Tenants in Ontario have legal rights and it is important that you understand them so that you are aware of the rights that apply to you if you are renting a house.
A landlord cannot discriminate against you because of your sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or race. Your ethnic origin or your family status cannot be considered, nor can any disabilities. Landlords are forbidden to discriminate against tenants for any of these reasons and would face serious consequences if that was the case. Being new to the country or having children are examples of reasons a landlord cannot use against you and they cannot refuse to rent to you in these instances.
Once you move into a rental unit, you have additional rights as well and it is very important that you are familiar with them. You have the right to a safe home, meaning it must be in good order. There cannot be any damage or unsafe features and the home must be in good condition. You also have the right to heat and all landlords must provide heat from September to mid-June. They must follow the heat standards specified by the city and you can do your own research by checking with your municipality to learn about the minimum heat standards in your community. If the rental unit has central air conditioning, the landlord is generally required to maintain a maximum temperature between mid-June and early September, as stated by your municipality. Additionally, you have the right to other vital services, including access to electricity, fuel and both hot and cold water. A landlord is not allowed to shut off any of these services unless it is for repair purposes and in this case, they can only shut off these services for a very short period.
You also have a right to privacy, although your landlord can enter your home for specific reasons, so there are exceptions to this rule. For example, they would be able to enter your home in the case of an emergency or to make repairs. When it comes to your rent, a landlord can raise the amount once a year, although the increased amount must be within legal limits. There are a few unique circumstances where a landlord can raise the rent more than once in a twelve month period, although this would be rare and they would have to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval.
You have the right to children living in the home and protection from unlawful eviction, so do your research and know your rights. It is important to note that as a tenant, you also have responsibilities and it is equally important to be aware of them.
If you need more information regarding landlord and tenant laws or wish to learn more about small claims court, Ontario Legal Pool can help. We will make sure you know your rights, so give us a call today!