We know that many tenants are facing rent increases, maintenance issues and renovictions. Protecting affordable rentals and helping you stay in your homes is one of my top priorities.
The province's Residential Tenancies Act sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Ontario.
The City of Toronto doesn't have jurisdiction over evictions and rent increases. However, the city plays an important role in assisting tenants and investigating property standards issues.
My office can also assist Ward 14 tenants access available resources and supports. In addition there's various community legal and advocacy organizations providing free assistance to tenants.
You'll find the following sections on this page:
- Resources for Tenants
- Evictions and Rent Increases
- Rental Housing Standards
- Subsidized Housing
1. Resources for Tenants
Rental Housing & Tenant Information - City of Toronto
The city's Rental Housing & Tenant Information website provides guidance on rental housing, resources on tenants' rights and help navigating the rental process.
Eviction Prevention Handbook
The city's Eviction Prevention Handbook helps tenants navigate the general eviction process and highlights the rights of tenants facing eviction.
Toronto Rent Bank & Other Financial Supports for Tenants
The Toronto Rent Bank provides supports residents behind on their rent or needing help with a rental deposit. Call 416-397-RENT (7368) or visit their website for more details.
There are a number of other financial supports available to Toronto renters.
Don Valley Community Legal Services (DVCLS)
DVCLS is your East End community legal clinic. They provide free legal advice and representation in various areas of law. DVCLS also helps tenants across the East End facing eviction, rent increases and more.
Call 416-441-1764 ext. 1 or complete their online intake form if you require legal assistance.
Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations (FMTA)
The FMTA is a non-profit organization which advocates for better tenant rights. They can help tenants organize against Above Guideline Increases (AGI) and other similar issues.
Call 416-921-9494 or visit their website to get in touch.
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Steps to Justice (run by CLEO)
Canadian Centre for Housing Rights
ACORN is a multi-issue, membership-based community union of low and moderate-income people with a long history of organizing tenants and taking action on the housing crisis.
2. Evictions and Rent Increases
Landlords must file an eviction application with the province's Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), the only authority in Ontario who can authorize evictions. The LTB will notify a tenant of the application and hearing date if/when this happens.
Only if the LTB holds a hearing and issues an eviction order must a tenant move out. Landlords can't force tenants to vacate their home unless the LTB issues an eviction order.
Seek legal guidance right away if you get an eviction order. DVCLS provides free legal help to East End tenants facing eviction.
While the city doesn't have jurisdiction over evictions, their website also has useful info and resources.
Like evictions, the city also doesn't have jurisdiction over rent increases. The province sets the rent increase guideline for how much a landlord can raise rent annually without LTB approval. The guideline for 2023 and 2024 is 2.5 per cent.
An Above Guideline Increase (AGI) is when a landlord asks for an amount higher than the set guideline. AGIs must be approved by the LTB.
Tenants facing rent increases should seek legal guidance right away. DVCLS can help determine if a rent increase is legal.
The FMTA also assists tenants organize and potentially provide funding to hire a lawyer or paralegal to fight an AGI.
3. Rental Housing Standards
The Property Standards Bylaw sets the standards for all properties in Toronto. All property owners are required to repair and maintain their property including owners of properties that are rented out.
The type of housing you live in determines responsibilities for maintenance and how it's enforced.
Key Property Standards
The following standards apply to all properties in Toronto, whether the unit is owner occupied or rented. Additional standards apply to apartment buildings.
- Hot Water: There must be an adequate supply of hot water with a temperature ranging from 45 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius.
- Pests: All properties have to be kept free of pests, including rodents and insects.
- Property Cleanliness: All parts of a property, including the yard must be kept clean and free from accumulations of litter, brush or garbage, and any conditions that are health or fire hazards.
- Minimum Temperatures & Air Conditioning:
City bylaws require the landlord to provide heat to a residential dwelling at a minimum of 21 degrees Celsius between September 15th and June 1st of each year.
Unfortunately, landlords are not required to provide air conditioning in Ontario and Toronto has no maximum temperature by-law. However, buildings that provide central air conditioning must turn it on from June 2nd to September 14th and maintain an indoor temperature of not more than 26 degrees Celsius.
Read this FMTA resource for more on the city's minimum temperatures and air conditioning rules.
Learn more about other key property standards.
Window Air Conditioners in Apartment Buildings
City bylaws do not prohibit window air conditioning units in apartment buildings. However there may be specific clauses in your lease, so check your lease agreement carefully.
The city's by-law requires landlords to ensure that window air conditioning units are installed and maintained in a safe way. Landlords are responsible for hiring a qualified tradesperson to undertake the work and provide proof of this to the city.
There are no bylaw provisions requiring tenants provide proof nor any stipulations allowing landlords to make tenants responsible to proof. Read the city's FAQ document.
What to do if Repairs are Needed
Generally, tenants should follow these steps if maintenance is needed:
- Step 1: Initial service request to your landlord
- Step 2: Contact 311
- Step 3: File a complaint (T6 form) with the Landlord Tenant Board
Apartment Buildings - RentSafeTO
RentSafeTO is the city's bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards. The program applies to apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units.
Under this program, landlords have 24 hours to respond to urgent service requests (i.e., electricity, heat, water) and seven days to respond to non-urgent service requests.
Learn how to make service requests to landlords or submit complaints to the city if you live in a building with three or more storeys and 10 or more units.
If the condominium unit is owner-occupied, the city will not investigate a complaint about the condition of that unit.
Multi-Tenant (Rooming) Houses
If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 to have the city investigate.
Learn how to make a service request to landlords or submit complaints to the city for multi-tenant houses.
4. Subsidized Housing
Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing is social, or subsidized, housing. Learn more about edibility requirements, how to apply and more on the city's RGI housing website.
Other Subsidized Housing & Benefits
The waiting list for RGI housing is long and you may need other options until something is available. There are different types of subsidized housing you may be eligible for including supportive housing and alternative housing.
Learn more about the city's additional subsidized housing options and benefits along with where to apply.
The city has a number of seniors housing services and supports.
Visit the city's seniors housing website to learn about long-term care homes, affordable housing, home maintenance programs and other housing services for seniors.