This article is the 5th of 6 that delve into 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.
- Ottawa’s upcoming By-Law
Ottawa Property Standards By-Law
Under a proposed city By-Law, property standards procedures for rental buildings are being augmented. The intent is to improve the quality of rental housing by sharing the responsibilities fairly between landlords and tenants and putting focus on truly problematic buildings.
These proposals include the following:
- A rental property management by-law
- This will include the requirement for landlords to make tenants aware of waste management, lawful parking, instructions for maintaining common areas, etc.
- Unlike many other jurisdictions, this law will put onus on both the landlord and the tenant in recognition that it is a shared responsibility. As a result, if a landlord is the source of the problem then they will receive the fine and compliance order. Likewise, if the tenant is at fault then they will receive the fine and compliance order.
- Additional pest/vermin control regulations
- There will be responsibilities on both the landlord and tenants to ensure effective treatment. In essence, all tenants in a building must adhere to the procedures outlined by the pest control specialist.
- Hiring additional by-law officers to focus on problem properties
- A tracking mechanism to track rental housing quality
- This is primarily meant to track chronic properties
- A city run consumer (tenant) protection and education website
- A $500 fee imposed on the 3rd and subsequent inspection after a rental property standard complaint
- Property standards compliance reports to both tenants and landlords following investigations.
In essence, the city is trying to ensure that both landlords and tenants are properly educated on the city’s property standards laws. Further the city is trying to focus on the truly bad actors within the city helping to ensure that tenants have a safe place to live. At the same time, it recognizes that tenants also have responsibilities to ensure that city property standards are maintained. In the past, for example, if a tenant put garbage on the street ahead of garbage day, the landlord would have received a by-law infraction. This infraction could then result in complications with the tenant–landlord relationship as it interferes with the landlord’s rights. Instead, now, the infraction will be directed to whomever caused the issue.
In the final section, we will cover the complex area of terminating a lease by either the tenant or the landlord as well as the general rules on housing retention.
Ottawa’s property standard by-law proposal:
Residential Tenancies Act: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17