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Cold Weather Blues: Heat, Leaks and Snow Removal

As cold weather approaches, it is time to remind ourselves of our legal rights that we have forgotten in the warm summer months. Check out the laws that protect you with regards to heat, leaks, and snow removal.

Time to turn on the heat!
• In Toronto, is your landlord's responsibility to keep the heat at 21°C from September 15th through to the 1st of June.
• Here's what the law says: "A landlord shall provide heat to a dwelling unit that is rented or leased and that is normally heated at the landlord's expense so that a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius is maintained in all areas of the dwelling unit from the 15th day of September in each year to the 1st day of June in the following year. (§ 497-2. Toronto Municipal Code. Heating: Minimum Temperature.)

Patch those leaks!
• If there are leaks in your unit, it is your landlord's responsibility to deal with it.
• Here's what the law says: Every roof of a building and all its components shall be weather-tight and free from leaks, loose, unsecured or unsafe objects and materials, dangerous accumulation of ice and snow, and hazards. (§ 629-20. A. Toronto Municipal Code. Roofs and roof structures.)
• If you have notified your Landlord about the leak and they have not fixed it, and either your personal property gets damaged as a result or you can no longer stay in your unit, it is your landlord's responsibility to compensate you for these costs.

Snow removal!
• Your landlord is responsible for snow removal.
• Here's what the law says: Steps, landings, walks, driveways, parking spaces, ramps and similar areas of a yard shall be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall to provide safe access and egress for persons and vehicles. (§ 629-23. B. Steps, walks, driveways, parking and loading areas.)

What can I do?
• If your landlord is keeping your heat below the correct temperature, not repairing leaks, or refusing to remove from relevant areas, you can contact 311 and ask for Municipal Licensing and Standards. They can send an inspector to your house for free to check the temperature or other bylaw violations. If they find that there is a bylaw violation, they will issue an order from the city to your landlord.
• If you have unresolved maintenance issues, you can also file a T6 application for maintenance at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
• It's also a good idea to simply write your landlord a note reminding them what their responsibilities are under the law before taking further action!

If you have further questions, call our tenant hotline at 416-921-9494!

November 15, 2011

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