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Is it legal for a business to refuse to give you a receipt when you pay them?

For example a property management company refused to give someone a receipt for rent because they had not yet signed a lease but they have been living there and have paid rent (which the property management company accepted).

Also, if a person initially doesn't ask for a receipt, and comes back later, can they say it's too late to give them the receipt?

  • If there were a hard law about needing to provide receipts to avoid penalties, companies would be foolish not to require a receipt from you, since they would then have no proof they had complied with the law and could open themselves up to penalties. And so forth and so on. It would take a lot of paper to consistently enforce the law. – Patrick87 Oct 1 '15 at 20:55
  • In your example I'd expect that it would be legal for them to not give you a receipt that states they received rent from you (because the fact that you paid rent might give you legal rights that you otherwise wouldn't have), but I'm quite sure they should give you a receipt that states they received money from you. And even if you owed them money, it would entirely reasonable to not hand it over unless you get a receipt stating you handed over the money. Apart from that, if you paid, got no receipt, and they later claim you didn't pay, that would be fraud. – gnasher729 Oct 2 '15 at 0:29
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The answer that follows addresses the general question. It's pointed out in other answers and comments that specific laws govern rental payments in Canada. There are surely other exceptions coded in laws around the world. As a reminder, if you require legal advice specific to your situation, it is off-topic for this site and you should not act on the any advice received here - even if the person giving it claims to be an expert, which I certainly don't.

Is it legal for a business to refuse to give you a receipt when you pay them?

I assume this is legal as long as there is no agreement which stipulates that they must give you a receipt upon payment.

Also, if a person initially doesn't ask for a receipt, and comes back later, can they say it's too late to give them the receipt?

I assume they are always free to refuse unless there Is an agreement which stipulates they must give you a receipt for previous payments.

A few notes:

  • If you are paying by check, it might be possible to get pictures of the check (front and back) after it has been checked and the funds drawn from your account. You might contact your banking institution if you pay by paper check.

  • If you pay by check but don't get pictures, or if you pay by credit or debit card or by electronic funds transfer, you can probably get a statement showing the date and amount of the payment, and possible a confirmation number or entity as well. You can keep this information and, if you need proof of payment later, you can always get your bank to corroborate your story based on its records.

  • If there is no formal written agreement ahead of time, you have significant leverage in asking for a receipt in the form of not paying unless they agree to provide a receipt. Evicting tenants is a dreadfully tedious business and they will probably be happy to just do it to shut you up. Presented with a tenant who will happily pay the rent if given a receipt but who will require that you file eviction proceedings, go to court, etc. - only to get the payment to which they are otherwise entitled once they're done - I find it hard to believe they will refuse unless they really don't want a paper trail. And then they aren't going to want to go to court anyway. (Note: you might avoid this if you have a break-the-legs kind of no-receipts landlord).

To reiterate: I am not a lawyer. I am not your lawyer. I have never even been to Canada.

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    @Yuv I added a section to the front clarifying the rest of the answer may not apply to any specific circumstance, such as the example suggested. On the other hand - your suggestion that the answer should not have been posted, and your claiming to be a real lawyer, are inappropriate for this site. If the answer is wrong, down-vote it. People post wrong answers to these sites all the time. Having down voted wrong answers is a good thing. – Patrick87 Aug 16 '17 at 23:55
  • (A) I am not "claiming" to be a real lawyer. You can verify me by searching for Yuval Levy on <www2.lsuc.on.ca/LawyerParalegalDirectory/loadSearchPage.do>; (B) posted wrong answers are not a justification for posting more wrong answers. The problem are not wrong answers. The problem are self-proclaimed experts that do not limit their answers to their area of expertise. In your case you even admit lack of expertise and lack of experience, so why bother? – Yuv Aug 17 '17 at 20:32
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    @Yuv (A) Whether you happen to actually be a lawyer is immaterial; the point is, there is no practical way to background check Internet strangers, so people should never rely on such claims (or bother trying to check). It is the policy of this site that if you want legal advice from a real lawyer, find a real lawyer in real life. This is not controversial. (B) Posting wrong answers is a fundamental part of StackExchange sites. If it weren't, there would be no downvoting, just flagging for removal. Again, this is not controversial on SE network sites. – Patrick87 Aug 17 '17 at 20:54
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The advice provided here is completely WRONG. Especially in the context of rental payments, a landlord is legally obliged to give you receipts upon request. It is illegal for them to refuse. And you can ask for receipts retroactively.

If the landlord refuses, to resolve this would probably require you to go to the provincial rental board, which takes time and possibly some fees - which you can recover at the end of the process.

BTW, I am a landlord in Ontario.

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    This answer would be very useful if you could cite the law or regulation that asserts what you are saying. – feetwet Jun 1 '16 at 0:36
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    Not all advice provided is completely WRONG, including yours. When criticizing, make sure to refer exactly what you are criticizing. – Yuv Aug 16 '17 at 17:35
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I am an Ontario-licensed lawyer. The following is a general information about the law and not specific legal advice. You are not my client and I have not given you advice related to your circumstances.

First, even when you ask a generic question, define the jurisdiction of interest. For the purpose of your question, Canada is a collection of different jurisdictions with different rules. My answer relates to Ontario, Canada. Other Canadian jurisdictions have different rules.

The Law

The applicable Section 109 of Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act http://canlii.ca/t/33p is reproduced below for your convenience. EMPHASES MINE.

Receipt for payment

109 (1) A landlord shall provide FREE OF CHARGE to a tenant or former tenant, on request, a receipt for the payment of any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent or any other amount paid to the landlord. 2006, c. 17, s. 109 (1).

Former tenant

(2) Subsection (1) applies to a request by a FORMER TENANT only if the request is made within 12 months after the tenancy terminated. 2006, c. 17, s. 109 (2).

Regulation

Ontario Regulation 516/06 http://canlii.ca/t/sjx dictates minimal form:

Receipt

  1. A document constitutes a receipt for the purposes of section 109 of the Act if it includes, at a minimum,

(a) the address of the rental unit to which the receipt applies;

(b) the name of the tenants to whom the receipt applies;

(c) the amount and date for each payment received for any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent, or any other amount paid to the landlord and shall specify what the payment was for;

(d) the name of the landlord of the rental unit; and

(e) the signature of the landlord or the landlord’s authorized agent. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 9.

Landlord Compliance

  • A good landlord will provide receipts immediately upon payment, and keep a copy.
  • An very good landlord will provide additionally a summary of payments for the year, in tabulated form, and keep a copy of the yearly receipt instead of the multiple receipts for each payment.
  • An excellent landlord will keep the tabulated information in a computer system and will issue a receipt for the whole tenancy period on termination. Keep a copy.

Tenant's Application

  • Having responded to a single example that is very particular to the landlord-tenant relationship and legislation, you do not address the general case of a business declining to give a receipt such as a retail store purchase. – Nij Aug 16 '17 at 19:30
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    The question is tagged Canada, real-estate, receipt. If you want an answer about a receipt for a commercial supply at a retail store, ask a different question. – Yuv Aug 17 '17 at 20:24
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A health food store called Sunshine Natural Market, at Ossington and College St. in Toronto informed me that they will no longer be providing paper receipts to customers --ever.

I mentioned this to an agent of the T.D. bank and this agent told me that it is illegal for a store to do this.

Logically, they could commit many crimes, even accidentally, if they refuse receipts.

protected by BlueDogRanch May 16 at 16:24

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