Can A Landlord Say “No” To Overnight Guests?

Can A Landlord Say “No” To Overnight Guests?

Written by Matthew Taylor
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 1, 2021

As a tenant, you have rights, including the right to reasonably use and enjoy your home. Although each province and territory has its own laws and regulations, they generally forbid landlords from restricting you from hosting overnight guests.

What Are Your Rights And Responsibilities As A Tenant?

As a tenant, you have rights that protect you and your responsibilities to your landlord.

You have the right to live somewhere that is fit to live in, and your landlord must pay to ensure that housing is up to maintenance, housing, health, and safety standards. You have the right to not be harassed or threatened by your landlord. You are allowed to reasonably enjoy the premises where you live, along with members of your household and any guests, without your landlord’s interference. You also have the right to not be evicted unless the eviction procedures listed in your province or territory’s legislation are followed.

Responsibilities To Your Landlord 

Just as your rights protect you from your landlord, you have responsibilities to your landlord that will protect them. You are obligated to:

  • Pay your rent on time
  • Behave well and reasonably on the premises
  • Contact your landlord if any serious repairs or services are needed
  • Allow your landlord to enter the premises to make repairs
  • Allow your landlord to enter the premises to show it  to prospective tenants
  • You must also not harass or threaten your landlord. 

Can A Landlord Say “No” To Overnight Guests In Canada?

The rules for tenants and overnight guests are different in each province and territory, but generally, landlords cannot say “no” to overnight guests.

Ontario

In Ontario, landlords cannot say “no” to overnight guests. Just like homeowners, tenants have the right to say who they want to invite into their homes. A landlord who tries to control who stays overnight on the rental premises may be harassing a tenant.

Even though overnight guests are allowed, tenants are responsible for what their guests do on rental premises. If they cause damage, the tenant is usually on the hook to pay to repair the damages. The landlord may also try to evict the tenant. Tenants are also responsible if their guests create unsafe conditions for the landlord or other tenants, or if their guests disturb the landlord or other tenants.

Find out the eviction laws in Ontario.

The standard lease in Ontario forbids landlords from banning guests or pets from a tenant’s home. This rule means that landlords cannot impose a fee or threaten to raise the rent if a tenant has guests stay overnight. As always, tenants are responsible for the actions of their guests, such as paying for the cost of damage their guests cause.

Check out how much the average rent is in different cities.

Alberta

In Alberta, landlords cannot include a clause in a lease agreement banning any overnight guests. If the landlord believes that a guest is now living on the property without being on the tenancy agreement, they can remove them by taking the appropriate legal steps.

Landlords can also not attempt to charge a fee for having guests over or threaten to raise the rent. They can only collect money from a tenant based on the actions of the guests, such as if they cause damage.

Check out the eviction laws in Alberta.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, landlords cannot ban overnight guests or charge a fee for hosting overnight guests. Although the Residential Tenancy Act, which governs residential tenancies in British Columbia, does not outline a specific number of days after which a “guest” becomes an “occupant”, tenants should use their best judgement to limit the number of days a guest stays. The landlord has the right to remove the guest if they have become an “occupant” without being on the tenancy agreement.

Tenants are responsible for the actions of their guests, including any damage caused.

Check out all the reasons a landlord can evict you in BC.

Quebec

In Quebec, landlords cannot include a clause in a lease restricting overnight guests. This restriction also means that landlords cannot threaten to raise the rent if a tenant hosts overnight guests, nor can they attempt to charge a fee if a tenant hosts overnight guests.

If a guest causes any damage beyond regular wear and tear in a rental property, the landlord has the right to ask the tenant to pay to repair the damage.

Find out when a landlord can evict you in Quebec.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, landlords are forbidden from restricting a tenant from hosting overnight guests. This limitation includes a restriction against raising the rent or charging a fee if a tenant has overnight guests. If the landlord believes that a guest has moved onto the property without being on the tenancy agreement, they can take legal steps to have them removed.

Tenants whose guests cause damage beyond regular wear and tear are responsible for the costs of having that damage repaired.

Saskatchewan

Landlords in Saskatchewan cannot restrict a tenant from having overnight guests, including by charging a fee for hosting overnight guests or by threatening to raise the rent if a tenant has overnight guests. However, if the landlord has a reason to believe that a guest has now become an occupant of a property and is not on the tenancy agreement, they can take steps to have them removed.

If a guest causes damage beyond regular wear and tear, the tenant is responsible for any repair costs.

Can A Landlord Say “No” To Pets? 

Although the rules for pets are different in each province and territory, landlords for private housing can generally say “no” to pets. Landlords for public housing cannot say “no” to pets. Violating a “no pets” clause in your lease is an evictable offence in every province and territory except Ontario. 

Can A Landlord Say “No” To Smoking? 

Just as the rules for pets are different in each province and territory, the rules for smoking are also different. Each province and territory treats “no smoking” clauses in a lease differently. In some jurisdictions, landlords can decide how they want to enforce “no smoking” clauses. In any case, if a tenant breaks a “no smoking” clause in their lease and the landlord chooses to evict them, the landlord must follow the eviction procedures detailed in the legislation for their jurisdiction.

Learn about the rent control laws in your province.

What Should Be Included In Your Rental Agreement?

In Canada, landlords and tenants can enter into a rental agreement either in the form of a written lease or a verbal rental agreement. Although both are valid, written leases are preferable since they document what the landlord and tenant have agreed to when renting a property. This document will come in handy if there are any issues down the line, such as a tenant having to take a landlord to court.

Rental agreements should include:

  • How much rent the tenant will pay
  • How long the rental term will last for
  • Contact information for the landlord
  • Whether utilities are included in the cost of rent
  • Information on how to terminate a lease 

Bottom Line

Rules in each province and territory are different, but landlords generally cannot forbid tenants from hosting any overnight guests. They can also not charge a fee for hosting overnight guests, nor can they threaten to raise the rent for a tenant having done so. These restrictions are in place because a tenant has a right to reasonably use and enjoy their home. Tenants, however, are responsible for their guests’ actions, so if the guests cause any damage beyond regular wear and tear, the tenant must pay for repairs.

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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