental units or on the surrounding property before signing an agreement or moving in.


As a renter, you have the responsibility to:

  • Pay your rent;
  • Maintain the condition of the property;
  • Clean before moving out;
  • Follow other terms in the rental agreement or lease.

Paying Your Rent

You are expected to pay your rent on time and in full. You cannot withhold rent for any reason. There may be consequences if you withhold rent, including eviction.


You must not withhold rent until problems are solved. Call IRAC for assistance: 902-892-3501


Maintaining the Condition of the Property

You must not cause damage to the property. If you cause damage to the rental unit, your landlord may keep your security deposit or s/he may take you to court for the cost of the repairs.

You are also responsible for damages caused by subletters, guests, or visitors to your apartment.

“Normal wear and tear” over time is not considered to be damage.

Cleaning

Before you move out of your apartment, you are expected to ensure the apartment is cleaned. You can do the cleaning yourself or you can hire a professional to do it. If the cleaning is not done properly, your landlord may keep all or part of your security deposit to pay for professional cleaning.

Other Terms of the Lease

Before you sign a lease, read it carefully. There may be additional terms in the lease that you have agreed to follow. For instance, a tenant in a condominium may have to agree to follow the condominium’s bylaws.

Security Deposits

A security deposit is money paid by the tenant to the landlord before moving in. The landlord holds this money in trust for as long as the tenant lives in the rental unit. This money, with applicable interest, is returned to the tenant upon moving out if they have:

  • paid their rent and related bills in full;
  • cleaned the apartment adequately;
  • maintained the condition of the property.

A security deposit cannot be more than your rent. Your landlord has the right to ask for a security deposit of up to one month's rent if the rent is paid monthly, or up to one week's rent if rent is paid weekly.

Security deposits can be used by the landlord to deal with any liability caused by the tenant. The term “liability” can mean rent owing, damages to the apartment, or money owing for oil and electricity.

If your landlord plans to keep your security deposit, you must be given written notice within 10 days of leaving your apartment.

The notice must be on the IRAC form called “Notice of Intention to Retain Security Deposit”. This form explains why the landlord plans to keep your security deposit. You can appeal this decision through IRAC within 15 days of being served the Notice.

If you are getting your security deposit back, it must be returned to you in a timely manner and must include interest accrued on the deposit. The interest rate is calculated using a table provided by the province.

Leases

A lease or rental agreement is a legal contract that outlines the terms for living in a rental unit. Most leases are written to cover one rental year. If a lease isn’t terminated or renewed after the year has passed, it converts to a month to month agreement with the same terms as the original lease. At this point, the landlord can increase the rent, but only within the legal limits.

Even if you do not sign a lease or rental agreement with your landlord, you will still follow the standard agreement found within the Rental of Residential Property Act.

Rent Increases

Landlords may only increase rent once a year according to the allowable rent increase determined by IRAC. For example, in 2017, landlords on PEI were allowed to increase rent by:

  • 1.50% for heated premises;
  • 1.50% for unheated premises;
  • 1.50% for mobile home sites within mobile home parks.

Landlords may not increase the rent beyond the allowable percentage even if a new tenant moves in.

If a landlord wishes to increase the rent beyond the allowable amount, s/he must apply to IRAC.

If your landlord decides to increase your rent, s/he must do so using the appropriate IRAC form and give you at least three (3) months notice.

Subletting


You must make your landlord aware of any changes in occupancy within the rental unit.


Subletting is renting an apartment or house to another tenant while maintaining the original agreement or lease with the landlord.

If you sublet your apartment, you are still responsible for the rental agreement or lease. If your subletter causes damage to the rental unit, you are responsible for the repair.

A sublet agreement between you and the person subletting from you is a good idea.

If you signed a lease and would like to leave with no plan of returning, you can request to have your rental agreement assigned to a new tenant. Your landlord must be reasonable in considering whether to approve your request.

Repairs

There is no time frame set out in the legislation to have repairs completed. The Act says that landlords must keep the property “in a good state of repair and fit for habitation during the tenancy”.

If major repairs are needed to the apartment before you move in, include the required repairs in the lease and check to see if they have been completed before your move-in date. If the repairs are not done, it may be grounds for terminating the rental agreement. If you and the landlord agree that the repairs can be done over time, make sure that is written into the lease or rental agreement.

If you move into a rental unit that requires repairs, the landlord is responsible for repairs, but it can take a significant period of time to hold the landlord accountable.

Decorating changes, such as painting or changing the flooring, are not considered repairs. For example, there is no regulation or law that requires landlords to paint the premises every time a tenant leaves. If you wish to have the premises repainted or the flooring changed before you move in, you need to negotiate with the landlord prior to moving in.

If there is a problem with your heat, water, electrical power, gas, appliances, garbage collection, sewers or elevators, the landlord must fix it. If the state of the rental unit violates the Public Health Act, it also must be fixed.


If the damage in your apartment is caused by you or a guest, you are responsible for the repair.


You cannot hold back rent from the landlord until the repairs are done. If you do, your rent can be considered late and your landlord can evict you. If you have concerns about repairs, call IRAC for guidance: 902-892-3501 (www.irac.pe.ca/rental)

Pets

A landlord can include a “no pets” clause in your rental agreement. If you sign a rental agreement with a “no pets” clause, you cannot have a pet in the rental unit. If you get a pet despite this agreement, you could be evicted.

Your landlord cannot invade your privacy to see if you have a pet. This could interfere with your right to quiet enjoyment. However, the landlord has the right to inspect the premises after 24 hours written notice.

A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you if you have an assistance animal. If this should happen to you, contact the PEI Human Rights Commission at 902-368-4180 or www.gov.pe.ca/humanrights


“Pet Deposits” are not legal. The security deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. The landlord cannot ask for additional money as a pet deposit.


Late Rent

If you are late with your rent, your landlord can serve you with a notice of termination (eviction notice) one day after your rent is due. If you pay all rent that is due within 10 days of this notice, the notice becomes void.

This is not a grace period. If you are habitually late, your landlord can apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property for termination of your rental agreement. If the Director rules in favour of the landlord, you will be evicted even if you pay the rent owed.

Some leases or rental agreements include a clause about late rent payments. If it is specifically written into your lease or agreement, your landlord can charge you a maximum penalty of 1% of your monthly rent added on to your regular rent amount.

Eviction

There are a number of reasons for which your landlord could evict you:

  • If you don’t pay your rent on time, your landlord may serve you with a notice of termination (eviction notice) one day after the rent is due. You have at least 20 days to move out. If the rent is paid within 10 days of the notice, the eviction becomes void.
  • If your landlord considers you a threat to the safety of others living in the building, or if you are interfering with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants, you may be evicted.
  • If you cause damage to the property, other than “normal wear and tear”, you may be evicted.
  • If the landlord finds there are more people living in the unit than considered appropriate by Public Health, you may be evicted.

If you are served with a notice asking you to move out for any of these reasons other than non-payment of rent, you have up to 30 days to move out.


You cannot be evicted solely based on the sale of the property. The new owner is expected to honour the rental agreement or lease.


Your landlord also has the right to evict you to perform substantial renovations on the apartment or to have a member of their own family move in. In this case, you have to be given at least 60 days notice to move out and be provided an affidavit (sworn statement) explaining the reason.

If you receive a notice of termination (eviction notice) for any reason and do not agree with it, you can make an application to the Director to have the notice set aside. This application must be submitted to IRAC within 10 days of receiving the eviction notice. A hearing by the Director will take place, followed by a written decision.

IRAC: 902-892-3501 or www.irac.pe.ca/rental


Any notice of eviction given to you must be on the appropriate forms from the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) to be valid.


Breaking a Lease or Rental Agreement

If you do not have a fixed term written lease or agreement, you can move out of the apartment without penalty if you provide a signed, written notice of your decision to leave at least one month in advance. If your rental is on a weekly basis, you only have to give one week’s notice. It is important you use the appropriate form from IRAC:

If you have a fixed term written lease or agreement, you cannot leave the rental agreement before the end date on the lease. In some circumstances, you may be able to make an application to the Director to have your lease terminated. This would only be granted under extraordinary circumstances.

Sometimes, if you speak with your landlord, an agreement can be reached. Approach your landlord at least 60 days before you wish to leave your apartment. If you and your landlord reach an agreement to terminate the lease early, this agreement should be in writing and signed by the landlord and the tenant.

The most effective way to get out of a lease early is to find someone to sublet your apartment and have the landlord assign the lease to the new tenant.

If a landlord rents the unit to a new tenant, s/he is not allowed to also charge you rent for the same time period.

If you are having problems with your landlord or your rental unit you may wish to contact the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC):

Office of the Director of Residential Property

902-892-3501 or 1-800-501-6268

www.irac.pe.ca/rental

You can use a representative to speak on your behalf to IRAC as long as they have your written consent.

IRAC is wheelchair accessible and will help people with challenges.


PEI courts will not consider a legal claim against a landlord or a tenant until after IRAC has completed all hearings and appeals.


Disclaimer

This pamphlet was published by Community Legal Information Association of Prince Edward Island Inc (CLIA) for informational and education purposes only. It contains general information about the law. It does not contain a complete statement of the law in this area and is not a substitute for legal advice.

If you need legal advice contact a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you may contact one through the Lawyer Referral Service (902-892-0853 or 1-800-240-9798).

Revised May 2017