Every tenant has the right to a home that as well maintained, in a building that is clean and safe.
Maintenance and repairs
Your landlord is responsible for their maintenance and repairs of your rented home. This includes things that came with your place, such as appliances, and it includes common areas, such as parking lots, elevators, and hallways.
This means that your landlord must fix or replace anything that is in bad condition or does not work properly. It does not matter if your lease or rental agreement says something different or if you knew about the problem when you agreed to rent the plays. The law says your landlord is responsible.
But, if you or your guests break anything on purpose or by being careless, usually you must fix it or pay you for the repair.
Your landlord must also clean and maintain the common areas. These are areas both inside and outside a building that are not part of tenants’ apartments. For example, your landlord must:
- keep halls, elevators, stairways, and lobbies clean,
- Keep laundry and garbage world’s clean,
- pick up garbage outside the building,
- cut the lawn, and
- Shovel snow and keep ice off the driveways and sidewalks.
It is up to you to keep your own apartments for rental unit clean unless your lease or rental agreement says your landlord will do it.
If you read the whole house, the law is not clear about who is responsible for a tour work like lawn mowing and stole shovelling.
Cockroaches, mice, were other pests
If you have a problem with cockroaches, bedbugs, mice, or other pests, your landlord must take the steps to get rid of them and to stop them from getting in.
Your landlord must give you enough heat in winter. Usually, this means there must be enough to keep your apartment at least 20° C from September to June. The rules about this are slightly different for different places in Ontario.
But you can call your town or city hall or municipal office to find out what the standards are where you live.
If there are no local standards where you live, you can call Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) at 1-(888)-772-9277. The IEU’s website address is www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu.
Utilities and other vital services
Your landlord is not allowed to cut off or interfere with any vital services. This includes things like your supply of water, electricity, or heater. It also includes food or Care Services if you get these from your landlord or another service provider.
What can you do to get things fixed?
Tell your landlord
First, talk to your landlord about what is wrong and asked to have it fixed. Keep notes for yourself about when you talk to your landlord and what you talk about. It is sometimes helpful to take photos of the problem and put a date on them.
If your landlord is not fixing the problem soon, write a letter asking your landlord to do the repair. Make sure you keep a copy for herself. Or, if your landlord has a form for repair requests, to one out and keep a copy.
Usually, it is safe to keep paying your rent while you’re trying to get your landlord to deal with repair problems. If you do not pay all your rent for any reason, your landlord can try to have you evicted.
Ask your neighbours
Find out if other tenants in your building have similar problems. You might be able to get more done that if you work together, especially if the problems are in common areas.
Call a government inspector
If your landlord does not fix the problem, you can call your local property standards or by-law department, your town or city hall, municipal office, or local councillor. Many cities, towns, and municipalities have inspectors who can order your landlord to make repairs or to clean up your building.
Applied to the landlord and tenant Board
If your landlord does not fix the problem, you can apply to the landlord and tenant board. The board is like a special court that decides disputes between tenants and landlords.
When you apply, the board will schedule a hearing where you and your landlord can each present your case to a member of the board.
It is up to you to convince the board member about the problem. It is very important to bring evidence to your hearing, for example, witnesses, photos, audio or video recordings, inspector’s reports, work orders, letters, or anything else that can help you prove your case to the board member. You might want to make notes and take them to the hearing so that you can remember everything you want to say.
If the board agrees that there is a problem, the board court orders your landlord to:
- Do any needed repairs or maintenance,
- Not raise your rent until the repairs are done,
- Give you back some of your rent for the time and repairs are not down,
- Pay you back if you had to pay for repairs or do them yourself,
- Pay to fix or replace any of your property that was damaged because of repair problems, or
- Pay any weasel expenses that you had because of the repair problem, for example, if you had to eat in restaurants because your fridge or store was broken.
You can also ask the board to let you move out without giving proper notice if the conditions are very bad. The board can also make any other orders that it thinks is reasonable.
It is best if you apply to the Board within one year of noticing the problem. In some cases, you might be able to apply later than this.
You can apply to the board even if the problem has already been fixed or if you have moved out.
A community legal clinic or lawyer can help you apply to the word. See the section below for information about getting legal help.
The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) has a tip sheet called application about maintenance. It explains how to fill out the application form and prepare for a hearing with the board. To find the tip sheet online, go to http://www.acto.ca and click on the “Tenant Info”.
There is a $45.00 fee to apply to the work. If you win your case you might get this money back from your landlord. If you have a low income you can ask the work not to charge you a fee. To do this, you will be to fill out the fee waiver request form. You can ask the board to send you this form, or download it from the words website. Go to www.ltb.gov.on.ca and click on “Other Forms”.
Where to get help
If you are a tenant with a low income, contact the community legal clinic four free legal help. To find a legal clinic that serves your area you can go to www.yourlegalrights.on.ca and click on “Service” at the top of the page. You can also go to the Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) website at www.legalaid.on.ca or call Legal Aid Ontario at:
Toll-free.….………………………………………………………………….. 1-(800) 668 8258
Toronto area……………………………………………………………………. (416)-979-1446
Toll-free TTY………………………………………………………………… 1-(866)-641-8867
Toronto area TTY…………………………………………………………… (416)-598-8867
You can contact the landlord and tenant word for application forms and for general information about landlord and tenant issues. The board cannot give you a legal advice.
The board’s website address is www.ltb.gov.on.ca. You can call the board at 1-(888)-332-3234 or 416-645-8080.
The investigation and enforcement unit (IEU) is a provincial government office set up to help make sure that:
- Landlords and tenants follow the Residential Tenancies Act, and
- Landlords called provincial maintenance standards he and places where there are no legal standards.
You can call the IEU at 1-(888)-772-9277 or visit their website at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu.