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Rights and obligations of landlords

A landlord’s job isn’t easy, because he or she has a lot of obligations toward their tenants.

Landlords’ legal obligations in Canada are to make sure that the premises they rent comply with health and safety standards, as well with housing and maintenance standards. They also have to ensure that municipal standards are met when it comes to zoning bylaws, fire safety regulations and local building codes. They must maintain the premises and ensure they are always in compliance.

Landlords’ responsibilities

Landlords’ responsibilities do not end with the above. Landlords are also obligated to:

  • To provide basic necessities. A landlord is not allowed withhold, during a tenant's occupancy, the reasonable supply of fuel, electricity, hot and cold water and other utility services (cable, Internet) unless the tenant has agreed to obtain and pay for these services;
  • The landlord is obligated to maintain the tenant's home in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and at the landlord's expense comply with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.
  • When a tenant rents premises then she or he has the right to enjoyment of the premises. The landlord is not allowed to interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the tenant and the members of his or her household and guests.
  • The landlord cannot seize, without legal process, a tenant's property for rent default or for the breach of any other obligation of the tenant.
  • The landlord may not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with the tenant.
  • Landlords are also obligated to comply with human rights law and not discriminate in selecting tenants based on enumerated grounds like race or religion.

These rights are usually also outlined in the residential tenancy acts of the respective provinces and territories.

What happens if a landlord doesn’t comply with these obligations?

The landlord can be taken to the dispute board that applies to tenants and landlord matters of the applicable province or territory, if he or she fails to do the above.

The landlord can also be taken to the human rights tribunal of the applicable province or territory if the tenant, or potential tenant, believe he or she was discriminated against based on an enumerated ground.

Finally, in the worst cases, landlords could face being investigated and charged with an offence.

Rights of the landlord

Landlord rights are usually spelled out in the provincial/territorial residential tenancies acts. Generally, they are similar but may vary from province to province.

The rights of the landlord often include:

  • Expect tenants to pay their rent on time, and failing to do so, can initiate eviction procedures;
  • The limited right to enter premises – having followed all the rules that make it permissible to enter the unit - meaning making sure the landlord respects the hours he or she may enter, as well as follow the notice requirements and more;
  • Require potential tenants to provide some financial information, such as credit checks;
  • Increase rent, following the rules set out by the government, in the residential tenancy act, and the lease agreement.

Landlord and tenant issues are often complex. If you are a landlord and have issues or problems with a tenant or tenants consult a lawyer.

Read more:

Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities - CMHC

For Landlords CMHC