Maintenance Standards

LANDLORD AND TENANT: MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS

Renting a home to tenants in Ontario comes with many responsibilities for landlords that described in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The Act has rules about the maintenance and repair of rental properties. These rules apply to all rental agreements, even if the agreement is not in writing, or it conflicts with the rules under the Act, or the rental property was not in good condition and the tenant agreed to rent it anyway.

Some rental housings are not covered by the Act. For example, places those are supposed to be used for business, place where a tenant shares a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or a close family member of the owner, and some types of temporary or seasonal housing.

In Ontario, every tenant has the right for a well maintained, clean and safe home.

Ontario Maintenance Standards

Many communities in Ontario have bylaws that set minimum standards for the upkeep and maintenance of a rental property. A landlord must maintain a rental property to the minimum standards set in the bylaws.

Some communities do not have municipal bylaws. In those areas, the landlord must follow the provincial Maintenance Standards set out in the regulations under the Residential Tenancies Act. The Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing enforces the provincial maintenance standards. The landlord must follow all fire safety laws.

The local municipal government may inspect the property for any bylaw violations and issue a notice of violation or a municipal work order that requires the landlord to make repairs by a deadline. If the landlord does not do the repairs, the local municipal government can take the landlord to court for not following the bylaw, do the work and add the cost to the landlord’s property taxes, or do both these things.

The Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing may arrange for an inspection of the property for any maintenance standard violations, and issue a provincial work order that requires the landlord to make repairs by a deadline. It is an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act to disobey a provincial work order.

Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs

Good state of rental unit

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. All things that the landlord provides to the tenant must be kept in working order. This could include items such as:

  • electrical, plumbing or heating systems,
  • appliances,
  • carpets in the unit or common areas,
  • walls, roofs, ceilings,
  • windows, doors, locks, lighting,
  • garages, laundry rooms, patios, walkways or pools.

Repairs

The landlord must fix or replace anything that is in bad condition or does not work properly. If something no longer works because of normal “wear and tear,” the landlord must repair or replace it. However, the landlord does not have to supply a new or better model. For example, if a fridge supplied by the landlord cannot be fixed and must be replaced, it does not have to be replaced with a newer model. The landlord could replace it with a used fridge, as long as it works properly. But, if a tenant or tenant’s guests break anything on purpose or by being careless, the tenant must fix it or pay for the repair.

Maintenance

A landlord must keep the rental property clean. The landlord is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the common or shared areas of the building, such as hallways, lobby area, elevator, laundry room, pool, and parking lot or garage. The landlord is also responsible for cutting the lawn, shoveling snow, and keeping ice off the driveways and sidewalks. The landlord must also make an effort to control pests such as cockroaches and mice.

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.

As a landlord you should remember, that at Landlord and Tenant board you will not be provided with any legal advice.