When renting a unit or property, it is important to know who is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the unit. Before a unit may be listed for rent, a landlord must ensure that it is in a good state and complies with health and safety standards, as well as all fire safety laws. Throughout the term of the lease, any repairs or maintenance regarding health and safety are the responsibility of the landlord. These repairs include, but are not limited to, electrical, plumbing or heating systems, appliances, lighting, windows, doors, locks, walkways and common areas. If there are is an appliance that is not working, the landlord must have it repaired or replace the appliance with a working one. The landlord is also responsible for vital services such as heat and water and cannot withhold these services by not paying the bills on time. Common areas such as hallways, parking spots, garages, driveways, etc. must also be maintained and be free of damages or debris. In addition, the landlord is responsible for garbage removal and contacting pest services should a need arise.
If there are repairs required in the unit, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing. The landlord must then give a written notice at least 24 hours prior to entering the unit for an inspection of the repairs needed or for the maintenance work itself. If a landlord does not make efforts to complete the repairs or maintenance in a reasonable amount of time, the tenant may file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. If the damage or repair relates to property standards, the tenant may also report the problem to their local municipal government. The application to the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is called Form T6*, must include photos of the maintenance problem, the written request to the landlord, a log of dates of when the tenant tried to address the problem with the landlord, as well as copies of a municipal work order, if applicable.
Some of the remedies that a tenant can ask for in their application are a rent abatement; an order for the landlord to make the repairs by a selected date; permission for the tenant to make the repairs and requesting the landlord to pay for the cost of those repairs; or a request to end the tenancy agreement early. Whether the repairs have been completed or not, a tenant must continue paying their rent, as a landlord may evict their tenant for non-payment of rent. However, if the tenant feels that they do not want to pay their rent to the landlord, they may pay their rent to the Landlord and Tenant Board throughout the duration of their application that was filed.
Tenants on the other hand are responsible for keeping the rental unit clean. It is possible for a tenant to be evicted if there are pests as a result of their lack of maintaining the unit or if they put other tenants or the landlord at risk. As the majority of the repairs and maintenance of the unit are completed by the landlord, it is the tenant’s responsibility to report anything that needs repair in a timely manner. If a tenant causes damage to the property, it is their responsibility to fix it.
For a complete list of obligations that landlords and tenants have for maintenance and repair of a rental property, please refer to the Residential Tenancies Act or contact the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Jasmine Daya & Co. has recently expanded our services to include Landlord and Tenant Services. Call us at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
* The form to use is called the T6– Tenant Application about Maintenance. This form can be found on the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario Website.