Across Ontario, many post-secondary students have been living at home and studying online. The COVID-19 pandemic forced universities and colleges to close, and many students continue to pay rent for vacant rooms or homes.
Benjamin Ries, Housing Lawyer, University of Toronto was a guest on the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS. He said this is something he has noticed since the pandemic was at its peak in Ontario.
"Ever since the one week period where most colleges and universities said to students you can't be on campus."
If a student decides to abandon their lease agreement, the responsibility is on the landlord. "To pursue the tenant, and or their parents for what they call perspective rent, rent for the rest of the lease term," mentions Ries.
If this were to happen, and a student (or any tenant) decides to walk away from a lease, for the landlord to be entitled to the remaining rent they must demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to try and first find a new tenant.
"They put up an advertisement for a room, they looked around, and yet they weren't able to find anybody that's the only point in which legally they're supposed to be able to pay out the rest of the lease," said Ries.
If a student or their family decided to pay rent in advance for upcoming months, and they want the money back, Ries added there is an application process where they can meet with the Landlord and Tenant Board.
"They can go to the board and say 'I want that money back because I don't think my tenancy should have continued."