Landlord Duties

LANDLORD AND TENANT: LANDLORD DUTIES

Renting a home to tenants in Ontario comes with many responsibilities for landlords that described in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The Act covers all aspects of Landlord-Tenant relationships:

  • the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • the procedures of resolving disputes between landlords and tenants through either mediation or adjudication
  • the rules for rent increases in most residential rental units and procedures to enforce these rules
  • the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board

Landlord’s responsibilities to provide with copies of documents

The landlord and tenant can sign a written rental agreement or they can have an oral agreement. The landlord must:

  • give the tenant a copy of written tenancy agreement within 21 days after the day the agreement was signed
  • provide with the landlord’s legal name and address within 21 days after tenancy begins, so that the tenant can give the landlord any necessary notices or documents
  • whether it is a written or oral lease, provide new tenants with information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and about the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board in a form approved by the Board. The Landlord and Tenant Board has a two-page brochure that landlords should use for this purpose

Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs

A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. The landlord is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the common or shared areas of the building, such as hallways and yards; and also – for removing snow from driveways, walkways, etc. A tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board if the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations. If the Landlord and Tenant Board agrees that the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations, there are a number of remedies the Landlord and Tenant Board can order.

Landlord’s responsibility to provide with vital services

A landlord cannot shut off or deliberately interfere with the supply of vital services, or care service, or food that the landlord must provide under a tenancy agreement.  However, the landlord is allowed to shut-off services temporarily if this is necessary for maintenance or to make repairs. The landlord is not allowed to cut vital services as a result of non-payment of rent.

The vital services are the following:

  • heat (from September 1st to June 15th: during this period, the minimum temperature is 20oC)
  • electricity
  • fuel (such as natural gas or oil)
  • hot or cold water

Landlord not to interfere with reasonable enjoyment

A landlord shall not at any time during a tenant’s occupancy of a rental unit and before the day on which an order evicting the tenant is executed substantially interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit or the residential complex in which it is located for all usual purposes by a tenant or members of his or her household.

Landlord is not allowed to harass

A landlord shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a tenant.

Changing locks

A landlord shall not alter the locking system on a door giving entry to a rental unit or residential complex or cause the locking system to be altered during the tenant’s occupancy of the rental unit without giving the tenant replacement keys. A landlord cannot lock a tenant out of their rental unit unless the landlord has an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Sheriff comes to the rental unit to enforce it.

Privacy

In Canada, every individual has a right for privacy which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Privacy Act and other laws. According to the law, a landlord has to provide a tenant with their privacy. A landlord is not allowed to enter a rental unite without written notice. The landlord may enter a rental unit in accordance with written notice given to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry.

Entry without notice

A landlord may enter a rental unit without written notice:

  • in cases of emergency at any time
  • if the tenant consents to the entry at the time of entry
  • to clean the rental unit if the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean the rental unit at regular intervals and
  • the landlord enters the unit at the times specified in the tenancy agreement
  • if no times are specified, the landlord enters the unit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • to show the unit to prospective tenants (before entering, the landlord informs or makes a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the intention to do so)

Landlord is not allowed to take tenant’s personal property

If a tenant damages the landlord’s property or does not pay rent still living in a rental unit, a landlord cannot take tenant’s personal property.

Do not forget, as a landlord, you also have rights!

If you think that your rights have been violated, do not wait. Act fast! Do you know that you have to wait minimum 14 days after serving a notice of termination to your tenant prior to filing the application to terminate the tenancy? It can take up to 4 months from the time notice is served, until the Sheriff shows up to enforce the eviction. Often, it is not about money. In most cases, a landlord is happy enough to get the tenant out of their property. As a landlord you should remember, that at Landlord and Tenant Board you will not be provided with any legal advice. Contact CP Paralegal Services as soon as rent is late, and we will prepare the proper notice for you and fight for your rights.

CP Paralegal Services can give you an advice on all residential tenancy matters or represent you at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board.

We are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and can ensure you are in compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act.