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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100996
Experience:  Lawyer
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Can my landlord charge me a convenience fee to pay my rent

Customer Question

Can my landlord charge me a convenience fee to pay my rent online?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Did you agree to this when you signed the lease?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It was in the lease, yes. I am in Ontario in case that matters.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

If you agreed to it then it is lawful.

If it was not in the lease but then the landlord tried to charge an additional fee this would be a rent increase and only lawful if it was done after the right time etc.

But if you agreed to pay this then it is really part of the rent and is lawful.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But in my research on this I found a section of the RTA that seems to prohibit these types of fees. Why is this different?
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

I know there are illegal additional charges but I don't see how this fits in. Can you please provide me with the provision you are considering?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Section 134 of the RTA seems to say that additional charges of any kind are not allowed. I am suggesting this fee is such a charge since it only applies if I pay online not by cheque.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

This type of fee is not in the same category as the illegal fees. The illegal fees are things that benefit the landlord in improper ways such as inducing the tenant to give the landlord more money than what he/she is entitled to for rent. So the act is meant to protect the tenant from having to be induced or tricked into letting the landlord benefit unfairly.

The fee that he is charging is up front and clear and is set out so that you understand that it is in addition to basic rent, and it is voluntary in the sense that you do not have to pay your rent this way. However, it would make sense for you to also get an opinion from the staff at the landlord tenant board, so you can call them tomorrow and run the facts by them and see what you are told.