Harassment and discrimination
It is illegal for your landlord, or anyone acting for your landlord, such as a superintendent or property manager, to harass you. And, if another tenant is harassing you, your landlord must do something to stop it.
There are many different kinds of harassment. For example, your landlord might harass you by:
- cutting off important services, such as heat or electricity,
- knocking on your door or phoning you at unreasonable times,
- taking your things because you owe rent,
- entering your home without giving you proper notice,
- locking you out or changing your lock without giving you a key,
- making sexual suggestions or advances knowing that you do not want them,
- trying to stop you from organizing or being active in a tenants' association, or
- threatening to do any of the things listed above, or threatening to harm you.
Sometimes landlords harass tenants to try to get them to move out so a new tenant can move in and pay more rent. Sometimes harassment is a way to discriminate against tenants or to stop them from standing up for their rights.
What you can do about harassment
Harassment can be hard to prove. It is a good idea to keep notes about what is happening. Here are some steps you can take.
Make a complaint to the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit
The Rental Housing Enforcement Unit is an office of the government of Ontario. The Unit's job is to encourage landlords and tenants to obey rental housing laws.
If you make a complaint to the Unit, they can call your landlord and try to get the harassment to stop. In serious cases, they can charge a landlord with an offence. For more information, you can contact the Unit at 1-888-772-9277 or go to their website at www.mah.gov.on.ca/ieu.
Call the police
If the harassment is very severe or your landlord threatens to harm you, you could call the police. Use the non‑emergency number for your local police department, unless someone’s life or safety is in danger.
Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board
Another thing you can do is apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. You should do this within one year of when the harassment happened.
This Board is a tribunal that settles disputes between landlords and tenants and enforces their rights. It is like a court, but less formal. The Board can hold a hearing where a Board member will listen to both you and your landlord.
- any documents, recordings, or photos you have,
- any witnesses who can confirm what happened, and
- your own notes that you made at the time the harassment was happening.
After the hearing, if the Board agrees that your landlord harassed you, the Board can order your landlord to do things such as:
- stop harassing you,
- let you move without giving notice, if you want to do that,
- pay a fine to the government of up to $10,000, or
- pay you some money. For example, your landlord might have to give back some of your rent or pay for your moving costs, if you moved out because of the harassment.
For more information, see the tip sheet What can I do if my landlord does not do repairs or respect my legal rights? To find it online, go to www.acto.ca, click on Tenant Info, then Tenant Tip Sheets.
It is a good idea to try to get legal help if you are going to apply to the Board. See the section called Where to get help, for more information.