Rental agreements

2. Tenancy agreements

When one person rents a unit to another, they have a tenancy agreement even if nothing is written down. A fixed-term tenancy agreement is also sometimes known as a lease. A tenancy agreement is made between a landlord and tenant permitting the tenant to live in a rental unit in exchange for paying rent on a date and in an amount that both parties agree to.

An oral agreement means that the agreement is just spoken. Some agreements are implied agreements. The terms are determined by the actions of both parties. Tenancy agreements are serious and can be complicated, so it is best to have a written agreement. With a written agreement there is no confusion about what was agreed to.

A sample tenancy agreement is in the regulations. It includes all of the things that need to be in a tenancy agreement in the NWT. Even if you don’t use this document, everything in it and in the Act will be “read into” your agreement if there are any problems. For example, you might not agree that the landlord will make sure the property is secure, but if the rental officer needs to make a decision about this issue, he or she will assume that this is the landlord’s responsibility. You can use the tenancy agreement in the regulations to avoid this problem. (s.9 and 10)

If there is a written tenancy agreement, the landlord has to give a copy of it to the tenant within 60 days. If the landlord doesn’t do this, the tenant can pay the rent to the rental officer until he or she gets a copy of the agreement. When the landlord has given the agreement to the tenant, he or she can get the rent from the rental officer. (s.11)

Types of tenancy agreements

There is no end date for the agreement. In these cases, the tenant can end the tenancy on the last day of the tenancy period by giving the landlord notice in writing. For a weekly tenancy, the tenant needs to give seven days’ notice. For a monthly tenancy, the tenant needs to give thirty days’ notice.
A fixed-term tenancy ends on a certain date. The tenant can end it on that day by giving the landlord thirty days’ notice. Most term tenancies automatically renew themselves unless the tenant decides to end it.

Sometimes the agreement doesn’t make it totally clear when it starts. In these cases, the agreement starts on the date that the tenant is allowed to occupy the unit. (s.2(4))

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