Tenant Rights

The provincial Residential Tenancies Act sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who rent residential properties in Ontario. The City of Toronto does not have jurisdiction over certain issues, such as evictions, however the City plays an important role in assisting tenants and investigating property standards issues.

The City has created a new webpage to assist tenants:
https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/rental-housing-tenant-information/

A tenant does not have to move out right away if they receive an eviction notice. Landlords are required to give official notices of eviction which starts the eviction process. However, a tenant does not have to do anything until the landlord files an eviction application with The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The Landlord and Tenant Board will notify a tenant of the application and hearing date if/when this happens.

Landlords are not legally entitled to evict tenants. Only The Landlord and Tenant Board, which is a provincial body, can authorize an eviction. Only if The Landlord and Tenant Board issues an eviction order, which happens after a hearing, will a tenant need to move out. Learn more about evictions and the legal steps to take online here: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/rental-housing-tenant-information/understand-fight-evictions/

Here are other helpful resources for tenants:

Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA)
Free tenant hotline: 416-921-9494
https://www.torontotenants.org/

Don Valley Community Legal Services
416-441-1764 ext. 36
https://www.donvalleylegal.ca/

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Information on evictions and the process for tenants
https://www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/tenantsaccess/eviction

Steps to Justice website (run by CLEO)
https://stepstojustice.ca/questions/housing-law/can-my-landlord-make-me-move-out-repairs-or-renovations

Government of Ontario website – Renting: changes during COVID-19
https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-changes-during-covid-19

Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU)
The RHEU is part of the Ministry of Housing. Its job is to try to make sure landlords and tenants follow the law. The RHEU phone # is 416-585-7214.

311 and RentSafeTO
For issues such as pests, low or no heat, plumbing problems, leaky ceilings or problems in the common areas of the building, tenants need to contact their landlord first and submit service requests. Landlords need to respond to urgent service requests, such as no heat or water, within 24 hours. Non-urgent service requests need to be responded to within seven (7) days. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team. You can find further information online here:
https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/rental-housing-standards/apartment-building-standards/rentsafeto-for-tenants/

ACORN

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) Canada is an independent national organization of low- and moderate-income families. They have over 130,000 members organized into neighbourhood chapters in cities across Canada. They believe that social and economic justice can best be achieved with a national active membership who are invested in their organization and focused on building power for change. Toronto ACORN was founded in 2004, with the first organized group in Canada being formed in Weston / Mt Dennis after tenants took their slum-lord to task and won $250,000 in rent abatements. In the next ten years Toronto ACORN spread to every part of the city leading the fight and winning significant victories. Learn more about ACORN and how to get involved online here: https://acorncanada.org/toronto

Subcommittee on the Protection of Affordable Rental Housing

Councillor Fletcher created the Subcommittee in 2019 to help fight the increasing number of renovictions in Toronto. Over 40 tenants signed up to speak at the November 20th, 2019 meeting where they shared their stories, concerns and ideas. You can watch the recording of the meeting online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LotFwruoBhI&t=4673s

PH11.11 – “Promoting the Security of Residential Rental Tenancies” was adopted at the City’s Planning and Housing Committee on December 10th, 2019.

One of the items approved was the creation of an Advisory Group made up of people with lived experience, tenant advocacy groups and legal clinics.

The City’s Planning and Housing Committee has also asked City staff in different divisions to take steps to support tenants and to identify possible changes to the provincial Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) that address illegitimate N12 and N13 notices.

You can find Subcommittee meeting dates and agendas online here:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/decisionBodyProfile.do?function=doPrepare&decisionBodyId=2182#Meeting-2020.RH3

Window Air Conditioners in Apartment Buildings

City of Toronto bylaws do not prohibit window air conditioning units in apartment buildings. However there may be something in your lease agreement, so please check your lease.

The City's Property Standards By-law requires landlords to ensure that window air conditioning units are installed and maintained in a safe way. If the City determines that a window air conditioning unit may be unsafe, it may require the landlord to prove that a qualified tradesperson has installed or confirmed proper installation of the unit.

It is the responsibility of the landlord, when requested or ordered to by the City, to hire a qualified tradesperson to undertake the work and provide proof of this to the City. There are no City bylaw provisions requiring this proof from tenants, including no City bylaw provisions allowing landlords to require this proof from tenants.

The City considers qualified tradespersons to be members certified under Ontario College of Trades and a City of Toronto business licence where required, or an accredited professional such as an engineer.

If you have any questions, please contact the City's RentSafeTO program at 416-396-7228 or [email protected].

Click here to read the City's FAQ document.

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