Maintenance and Repairs

Landlords have an obligation to keep rental spaces in a state of good repair

Landlords have an obligation to keep rental spaces in a state of good repair

Your landlord must provide and maintain your unit in a good state of repair and fit for habitation. He or she must ensure that your unit complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. Your landlord must repair anything that doesn’t work properly or breaks as a result of reasonable wear and tear.

If you or your guest damage or break anything on purpose or through negligence, you are responsible for repairing it or paying to have it fixed. Check with your local Community Legal Centre if your unit needs maintenance or repairs and you aren’t sure who is responsible.

If there is a problem with your unit, talk to your landlord and ask him or her to have it fixed. If this doesn’t work, write a letter asking the landlord to fix the problem.

Keep a copy
 of any letters you send, and take photos of the things that need repairing. Keep notes if you speak to your landlord showing the date and what you talked about

If your landlord still does not fix the problem, DO NOT stop paying your rent! You could be evicted for non-payment.

Here's What You Do:

Contact your local Community Legal Centre for advice. The Legal Centre can give you advice on whom to call to get action. They may also help you make an application to the Landlord Tenant Board. The Board can order the landlord to fix the problem and can order the landlord to pay you some money. The Legal Centre can also help you make an application to the Landlord Tenant Board to move out early if you are having serious problems with the landlord or the unit.

Maintenance and Repairs brochure
from Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

Maintenance and Repairs brochure
from the Landlord Tenant Board

Your landlord is responsible for the maintenance and repair 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 place. The laws 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 for the repair. Your landlord must also clean and maintain the common areas. These are areas both inside and outside the building that are not part of tenants’ apartments.

For example, your landlord must:

  • Clean halls, elevators, stairways, and the lobby,
  • Keep laundry and garbage rooms 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 apartment or rental unit clean, unless your lease or rental agreement says your landlord will do it. If you rent a whole house, the law is not clear about who is responsible for outdoor maintenance, such as lawn mowing and snow removal.

A Note About Property Standards:

If your landlord does not fix the problem after you have asked in writing, you can contact the city to ask for an inspection by the Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) Officer. You will need to make your complaint in writing.  You can find their contact information, by City Ward, by clicking here.  MLS will follow up on complaints about the maintenance of the building, including problems like broken windows, unsafe stairs, holes in walls, or broken furnaces or appliances (supplied by landlord). They will also look into complaints about the property outside the building, including garbage and junk, long grass, and snow and ice.
MLS also deals with pests (e.g. mice or cockroaches).

Write a letter about your complaint. The letter should include:

  1. Your name
  2. Your address
  3. Contact information
  4. Brief description of the problem
  5. Landlord’s name and contact information

Be sure to clearly list the problems in your complaint, as generally speaking, the Officer will only look at the problems listed on the form or in your letter. You can drop off your complaint in person, or mail, fax or e-mail it to City Hall.

The MLS Officer will come to your home to inspect the things you’ve mentioned in your complaint. Please note someone needs to be home to let the Officer into your home to do the inspection. If the Officer finds problems, he or she will write a letter to the landlord giving them a time limit to fix the problem. You will need to let the Officer into your home again to check to see if the landlord has fixed the problem. If the problem isn’t fixed, the Officer will follow up with the landlord and can issue an order and go to court to make the landlord do the repairs.

You can ask MLS for a copy of the letter sent to the landlord about the repairs. This letter gives you proof of the maintenance problems, and can be used if you want to file a Maintenance application with the Board.

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