Tenants in a rental building have the right to form associations across Canada.
What is a tenant association?
A tenant association is a union of most or all of the tenants in a rental building. Tenant associations are formed in order to force landlords to keep to their obligations towards tenants.
Among the reasons to form tenant associations are:
- A tenants association ensures that the landlord keeps to his responsibilities, such as maintaining premises, keeping to health and safety guidelines;
- To improve living conditions;
- If people in the building are having trouble dealing with the landlord, property manager or superintendent and are looking for a strategy to deal with it;
- It is more difficult for bad landlords to pick on a group than on individual tenants.
There are many more reasons to create or get involved in a tenant association, such as getting to know your neighbours, to get support if you are having disputes with the landlord and going beyond the building into community matters.
What does a tenant association do?
A strong tenants association can force a landlord to listen and to make the improvements the tenants want, whether it be maintenance or something else entirely.
For example, often tenants association form to accomplish the following:
- Monitor repairs needed in the building, monitoring inspection requests by the city;
- Investigating the landlord’s background. This can be done by getting the corporation records;
- Create a newsletter to keep tenants updated about what the association has accomplished and when they are to meet next and more.
How can a tenant association be formed?
There is no formal process to form a tenant association.
Really it’s a matter of getting tenants in the same building interested and committed to form such an association.
It’s good if one person assumes responsibility in the beginning going door to door and getting tenants interested. Once that has been done, all tenants who are interested in forming a tenant’s association should meet, and contact information should be exchanged.
Ideally, a list of people who want to be part of the association should be kept in order to be able to contact them for further meetings and other issues. There should also be a division of labour organized at the first or consequent meetings.
A landlord cannot force a tenant to leave a tenant association.
If you want to form a tenant association, you may want to consult with a lawyer.
Tenants Association Organizing Guide
Forming A Tenants' Association