This is the first of a four-part blog series focusing on landlords’ obligations in respect of maintenance and repairs. At one time or another, every tenant has required repairs to be carried out on their apartment. Often tenants get frustrated because they feel their requests are being ignored. This blog series is written from the perspective of the tenant and the remedies that are available to them under the law. Don’t worry landlords, in a future blog we will cover things from your perspective too!

The focus of this first blog will be do examine what the law says. In Ontario, residential tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), mor specifically Section 20, which states:

  1. A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.
  2. Subsection (1) applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering into the tenancy agreement.

If you feel that your landlord is in breach of Section 20 of the RTA, you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (the Board) under Subsection 29(1) of the RTA.  If the Board determines that a breach occurred, section 30 provides several available remedies that may be ordered. The Board may order the landlord to carry out the repairs, an abatement of rent, or even a termination of the tenancy. The Board may also order the landlord to pay you compensation if you had any damage or destruction of your personal property. In the most egregious of cases, the Board may also award general damages for breach of the tenancy agreement.

You can get more information on the process for filing an application with the Board at the following link:

Before rushing to the Board’s website and starting to fill out your application, there are many things to consider, many of which will be discussed in the next three parts of this blog series. We will discuss what meets the threshold to breach Section 20, and we will explore other resources that could help you in navigating a complex dispute of this nature with your landlord.

In the last part of the series, we will talk about how to choose your apartment and landlord carefully so you can avoid maintenance disputes altogether. Not all landlords were created equal, so a little due diligence on your part upfront can save a lot of heartache down the road!