Care homes are covered by most of the same rules in the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) that apply to other types of residential rental units. However, there are some rules in the Act that apply only to care homes. This brochure has information about those rules.
This brochure does not give a complete summary of the law and it is not legal advice. If you need more information, contact us.
The Act defines a care home as a residential building where people live so that they can receive "care services".
Care services include health care services, rehabilitative or therapeutic services, or services that provide assistance with the activities of daily living. Some examples of care services are:
A home or building where these care services are provided to tenants is covered by the Act whether or not the main reason for living there is to receive care services.
Sometimes, a home or building that is described as a "rest home", a "retirement home", a "lodging home" or a "seniors home" may also be covered by the Act.
Certain types of accommodation provide "care services" but are not covered by the Act. For example, long term care homes which are legislated and funded by the provincial government are not covered by the Act. This includes "nursing homes", "municipal homes for the aged" and "charitable homes for the aged" which are governed under other legislation.
Other types of homes and buildings providing care services to residents which are not covered by the Act include:
Before entering into a tenancy agreement with a new tenant, the landlord must give the new tenant a "Care home information package". This package must provide the following information:
The landlord cannot increase the rent or any charges for meals or care services until they give the tenant the care home information package.
Landlords of care home units must enter into written tenancy agreements with their tenants.
The written agreement must list the care services and meals the landlord has agreed to provide to the tenant. It must also set out the amounts the tenant must pay for these services and meals. The agreement may also include any other matters which the landlord and the tenant agree to, but may not include agreements that are contrary to the Act.
The agreement must also include a statement saying that the tenant has the right to consult someone else (for example, a friend or relative) about the agreement, and that the tenant can cancel the agreement within five days after it has been signed.
Note: If the tenant wants to cancel the agreement after signing it, the tenant must give the landlord written notice within the five days.
If there is no written tenancy agreement, or if the agreement does not set out what has been agreed to for care services and meals, the tenant can file an Application about Tenant Rights (T2) for an abatement of rent.
The general rules under the Act about rent and rent increases apply to care home landlords and tenants. These rules are explained in A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.
A landlord must give a tenant at least 90 days' notice in writing of any increase in rent, and the rent can only be increased once every 12 months. To give this notice, a landlord must use Notice to Increase Rent and/or Charges for Care Services and Meals (Form N3). The tenant does not have to pay a rent increase if the landlord does not give proper notice.
In some care homes, two or more tenants may share a rental unit. In these cases the rent rules apply to each tenant separately, as if they lived in their own rental unit.
In a care home, the "rent" does not include the amount the landlord charges the tenant for care services or meals. There is no limit on the amount which can be charged for care services or meals, or the amount of any increase in these charges. Also, there is no limit on how often the landlord can increase these charges.
A landlord must give a tenant at least 90 days' notice in writing of any increase in charges for care services or meals. A landlord must use Notice to Increase Rent and/or Charges for Care Services and Meals (From N3) to give this notice. The tenant does not have to pay the increase if the landlord does not give proper notice.
The general rules about a tenant's right to privacy and a landlord's right to enter a rental unit apply to care homes.
In addition, a landlord of a care home has the right to enter a tenant's unit, at regular intervals, without any notice if the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to check on the condition of the tenant ("bedchecks").
A tenant can decide to cancel a "bedcheck" provision in the tenancy agreement. The tenant can do this by informing the landlord in writing that they no longer want the landlord entering the unit for this purpose.
A tenant can obtain care services, from a person of their choice, in addition to those services provided under the tenancy agreement.
The landlord must not prevent the tenant from receiving these additional services.
Tenants of care home units have the right to sublet or assign their units unless they live in a social housing unit.
However, landlords can refuse to consent to the assignment or sublet to a specific person if allowing that person to move in would be contrary to the landlord's admission requirements or guidelines.
Most of the general rules for ending a tenancy under the Act apply to care homes.
In addition to the general rules, the Act has certain rules about ending a tenancy that apply only to care homes. These rules are explained below.
A tenant in a care home unit can end the tenancy by giving the landlord at least 30 days written notice. Tenants should use the Notice to Terminate the Tenancy (Form N9).
A care home tenant who has given a notice to terminate the tenancy can stop the provision of care services and meals before the end of the tenancy by giving the landlord at least 10 days notice.
If a tenant is living in a care home unit solely for the purpose of receiving rehabilitative or therapeutic services, the landlord can terminate the tenancy at the end of the period of tenancy agreed to as long as no other tenant receiving rehabilitation or therapy is allowed to live in the care home longer than 4 years.
The landlord must give the tenant at least 28 days notice (for a daily or weekly tenant) or 60 days notice (for all other tenants).Using the Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of the Term, (Form N8).
There are special rules in the Act for certain social housing care homes that provide rehabilitative and therapeutic services.
A social housing landlord may end the tenancy before the tenancy period agreed to has ended. If the tenancy agreement gives them the right to end the tenancy because the tenant has repeatedly and substantially withdrawn from participation in the program related to rehabilitative or therapeutic services.
The general rules under the Act apply to a care home landlord who wants to end a tenancy because:
However, if this notice is given by a landlord of a care home, the landlord has to make reasonable efforts to find alternate accommodation that is appropriate for the tenant. If the tenant accepts the accommodation, the landlord does not have to pay the tenant compensation.
A landlord can apply to transfer a tenant out of a care home unit if the tenant:
If the landlord is applying to transfer the tenant because they require more services than the landlord can provide, the transfer will only be allowed if the landlord can prove that appropriate alternate accommodation for the tenant is available.
A landlord does not need to give the tenant a notice of termination before applying to transfer a tenant. Landlords should use Application to Transfer a Care Home Tenant (Form L7).
The general rules under the Act apply when a care home tenant dies.
If there are no other tenants in the rental unit, then the tenancy agreement ends 30 days after the death of the tenant. However, the estate of the tenant only has to pay for care services and meals for 10 days after the tenant dies.If the tenant's spouse also lives in the unit but the spouse is not a tenant, then the spouse must vacate the unit within 30 days unless there is an agreement with the landlord to allow the spouse to become a tenant.
Last updated: January 2016