Bhutila Karpoche MPP, Parkdale–High Park

Government of Ontario

Asserting Your Tenant Rights to Stay Safe While Staying Home

Asserting Your Tenant Rights to Stay Safe While Staying Home

 

Dear Neighbours,

You deserve to feel safe in your home. I wish that Ontario’s Premier agreed and would put stronger protections in place for tenants during this difficult time.

My colleague, MPP Suze Morrison, made this guide to support tenants working to postpone non-essential cosmetic renovations during the pandemic. You deserve stronger laws and better protections and my colleagues in the NDP team and I will continue to fight for that at Queen’s Park. 

There are steps you can take to make your landlord take your health and safety seriously. This guide includes information to help you understand how you can use existing laws to their fullest extent to stay safe and healthy as you follow public health guidelines. I have worked with tenant advocates to develop this guide. For legal advice, you can contact our local legal aid clinics, Parkdale Community Legal Services and West Toronto Community Legal Services.

My office is here to support you as this pandemic evolves. You can join my community newsletter to learn about local developments as the pandemic situation changes at bhutilakarpoche.ca and you can check out my page on resources to support your tenant rights here. You can always reach out to my office for support by phoning 416-763-5630 or emailing [email protected].

 

Sincerely, 

Bhutila Karpoche,

MPP, Parkdale—High Park

 

What’s In This Guide

  • Step 1 — Communicate Your Request In Good Faith
  • Step 2 — Invoke the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Step 3 — Reach Out to My Office
  • Step 4 — Reach Out To Your Neighbours Because Tenants Are Stronger When They Organize Together
  • Other Public Health Concerns

 

Step 1 — Communicate Your Request In Good Faith

Contact your landlord to make them aware of your concerns. Retain a record of your correspondence with your landlord and your attempts to communicate with them. This step is optional, as we understand many tenants are afraid of raising problems with their landlord. Remember that tenants are stronger together. Regardless of the issue, we encourage tenants who can to organize tenants’ associations. We discuss how to do this later on this document.

General Tips for Corresponding with your landlord:

  • Get everything you can in writing
  • Ensure every communication with your landlord is dated
  • Track and record your conversations with your landlord. Having everything documented and in order will help you if you ever have to go to the Landlord & Tenant Board.

Here is a template of what your letter could look like:

 

To: Landlord Name

From: Tenant Name

Address: Your Address

[date]

 

On [date] I received a letter from you stating the construction would begin on [date].

As you know, we are facing stay at home orders during an unprecedented global pandemic. I am doing everything in my capacity to stay healthy so that I can continue to pay the rent I owe you on time.

I am worried that this construction is non-essential during this time and would like to ask that you postpone this work in my unit until the pandemic is over. 

Please let me know how you can plan to modify the project timeline to help me follow public health guidelines and stay safe.

 

Sincerely

[signature]

 

Step 2 — Invoke the Ontario Human Rights Code

People who are immuno-compromised or have other factors that make them feel they could benefit from invoking Ontario disability laws can invoke the Ontario Human Rights Code. You can find out if the Human Rights Code applies to your situation by using this resource they provide. You do not have to explain why you are invoking the Ontario Human Rights Code — your landlord is not your doctor and does not have a right to demand that information. The template letter you can send your landlord invoking the human rights code would look like this.

To: Landlord Name

From: Tenant Name

Address: Your Address

[date]

 

On [date] I received a letter from you stating the construction would begin on [date].

As you know, we are facing stay at home orders during an unprecedented global pandemic. I am doing everything in my capacity to stay healthy so that I can continue to pay the rent I owe you on time.

I am worried that this construction is non-essential during this time and would like to ask that you postpone this work in my unit until the pandemic is over. I would like to raise that I have the right to reasonable accommodation of my health needs under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and I would ask that you take this into consideration.

Please let me know how you can modify the project timeline to meet my right for reasonable accommodation.

 

Sincerely,

[signature]

 

Step 3 — Reach Out to My Office

If you have invoked the Ontario Human Rights Code and your landlord is still refusing to modify project timelines for non-essential repair, my office can look at your particular case and circumstance and advocate for you to your landlord. 

You may have grounds to file a T2 — An Application About Tenant Rights at the Landlord & Tenant Board. Sections 20-23 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 require that landlords comply with safety standards, honour tenants’ right to reasonable enjoyment of their unit, and guarantee tenants’ right to be free from harassment from their landlord. If problems with your landlord persist, and you decide to pursue a case at the Landlord Tenant Board, please consider contacting legal aid or a lawyer. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-763-5630 

 

Step 4 — Reach Out To Your Neighbours Because Tenants Are Stronger When They Organize Together

Here are some resources to help you organize a tenants’ association.

 

You can get in touch with the Federation of Metro Tenant Associations’ Tenant Organizer by emailing [email protected] 

 

Organizing a Tenants' Association

 

Other Public Health Concerns

If you see people entering common areas not wearing masks, call or email the City of Toronto to request enforcement by phoning 311 or emailing [email protected].

If you live in a building with 10 or more units, and construction activities or other work in the building is impacting the services and safety of residents (for example: pests, plumbing problems, and extended periods of vital service disruption), contact RentSafeTO.