Maintenance and repairs
What you can do to get things fixed
Tell your landlord
First, talk to your landlord about what is wrong and ask to have it fixed. Keep notes for yourself about when you talked to your landlord and what you talked about. It is sometimes helpful to take photos of the problem and put the date on them.
If your landlord does not fix the problem soon, write a letter asking your landlord to do the repair. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. Or, if your landlord has a form for repair requests, fill one out and keep a copy.
Usually, it is safest to keep paying your rent while you are trying to get your landlord to deal with repair problems. If you do not pay all your rent for any reason, your landlord can try to have you evicted.
Ask your neighbours
Find out if other tenants in your building have similar problems. You might be able to get more done if you work together, especially if the problems are in common areas.
Call a government inspector
If your landlord does not fix the problem, you can call your local property standards or by‑law department, or your town or city hall, municipal office, or local councillor. Many cities, towns, and municipalities have inspectors who can order your landlord to make repairs or to clean up your building.
If your municipality does not have property standards for rental housing, they have to enforce the provincial maintenance standards set under the RTA.
Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board
If your landlord does not fix the problem, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Board is like a special court that decides disputes between tenants and landlords.
When you apply, the Board will schedule a hearing where you and your landlord can each present your case to a member of the Board.
It is up to you to convince the Board member about the problem. It is very important to bring evidence to your hearing, for example, witnesses, photos, audio or video recordings, inspectors' reports, work orders, letters, or anything else that can help you prove your case to the Board member. You might want to make notes and take them to the hearing so you can remember everything you want to say.
If the Board agrees that there is a problem, the Board could order your landlord to:
- do any needed repairs or maintenance,
- not raise your rent until the repairs are done,
- give you back some of your rent for the time the repairs are not done,
- pay you back if you had to pay for the repairs or do them yourself,
- pay to fix or replace any of your property that was damaged because of the repair problem, or
- pay any reasonable expenses you had because of the repair problem, for example, if you had to eat in a restaurant because your fridge or stove was broken.
You can also ask the Board to let you move out without giving proper notice, if the conditions are very bad. The Board can also make any other order that it thinks is reasonable.
It is best if you apply to the Board within one year of noticing the problem. In some cases, you might be able to apply later than this.
You can apply to the Board even if the problem has already been fixed or if you have moved out.
A community legal clinic or lawyer can help you apply to the Board. See the next section for information about getting legal help.
The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) has a tip sheet called What can I do if my landlord does not do repairs or respect my legal rights? It explains how to fill out the application form and prepare for a hearing with the Board. To find the tip sheet online, go to www.acto.ca and click on For tenants and then on Tip sheets.The fee to apply to the Board is $50, or $45 if you apply online. If you win your case you might get this money back from your landlord. If you have a low income you can ask the Board not to charge you the fee. To do this, you will need to fill out a "Fee Waiver Request" form. You can ask the Board to send you this form, or download it from the Board's website. Go to www.ltb.gov.on.ca, click on Forms, Filing, Fees, then Forms. From the two categories, click on Forms for Tenants and choose from the list.