This article is meant be in succession to the first and second articles that aim to highlight the most frequent issues brought up in our discussion with tenants. It also focuses on the rights of tenants in a long-term residential lease where rent is paid monthly. There are other arrangements such as community housing and where a tenant is the roommate of the landlord. These are not covered here. For more comprehensive information, please refer to the Resources section at the end of this article.
These articles are not meant to construe legal advice but are an attempt to clarify common situations and ensure tenants are aware that they do have rights. The appropriate documents are discussed for reference. Where a dispute or concern arises, it is always best to consult with a legal professional.
As a tenant you have the right to reasonable enjoyment. This includes many aspects including non-interference by other tenants or even the landlord. The primary forms of interference we see are smoking, noise and fire safety. Also, as a tenant, you have the responsibility to not interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants and the landlord. Even if the lease allows, say smoking, it does not give a tenant the right to interfere with another’s right to reasonable enjoyment.
If, as a tenant, your right to reasonable enjoyment is being infringed, then the landlord has a duty to rectify the situation which may include acting against the infringing tenant through legal remedies provided for in the Residential Tenancies Act. It is always preferable that all parties involved try to work things out in a reasonable manner and avoid the stresses and uncertainties associated with a legal process.
Another area that is often at question is when a landlord can enter a tenant’s apartment. Under normal circumstances, the landlord is required to give a tenant notice at least 24 hours in advance. However, there are exceptions such as in an emergency (e.g. a burst pipe) where no notice is required though, in our opinion, as a courtesy, a landlord should attempt to notify the tenant before entering if feasible. Another scenario where 24-hour notice is not required would be after a tenant gives notice to move out. In this last case, a landlord may want to show the apartment to a prospective tenant, and they must make reasonable efforts to let the current tenant know ahead of time, but it can be less than 24 hours.
It is important to note that a tenant cannot refuse entry to a landlord so long as they are doing so legally.
In the next section, we will focus on the aspects of Maintenance & Safety which involves both provincial and municipal regulations.
Residential Tenancies Act: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17
Ottawa’s property standard by-law proposal: https://documents.ottawa.ca/sites/documents/files/RAS_FinalLTR_Sept23_En.pdf
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