Landlord Responsibilities in Canada

Renting a property can be a time-consuming, hands-on business. And, landlords shoulder a lot of responsibility to ensure that their rental adheres to the rules and regulations within Canada, their province and local bylaws. It also needs to comply with fire safety regulations and local building laws. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to guarantee that acceptable standards are maintained throughout the period of the lease.

Here are other areas of responsibilities for landlords and owners.

Landlords are Responsible for Maintenance, Repairs & Issue Resolution

From requests for repairs to ongoing upkeep, the landlord (or property manager) is tasked with ensuring that tenants’ units in good shape, complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.  A landlord is also responsible for preventing and ridding pests and insects from the tenant’s unit and the entire premises.

Poor response to maintenance issues is one of the biggest reasons that renters choose to move out. Savvy owners invest in a tenant portal that streamlines communication and maintenance workflow. This type of online software can also automate responses, so that a tenant knows their complaint or request has been received.

Landlords are Responsible for Vital Services

In Canada, Landlords are responsible for providing vital services such as water, heat, and electricity.

“Vital services” refer to hot or cold water, fuel, electricity, gas and, during certain months of the year, heat. If a landlord provides any vital service to a tenant, the landlord cannot withhold reasonable supply of services. The landlord must ensure a reasonable supply of vital services, and other utility services (cable or internet) unless the tenant has agreed to obtain and pay for these services.

Landlords Must Ensure “Reasonable Enjoyment” of the Rental by Tenants

Both landlords and tenants have a responsibility to other tenants and to the community as a whole to make sure that they do not interfere with the reasonable peace and enjoyment of one another. It’s in a landlord’s best interests to quickly respond to noise complaints and attempt to settle disputes between neighbours. In smaller and larger buildings, landlords often hold an annual tenant “meet and greet” as a way to build goodwill and community spirit.

Landlords Must Not Seize Property Without Legal Process

One of the most difficult and common problems faced by a landlord is a tenant who is unable or unwilling to pay rent. If a tenant defaults on their rent, a it is against the law for the landlord to take any of the tenant’s belongings just because they owe rent, caused damage, or broke a rule.

Sometimes the tenant will not have removed their things from the rental unit. The landlord must make the evicted tenant’s property available for pickup at a location “near the rental unit” for 72 hours after the enforced eviction order. Often the landlord leaves the property in the rental unit, and makes arrangements for the tenant to take it from there.

What is a landlord allowed to do with belongings left behind by tenants?

As a landlord, you can keep, sell, or throw out anything else 30 days after the Board made the eviction order or after notice was given. If the tenant contacts the landlord within the 30 days and wants to pick up their belongings, the landlord must let the tenant pick them up at a reasonable time.

Landlords Must Not Harass, Threaten or Interfere

The law states that a landlord shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a tenant. (Conversely, tenants have a responsibility not to harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a landlord as well.) They must not invade their tenants’ privacy, and must always give legal notice before entering. A landlord cannot pressure or harass a tenant to move out so they can raise the rent. That’s illegal.

Being accused of harassment is a serious charge that a landlord shouldn’t take lightly.  If you find yourself in conflict with your tenant, as long as your tenant is not violating any laws or lease terms, you have to let them live in the rental throughout the duration of the tenancy.

Disclaimer: This article contains general information, and landlords should always check with federal, provincial and local laws.

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