Your tenancy and lease
Find out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and how to update us about changes that affect your tenancy.
Tenancy and lease information
Types of rent
This is rent paid for subsidized housing. If you qualify to pay rent geared to your income, the amount is usually 30 per cent of your household’s monthly Adjusted Family Net Income, which is determined using your annual tax return. If some or all of your income is from Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), your rent is calculated according to a rate set by the Ontario government. Your total rent may also include charges for parking or utilities.
Applying for subsidized housing
If you would like to apply for rent-geared-to-income, apply online on MyAccesstoHousingTO. You can also apply in-person at the Access to Housing Resource Centre at 176 Elm Street in Toronto. If you have an existing application, you can contact the Application Support Centre at 416-338-8888.
Please note: There is a waiting list for subsidized housing. It could be several years before you are offered a rent-geared-to-income subsidy.
This type of rent is set at or below average market rent. To qualify, your household’s annual gross income cannot be more than four times the annual rent of the unit for which you are applying.
This type of rent is the same as rents charged by private landlords in the area. There are no income requirements to rent one of these units.
Paying your rent
Tenants can pay their rent in several ways.
Pre-authorized payment (PAP)
This is the easiest way to make sure your rent is always paid on time. For pre-authorized rent payment, your bank sends your rent payment from your bank account directly to Toronto Community Housing on the first day of every month. Use the PAP form (PDF) to set up this type of payment.
You will get a form to set up this type of payment when you sign your lease. If you need another form, please visit your Tenant Services Coordinator at the Tenant Service Hubs, or call the Client Care Centre.
Both your bank and Toronto Community Housing will charge you a fee if there are not enough funds in your account on the first of each month.
Bank, credit union, trust or cheque cashing company payment
You can pay rent by cheque or electronically through your bank, credit union, trust company, or cheque cashing company.
Phone or online banking payment
You may be able to pay your rent by phone or online banking. Speak to someone at your bank, credit union or trust company to find out how.
In-person payment at your Tenant Service Hub
You can visit your Tenant Service Hub and pay directly with your personal cheque, certified bank draft or debit card.
Direct payment from social assistance programs
If you receive Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), you can pay directly from one of these programs. Give your TCHC account number and address to your case worker. They can set up the direct payments.
Call us if you think you might miss or be late with a rent payment
We want to help you keep your home. If you miss rent payments, you will be in arrears. If your rent is geared-to-income, this puts you at risk of losing your subsidy. We can make special arrangements to help you if you are in hospital or have a personal emergency.
Call the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 so that your Tenant Services Coordinator or Tenant Service Hub team knows. We can work with you to create a repayment plan.
Reporting changes to your household or income
The City of Toronto and Province of Ontario set the rules for rent-geared-to-income subsidies.
Under the rules, your rent amount must be reviewed every year. However, if any of the following events occur, you must report the change to Toronto Community Housing within 30 days:
- A permanent change in your household composition, such as number of household members and/or household income;
- A household member stops being in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution;
- A member of the household begins or stops receiving social assistance, such as Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP);
- A member of the household has had their taxes reassessed; and
- A member collecting OW or ODSP has a permanent increase in income that exceeds their non-benefit income limit.
If you do not report these changes, you could be charged for back rent or lose your rent-geared-to-income subsidy, or both. Your rent would then be raised to market rent. If you have questions about reporting income or household changes, speak with your Tenant Services Coordinator.
To report any of these changes, simply complete the Household Income and Assets Review Form (PDF).
For instructions on how to show proof of household income and assets, please reference the How to show proof of household income and assets guide (PDF).
Are you or someone in your household turning 65 this year?
When you or a member of your household turn 65, you may start to receive benefits like Old Age Security or the Canada Pension Plans that affect the annual income for your household. This may affect the annual income for your household and this may affect the rent you pay each month. This process can take time so it is recommended that you start when you turn 64 in order to avoid an income gap and accumulating arrears.
If you receive a pension from another country, you need to report this income to Toronto Community Housing.
If you have questions about the Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security, information is available on the Canada Public Pensions webpage.
Market households in need of rent-geared-to-income subsidy (in situ)
What is it?
Households that are currently paying market rent and require financial assistance may be eligible for an in situ rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidy from the City of Toronto. The term "in situ" means the subsidy will applied to their current unit.
How do I qualify?
To qualify for an in situ RGI subsidy, your household must meet all of the following criteria:
- Your household has applied to the centralized waiting list administered by the City of Toronto, Access to Housing and has been notified that you are eligible;
- Your household is requesting RGI assistance in the unit where you currently live;
- Toronto Community Housing has determined that your household qualifies, under the Local Occupancy Standards set by the City of Toronto, for the unit size that you currently occupy;
- Your household has lived in a building owned by Toronto Community Housing for the last five or more consecutive years; and
- Your household is in good standing with Toronto Community Housing. This means you must have a zero balance for outstanding rent or occupancy charges, or a written repayment agreement in good standing.
How do I apply?
Talk to your Tenant Services Coordinator if you think you qualify. You will need:
- a completed City of Toronto Subsidized Housing Application;
- a completed Household Income and Assets Review form;
- proof of status documents for all household members; and
- income and assets documentation for all household members 16 years of age or older.
Note: If you already have an application with the City of Toronto, you are not required to fill out another application. Please provide your application number.
When do I get my RGI subsidy?
If approved by Toronto Community Housing, your RGI subsidy will start on the first day of the month following the month that your in situ application was approved.
If you have any questions about the in situ RGI subsidy or the application process, contact your Tenant Services Coordinator. You can also call our Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 or send an email to email@example.com.
Add someone or remove someone from your rent-geared-to-income household
If someone moves in or moves out of your unit, you must let Toronto Community Housing know within 30 days. If someone in your household gives birth to a child, you can wait to report this change until your next annual rent review.
To add someone to your household:
- Complete the Addition to Household Composition Request Form (PDF) and review the Addition to Household Composition Terms and Conditions (PDF). You can also get copies by visiting your Tenant Service Hub or by calling the Client Care Centre.
- Attach all supporting documents.
- Send or bring the information to your Tenant Service Hub.
If your request is approved:
- You may need to sign a new lease.
- Your rent will be recalculated based on your new household income.
- If a person was added to your household and was on the City of Toronto’s centralized waiting list for social housing, he or she will be removed from the list.
Some conditions must be met before another person can be added to your household. They include:
- The person must be eligible for a rent-geared-to-income subsidy.
- Adding the person must meet the City of Toronto’s occupancy standards (under the Toronto Municipal Code Property Standards section).
- Your account must be in good standing.
Please contact your Tenant Services Coordinator within 30 days of someone moving out of your home. If the person was on your lease, they will need to declare in writing that they are giving up any and all interest in the unit. You may need to sign a new lease.
Annual rent review
If you pay rent-geared-to-income, we will send you a rent review package once a year. The package includes forms that you must fill out to report the income of everyone in your household. You must complete and return these forms within 30 days. If you do not, you could lose your rent-geared-to-income subsidy.
Visit your Tenant Service Hub or call the Client Care Centre to set up an appointment if you need help completing these forms.
Documentation required for your annual rent review
Effective July 1, 2021, all household members whose income is to be included in the RGI calculation must:
1. File an Income Tax Return; and
2. Submit the Notice of Assessment to their housing provider at the time of their annual income and asset review.
The Province of Ontario has changed the requirements of the Housing Services Act, 2011. As a result, households must file an income tax return to be eligible for RGI.
A Notice of Assessment is the document the Canada Revenue Agency sends after an income tax return has been filed and verified.
For information on free tax clinics, go to https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/free-tax-help.html (opens in a new window or tab).
The City of Toronto's Rent-Geared-to- Income (RGI) Administration manual (URL opens in a new window or tab) explains what documents are needed for the annual rent review process based on each household members' employment status and income sources. Toronto Community Housing is committed to meeting that standard so that we calculate your rent accurately, help you keep your subsidy and conduct consistent, fair and thorough reviews.
The How to show proof of household income and assets guide (PDF) summarizes what documentation you need for your annual rent review.
How to request a transfer to another unit
Tenants looking to transfer to a different Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) unit will need to add themselves to the City of Toronto’s Centralized Waiting List, managed by the Access to Housing team. You may contact Access to Housing directly at 416-338-8888 or apply online at myaccesstohousingto.ca to create an account.
For crisis transfers or other priority transfers, please visit our Transfers section.
Visitor and guest policy
A visitor is any person staying in your unit who is not an approved member of your household. If you are an RGI tenant, your visitor may stay with you for a maximum of 30 days in one year. This can be 30 days in a row or 30 days over the year, but no more. This does not apply to Market rent tenants.
If you are an RGI tenant and someone is staying with you for more than 30 days, they could be considered a member of your household. That may affect your rent.
If there is a special case and you need to have a visitor stay with you for more than 30 days (for example, when short-term medical care or services are needed) you must get approval from the Supervisor of Tenancy Management for your region. Without approval, you may be at risk of losing your rent-geared-to-income subsidy
If Toronto Community Housing learns that you have a visitor living with you for longer than 30 days, without approval, we will investigate. If your guest is not a special case, you may lose your rent-geared-to-income subsidy.
To learn more about special cases or to get a copy of the Visitor and Guest Policy, call the Client Care Centre or visit your Tenant Service Hub.
Request for Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) review
Use the Toronto Community Housing Request for Review Form (PDF) to ask for a review of any of the following rent-geared-to-income (RGI) decisions:
- Amount of rent payable
- Size and type of unit that a household is eligible for
- Eligibility for accessible housing
Your Tenant Services Coordinator must receive your request in writing within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Decision letter (the due date is on the letter).
Use the City of Toronto Request for Review Form (PDF) to ask for a review of loss of eligibility (subsidy) for RGI assistance decisions. The link opens in a new window or tab.
Requests for review of loss of eligibility must be mailed, emailed or faxed within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Decision letter. Do not drop them off in person.
City of Toronto, Housing Stability Services
Attention: Review Body
55 John Street, 6th floor
Toronto, ON M5V 3C6
Absences of 90 days or more
For a household paying rent-geared-to-income in Toronto, the maximum number of days that all members of the household can be “absent” or not living in their unit while continuing to receive a rent-geared-to-income subsidy is 90 days. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- This rule only applies if all members of your household are away at the same time.
- Short absences of up to seven days in a row or fewer are not counted toward the 90-day limit within a 12-month period.
Please tell us if you are in hospital, in rehabilitation, incarcerated, awaiting trial or have documentation to support another valid reason for being away from your unit longer than 90 days.
To learn more, call the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 or visit your Tenant Service Hub.
Disclosure of personal information
There are laws that protect your right to privacy. Landlords must follow strict rules when they collect, use and share your personal information.
If you pay rent-geared-to-income:
Toronto Community Housing is required to collect personal information about your household members to determine if you are eligible for rent-geared-to-income subsidy and to calculate your rent.
Toronto Community Housing also has the authority to collect and keep information about your tenancy and housing subsidy under the Housing Services Act, 2011 and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990.
For more information on how we collect, use and share your personal information, visit the Collection and use of personal information webpage.
If you want someone to speak on your behalf about your lease, you must fill out a Consent to Disclose Information Form (PDF) to give us permission to share information about your tenancy. You can do this online, in person at your Tenant Hub or by calling the Client Care Centre.
All TCHC tenants
If you fill out the Emergency Contact and Special Assistance Information form (PDF) as part of the Self-ID process, this information is added to your building’s Fire Safety Plan. Only first responders and TCHC site staff can access this information. It will be used in emergency situations only, including building evacuations, to make sure you or members of your household get the help you need.
Eviction means that a tenant and their household are required by legal means to leave their unit.
Eviction is a last resort.
Toronto Community Housing does not want to evict its tenants. Our Eviction Prevention Policy and Policy on Eviction for Cause are included in the package you receive when you sign your lease. You can also contact your Tenant Services Hub for a copy.
Before evicting, we work with tenants, community supports, and service agencies to keep tenants housed and ensure that rent is paid.
The reasons why a tenant can be evicted are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act. Some of the reasons a tenant can be evicted are noted below.
Non-payment of rent
You can be evicted if you:
- do not pay your rent.
- do not pay your rent in full.
- pay your rent late too often (unless you have made a special arrangement with a Tenant Services Coordinator).
Please contact your Tenant Services Coordinator if you cannot pay your rent. We are committed to working with you to keep you housed.
You can be evicted if you:
- damage any TCHC property.
- damage your unit or your building.
- damage life safety equipment, like alarms.
You can be evicted if you:
- threaten the safety of others.
- create a hazard that is a danger to yourself, a neighbour, or staff.
You can be evicted if you:
- act in a way that interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or staff.
- break the law on Toronto Community Housing property.
You can also be evicted if your guests behave in a way that breaks the law or interferes with other tenants.
You can be evicted if you:
- allow too many people to live in your unit (breaking occupancy standards).
- have too many pets.
- sublet (rent out) your unit.
You can be evicted if you:
- do major repairs yourself or renovate your unit without written permission from TCHC.
- damage or change the structure of your unit, such as installing a wall-mount unit for the television.
Reporting for rent-geared-to-income
You can be evicted if you:
- do not report your true income.
- do not report the true income of anyone else living with you while you pay rent-geared-to-income.
- do not submit the required documents for the Annual Rent Review as per RGI requirement.
- violate the terms of your lease.
- own property, like another home, and fail to sell or transfer ownership within six months.
Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity
The Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity (OCHE) is an arms-length accountability office for Toronto Community Housing. The OCHE offers support through case management to any tenant who has lost their subsidy or faces possible eviction for not paying rent. The OCHE audits the application of TCHC’s Arrears Collection Process, Eviction Prevention Policy and the Loss of Subsidy Process.
OCHE is independent of Toronto Community Housing (the Commissioner reports to the TCHC Board of Directors). It is guided by the principles of integrity, impartiality, and independence.
You can contact the Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 416-632-7999 or on the OCHE website.
Free legal help—community clinics
Community Legal Clinics provide free legal advice and representation to people in their communities. Legal clinics may assist with tenancy problems and with other problems, for example problems with Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program benefits. You can find your local community legal clinic using the Legal Aid Ontario website or in the Services and Supports Directory.
Our leasing package (PDF) has important information about tenants' rights and responsibilities, contact information, and everything new tenants need to know when they move into Toronto Community Housing. Tenants will get this package when they meet with a Tenant Services Coordinator to sign a lease.
If you or someone you know has questions about their lease, please call Toronto Community Housing at 416-981-5500. We will put you in a touch with a Tenant Services Coordinator or Property Administrator who can help.
We have created a video that introduces new tenants to Toronto Community Housing and explains their main rental responsibilities.