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Care homes

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Tenancy agreements

Care home landlords must give each tenant a written tenancy agreement. Sometimes this is called a lease. A tenancy agreement is a contract that gives you the right to live in a place.

What should I do before I sign a tenancy agreement?

Before you sign, you should carefully read both the tenancy agreement and the Care Home Information Package. If you are unsure about anything in the Information Package or in the tenancy agreement, it is important to get legal advice. A community legal clinic or lawyer can help you decide if you want to sign the agreement as it is or try to change it first.

I have already signed a tenancy agreement. Can I change my mind?

Yes, after you sign an agreement you have 5 days to cancel it. If you want to cancel your agreement, you must tell your landlord this in writing within 5 days. If the 5 days have passed and you want to cancel the agreement, it is important to get legal help right away.

You can also end your tenancy agreement at any time by giving 30 days’ notice in writing. See What if I decide to move out? for more information.

I already live in a care home. Do I have to sign a tenancy agreement?

Yes. If you do not already have a written agreement, you do have to sign one. But if the written agreement is different from the arrangement you have now, you do not have to agree to the changes.

For example, you do not have to agree to new house rules or a different amount of rent.

Before you sign, have your landlord change the agreement back to what you had already arranged.

It is important to get legal advice if your landlord wants things in the agreement that you do not like, or that you are not sure about.

My landlord will not give me a written tenancy agreement. What should I do?

Your landlord may not want to give you a tenancy agreement. And, your landlord may say that you are not covered by the laws that protect tenants. Do not just accept what your landlord says.

You can contact a community legal clinic or a lawyer to find out what your rights are. They may be able to help you make your landlord give you a written tenancy agreement.

What does a tenancy agreement include?

The written tenancy agreement must include:

  • the amount of your rent, not including services and meals
  • when you must pay your rent, for example, weekly or monthly
  • a list of all of the care services and meals you must pay for and the cost of each of them
  • the length of time the agreement is for
  • a statement that says you have the right to discuss the agreement with anyone, and to cancel it within 5 days

The tenancy agreement can include other things you and your landlord agree to. For example:

  • house rules, as long as they do not take away your rights as a tenant
  • limits on renting your room to someone else

Your tenancy agreement can also say that your landlord may enter your room or apartment to do cleaning or repairs, or to check on your condition. If you agree to have someone check on your condition, you have the right to change this at any time by telling your landlord this in writing. But if you agree that your landlord can enter your room or apartment for other reasons, you cannot change this later, unless your landlord also agrees.

What if I decide to move out?

You can end your tenancy agreement at any time as long as you give the proper notice. This is true even if the agreement is for a certain length of time, such as a year, and that time is not up yet. Also, the date your tenancy ends does not have to be the last day of a month. It can be any day.

To give proper notice, you must tell your landlord in writing what date you want your tenancy to end. You should use the form called Tenant's Notice to End the Tenancy (Form N9) which you can get from the Landlord and Tenant Board. For contact information for the Board see, How to contact the Landlord and Tenant Board.

You must give your landlord this notice at least 30 days before the date that you want your tenancy to end. The day after you give the landlord the notice counts as the first day of this 30‑day period.

If you give proper notice, you do not have to pay rent for any time after the day your tenancy ends. If you move out sooner and a new tenant rents your place, the landlord cannot charge you for the days that the new tenant has the right to live there.

After you give proper notice to end your tenancy, you can cancel meals and services before your tenancy ends by giving 10 days' notice to your landlord.