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Cold Weather Blues: Heat, Leaks and Snow Removal

With a cold winter approaching, many tenants are having issues with snow removal, ice and heat.  The following are common questions that tenants have about issues in the winter:

1. When does my landlord have to turn on the heat?
In Toronto, according to the Municipal Code, where the landlord provides heat, it is your landlord's responsibility to keep the inside temperature of your unit at 21°C minimum from September 15th through to June 1. This does not apply to common areas such as hallways or laundry rooms.

2. There is a leak in my apartment. Who is responsible for patching it up?
If there are leaks in your unit, it is your landlord's responsibility to deal with it. Toronto’s Municipal Code states that roofs and their components must be kept weather-tight and “free from leaks, loose, unsecured and unsafe objects and materials, dangerous accumilations of ice and snow and hazards.”

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.

3. Who is required to shovel the snow?

Your landlord is responsible for snow removal. The landlord has to clear snow from driveways, landings, steps, walkways, parking spaces and similar areas of a yard within 24 hours.

What can I do?

Tip for Tenants: To start things off, it's a good idea to write your landlord a letter reminding them what their responsibilities are under the law before taking further action. You can also  document everything by taking pictures, creating a log of important dates and times and sending your landlord emails, text messages and letters.

If your landlord is keeping your heat below the correct temperature, not repairing leaks, or refusing to remove snow 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. The application costs $45 and is available  on the Landlord and Tenant Board website.

December 11, 2013

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