Residential tenancy agreements, also known as leases, are the legal foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship.
In Yukon, a Canadian territory, tenancy agreements are governed by the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (RLTA). Landlords and tenants must be familiar with these laws to avoid legal issues. This blog post provides a comprehensive summary of Yukon’s residential tenancy laws.
Required Residential Tenancy Agreement Terms
A tenancy agreement in Yukon must include certain essential terms, which are outlined in the RLTA. These terms include:
- Legal names of the landlord and tenant
- Address for service and telephone number of the landlord or landlord's agent
- Emergency contact telephone number for the tenant
- Address of the rental unit
- Date the tenancy agreement is entered into and the date when the tenancy starts
- Type of tenancy (e.g., fixed-term or periodic)
- If the tenancy is for a fixed-term, the lease must also specify the date when the tenancy ends
- Whether the tenancy may continue after the end date as a fixed-term or periodic tenancy
- Amount of rent and when it is due, any changes in rent with the number of occupants
- List of services and facilities included in the rent
- Amount of security deposit and due date
- Signatures of both the landlord and tenant
Common Additional Rules
In addition to the required tenancy agreement terms, many lease agreements include standard terms that are consistent with the RLTA and its regulations.
Common terms landlords add include limitations on subletting, explaining the landlord’s right of entry, explaining maintenance requirements, and more.
Many rules landlords include in leases are actually summaries of the laws in the RLTA. For example, landlords must provide notice to enter a rental property even if the lease does not state it. Nevertheless, including common terms in the lease helps communicate expectations to the tenants.
Security Deposits for Rentals in Yukon
Maximum Security Deposit
Under the RLTA, landlords in Yukon are only allowed to ask tenants to pay a security deposit at the start of the tenancy. The maximum amount for a security deposit is the first month's rent, except for weekly tenancies where it is limited to the first week's rent. Landlords can only ask for one security deposit per tenancy agreement, regardless of the number of tenants.
Failing to Pay the Security Deposit
The landlord can evict the tenant with 14-days notice if the tenant does not pay the security deposit within 30-days of moving in.
Returning the Security Deposit
The landlord must return the security deposit within 15 days after the tenant moves out of the unit.
The landlord can only keep part of the security deposit with the tenant’s consent or with an order from the Residential Tenancies Office.
Rental Property Maintenance Laws
Condition Inspection Reports
A condition inspection report must be completed before the tenant moves in and when the tenant moves out. This report records the rental unit's condition and identifies any existing damage or issues. The Government of Yukon advises for both parties to complete the inspection together and sign the report. Failure to carry out the inspection can lead to the loss of the security deposit or an inability to claim against it in case of disputes.
The Government of Yukon provides a free condition inspection report form online. Landlords and tenants may use their own inspection form as long as it meets the RLTA's requirements.
Minimum Rental Standards
Yukon's RLTA requires landlords to maintain rental properties to certain minimum standards. These standards vary depending on factors such as the property's age, location, services provided, and facilities.
- provide surface water drainage,
- maintain outbuildings and structures,
- ensure safe passages such as walks and parking areas,
- keep yards clean and free from hazards,
- provide safe porches, stairs, and balconies,
- maintain exterior walls and roofs,
- and ensure adequate heating, plumbing, and water supply systems.
Maintaining the Unit
Landlords and tenants have a duty to inform each other about any issues regarding the rental unit.
Tenants must repair any damage they cause, maintain the rental unit in a reasonable condition, and report any necessary repairs to the landlord. Tenants reporting issues early helps prevent the maintenance from becoming a larger problem later.
If the landlord does not respond to the tenant’s calls during an emergency, the tenant can repair the damage themselves and request reimbursement from the landlord afterwards.
Yukon Rent Laws
Paying the Rent
Rent must be paid in full and on time, the particular date will be included in the tenancy agreement. Failure to pay rent can result in the tenant’s eviction. It is advisable for tenants to use traceable forms of payment, such as cheques, to have documented proof of rent payments.
Rent increases in Yukon are limited to whichever is lower: 5% or the Consumer Price Index.
The Consumer Price Index measures inflation. In a typical year, inflation is 2% and that would be the maximum rent increase. In 2022, the CPI in Yukon was 6.8 percent. As a result, in 2023, landlords in Yukon are allowed to increase residential rents by up to 5 percent.
Landlords must provide written notice to tenants at least two full rental months before the proposed rent increase for monthly tenancies. For yearly and weekly tenancies, the notice periods are three full rental months and one full rental week, respectively. Landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months, except for exceptional authorized reasons.
Landlords Accessing Rental Unit
The RLTA establishes a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment, which includes reasonable privacy, freedom from disturbance, exclusive possession of the unit, and use of common areas without significant interference. Landlords must not unreasonably interfere with the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment, and tenants can apply for dispute resolution if their quiet enjoyment is breached.
A landlord must not restrict a tenant's access to the rental unit, while tenants must allow landlords reasonable access for specific reasons, such as repairs or inspections. The RLTA sets out the requirements for notice and methods of serving notice for both parties.
Changing locks without the other party's written permission is not allowed unless the landlord obtains an order from the Residential Tenancies Office. Landlords must provide tenants with keys or access devices to the rental unit, and tenants must return the keys when they move out.
Subletting or Assigning a Tenancy
Subletting and assigning a tenancy are two options for tenants who cannot or no longer wish to fulfill their contractual obligations. A sublet occurs when the original tenant rents out the rental unit to a new tenant, while an assignment is when the original tenant transfers their tenancy to a new tenant. Both subletting and assigning require the landlord's written consent, and tenants must comply with the RLTA's specific rules and regulations.
Ending a Residential Tenancy Agreement
Tenants Moving Out
Tenants need to provide the landlords with written notice. In most cases, emailing or texting the landlord is enough to create a written notice. The length of notice the tenant must provide before moving out depends on the length of the tenancy.
The tenant must move out by 1:00 pm on the last day of their lease. The time is chosen to allow landlords time to clean and inspect the unit before the next tenant moves in.
Evicting a Tenant
The laws protecting tenants are strictly enforced. Landlords need permission from the Residential Tenancies Office to evict a tenant. After a landlord has an order to evict the tenant, the landlord will need to provide the eviction notice in person or by email using specific methods outlined by the RLTA. Failure to provide the required notice results in legal consequences.
Residential Tenancy Agreement Template
LegalDeeds, founded in 1999, offers a Yukon residential tenancy agreement template. LegalDeeds is A+ BBB accredited and has decades of experience helping landlords write lease agreements. Simply answer a few questions on LegalDeeds.com then download your lease agreement as a PDF. You can even preview your residential tenancy agreement for free before ordering! Writing your lease agreement with LegalDeeds helps you comply with Yukon’s laws at an affordable price.
The Government of Yukon wrote a Residential Landlord and Tenant Handbook if you need more details than this guide can provide.