Case Commentary – Claims Against Landlords for Injuries in Rental Units


A recent Court of Appeal decision confirms that claims against landlords for serious personal injuries fall under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Superior Court, and that there is a two year limitation period for plaintiffs to begin these types of claims.

Letestu Estate v. Ritlyn Investments Limited

This case arose from an accident involving an elderly tenant, who allegedly tripped and fell on a damaged carpet, suffering serious personal injury, including a closed head injury. His estate commenced a claim for damages after he passed away from cancer, suing his landlord for failing to respond to his complaints about the carpet.

Immediately before the beginning of a trial in the matter, the defendants brought a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim for being outside the applicable limitations period.

Shorter statutory limitation periods exist for certain types of claims

Previously, we have discussed the Limitations Act, and the generally applicable two-year limitation period for beginning a personal injury claim. We also reviewed how this time frame can be shorter, or longer, depending on the circumstances. Certain pieces of legislation create shorter limitation periods for claims. In this case, the defendant took the position that the Residential Tenancies Act applied, and that the plaintiff’s claim was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The Residential Tenancies Act sets a separate, one-year limitation period for any claims against a landlord for non-repair, which must come before the Landlord and Tenant Board. The motion judge in this case concluded that the plaintiff’s claim arose from an allegation of non-repair, and therefore fell under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Board. His claim was therefore limited by the Residential Tenancies Act, and had to be initiated within one year of the date he was injured.

A two-year limitation period applies to claims against landlords for serious injury

In Letetsu, the Court of Appeal overturned the findings of the motion judge, and allowed the plaintiff’s claim to proceed.

The Residential Tenancies Act sets a monetary limit for the Landlord and Tenant Board, and the plaintiff’s claim for damages greatly exceeded that limit. This brought the claim outside the jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Board, and entitled the plaintiff to begin the claim in Superior Court.

The limitation period for court proceedings arising from personal injury claims is two years, and therefore the plaintiff’s claim was brought within the proper timeframe.

Legal advice for claims against landlords and injuries in rental units

If you have suffered an injury in your rental unit due to disrepair or other poor conditions, and are considering a claim against your landlord, the personal injury lawyers at Jasmine Daya & Co. can help. We have significant experience working on behalf of accident victims, including serious trip and fall injuries.

Let our experience be your advantage. We offer free consultations for all new clients. Contact us online, or call our office at 416-967-9100 to make an appointment.