Not sure if you're moving yet? Know your rights.

February 9, 2018 at 18:27 pm

This time of year, many students are making decisions about whether or not to stay in their current rental properties. Whether you plan to stay where you are, move to a new place, or are still making your choice, take the time to know your rights and responsibilities.


Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), tenants must give a minimum of 60 days written notice if they plan to leave at the end of their lease (RTA 47.0.1 (3)). For most students, leases end April 30th, which means you would have to give your landlord written notice by March 1st.  You are not required to give your landlord notice sooner than March 1st. Your landlord does not have the right to begin showing your room to prospective tenants until you have given notice. (RTA – Section 26.3.)

I am planning to move:

If your lease ends April 30th, you must give notice that you are leaving by March 1st or the landlord could hold you responsible for subsequent months’ rent(s). For example, if your lease ends April 30th and you give your notice on March 12th, you could be held responsible for May rent. If you give your notice April 15th, you could be held responsible for May and June.
This is because your landlord can assume you are going to stay and exercise your right under the RTA to become a month-to-month tenant (as of May 1st, or the first day after the lease ends) (RTA – Section 38)

I am planning to stay:

If you have been living at your current property for one year, you may now be considered a month-to-month tenant. You also may have been asked to sign another year lease, as May-April leases are typical in student neighbourhoods. If you are ever unsure of anything on your lease, feel free to contact Jennifer in the McMaster Off-Campus Resource Centre (

I am not sure of my plans:

Remember that your landlord cannot start showing your room to other tenants until you have given written notice that you are moving out. (RTA – Section 26.3.)

If your lease goes until April 30th, keep in mind that you must let your landlord know by March 1st or you could be held responsible for subsequent rent(s), as outlined above. Though it is courteous to let your landlord know your plans as soon as possible, you should not feel pressured to meet any date or deadline besides the required sixty days written notice.


You can always ask for help:

Every situation is unique.  In some cases, the RTA may be applied differently (ie. When a group lease is involved).  If in doubt, refer to the RTA on-line:, or contact Jennifer in the McMaster Off-Campus Resource Centre ( or call Hamilton Community Legal Clinic (905-527-4572).


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