Frequently Asked Questions - Tenant FAQ
If you pay for your own heating and have control over it, then it's up to you what temperature you keep your apartment at. Your landlord must maintain the heating system so that it is capable of heating your apartment to at least 21 degrees celcius at all times.
If you landlord pays for the heating, then between September 15 and June 1, your apartment must be at least 21 degrees celcius. The rest of the year, there is no minimum temperature for your apartment.
Apartments are not required to have air conditioning, but if your apartment does have an air conditioner, then between June 2 and September 14, the apartment must not be hotter than 26 degrees celcius.
The law says that the landlord may enter your apartment when you're not home but only for the following reasons:
- They are inspecting your unit and have given you 24 hours written notice
- You have asked for repairs to be done and they have given you 24 hours written notice
- You have given notice and your landlord has given you reasonable notice to show your apartment to new tenants
- It is an emergency (there is no notice required, but it has to be an emergency, like a fire or flood)
The Residential Tenancies Act removed the right for tenants to collect 6% interest on last month's rent. Instead, the interest charged on your last month's rent will be equal to that year's Annual Rent Increase Guideline amount. The landlord may then add that interest to your last month's rent, as a way of 'topping up' your deposit. If you did not get a rent increase, you are still entitled to automatically deduct the interest on your deposit once a year. Contact the Tenant Hotline for more information.
The RTA says that a landlord cannot evict or otherwise interfere with a tenant for attempting to secure their legal rights or for trying to form a Tenants' Association. Remember that there is strength in numbers and your landlord is less likely to retaliate against a group. Click here to download a copy of our Organizing Manual or contact our Outreach & Organizing Team for further help.
Every year the Ontario Government publishes an Annual Guideline Amount. This amount is a percentage of your rent. For example, the Guideline amount for 2007 is 2.6%. To search for the Annual Guideline Amount, please click here.
Your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an Above Guideline Increase (AGI) because of an increase in operating costs or to cover major capital expenditures. This increase does not take effect until after the Landlord and Tenant Board has approved your landlord's application and tenants have a right to appear at a hearing in order to dispute the application. If your landlord has applied for an AGI, contact the Outreach & Organizing Team.
Unfortunately, there is currently no record of 'Bad Landlords', but the City of Toronto does have an online searchable database that allows you to see if there are outstanding Property Standards work orders or by-law violations in your building. To access the database, click here.
If you want to break your lease, you must either:
- Make an agreement with the landlord to terminate your tenancy (get a copy in writing).
- Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board at 416-645-8080.
- Ask permission from your landlord to assign or sublet your apartment. (For more information about subletting and assigning contact the Tenant Hotline)
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) says you must give your landlord sixty (60) days notice that you are moving out. This notice must be effective at the end of a tenancy period. This means if you pay rent on the first, you must give notice on the first. You cannot give notice partway through a month.
If you don't renew your lease, you automatically become a month-to-month tenant with all the same terms and conditions of your lease, except for the fixed time period.
If you withhold your rent, you are likely to receive an eviction notice for unpaid rent. Under the RTA, you may bring up repair and maintenance issues at an eviction hearing.
The Residential Tenancies Act requires that tenants make their landlord aware of any maintenance and repair issues that arise. The best way of doing this is to:
- Make a note of the repair needed and write a letter (dated) to the landlord, janitor, or property manager. Keep a copy of the letter
- If no action is taken then call the City of Toronto's property standards and make an appointment with a building inspector
- Gather any evidence you can (pictures with a date on them are great), and apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. This way you can get the repairs done, may get a partial reduction in rent, and you won't get an eviction notice
Under the RTA, even if you sign a lease that states no pets are allowed, you can still have a pet. Section 14 of the RTA specifically voids all "no pets" clauses in a lease. You can only be evicted for having a pet if your pet is disturbing other tenants or the landlord, or is considered a dangerous breed.
Even if you are aware that an apartment is in need of repairs when you agree to rent it, your landlord is still responsible for taking care of the repairs and maintenance. If you did do the repairs you can apply to the Board for compensation.