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What Are the Landlord Responsibilities in Ontario?

Like all occupations, there are responsibilities you have as a landlord. Of course, there’s the part where you collect rent from your tenants, answer calls all day, meet new people, and so on, all of which somehow makes this profession great, despite the challenges.

But you also have a responsibility to your tenants, which is what we’re going to layout in this post. As tenants pay their rent every month, they also expect certain things from you as well.

Thankfully, the Residential Tenancies Act as all the details in regards to your landlord responsibilities in Ontario. Although the responsibilities may seem cumbersome at times, following the rules has plenty of advantages for younamely finding and keeping great tenants, reaping generous rewards, and avoiding potential problems.


Landlord Responsibilities in Brief

Put simply, as the person who leases the property to a tenant, you are expected to provide a habitable unit for them. To be considered habitable, the property has to be fit for a person to live in, be free from defects or hazards, and be compliant with safety, health, housing, and maintenance standards.

Even though there are no explicit legal definitions of what uninhabitable living conditions are, generally speaking, anything that makes living in the rental unit or premises impossible would qualify as inhabitable. Examples include:

  • Faulty or dysfunctional plumbing system or gas.

  • Broken/missing windows or doors

  • Default electrical outlets

  • Mould, leaking roof, or cockroaches,

  • An unclean building and environment

  • Messy grounds

More important for you to note is that if you fail to provide habitable living conditions to your tenant, they can sue you and if found to be negligent, the court may award the tenant damages by lowering the rent they pay to you.

No one wants to deal with such a situation! To avoid it, the Residential Tenancies Act lays out basic landlord responsibilities. They include:

Repairs

Repairing and maintaining the rental unit is part of your duty as a landlord. This ranges from the electrical, heating, and plumbing systems to appliances, roofs, walls, windows, doors, lighting, locks, patios, pools, and so on.

It doesn’t matter if the tenant knew about the problems in the home before signing the lease. Tenants are only responsible for the damages caused by them or their guests.

Thankfully, it’s not a must to replace the damaged item(s) with a new one. You could use a used item, provided it works properly.

A common question asked by many tenants is “how long does a landlord have to fix something in Ontario?”

Well, the landlord-tenant act in Ontario requires you to do that within a reasonable time, failure to which a tenant is allowed to take the next action which is to report or file an application with the Land and Tenancies Board

Maintaining The Property

You are expected to keep the rental property/premises clean and safe. This includes places such as the halls, lobby, pool, elevator, garage, parking lots, just to mention but a few. You are also required to take measures that will keep things like cockroaches, mice, and other related creatures away.

Property Standards

Before you start managing any property, it’s your duty as the landlord to ensure the property is legal. This means that the unit should meet the safety, health, housing, and maintenance standards as set out in the municipal by-laws and provincial maintenance standards.

If it doesn’t meet those standards, you have the option to renovate it before renting it out if you really have to. Keep in mind that renting out a unit or space that doesn’t comply with the legal requirements denies you the chance to enjoy the same protection as those who rent legal units.

Also, if you build an illegal property and it’s discovered, you’ll be forced to part with a fine and even get rid of the property.