Thursday, 15 November 2012

More Heat Please--It's Cold in my Apartment!

A landlord, under the Residential Tenancies Act is responsible for providing tenants with "vital services" as defined in section 2 of the Act.  Vital services, includes "heat" during the part of the year prescribed by the regulations.  The reference to the regulations in the definition of "vital services" requires us to look at Ontario Regulation 516/06 and specifically section 4 thereof.

Section 4 provides that the heating season is from September 1, to June 15 of any given year.  This means that between these two dates a landlord is legally obligated to provide a tenant with heat.  If the tenant does not have the ability to regulate the temperature, then the landlord is required to provide heat so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius.

If a landlord fails to provide heat in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Regulations, a tenant may file an application to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board to have the Board determine what the appropriate remedy is.  Note that one application the tenant may consider bringing is based on section 29 of the RTA which allows the tenant to seek an Order that the Landlord, Superintendent or agent of the landlord has withheld the reasonable supply of heat (any vital service) ... or deliberately interefered with the reasonable supply of any vital service, ... .  For landlord's who are defending any such application you can see from the wording of section 29 that liability is not absolute.

As we start to get into winter and freezing temperatures, tenants should also be reminded that windows should be kept closed or at least not left open and unattended.  Central heating systems may not adjust for freezing temperatures inside a rental unit (i.e. no thermostat) and accordingly there is a risk of pipes freezing and bursting.  The damage caused by the floods and all of the repairs costs in all of the units affected as well as the cost of the replacement of the property that is damaged will often be the responsibility of the tenant who left the window open.

Michael K. E. Thiele
Landlord and Tenant Lawyer
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

137 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    We rent a house in Toronto and the landlord has only old base heaters to heat the house and our bills are through the roof! ($1000 for DEc/January!!) Is this right? And now the old base heaters are dying and he expects us to use space heaters? Can this be legal?

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    1. Hi Zein and Angela: Baseboard heaters were all the rage many years ago when electricity was much cheaper than it is today. A baseboard heater removed the need for a central furnace and allowed room by room control with a thermostat in each room. The heater is not really efficient--but when electricity was cheap--that didn't matter. Combine the inefficient heaters with poorly insulated walls and you get the crazy heating bills you describe. I'm not aware of any legal recourse that you may have. Presumably the landlord made no representations about hydro usage when you rented? I trust that hydro has always been paid by the tenant so hydro disclosure requirements and efficient appliances are not something that will bring the RTA to bear in your case. Unfortunately, I think you are stuck with it unless you wanted to get creative in making a claim against the landlord. Surely you are not the first tenants who have suffered this problem and I would bet the landlord knew of the issue when he rented to you. Some hay can be made with that.

      With respect to space heaters--the fact is that they will likely save you money. A small ceramic space heater is more effective at warming a room than many of the old baseboards. In fact, I would recommend turning off the baseboards and using a quality ceramic heater--you would save money. Is this legal? Not really. The landlord is required to provide you with a centralized source of heat that is capable of heating a room to 70 degrees (that is from memory--check the regulations for the exact answer). Unfortunately your landlord sounds cheap enough that if you force him to provide heat he will do so with the cheapest and least efficient appliances as he won't be motivated to save on electricity because he doesn't pay for it. To force him to deal with providing heat--you may file an application to the Board. If you are going anyway, consider consulting with a lawyer or paralegal to file an application to abate the rent for the outrageous hydro costs and the expense caused by the lack of proper heat supply.

      Good luck.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    2. Hi there
      We have recently moved into a rental house in the GTA and we only have 2 vents in our very large rec room, one of these being in the powder room. The seperate bedroom has no vent, therefore no heat source at all; is this legal?! I can only imagine what it will feel like down there next winter (unless you are in the powder room!!)
      It has also had 2 large leaks down there with the recent rain storms so the lack of heat is not helping in any drying out process
      Appreciate your advice!
      Thanks!!

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    3. Hi Rebecca: The landlord has an obligation to repair and maintain a rental unit pursuant to section 20 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The foundation leak is a repair and maintenance issue that must be addressed. You should ask the landlord to fix it. If you can, collect evidence of the leak--such as photographs and try to pinpoint where the water is coming in. If the landlord fails to respond to your complaint consider getting property standards involved from your city/town. They may inspect and make an Order. You can follow that up with an application to the Board if necessary. With respect to the heat in the rental unit be aware that pursuant to section 4 of O.Reg. 516/06 to the RTA, heat as discussed under the definition of a vital service in section 2 of the RTA is defined as follows: "For the purposes of subsection 1, heat shall be provided so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celcius." The obligation to provide the heat, as described, falls under section 21 of the RTA.

      Whether having only one or two vents isn't really the issue. If one or two vents manages to provide adequate heat then its fine. If the heat is inadequate then you have the right to complain and require it to be fixed. Again, notify the landlord of the problem, if they do nothing try property standards, and if necessary file an application to the Board. Remember to collect evidence of the nature of the problem.

      Best of luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  2. It is May 27 and the temperature inside our rental unit is between 30 and 32 degrees. The landlord will not activate the air conditioning until June 15. The building is an all-glass design and functions like a greenhouse. Even during the air conditioning season, the landlord does not activate the air conditioning with intensity in order to save on power cost. With the weak air conditioning, the temperature inside the unit averages 27 degrees. What laws exist to protect our health under these conditions?

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    1. Hi: Air-conditioning in the sense of making the air cooler is not characterized as a vital service under the RTA (in the same way that heat is a vital service during the heating season). That some people's apartments get crazy hot during the summer is a fact of life. What may be different in your situation is that your apartment has air conditioning available to it. Was the A/C part of the bargain when you moved in? Was there a representation that your unit would be air conditioned? Does your lease say anything about it? The most useful RTA section that you will find is section 20 which provides: A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. It seems to me that if you can't make a contractual argument for A/C then you could argue a section 20 breach given that the unit is equipped with A/C and no one can seriously argue that a unit at 32 degrees celcius is "fit for habitation". Collect evidence of the temperature, complain repeatedly to the landlord in writing, ask when he is going to turn on the A/C and then use a T2 application to the Board to raise the issue.

      Good luck.

      Michael K .E. Thiele

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  3. Hello I rent an apartment in oshawa and I'm having trouble trying to get them to turn the heat on. I'm 32 weeks pregnant andy 2.5 year old daughter and I are sick. What can I do to get them to turn it on?

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    1. Hi:

      Heat is a "vital service" as defined in section 2 under the Residential Tenancies Act. In that definition it makes reference to heat being a vital service during a prescribed time of the year. That "prescribed time of year" is set out in Regulation 516/06 and specifically section 4 where it says:

      "Definition of “vital service”
      4. (1) For the purpose of the definition of “vital service” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act, September 1 to June 15 is prescribed as the part of the year during which heat is a vital service. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (1).
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), heat shall be provided so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (2).
      (3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a rental unit in which the tenant can regulate the temperature and a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained by the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (3).


      So how does the foregoing help you? Well under section 21 of the RTA the landlord is prohibited from interfering with a "vital service" or withholding a supply of a vital service. That is set out in the RTA as follows:

      Landlord’s responsibility re services
      21. (1) A landlord shall not at any time during a tenant’s occupancy of a rental unit and before the day on which an order evicting the tenant is executed, withhold the reasonable supply of any vital service, care service or food that it is the landlord’s obligation to supply under the tenancy agreement or deliberately interfere with the reasonable supply of any vital service, care service or food. 2006, c. 17, s. 21 (1)

      In my view, the law supports you in your demand for heat (vital service) at this time of year. Note the temperature ranges. If you've asked the landlord to turn on the heat and they have refused then you may consider filing an application with the Board or you may wish to make a complaint with the Investigations Branch of the Ministry of Housing and see if they are prepared to follow this up. Another option, which may get you a solution quicker, is to maybe go to Canadian Tire, Home Depot, or wherever is convenient to you and buy one or two small ceramic heaters. In the present weather they should heat up your apartment quite nicely and you will have the comfort you need. You can then file an application to the Board for the cost of the heaters and if you're handy in math you can probably even figure out the cost of the hydro from the efficiency of the heater on the packaging.

      Hope that helps somewhat. Good luck with your pregnancy I hope it all goes well for you.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  4. Hello, We rent an apartment in an 80 unit building in Ottawa and the heat is not on. Last year it wasn't turned on until October 15. There is a frost warning right now and tonight is forecasted for zero degrees. I have had the oven on since 7am the last 3 days, and turn it off at 5pm. Our child is 1.5yo and wears at least 2 layers to bed plus two blankets, and is now waking up overnight because of the cold. When our child wakes up, his extremities, face, ears, and nose are cold, under 2 layers of polar fleece material and 2 blankets. It is cold in here but my main concern is our child. Please could you tell me the laws for Ottawa? Our landlord keeps saying October, but he is cheap. Our heat is baseboard, heated by natural gas, and included in the rent.

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    1. Hi:

      As in the article above and in the comment above, heat is a vital service after September 1. What is set out here applies in Ottawa as well as the rest of the province.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    2. I have been freezing since October in my apartment in Ottawa. Ottawa presently have ridiculous by-laws that stated 16.7C at night between 11p.m. and 6 a.m. After discussing with the landlords to no avail, I took it up with the city stating that their by-laws did not respect the Residential Tenancy Act. They are presently looking into it and will definitely be changing them if, as they say, is truly the law. And I know this to be the case. The Residential Tenancy Act is clear.

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    3. Hi: I agree and I hope you pointed them to O. Reg. 517/06 to the Residential Tenancies Act. You can see the section laid out in a comment further down.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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    4. I am having the same problem with night time heating. Ottawa updated their bylaw in 2013 (Bylaw 2013 -416), but the city bylaw clerks seem not to be paying attention and when contacted they still point to the 2010 bylaw. I've tried pointing this out to them and nothing. Wrote my city Counselor and nothing.. what next?

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    5. Hi I just started having this problem we rent a home in south nj and he recently after asking for weeks to turn on the heater and countless excuses he turned it on but put a box whit a lock over it and its not on the lease or called to let me know before he came in what can I do I'm freezing and I have a 2 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter and were sick and I have Hart problems and my son has eczema that the cold makes it worst

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    6. The situation in Ottawa is getting more complicated. They now say both the 2013 and 2010 bylaws are in effect, despite the fact the give different minimal temperatures and my landlord continues to turn the heat down at night. As a result I have applied for a hearing before the board. I'll let people know how it goes.

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    7. The Ottawa City ByLaw officer pointed to section 224 of O. Reg. 517/06:

      224. (1) The prescribed maintenance standards apply to a residential complex and the rental units located in it if,

      (a) the residential complex is located in unorganized territory;
      (b) there is no municipal property standards by-law that applies to the residential complex; or
      (c) the prescribed circumstances apply. 2006, c. 17, s. 224 (1).

      Claiming that point (b) means that the Ottawa bylaw can override that act. However, the Heat by Law is not Property Standards bylaw. (http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/occ/2010/06-23/cpsc/01%20-%20ACS2010-COS-EPS-0026%20Heat%20By-law%20Update.htm).

      I have a Board Hearing on the 18th of November where I am going to present the case to the board and ask them to rule.

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    8. Hi Bob:

      I think you have a very strong argument. Some comments. Section 224 is actually a part of the statute and not a regulation. I think you need to read section 224 along with section 4 of the O.Reg. 517/06. It states:

      4. If there is a municipal property standards by-law applicable only to the exterior of residential complexes or rental units, the maintenance standards in this Regulation that relate to the exterior of residential complexes or rental units do not apply to the residential complexes or rental units in the municipality that are subject to the by-law, but the maintenance standards in this Regulation that relate to the interior of residential complexes or rental units do apply to them. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 4

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    9. I don't see the By-Law officer's point and I don't think that this section and the regulation says what he thinks it says. I think it is important to realize that only in a small part of section 4 does it provide for the maintenance regulation not applying when there is a conflict. That is with respect to the outside of the premises---not the inside. Otherwise, no where else does it say that the regulation does not apply to rental units generally. The point, I think, of section 224 is to extend the reach of maintenance standards into areas of the province that once might think are completely unregulated---like the legendary wild west. Section 224 in sub (a) imposes a maintenance standard in an "unorganized territory"---what is that? I presume it is provincial crown land not within a township or city on which someone has built rental housing (legally?)--and this area does not have any form of government. Hence, you don't get to escape maintenance standards by running a landlord business in an unorganized territory. Hence section 224(1)(a) brings a maintenance standard to an area that might be presumed to have no law governing such things.

      Section 224(1)(b) in my view speaks to those townships, towns, cities, that believe less government (i.e. no government) is the best government. Whereas in 224(1)(a) you have an absence of government in 224(1)(b) you have government but one that has either purposely or unintentionally failed to pass a municipal property standards by-law. In essence, 224(1)(b) provides that local government can not refuse or neglect to have a property standards by-law that covers the subject area of property standards in rental housing.

      I think it is very important to note that the s. 224(1)(b) says nothing about trumping or overriding or displacing the maintenance regulation. It simply says that the regulation applies IF there is no municipal property standards by-law that applies to the residential complex----it does NOT say, that the prescribed maintenance standards do NOT apply if there is a municipal property standards by-law. The Ottawa By-Law officer that you spoke with is reading that into that section when it isn't in fact there.

      That then brings us to section 224(1)(c), what is it for? What does "the prescribed circumstances apply" mean? "Prescribed" is understood to mean that something has been addressed in regulations. Whenever you see the word "prescribed" in a statute it alerts you to look for regulations as parliament or the legislature, as the case may be, is signalling that on this issue they will set out the rules, the terms, the obligations, duties, etc., by regulation. The regulation by nature will be broadd and contain a lot of detail. That detail is understood to be something that may need frequent changes, tweaking, adjustment, and those changes may need to be responsive (i.e. quick). Regulations suit this purpose as it is quicker and easier to amend regulations and implement them that changing a statute.

      So, the "prescribed circumstances applying" is a reference to the specific content of the regulation. Where the legislature has chosen to specifically regulate--meaning they specifically and explicitly chose to deal with an issue, then the maintenance standard in the regulation applies to that issue because it is a "prescribed circumstance applying".

      I think that the sub-parts of section 224 are disjunctive meaning that a, b, or c, operate independently.

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    10. To that end, heating is dealt with in the regulation starting at section 15 through to section 18. Note that is it not a statement of general application. These sections are concerned with heat to rental units provided to tenants in residential complexes. There is a high level of detail and clearly the legislatures intent is clear---tenants get 20 degrees of heat as described. Wouldn't it be odd, on the by-law officer's interpretation, that some tenants's in the province get 16 degrees (lower or higher) because they live in civilized parts of the province (i.e. not in an unorganized territory or in an area that can't be bothered to pass a bylaw). But if you live in the uncivilized parts of the province like an unorganized territory or a place that intentionally or through neglect fails to legislate there you get 20 degrees? That strikes me as an absurdity.


      For this reason, I think the maintenance regulation sets a minimum standard for all rental units in the province. It applies to those places in section 224, and it applies to all rental units in respect of those things it specifically addresses. It is a baseline of minimums.

      Remember my comment earlier that section 4 speaks to a conflict between a by-law and the maintenance regulation. That the maintenance regulation is intended to be of general application is reflected in section 4 as it contemplates the possibility of a municipal government passing a by-law that conflicts with the maintenance regulation. In that specific instance, the legislature has explicitly provided that the by-law takes precedence.


      The legislature needs to provide that the by-law takes precedence (i.e. over rides the maintenance regulation) as on a paramountcy equivalent argument the provincial regulation would trump the municipal bylaw. The maintenance regulation therefore recognizes that it trumps by-laws.

      To me, this means that the baseline of the maintenance regulation trumps any city by-law that sets a standard that is lower than that required by the maintenance regulation. This makes sense to me as the legislature recognized heat to be a "vital service".


      A vital service---by definition is "vital". Did the legislature really intend to let towns and cities decide that the vital service of heat can be 16 degrees Celsius? Given an accepted room temperature of 21 degrees, and most people turning the heat up to 22,23,24 in the cold winter months it is inconceivable to me that the legislature would allow a legal temperature of less than 20 degrees to exist in this province. In my view this is a poverty law issue. The only people who will tolerate 16 degrees are those who have no choice but to take what they get because they have no money to move. People will be shaking cold in their apartments. This is particularly egregious when you think of specific circumstances of a young poor parent up with a sick infant and they're cold because their landlord won't give them at least 20 degrees? Outrageous in 2015 (that's my spin on our new Prime Minister's "because it's 2015" comment).

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    11. Note that the maintenance regulation only sets a minimum by using the words "at least" in relation to heat. It is open to a city, town, etc., to pass a by-law that requires more than the minimum that is prescribed in the regulations. Where two governments are legislating in the same subject area it is generally understood that one law does not trump the other simply by legislating in the same space. The trumping happens when there are two laws that are in direct conflict and are irreconcilable. Because the maintenance regulation sets a minimum only, a municipal by-law could impose a higher standard and not be in conflict with the regulation.

      Good luck Bob---I really hope you win, I think the approach above is the right way to go. I haven't thought about your approach on the kind of by-law that the City's heat by-law is. I will follow this with great interest. The logic of less than 20 degrees speaks to something very cruel and mean spirited in my view.

      By the way--is this the Bob I think it is?

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    12. Michael,
      For those looking here for a resolution to the Ottawa Heat Bylaw issue I have bad news. Practicality won out. The mediator did her job and got my landlord to agree to let me out of my lease with just a weeks notice (she had previously insisted on 60 days notice). For practical reasons I accepted this (I don't want to be stuck with a landlord who does not respect me as a tenant any longer than I need to be), so the issue did not come before the board member and is still unresolved.

      I did speak to the duty counsel and she agreed with your points Michael. However, in watching the board member hear the case before mine I'm not sure she would have been able to understand the case. I have been before the OMB and other government boards and this woman was the least capable person I have seen is such a position. Reading the body language of the lawyers and other officials in the court it was clear they thought the same way. Getting her to understand the arguments on both sides would have taken hours and may not have been successful, so it was a good thing I accepted the mediation.

      I may still pursue this via the ministry, just not sure how to proced.
      (Michael, I don't think I am the Bob you are thinking of, sorry).



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    13. Bob: Thank you very much for the update. Of course you made the right decision in mediating the dispute and coming to a resolution that you could live with. Cheers Mike

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    14. Hi my names kaz I would like to know as a landlord we provide heat to our tenant but we tell our tenant to switch of the heat when he goes to work but the guy just leaves it on none stop is that right for a tenant to leave the heater on none stop even though his not in the room and now it's costing us so much in hydro bill

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  5. Hello my landlord says that my heat is on, i have not heat coming into my apartment my landlord says that because i go outside of a smoke that i let my heat out every time i go outside, he has also says that because my couch is 12 inches away that it blocks my heat from getting to the rest of my appartment. I have bought heaters to heat up my place but my hydro almost doubles every winter this has been going on for three years. I need to know what to do about this i wish not to freeze anymore. Thank you

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    1. Dear Ms. Summers: Heat is a vital service as defined in section 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The vital service of "heat" is required to be provided to you from September 1 to June 15. What constitutes "heat" is that the heat provided shall be such that room temperature at 1.5 meters above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. This does not apply if you have control over your heat.

      That is what the landlord is required to provide. If you feel he is not doing so, you should consider calling the property standards office of you city/town/township. Have them come and inspect and make an order. Hopefully that solves it. If not, you can file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board and use as evidence the Order from the City/Town etc.. Use a form T2 and T6 for you application to the Board. If for some reason you can't get the City/Town/Township to come and inspect or to make an order then you could also file an application to the Board without such an Order. You will need to make sure that you have evidence of the lack of heat (I've used pictures of thermometers in the unit). You could always ask the Board to require a licenced Heating contractor to be hired to provide a report of the sufficiency of heat in the unit (useful if you know the equipment simply does not work). Your landlord's explanation that you going outside or your couch being in the way is not a realistic answer. The couch may be an issue if it is blocking the vent completely (forced air?) but I suspect you've moved the couch for heat and there simply isn't any hot air coming out.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  6. Hi Michael:

    We rent a basement apartment in Toronto that has no central heating. All our landlord gave us was a couple of small space heaters. Pretty sure, after consulting your comments, that this situation isn't above-board. Should we bring this to the attention of the Tenant Board?

    Thanks

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    1. Hi:

      Section 15(4) of O.Reg.517/06 provides as follows: No rental unit shall be equipped with portable heating equipment as the primary source of heat.

      The whole of the section is interesting when dealing with questions of heat. This regulation is a maintenance regulation and it is generally understood to be displaced where the City, Town, Township has its own property standards by-law. However, s 4 of the same regulation indicates that this is only the case where there is a Property Standards By-Law in place and it only operates to displace this Regulation with respect to the exterior of a residential complex. This regulation does apply with respect to the interior of the rental unit.

      The above, I think, is the basis to object to small space heaters as the primary heating source. To deal with it, I would be inclined to speak with and write to the landlord advising of your concerns about heating entirely with space heaters. Further, you would advise that heating with space heaters is not lawful and that you are requesting that proper heating equipment be installed. Perhaps provide a copy of section 15 to the Landlord. The landlord's answer may be to comply and install proper heating equipment---not section 15(5) that says: Only heating equipment approved for use by a recognized standards testing authority shall be provided in a room used or intended for use for sleeping purposes.

      If you have no satisfactory conversation with the landlord and the heating problem remains, consider then an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Lastly, I'm not sure where in Ontario you live, but you should check with your local government about the legality of heating rental units in this manner.

      Best of luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  7. Hi Michael. Great response. You're a lifesaver. I'm renting a room on the top floor and it's cold up here. I've asked for the heat to be turned up but no progress. I bought it space heater. Now the landlord is saying that I can't use the space heater.

    My question is can they say that I can't use the space heater?
    I don't have a thermometer (will be getting one tomorrow) but if the temperature is at least 20 degrees Celsius in the room but I still find it cold, can I use a space heater.

    Thank you in advance.

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    1. Hi Hebert: In an Ontario Residential Tenancies Act covered tenancy you should be able to use a space heater. The argument against would be that the space heater represents a fire hazard. The weight of that argument depends on the condition of the heater, where it is placed etc.. Presuming nothing "odd" about the heater or how you are using it I would say that the landlord can't stop you from warming up your room with it. That being said, I need to ask you about your "room". Saying you rent a 'room" makes me wonder if you are covered by the RTA or not. If it is a rooming house and the landlord or landlord's family does not live there you will have RTA coverage. However, if you are renting a room in the landlord's house then it is likely that you are not RTA covered--meaning the landlord has a lot more control over what you do in your room as they could simply terminate your contract with them and make you move out. Hence, it is important, before taking a stand on the space-heater issue to determine what your rights are--which is determined largely by whether you are covered by the RTA or not.

      Hope that helps

      MIchael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Amazing information. Thank you Michael. I'm definitely going to be referring people to this forum and your website.

      And yes the landlord DOES live in the house. So I'm sure I'm not covered under the RTA. Ironically I was just given notice to leave the house in 60 days. Can I be kicked out sooner than that? I was kicked out because of my complaints regarding the heat. If the landlord chooses, can they kick me out before I stay the 60 days which I've paid for (deposit plus December rent)? And if she can would I be able to get the money for the time I do not stay here back?

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    3. Hi Hebert: You are likely RTA exempt because you are required to share a kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord (s. 5(i) RTA). The exemption specifically says: "living accommodation whose occupant or occupants are required to share a bathroom or kitchen facility with the owner, the owner's spouse, child or parent or the spouse's child or parent, and where the owner, spouse, child or parent lives in the building in which the living accommodation is located".

      Whether this exemption applies to your circumstances depends on the "facts" of course but I presume that you share these with the landlord as you seem to only have exclusive use of a room. I mention this point about exemption because you shouldn't just presume that your unit is RTA exempt---in fact, the case law is all over the place on what it means to be "required to share"--as there are scenarios where there are multiple bathrooms and cooking facilities and the landlord could use the facilities but in fact never does because he uses his own exclusive bath and kitche. Anyway, you can imaging the arguments and they are a big deal because the winner of the argument either removes RTA protection or wins it.

      Presuming that you don't have RTA protection your "landlord" has much greater freedom to treat you poorly. The amount of notice you are entitled to depends on the wording of your contract. If your contract is silent on the point or if you don't have a contract then your landlord is required to be "reasonable". "Reasonableness" depends on the circumstances and what you can do to a roomer with a heater is different than what you can do to a roomer who is committing an illegal act. Context is everything.

      Your landlord, in giving you 60 days notice, is playing it safe and I don't see anyway that this can be considered short notice. So the notice is reasonable on the presumption that your agreement is not for a "fixed" period of time If you had an agreement, that is not RTA covered, but it provided for a term of one year, then the landlord requiring you to move before the one year is up might indeed be breaching the agreement. It is only a "might be breaching" because either explicitly or implied in the agreement would be a requirement that you behave properly, pay the rent etc., and that a breach of those conditions would justify eviction and early termination.

      If you are kicked out because of the heater but have a fixed term of longer than 60 days, you could in theory sue the landlord for breaching the contract. You could allege that terminating the contract for a "heater" is not a legitimate ground o terminate a fixed term early. However, if you have no fixed term then I would argue that the landlord can terminate you for any reason at all (heater included) so long as the notice given to you is reasonable.

      To your last question. Can the landlord kick you out sooner. Frankly, you have no legal protection or right to stay within the property. So in my opinion, yes the landlord can kick you out sooner. However, the risk to the landlord is that kicking you out sooner causes you to suffer losses and if the kicking out sooner is not reasonable then you could sue the landlord for the damages you suffered as a result of being terminated without reasonable notice.

      If you get kicked out sooner, and the kicking out was not justified, then the landlord will owe you back the money you have paid and possibly damages as well. Unfortunately, if this money is not paid voluntarily you would have to sue her for it.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    4. If a person rents a room in durham region.but the landlord does not live in the building do you have to give legal notice of 60 days and does the landlord have to ,give you the same...??

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    5. Hi: A "room" can indeed be a rental unit. Rooms, in rooming houses, do have the protection of the Residential Tenancies Act. Tenants in these kinds of rental units have all of the same protections as tenants in other kinds of rental units (apartments, townhouse, houses). Hence, if you want to terminate your tenancy, presumably a monthly one, you have to give 60 days notice to terminate. A Landlord, where the rental unit is covered under the Residential Tenancies Act, does not have the right to terminate the tenancy on 60 days notice. A Landlord has to have a reason that the Residential Tenancies Act recognizes as a legitimate reason to terminated. Simply wanting to end the tenancy is not a reason recognized under the RTA.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  8. Hi Michael,
    I rent an apartment in the Kingston area. Our problem is that we are suppose to be able to control the heat in our apartment but, with the heat in the off position it is always to hot in here the temp is 24-25 degrees. The building is old and has a boiler system. The big problem is when we sleep, our bedroom has heat on both the walls so it feels more like 30 degrees. We have a big turbo fan on but I continuously am waking up at night because it is way too hot to sleep. We have had them here 5 times saying there is nothing they can do about it. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hi: I'd start with Property Standards with the City. I'm not familiar with Kingston's by-law but presumably there will be something in it that deals with properties being "habitable". Hopefully you can get a Property Standards Officer to make an Order requiring a fix. If you're on a boiler and the rads are turned off or down then it will be a question of determining where the heat is coming from. There is always a solution, it just may be a matter of cost that is preventing the landlord from taking steps. The landlord, under the RTA, also has a requirement to provide a unit that is fit for habitation. While there is no heat maximum specific in the RTA, I think you would have grounds to apply to the Board on the basis of the unit not being "fit for habitation".

      Best of luck. Let me know how this goes.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  9. I have a question for you Mr. Thiele. I'm living in a small two bedroom apartment with my 3yr old son and my fiancée. the apartment is part of a house and the bathroom is clearly a new addition. the stove has no ventilation and there is no fan or vent in the washroom. we do not control our heat and its either freezing cold or feverishly hot(usually freezing) the vents in the house are old and connect all three of the apartments together so we can smell and hear everything from the other two, but only one vent actually puts heat into the apartment. there looks to be mold growing under the bathroom tile and the floors are so slanted we have to prop up book cases with books underneath them to keep them standing. the walls were not properly put up so there are no studs in them and the front door has an enormous gap at the bottom. there are squirrels living in the attic and walls and the balcony/porch(its an upstairs apartment) looks as though the wood is rotting. and the stairs feel like they are about to give way. whenever asked to fix the more serious problems the landlord sends over a guy and he does a poor patch job, or "fixes" something that isn't broken. (eg. the tub isn't properly cocked to the wall and leaks into the lower apartment, which caused the ceiling of the apartment below us to collapse and instead of fixing the tub like we asked he ripped out the toilet and "fixed" something in the pipe, but the toilet worked fine)



    my question(sorry for the novel) is whether or not I should get the health and safety inspector to come check out this place. or not. the neighbours apartment is just as bad or worse than mine. I believe my asthma is being worsened by the stuff growing in the apartments walls and floors. you cant see it growing, but the apartment always has an odd aroma (from the other apartments through our vents and from something in our apartment) we keep a clean home and the smell isn't because of us. is there anything we can do?


    Thank you for your time...

    From: sick of living in a slum

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    1. Hi: The obvious answer of "move" is likely something that you have considered and have decided you can't afford to do so or perhaps you need to stay in this home for the location or some other reason. Certainly, the law doesn't require you to move when there are maintenance problems but I bring it up for the reason that you are citing health problems arising from this home. The law, even it if delivers 100% of the Justice it can possibly deliver it can never do anything to get your health back for you. So, if moving is a possibility, choose that.

      Otherwise, the home you describe seems not to be fit for habitation (an obligation under the RTA). The landlord is breach of his maintenance and repair obligations and the home does not meet basic building code requirements nor does it comply with all of the Property Standards By-Laws of which I am aware. Given that your health is suffering you should certainly consider calling Property Standards from your city, town, township (wherever you are), and ask them to come into the property and inspect. Be ready to show them all of the problems. An Order for repairs will likely be made though in this case you might just find (if the unit is in extremely poor condition) that an inspection may lead to an order that makes the landlord consider demolition of the unit--i.e. and serve you with a Form N13 (Demolition, conversion, repair). Alternatively, the repairs required may be so extensive that vacant possession is required---you would have to move out on 120 days notice but would have the right to re-occupy after the repairs are done at the same rent.

      By documenting the repairs required and getting a copy any property standards order you can likely get an Order from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for repairs to be done (if the City Order doesn't get satisfaction or if for some reason you can't get the City to issue an order) and you can ask for an abatement of rent for not having what you are supposed to have.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  10. Hello,

    I have been having a problem with my heat for about a month. When I made the initial complaint, the super informed me the boilers were being replaced, and their plumber informed me the heat is not coming through the vents in my apartment like it should be. The issue seemed to resolve itself.

    For the last week or so, when the weather was -20 outside, my apartment was about 15 degrees. The super had the vents in my apartments cleaned, but my apartment remained at 15 degrees. The landlord had suggested window seals and heaters until the issue can be resolved. They have not informed me a permanent solution will be established, or that the seals and heaters are only temporary. The window seals are horrible, and will have to be removed during the summer in order to open the windows, and put back on next season. I was under the impression the heaters they were providing were portable and had to be plugged in.

    After arriving home from work today, I find out the heaters are permanent fixtures and their electrician had to install them. The location is also a huge fire hazard as it’s right below were I hang my coats and leave my shoes/boots. I have since asked them to remove them, but the request was after business hours so I will hopefully have a response by tomorrow.

    My question is: are they legally required to fix the heaters I moved into the apartment with, or are the new heaters they’ve provided legally acceptable? They heaters have to be turned on manually, and I’m not comfortable leaving them on when I’m not home due to fire hazards. I also have pets that require heat while I’m not home/at work, and my apartment will not be warm until I’ve been home and had the heaters on.

    Also, I had written a letter requesting compensation for the time period in which the heat has been below the legal standards and was told “that’s not going to happen”. I had asked for the matter to be resolved directly, and if it couldn’t be, I will take the matter to court. I was then told their legal counsel is looking into my email/request, and I am wondering if they could possibly come after me legally now?

    I will be calling the landlord tenant board tomorrow.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i apologize - i live in an apartment in Toronto and have baseboard heating.

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    1. Hi Jenna:

      I have produced below from O.Reg. 517/06 additional requirements respecting heating of a rental unit. Aside from the statutory requirements arising from he RTA you should really take a look at the Property Standards By-law applicable to your area. I'm not familiar with the Toronto by-laws--whether there is only one or many different ones for different parts of the City. However, it is likely that in a City like Toronto that they will have regulated the provision of heat, the equipment to be used etc.. You might find something quite useful in the By-Laws.

      You clearly have fire safety concerns about the new heaters. Simply asserting that concern is not going to get you much traction at the Board. If there is a problem then a property standards inspection, fire marshall inspection, TSSA inspection are all inspections you may wish to seek out to either get confirmation of the fire hazard or peace of mind that what you have is indeed deemed safe.

      It is rather unusual these days to hear about people installing baseboard heaters. My experience has been that they are notoriously inefficient and use an awful lot of electricity. Given the cost of power these days I would think that baseboard heating is an absurd option. That being said, there are many places where baseboard heating is still the method of heat. However, what you seem to have is the cheapest version of that kind of heating. If it is deemed safe and not portable heating I think objection could be made to the lack of a thermostat that would allow adjustment and maintenance of the temperature.

      The preferred solution is of course the forced air heating and the ducts that are in place. Clearly you have never been provided an answer as to why they don't work. It would be interesting to get an answer from the landlord as I can't imagine that baseboard heaters is cheaper or preferable to using an existing furnace. There must be a serious problem with the furnace or duct work. The Board will order things in a unit to be repaired and I see no reason why the furnace would not be one of those things. However, that will be limited by explanation of the problem and in that context the Board will consider the alternative solution to repairing the heating system (i.e. baseboard heaters). From your side, I expect you would argue that central heating is more efficient and convenient. Central heating distributes heat more evenly and you feel better with it including for your pets who need heat during the day. Having to get on your hands and knees to turn the knob on a baseboard heater (I presume you have the floor level ones) to adjust the temperature is not an acceptable alternative to central heating. It is that context--along with statutory requirements and your City by-law and whatever inspectors say that should inform what the Board will do about your situation.

      Good luck

      Michael K.E. Thiele

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    2. O.Reg. 517/06

      Heating

      Maintenance of room temperature
      15. (1) Heat shall be provided and maintained so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (1).
      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a rental unit in which the tenant can regulate the temperature and a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained by the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (2).
      (3) Every residential complex shall have heating equipment capable of maintaining the temperature levels required by subsection (1). O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (3).
      (4) No rental unit shall be equipped with portable heating equipment as the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (4).
      (5) Only heating equipment approved for use by a recognized standards testing authority shall be provided in a room used or intended for use for sleeping purposes. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (5).
      Fuel and utilities
      16. (1) Fuel supplied to a residential complex or rental unit shall be supplied continuously in adequate quantities. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 16 (1).
      (2) Utilities supplied to a residential complex or rental unit shall be supplied continuously. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 16 (2).
      (3) The supply of fuel and utilities may be interrupted for such reasonable period of time as may be required for the purpose of repair or replacement. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 16 (3).
      (4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the tenancy agreement makes the tenant responsible for the supply of fuel or utilities and the supply has been discontinued because of arrears in payment. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 16 (4).
      Maintenance of heating systems
      17. Heating systems, including stoves, heating appliances, fireplaces intended for use, chimneys, fans, pumps and filtration equipment, shall be maintained in a good state of repair and in a safely operable condition. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 17.
      Air supply and fuel storage
      18. (1) A space that contains heating equipment that burns fuel shall have a natural or mechanical means of supplying the air required for combustion. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 18 (1).
      (2) If heating equipment burns solid or liquid fuel, a storage place or receptacle for the fuel shall be provided in a safe place and maintained in a safe condition. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 18 (2).

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  12. Hi Michael.

    We live in a residential rental apartment in Toronto that has 8 stories and 75 tenants. Our building does NOT have central heating or AC - but it does have individual fan coils throughout every unit - averaging about 3 per apartment. The landlord provides hot water in winter and cold water in summer to heat and cool the apartments. If the fans to run those fan coils are not turned on to low, medium or high - the effects of the heating and cooling are really not felt and the minimums, especially in winter are NOT achieved. The issue here is that running those fans is linked to the hydro costs that the tenant is responsible for paying. This means that to reach the minimum required temperature in the winter - the tenant must incur hydro costs. This appears to be misleading since the landlord boasts that heating and AC is included in the rent. What recourse do the tenants have to force the landlord to rebate the tenants the cost of running those fan coils?

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    1. Hi: This is an interesting question and one that I don't think I have ever had before. What you seem to be describing to me is a misrepresentation that may have been an inducement to various tenants to rent with the landlord for a specified rent on the assumption that there would be no cost for heating and cooling. Judging whether a rent is reasonable, or affordable, is certainly informed by anticipated hydro costs and heating and cooling costs. So what can you do about being responsible for the electricity costs? In a regular court the claim would be based on breach of contract and misrepresentation. The measure of your damages would be the hydro costs--which based on motor size etc., you could make a fairly accurate assessment of the cost. What can you do at the Landlord and Tenant Board? As the Board application process is form based you need to find the right form to apply to the Board. The right form is based on the Residential Tenancies Act. Most tenant application authority comes from section 29 of the RTA. Unfortunately, there isn't a form or box to tick that fits this issue very well. Without researching it, I would start with a T3 application seeking a rent reduction on the basis that the landlord has reduced a service. The contracted service is not being provided fully, hence what you are getting is a reduced service. The measure of damages is the hydro cost. Note that there is a time limit for a T3 application. I'd also file a T2 application and try in that context to pursue the misrepresentation argument and breach of contract--seeking specifically that the landlord provide what he/it contracted to provide.

      This case may be worth consulting with a lawyer and paying for a little research. If you have a tenant association or the tenants are willing a rather small contribution from all of the tenants should allow you to get a solid legal opinion and an application filed and heard on behalf of the tenants as a group.

      If you pursue this I would really like to know the outcome.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele0

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  13. Hi Michael,
    We just moved into a rental where we pay the utilities, however, since we moved in the thermostat has been broken and the hot water has been on and off, repaired, etc, Right now, we don't have control over our heat, it is really hot, and no way to turn it down or off, are we responsible for these crazy high bills due to a defective thermostat? thanks Julie

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    1. Hi Julie:

      You are contracted to be responsible for utilities and the utility companies will continue to demand payment without regard for your dispute with the landlord. Hence, you need to put the landlord on formal notice of the problems---in writing with proof of delivery. Then, call property standards and get the place inspected. If the temperature is crazy high then perhaps call a heating company yourself to get the issue dealt with. If only the thermostat is broken but it would still function as a controller if repaired then you could always buy a thermostat and have it installed. With the evidence you collect, and the proof of your complaints, you can apply to the Board (T2 & T6) to have the Board grant you remedies. You can ask for an abatement of rent, costs of any repairs (urgently and necessarily made), as well as reimburse you for extraordinary utility costs. You need to be sure to have proof of notifying the landlord of the problem and following up diligently with the landlord to have the issues dealt with.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  14. Hello Michael,
    I hope you can shed some light on my situation. I am currently renting a portion of a house. The Thermostat is locked out and programed to maintain 21 degrees in the house. However, that being said, my portion of the house is situated above uninsulated garages with tile and hardwood floor in my space. Even when the thermostat is reading 21 in the main living area my space feels at least 5 degrees lower. I should point out that the thermostat is located next to a wood burning stove that is lit every now and again ( by the other tenants in the house). This causes my area to become very, very, very cold.
    So in order to deal with heating my area, I have taken it upon myself to use space heaters. In my lease it says I am not permitted to use "block heaters". The landlords consider a space heater a block heater. Either way, this feb 2015 was very cold (am sure you are well aware of that). My landlords received their hydro bill and were not pleased with it. So they are trying to make us pay for the extra hydro costs. My rent states that utilities are included.
    They are stating that they know I have a space heater and have violated my lease, and therefore I owe them the extra money.
    I feel that this is not right as my area is freezing! I have put plastic on the windows to help with heating.
    Is there anything I can do? Even though it says no heaters in my lease, because of circumstance can I use them?

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    Replies
    1. Hi:

      I am going to assume that the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) applies to your situation and that there is no exemption from the RTA. Your description of the house makes it sound like you have multiple co-tenants but that they are on separate leases? Is this like a rooming house? I ask because on the one hand you are talking about "my area" and "my lease" but then say that the landlord is trying to get "us" to pay for extra hydro. If there are separate leases then the liability would be separate--if any.

      All that being said. If you are an RTA covered tenant then I think the landlord is entirely off base. I would write to the landlord and advise that the current heating system is not providing sufficient heat to "your area" (unit?). The lack of sufficient heat puts the landlord in breach of its obligations under the RTA. You could take the landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board just for that. Instead, you have dealt with the problem by buying a space heater. This is not unusual or strange and needs to be in the contemplation of any landlord. Block heaters and space heaters are not the same thing regardless of what they might like to say. Even if they are, and you are deemed to be in breach, the measure of damages is a complete set off in that the landlord's failure to adequately heat the premises can easily be argued to be the cost of heating the unit with space heaters. Arguably, the landlord can be asked to pay for the space heaters and you could further ask for an abatement of rent for the lack of a proper heating system.

      In a letter to the landlord--email preferably---so you can prove delivery, I would ask the landlord to make proper modifications to the home to allow for your area to be properly heated and maintained at a reasonable temperature. Advise that landlord that unless this is done, you intend to continue to use the space heaters and that if the landlord has a problem with that you invite them to file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board to address the issue at which time you will file your own application to the Board. Simple fact: as a tenant you are entitled to have your unit adequately heated. There is no getting around that.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Dear Michael,
      Thank you for your response. You have been very helpful. Please bare with a few more questions as I would like to have all my ducks in a row before I file against my landlord.
      I need to know if I am covered under the RTA. What would NOT be covered under the RTA?
      Yes I have multiple co-tenants. We are all on separate lease agreements. The basement is occupied by a family. They have their own living room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen.
      I share the upstairs with 3 other people. I am on one side of the house with my roommate. We have a small sitting area, our own bathroom and our own bedrooms. We share the kitchen and common area with 2 people on the other side of the house. These people also use the laundry facility on our side of the house.
      If I am 100% covered under the RTA, I am going to file against them for failure to provide adequate heat in my area as I have placed a thermometer in my room, and it read 15 degrees this morning.
      The landlords are also saying that our lease is up and it is time to sign a new one. The lease is to be delivered today, and I have a feeling that they will want to now make us start paying for the utilities. From what I have read in the Act, they cannot make us sign anything. If we cannot agree on a lease agreement, my old lease will continue and move to a month to month basis.
      Thank you again for all the help.

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    3. Hi:

      Whether you are covered by the RTA or not is obviously an important question. I made an assumption of coverage in my original answer because it wasn't clear to me from the facts that this was necessarily the case. The exemption I was concerned about was whether you shared a kitchen and/or bath with the landlord or the landlords family. The standard exemptions are set out at section 5 of the RTA and you should look there to make sure there is no obvious exemption. Use this link to get to section 5: http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/so-2006-c-17/latest/so-2006-c-17.html#sec5 There are additional exemptions in s 6,7,8, but I highly doubt these apply to you--but take a look. Your further explanation of how the unit is rented, and to whom, leads me to think that you are indeed RTA covered--but please do satisfy yourself by reviewing the appropriate sections.

      With respect to filing for lack of heat. Please consider calling property standards (a department with the City in which your reside). If you are in a rural area or small town--call them and say you are looking for an inspection. Normally small towns, cities, townships, have a by-law that addresses the temperature requirements in rental units. Getting a report or order from the City, Town, etc., is very helpful in proving your case--that being that the landlord is not supplying the vital service of "heat" (see the definition in section 2 of the RTA--use the same link as above). Then take a look at section 21 which provides that a Landlord shall not without the reasonable supply of a vital service (i.e. heat). In the definition (s. 2) you are referred to a time period prescribed by the regulations. Using the same link, near the top of the page you will see a tab that lets you look up regulations to the Residential Tenancies Act. Click that and select Ontario Regulation 516/06 to the Residential Tenancies Act. Once in that regulation go to section 4--entitled Definition of a Vital Service. This section gives you the timeline and explains how heat is to be measured in a room and which rooms are required to be provided with heat--in fact, it's important enough, I'll copy the link for you here (you will need to cut and paste as I can't make links live in comment replies): http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/o-reg-516-06/latest/o-reg-516-06.html#sec4subsec1

      In making your application it will be imperative that you have irrefutable evidence that you do not have adequate heat in your unit. Just having a thermometer and your say so is not necessarily enough to discharge your burden of proof. Also, it is very important that you have repeated written requests to the landlord to deal with the issue of a lack of heat in your unit. You have to give the landlord and opportunity to fix the problem otherwise you may find that the Board awards you nothing when the landlord says " this is the first we have heard about this problem--of course we will fix it now".

      You are correct about going month to month. You are not required to sign a new lease. While you may insist on your right to go month to month not being in a fixed term opens the possibility of the landlord terminating on a not for cause basis (landlord's own use). Also, if your unit is not subject to rent control you may find that some landlords will serve a Notice of Rent Increase in a retaliatory fashion that far exceeds the guideline amount just to encourage you to move out. The partial RTA exemptions with respect to rent control (i.e. how much rent can be increased) are in section 6(2) RTA.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  15. I am a landlord in Toronto, I rent out my basement. I make every possible effort to abide by the laws and usually go above and beyond for tenants if they are good tenants because it's in my best interest to keep them....they are afterall "my customers". However, having said that, I am not running a charity, I'm renting the basement to make money, therefore if the costs associated with renting the basement to a particular tenant are so high that I'm unable to make much profit then it's not reasonable for me to keep that tenant there.

    Many times I have had tenants knock on the door and complain to me that the heat is not high enough, when I go down to check the temperature I see they are walking around in the dead of winter with shorts and tank top on....and the temperature in the basement is 72 degrees. Even I wear a sweater and slippers, etc in my house in the winter, and everyone I know does also. I have also suggested to tenants that I'd like to have the windows covered with clear plastic in the winter so they still get the light but less draft. They have refused, saying "I want to be able to open the windows from time to time."

    My point is, when people are not paying any portion of the costs of utilities they tend to abuse it. I keep many of the heat duct upstairs in the main house closed so the heat can be directed downstairs, I check the temp in the basement everytime a tenant compains and if it's below I will address it, but it never is, because I always make sure it's above 72. But I do believe that many tenants have unreasonable expectations of landlords and they threaten and demand and abuse utilities and yet they don't understand why they can't get cheaper rent. I had one tenant for 5 yrs whom I gave a 100.00 rebate back to every month from his rent because he was so wonderful when it came to managing utilities and being careful, etc...and my utility bills showed it, and I wanted to keep him as a tenant so I gave him the discount every month.

    Tenants should realize that most landlords will work with them to make them comfortable if they are reasonable, careful and mindful of utility usage, etc. If a landlord sees that they can make money off the basement they will keep the tenants there, if they can't they will give the minimum amount possible under the law and make no effort to keep a tenant because it's just not worthwhile financially.

    Tenants should realize that landlords are in business to make money and if their utility and maintenance costs increase significantly with one tenant than what it was with the previous tenant then clearly there is abuse happening and the landlord will not go the extra mile to keep a tenant like that. Those type of tenants tend to move frequently because they make things bad for themselves everywhere they go.

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    1. Hi: Thank you for the comment and perspective. My experience, over the years, is that there are good and bad landlords and good and bad tenants. The bad landlords are just as bad as the worst tenants and there are some people who always seek an advantage at the expense of some other person without regard to reasonable and decent behavior. I always feel bad for the "good" people (tenant or landlord) who are forced to deal with one of these selfish people as it can be very difficult to get out of the relationship.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  16. Hi Michael
    I rent out a 3 bedroom apt with the attic bring the 3rd bedroom. There is no heat source other than a electric heater my landlord has installed into the wall. I am responsible for the hydro and them the heat. My hydro bill has skyrocked this winter from using this heater. Should my landlord be responsible to pay a portion of my hydro bill seeing as part of the heating cost is being paid by me which I feel I should not pay as they are reponsible to pay heating.

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  17. Hi Michael,

    I am currently living in a two bedroom apartment in Toronto with one bedroom on the main floor and the second in the basement. We have radiators in each room, which is fine, however the back hallway that leads to the second bedroom downstairs does not seem insulated at all. This past winter was brutal. We tried using plastic insulation on the back door and all the windows in the house, but the floors and walls would be freezing. We even purchased extra space heaters, but it doesn't do much (it's that cold). The back hallway is brick and I believe it is solid brick and not insulated at all so I can feel a serious draft coming from the wall itself.The door in the back hallway is not properly insulated either. The draft from in between the brick and the old wooden floors cause the entire house to be very very cold and unbearable and I'm sure it was close to 0-5 degrees on some nights. Is the landlord responsible for insulating this area and possibly changing the door? If so, what kind of insulation should I expect on an old solid brick wall?

    I really appreciate this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi: What you are describing is a fairly common problem. I'm inclined to view this issue not from the perspective of what kind of insulation the landlord must install or how it will be done but instead from the perspective of what the landlord is required to provide. With respect to heating, we have direction in the regulations (O.Reg. 517/06) to the RTA which state:

      Maintenance of room temperature
      15. (1) Heat shall be provided and maintained so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (1).
      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a rental unit in which the tenant can regulate the temperature and a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained by the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (2).
      (3) Every residential complex shall have heating equipment capable of maintaining the temperature levels required by subsection (1). O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (3).
      (4) No rental unit shall be equipped with portable heating equipment as the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (4).
      (5) Only heating equipment approved for use by a recognized standards testing authority shall be provided in a room used or intended for use for sleeping purposes. O. Reg. 517/06, s. 15 (5)

      The City of Toronto may have additional by-laws and requirements with respect to heating in a rental unit.

      If a frank and useful conversation with the landlord is unlikely then you have the option of filing an application with the landlord and tenant board (T6 & T2 application) raising the issue of the lack of heat in this bedroom over the winter. You would presumably lead evidence of having complained about the lack of heat and highlight the landlord's lack of response. Hopefully you have evidence of how cold the bedroom was as well and the steps you took to try to warm the place up (receipts?). Seek reimbursement for the expenses you incurred.

      In an application you could seek a rent abatement for what you had to put up with and you could further seek an order from the Board requiring the landlord to fix the issue. It would be up to the landlord to retain a contractor to make a proposal of how to deal with the issue. While insulating is a safe presumption it is entirely possible that a contractor's recommendation may be something that we isn't currently contemplated.

      The process of filing with the Board, seeking reimbursement, a rent abatement, and an order requiring the landlord to fix the issue should be enough to make the landlord take notice and do something about it for next winter.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  18. Hi Michael -- Thank you for these questions and answers! What a great site.
    We've lived for a couple of years in an older apartment complex in Toronto with over 100 units. The heat is provided from a central boiler. We have no means of controlling the heat in our own unit because the radiators have no valves on them. It is so hot in here -- regularly, 24C degrees at 2 a.m., and I have photos of a thermometer showing this -- that every night, we have trouble sleeping. I have seen the temperature as high as 25.9 degrees in the evenings this winter. In February, we finally complained to the super, who said it was 80 degrees F in his unit and he "likes it," and that if we don't like it we should run our window air conditioning unit! (In February!!) After that I swear it actually got hotter in here. We have to have multiple windows open all night which means it is noisier, drafty and the air gets painfully dry. If you walk around the complex you will see other tenants who are also forced to have their windows open due to the excessive heat. As a side note, it's obviously also wasteful and bad for the environment. Do we have any recourse?

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    1. Hi: The expression "too much of a good thing" applies as well to heat in the winter. I had a similar experience many years ago in student housing when I was in law school. That was 20 years ago and I remember it clearly still as being sweated out of your housing is perhaps worse than being frozen. We used to take ice cold showers right before bed just to be able to fall asleep as trying to fall asleep in a ridiculously hot room was effectively impossible.

      Anyway, you are not without recourse. Section 20 of the Residential Tenancies Act imposes the landlord's responsibility to repair. That section states that a landlord must maintain the rental units in a good state of repair and FIT FOR HABITATION. The key being the all caps phrase, "fit for habitation". Is an apartment that exceeds normal room temperature by a great amount, continuously or for great lengths of time, fit for habitation? Especially when the tenant has no way of controlling the heat? By leaving the tenant with no option but to open the windows and leave them open in the window causes health concerns and exposes the building to risk of freezing should the boiler be turned down etc..

      A violation of the obligations imposed under section 20 can be remedied by an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board under section 29 (which means filing a T2 and T6 application). The key to filing these applications to have evidence of the extreme heat in the unit (which is sounds like you have). Then in your applications you could ask for a rent abatement of what you went through. Also, you could ask for an order requiring the landlord to regulate the temperature in the rental units so that the heat in the rental units is controllable by the tenants or that it does not exceed normal room temperature by more than a few degrees on a regular basis.

      This is the kind of case that would be great for a law student to handle or a legal clinic. There are some technical requirements to meet, evidentiary burden, timing of application, and remedies being sought, but it is a good case I would expect that you would get an order in your favour. Whether that actually ends up solving the problem remains to be seen but at least it is a start.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  19. Hello:
    I have a question about laundry tubs in a condominium's laundry room. Is it a requirement to provide access to a water source in a laundry room? The project management team has decided to remove the laundry tub and washroom from the laundry room, this does not make sense to me. I have never seen a condominium laundry facility that does not have a laundry tub? Any ideas? Thank you very much.

    Regards:
    Ron and Rhonda Potapchuk

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ron & Rhonda: It is doubtful that this is an Residential Tenancies Act issue. The condo will have a Board of Directors, elected by the owners. Have you talked with any of the directors? Is this an issue for other owners? If so, maybe you can get the owners together to instruct the property manager to put a laundry tub back in. To win you will need the majority of the owners and the Board to support you.

      If by chance you are a tenant in a condo unit rented to you by an owner you may be able to characterize this as a reduction of services and therefore claim the applicable remedies under section 130 of the Residential Tenancies Act (see Form T3 on Landlord and Tenant Board website--under Tenant Applications).

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  20. Hi, I have an issue with heating. I live in a one bedroom basement apartment with my three year old in Mississauga.There is a living room, bathroom and kitchen as well. All separate rooms. I only share the laundry room with my landlord. The winter months are freezing as we all know and my landlord does not provide adequate heat. The thermostat goes on at certain times in the day, but he always stops the heat in the evening around 8pm up until 5am the next morning. Therefore my child and I literally freeze at night. I've had instances when my child has climbed on top of me just to be warm, and it takes her forever to sleep just because she is too cold. I use two blankets for her. I have tried to remedy the issue by purchasing a space heater, however my landlord is now complaining that the hydro bill is too high and is requesting me to pay him extra for the extra hydro cost, even though our contract states that hydro and utilities are included. I have no control of the heat and I explained to him that it is much too cold in the basement. My child does not even use the living room because it is cold and uncomfortable.The floors are very cold as well. I am not an unreasonable person. I have tried to adjust my usage of my space heater, but the climate changes can be extreme and I feel like i am torturing my child living here. I do not use the heater on warmer nights, and although I have explained to my landlord that it is too cold in the basement he has made no adjustments and have only demanded money for the extra hydro cost. I do not ever open the windows in the basement. I do not even pull the blinds up. Is he right to demand money from me for the extra cost as a result of my space heater?

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    1. Hi Ms. Johnson: From your description I assume that you are covered by the RTA as your apartment is a separate unit and you don't share a kitchen and/or bath with your landlord. Your landlord's behaviour is illegal and contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act. You are entitled to have your apartment heated to 20 degrees celsius (as described in the regulations--measured as described in the regulation). The heating period is September 1 to June 15 and there simply is no excuse for not having adequate heat. It bothers me greatly that your child is so cold that she needs to snuggle with you for body heat. This is simply wrong when the landlord's obligations are clear. You may have a city by-law that enhances the requirements of the 20 degrees so it might be worthwhile to check with the City. The City can't pass a by-law that is less generous than the heating requirement set out in the regulations to the Residential Tenancies Act.

      To answer your question directly. The landlord may not charge you additional hydro because you are heating with a space heater. You can go right ahead and use that heater however much is needed to get the temperature to a comfortable range. You should make sure to put in writing to the landlord that him turning off the heat at night is making your apartment unbearably cold and that you are using the space heater to stay warm.

      Aside from not having to pay the additional hydro charges you could also consider filing an application against your landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board. What he is doing is wrong and you could get an order requiring him to properly heat your apartment and further for an abatement of rent. I'm unfamiliar with the resources available in Mississauga but you should look around to see if there are any community legal clinics that focus on Landlord and Tenant law issues. They might be prepared to file an application on your behalf and represent you for free.

      Good luck to you. If I was in Mississauga I'd ask to you to let me teach your landlord a lesson. His denial of a vital service like heat is simply reprehensible.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    2. Hi Michael,

      Thank you so much for your reply and assistance. I've been beyond myself as it relates to this matter. I just needed to confirm that he is in the wrong so that I take necessary action against him. He has created such uncomfortable living conditions for my child and I, most significantly for my child. I will not pay him but instead would write him a letter. I will also file against him. Again, thank you very much.

      Delete
  21. Hi there, I live in a basement apartment in North York, with no control of thermostat. My upstairs neighbours insist on blasting the A/C to the point that my apartment is 10 degrees, my joints are aching and I am incredibly uncomfortable (even typing hurts!), I regularly ask them to turn it down, and they often ignore my texts. I am also responsible for paying 30% of utilities so a space heater is not my preferred option. Is the space heater my only option?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi: Have you mentioned this problem to the landlord? The landlord should come over and investigate the problem. I suspect that the upstairs tenant's are not walking around in 10 degrees. Air conditioning through a forced air system like yours sometimes needs to be adjusted in order to deliver the cold air to the right parts of the house. Options for you include closing the vents in the basement so that the cold air is forced upstairs---without recommending it I've seen people put old towels in the vents to prevent air coming out if the vent cover is in bad shape. If blocking the vents doesn't solve the problem entirely ask the landlord to see if the duct work has any other ways to balance the air flow. Sometimes there is a winter setting and a summer setting. In the winter you want more hot air in the basement as the heat rises. In the summer you want more cold air up stairs as the cold air will fall to the basement.

      If trying to get the landlord to work on solving the problem does not work then you can always file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The landlord has an obligation to maintain the premises fit for habitation--and 10 degrees celcius is definitely not fit for habitation. This is not an issue of providing heat as an vital service as it is not the heating season. This is dealing with air conditioning which unfortunately is not specifically regulated as to temperature. You could of course heat with a space heater and if your landlord is less than helpful you might consider going to the Board asking for a rent abatement for the cost of the space heater and the electricity costs. If the landlord realizes that one way or another this is going to cost him money then hopefully he will send an HVAC company to balance the house and make the necessary adjustments.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  22. I am a tenant in a rental building with 70+ tenants. We were served Form N1s - which showed a percent increase that exceeded the maximum that the board could ever approve for that year.

    We want to challenge the landlord - however - we can't find anywhere in the Act that states that if the percent increase indicated on a Form N1 exceeds the maximum allowable that the board could approve - that the Form N1 is therefore unlawful and unenforceable. Can you please let me know where the Act deals with this - or is there a precedent in case law that deals with this? Surely the Form N1 is meant to correctly advise the tenant of their maximum increase possible - not just an arbitrarily high percent to scare tenants into vacating.

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    1. Hi: The rules related to rent increases starts at section 110 of the Residential Tenancies Act. The landlord has a duty to not charge more than the lawful rent. The question of course, is what is the lawful rent. When I hear of tenants complaining about a significant jump in rent on an N1 form I immediately wonder if the rental complex is exempt from the guideline increase amounts and that the particular residential complex is allowed to raise the rent to any amount. To see whether your residential complex is exempt from the guideline increase amounts take a look at section 6(2) (a) through (c). The "guideline amount" that tenant's are familiar with is set out in section 120 RTA. When you say "exceeds the maximum allowable" this section 120 is the section of the RTA that is the legal basis for limiting rent to the "maximum allowable" guideline. Section 6(2), exempts certain rental units from the "maximum allowable" as set out in section 120. Generally speaking, units that are exempted are newer buildings constructed after June 1998. If your building is less than 17 years old you may find that it is exempt from the guideline as per the RTA.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  23. Hello I am currently renting a two bedroom apartment in Ottawa, and my landlord is restricting the number of ACs in our apartment even though we pay hydro.

    The building has been having electricity problems, which the landlord has not fixed in approximately 2 months, and is saying that it was our electricity usage that caused the problem. However, the electrician that came to investigate the problem clearly told the landlord that two ACs could be run in the evening and this wouldn't cause a problem.

    Does the landlord have the right to restrict our appliance usage even if they do not pay hydro and have not had the problem fixed in a timely manner?

    Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi: An interesting question that may have different answers depending on the underlying facts. This is what I mean. In older buildings the electricity infrastructure is limited. Remember there was a time when the only electricity used would be for a fridge, maybe a television and a few lights. Since the time these buildings were built there have been a lot of electricity using things created. Almost all of the modern conveniences today either need electricity need electricity or need to be charged. The infrastructure of some apartments simply can't support all of the appliances and things that need to be charged.

      If you live in a building where this is the problem---i.e. not enough power available to your unit, I can understand the restriction and suspect that it would be supported by the Board in an application against you. The real question is what is the electricity problem? What is it that the electrician investigated and concluded? Are there not enough circuits in your unit and hence two air conditioners on one circuit are blowing the breaker/fuse? Is the issue running another circuit? Is there not enough power to your panel? I'm hardly an electrician but the nature of the problem can't remain a mystery. Once you know the problem it can be determined whether this is something that the landlord should be compelled to fix/repair/maintain under his RTA obligations. If you can't get a straight answer and you know that the electrician said you could have 2 air conditioners then the safest way to proceed to get the answer and permission is to file a T6 application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Through the T6 application you can ask the Board to order the landlord to fix the issue and to order that you may use 2 air conditioning units.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  24. Hello - I am currently renting a semi-detached home in Toronto, another person is renting the basement.
    When I visited the house for the first time, the utilities (electricity and gas) were included in the rent. A week later (before I signed the lease), the landlord called me to decrease the price of the rent but he excluded the utilities from the price which is fair enough. In November 2014, I moved in and I changed the gas and electricity contracts to my name so that I can pay.
    I have discovered yesterday that the person who lives in the basement is actually benefiting from my heaters or air conditioning because the landlord has installed shared air vents between the basement and my place. So in fact, I am paying the gas bill not only for my place but also the lady who lives in the basement.
    Is there something I can do to stop this? My landlord is not a trusty person (I have other issues with him but not as big as this one) and I know that he would not want to modify my lease. Is there any official agency I can contact to solve this problem? Is there any text I can use to enforce him?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: Given that it is a semi-detached house the nature of the HVAC system is not really surprising. The landlord hasn't done anything odd or surreptitious by having the duct work supply the basement as this is the usual and normal way that HVAC works in a house--especially one that wasn't built for the purpose of renting out the basement. The furnace is very likely in the basement with the cold air returns going back there and all duct work coming out of the utility room to distribute warm and cold air throughout the house. Changing this method of heating and cooling is not impossible but the cost of doing so would be astronomical and impractical--especially if the intent was to create two separate heating and cooling systems for two completely separate rental units. Have you checked to see if there are two hydro meters? Because you are paying for the gas and hydro to heat and cool a rental unit other than your own it makes sense for the landlord to include heating an cooling in the rent. Otherwise, you get this sense of unfairness. If you had experience with houses you would likely have known about this before moving in--or at least suspected it to be the case. Perhaps the landlord made the assumption that you knew this when you negotiated the rent reduction to cover utilities. Is the rent reduction approximately the right amount to cover the gas costs?

      I suspect that you likely have the only thermostat to regulate the furnace and air conditioning. The downstairs tenant has to take what you give as there will be no independent control. You might discover that the downstairs tenant finds this annoying as well given the joys of rising heat and sinking cold--the basement unit is probably never "just right" if your thermostat is controlling the furnace.

      I would start with a comparison of gas costs to the original rent reduction (from all inclusive). How close is it? Depending on the numbers I recommend that you then engage the landlord in a discussion about heating costs/cooling costs, and mention your surprise about the basement unit and that you think it is unfair and that something needs to be done about it. Perhaps you can get a credit towards monthly rent from the landlord to make up the difference. See if you can make a deal--it will be the easiest solution.

      If you have no success the first step will be to have a lawyer or paralegal take a look at your lease and offers to lease to se if a case can be made. There is nothing inherently illegal in your situation so it will take some thought about how to bring a case.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

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  25. Hi, I rented an apartment that is all inclusive and it has central air. The windows in my living room do not open. They are storm windows, so basically they are just full panes of glass. I have written to the landlord, he lives an hour away, I have never met him and I asked for windows that open and screens. He ignored me. I explained that the air conditioner is running full force but doesn't bring the temperature as low as it should but that it's cooling us off. I explained that it should be fixed or else his bill would be high. I asked for the window repair on two different occasions before he received his bill. He wrote to me when he received it telling me to turn off the a/c. I told him that I need windows that open first. He said "well, I don't want you to boil" So I left it on. I have contacted him on three different occasions after that asking for windows that open and screens. He blew me off. He just wrote to me on Monday, with a bunch of explanation marks telling me to turn off the a/c. I told him not until we get windows that open. I explained that we had turned it off for a full week last week, we had fans running and the temperature sat at 86 degrees! We turned it back on. Do I have the right to have the ac on and does he have to maintain it for it to work properly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Because a/c came with the rental unit you are entitled to use it. Further, the landlord is required to fix it so that it is properly operational. If the landlord fails to fix it or repair it you may file an application to the landlord and tenant board requiring the landlord to repair the a/c unit. That being said, it is a great time of year to buy a/c units. They are on for cheap and you can get those units that have a hose to a window etc for exhaust but can move around indoors. If the money doesn't bother you too much, you could buy the a/c unit, install it, and then ask the landlord to reimburse it. If the landlord won't you could ask the LTB to order the landlord to reimburse you.

      With respect to your windows I think you need to make a call to property standards of your city/town. An officer will come out and take a look. The windows don't have to be new but they do have to work. If they were designed to open but don't anymore, or are broken, the City/Town will make an order for repair and you can follow up with an application to the LTB as well (T6 application).

      Good luck

      Michael K.E .Thiele

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  26. Hi, We are staying in a rented Basement Floor of a house in Scarborough. We moved here 2 months back from India. Our rent is inclusive of the hydro charges - we do not have to pay any bills for the hydro. The house has Central Heating and Cooling System, but the operating switches for them are not accessible to us, the switches are on the upper floor, which is locked as no body stays on the upper floor. Basement floors are usually cooler than the upper floors and from last 3 days, as the temperature outside is also between 10 degrees to 21 degrees, we are feeling uncomfortable in our house because of cold.
    Our landlord refused to give us access for the heating switches as according to rules we cant turn them on before mid September. We then requested her to arrange for a portable heater for a few days and for temporal use, she refused it and also said that we can not bring our own heaters as well, as we are not paying for the hydro bills.
    We coming from a hot climatic zone and new to city, will take time to adjust to the cold temperature here. How do we resolve this matter as our landlord is not ready to listen and understand our problem.
    Please Advice.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laksh: I'm sorry that your landlord is not a reasonable person. The Residential Tenancies Act imposes an obligation on the landlord to provide heat during the heating season to a tenant. Heat becomes a "vital service" during the heating season and it is during this time that the landlord must by law provide you with heat. Section 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act sets out what is considered to be a vital service. For heat, that section refers to a "part of each year as prescribed by the regulation". That is set out in the regulations and I will reproduce it here:

      Definition of “vital service”
      4. (1) For the purpose of the definition of “vital service” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act, September 1 to June 15 is prescribed as the part of the year during which heat is a vital service. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (1).
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), heat shall be provided so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (2).
      (3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a rental unit in which the tenant can regulate the temperature and a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained by the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (3).

      As you can see, the heat becomes a vital service as of September 1.

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    2. Aside from the period of time that heat is a vital service and the minimums that a landlord must supply, there is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting your living space to be a little warmer. Wanting a bit more heat is perhaps attributable to being from a warm climate but I can very comfortably say that my family would be very unhappy if my home were only 20 degrees---if I limited the thermostat to 20 degrees my family would openly revolt. The thermostat is minimally set at 22 degrees when its "normal cold" outside and it bumps to 24/25 degrees when it is really cold outside. I think adjusting the thermostat in this way is fairly normal for a whole lot of people. 20 degrees at a minimum is only a minimum and certainly doesn't reflect a comfortable temperature for a lot of people.

      So that being said, if your landlord does not want to set a reasonable temperature range and not give you even 20 degrees outside of the heating season, then I think it is entirely reasonable to buy some space heaters (proper safe ones), and go ahead and use them. The landlord could argue that you are not entitled to heat your home to a comfortable temperature but I don't think for a second that she would be successful. She could try to terminate your tenancy with a Notice of Termination (probably an N5 Notice). I think that would be a nonsense Notice of Termination and I wouldn't at all worry about beating that case. Of course, heating to the point of 30 degrees, leaving windows open and abusing the landlord's hydro would be grounds for termination. Reasonableness is the key.

      Take a look through the rest of my blog and obviously feel free to contact legal clinics for legal advice in dealing with your landlord. Landlords who are prepared to be unreasonable about something as fundamental about heat strike me as landlords who are going to be abusive to their tenants generally. Good luck in dealing with this person.

      Welcome to Canada and I hope you enjoy your first winter here.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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  27. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for all the wonderful information you provide.
    Im currently living on the main floor of a house, with the landlords daughter living in the basement apartment. The rent is all inclusive with central air conditioning and I have been living here for just over a year.
    My question is can the landlord now start dictating what I can set the heat or air temperature at?
    There are no clauses in the lease that state any limitations.
    Im very respectable of costs and do my best to keep heat and air to a "just comfortable "setting but the landlords daughter is saying that this winter her mother will be limiting the heat setting to 20 degrees.

    My question is can the landlord start dictating what we set the thermostat at?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: On your facts I would say that the landlord may not limit the thermostat to 20 degrees. Though on other fact scenarios it might be possible for the landlord to limit the supplied heat to 20 degrees celcius. Personally I think that is barbaric--but here is the logic.

      Heat, during the heating season (Sept 1 to June 15) is a vital service that the landlord may not interfere with. The definition of "vital service" is in section 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The definition provides that heat is a vital service only during a prescribed part of the year. The word "prescribed" takes us to regulation 516/06 section 4. I will reproduce it here because you will see that simply turning a thermostat to 20 degrees does not satisfy the requirement to provide heat.

      Definition of “vital service”

      4. (1) For the purpose of the definition of “vital service” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act, September 1 to June 15 is prescribed as the part of the year during which heat is a vital service. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (1).

      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), heat shall be provided so that the room temperature at 1.5 metres above floor level and one metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages, is at least 20 degrees Celsius. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (2).

      (3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a rental unit in which the tenant can regulate the temperature and a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained by the primary source of heat. O. Reg. 516/06, s. 4 (3).




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    2. So that is the law about heat as a vital service and how much the landlord must provide. In your situation you would be exempted from vital heat provision as you have the control (see sub section 3). However, now the landlord is looking to take that control away from you.

      I think it is a strong argument that taking away control over heat is a fundamental change to the tenancy agreement. I think it is an unlawful change as well. You rented a home in which you had control over the heat. The RTA provides for a minimum 20 degrees (see the language of section 4) not a maximum of 20 degrees. You rented a place where the landlord did not contract to providing only the minimum required amount of heat. Your lease, though likely silent in written word about the heat, would include reasonable heating above 20 degrees by virtue of the reality of your rental unit and your one year of past experience. The daughter's statement of saying "this winter" further indicates a change to what was included as your power to regulate the temperature (as section 4(3) contemplates tenants having the power to do).

      This brings us to the fact that Landlords do not have the right to unilaterally change tenancy agreements (Leases). The terms of a lease are equivalent to the terms of a contract. One side to a contract can not just go ahead and change the terms because they feel like it. That would be a breach of contract and that can lead to lawsuits--or in your case to an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order requiring the landlord to restore your control over the heat. In my view, you would win that hands down--no contest.

      That being said, we have to account for unreasonable behaviours as well and the Board would not sanction abuse of the right to control the heat. I appreciate your comment about being reasonable with the heat and cooling and this comment isn't for you but for others who might read this response.

      If the tenant, with the right to control the heat, turns the thermostat up to unreasonable levels (say 30), and then because they are too hot open the windows to cool the place down, you could reasonably argue that this is an abuse of the right to control the heat. That kind of behavior, I think, would entitle the landlord to serve a Notice of Termination in Form N5. I don't think it is a stretch at all to imply in any right to control the heat a condition that utilities will not be wasted. Sometimes, in the longer form leases, you have clauses prohibiting "waste" like this.

      So, in my view the short answer to your question, is no. Your landlord may not start dictating what temperature to set the thermostat at.

      Hope that helps

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

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    3. Thank you for your response Michael, it is appreciated very much!

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  28. My building has yet to turn the heat on when I have called the landlord they say the boiler Is being replaced they had all winter to fix the boiler and now decided to fix and repair it . I have been running a heater in the house and have blown about 3 fuses and have to continue buying them. I have a small child at home and it is very cold to sleep or to live or stay. What options or choices do I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The heating season has started and heat is no considered a vital service. This has special implications under the RTA. If you are using a space heater that is blowing fuses keep your receipts, document your problem to the landlord (i.e. complain and explain your issues in an email, text, or letter). Replacing a boiler can be a big job. However that does not mean that the landlord can just ignore your current predicament and leave you without heat during the boiler repair/replacement. Have the landlord look into providing you with appropriate temporary heat, get a timeline for the replacement (which dictates in my view how heavy duty the replacement heaters need to be. If it is truly a short while then the landlord should pay for the fuses and provide you with a small rent abatement for your trouble. If it is estimated to last a while (week or two) the landlord should get you a higher end space heater and send in an electrician to run another circuit for the heater so that the fuses don't blow all the time (or get the electrician's opinion on how to solve the problem).

      If your landlord really is disinterested in your issue call the Investigations Branch of the Ministry of Housing. They can investigate and lay charges. You may only consider filing an application against the landlord at the Landlord and Tenant Board for failing to provide a vital service. You can get help with the application from duty counsel or a local community legal clinic.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, it sounds like we might be living in the same apartment building--seriously! I'm in Toronto. All last winter we had heating problems and for the coldest week of the winter, we had no heat whatsoever (temperatures went below -30C that week in February, 2014). Even when we did have heat, it wasn't adequate.

      We pay for electricity, but the rental agreement all tenants signed state the landlord is responsible for heating and hydro. Any time we have to use a space heater because we have no heat, the landlord says it is not responsible for the extra electricity costs we incur, even though, in my opinion, they are breaking the contract by not providing the legally required minimum heat of 21C (in Toronto--it might be different in other towns/cities in Ontario).

      This year we are again faced with the same heating problems as last year, despite 4 complaints being lodged with the City of Toronto against the apartment building, for inadequate heating (first complaint lodged was 4 October, 2014 and other complaints were lodged in January and February, 2015). The building management was aware that they had heating problems from last winter, yet they made no efforts to make repairs on the heating throughout the summer, before the cold season started. The heat was turned on again late this year, but even now, in November, the heat is completely off, more than it is on. Tenants are completely exasperated. It costs money to file with the Landlord Tenants Board, so people are reluctant to do that, out of concern we will not get our filing costs returned to us, and the City doesn't seem to be doing too much in the way of forcing the building management to comply with by-laws concerning heating.

      I'm glad I saw your site, Mr. Thiele. I'm currently in the process of doing some research on non-cost ways we can get the building to either a) comply with city by-laws or b) get them to pay our extra heating bills (through use of space heaters) when they fail to provide heat through their central heating. They have already refused to pay the extra electricity rates even though they are failing to uphold the contract to provide heat.

      I lived in two buildings prior to the one I'm in now, and have never had problems like this. If anything, it was always too warm in the buildings in which I previously lived. I find it unbelievable what we're having to deal with for the second winter in a row.

      Delete
  29. I am currently renting out a basement unit that today I only noticed has no vents. I moved in the summer when it was a heat wave and it never occurred to me to check how this place would be heated in the winter. The two upper floors of the house are rented out to two other couples. Heat goes to the rest of the house directly, but obviously not in my suite. I contacted the landlord, who is quite new to the game apparently, and asked her how this unit will be heated once it gets cold in the winter. And also, if I have to pay the same amount (or at all) for heat as the rest of the house, since technically, no heat is coming directly into my unit.

    She said the heat in the house is "strong" and that the previous tenants never complained about being cold last winter.

    That doesn't really change the fact that technically, even though the furnace is in the basement in a common area, that our actual unit isn't directly heated. It sounds like it's going to be indirectly heated.

    My two concerns are over the billing... Do I have to pay for heat if my unit isn't directly being heated (even if it is magically warm enough because the whole house is toasty). I don't think it's fair for me to be paying for something that obviously the units upstairs are actually receiving and I'm getting the tail end of.

    And beyond that.. This is an older house. If I find in the winter that the only solution is a space heater, and if the law states that a space heater can't be the only source of heat... Does this apply if the furnace is outside the unit and heating the unit by accident?

    I feel incredibly dumb for not noticing this in the summer. We noticed the lack of vents and baseboards today and I was genuinely surprised as I had never seen that before. Thank you for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Sounds like an interesting place that is perhaps in need of a Holmes on Homes episode. Seems odd to me that the basement unit would have no duct work at all. It could be the case that duct work is running through your unit and simply air contact with the duct work is enough to heat the place. Still odd though as you would expect cold air returns in your unit as well to move air about. The air must feel stale in your place? Or do you open windows a lot?

      I presume from your message that heat is included in your rent. If it's included then the key is that you get sufficient heat that meets the minimum criteria set out in the Act (see article above). If that's what you're getting then I don't see a basis for complaint about "paying" for heat. Surely the heat is coming from somewhere and presumably the landlord is paying for it.

      If you need to heat with space heaters then you have a claim. Two things about space heaters. If you are paying for electricity and heat is included then the use of a space heater makes you pay for heat. That is a breach. Second thing about space heaters is that they are not as efficient as a proper furnace and some are prone to overheating and fires. Using a space heater as a primary source of heat is not acceptable. The regulations address this as well (types of heat sources).

      As we come into October the nights in Ottawa are getting frosty. Do you have a sense yet of whether you will need space heaters? If so, that is something to raise with the Landlord. She should probably get an HVAC company in to look at your unit and have them make recommendations for proper air handling, heating, ventilation. Lastly, and on the point of ventilation, please make sure that you have a smoke detector---but also a Carbon Monoxide detector--your set up with no ventilation is worrying. If you are in a sealed box in the basement you might even want to test for radon gas.

      If the landlord refuses to play ball and call in an HVAC company you can try calling the City/Township office and have the place inspected and tell them your concerns. From there you could apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for relief.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.otttawalawyers.com

      Delete
  30. Hi there I was wondering I rent a old farm house out in the country and all we have is a small wall furnace located in the living room of the house and the heat just goes up stairs And out the roof the furance is on high now and still doesn't heat up whole house correctly exspecially the up stairs bedrooms I have heat wrapped all the windows and still no change I have also place thermostats all over the house and bedrooms never get about 15 and even at night drops to around 10 now I don't know if there is anything I can do but it's not even that could outside yet and house is already freezing with furance on full blast do I need to go buy other sources of heat or does my landlord I'm worried for health of my new born son as don't want him getting sick, also previous people that rented place told me pipes froze in winter cause they are about 15 feet around corner from furance and they weren't getting enough heat so they had to buy a plug in heater now I pay utilities should I have to buy one as well and should I have to pay extra electricity bill because furance isn't heating whole house well enough?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello it is Oct 7 and my landlord keeps turning on and off the heat i mentioned to him to turn it on and it took 2 days for him to accully do it and now its a day after at 7:51 pm and theres no heat we have a heat stat but have no control over the heat is he allowed to turn off the heat like that my toes are cold

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, My husband and I rent a a semi. We recently tried to turn the furnace on and the pilot light wont come on. We called our landlord and he said that we are responsible for the cost to have someone come and service the furnace is this true?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI: In Ontario the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repair of things like a furnace. Even if the lease provides otherwise. If you call the Investigations Branch of the Ministry of Housing--you can find the number on the Landlord and Tenant Board website or by calling them, they may help you in contacting the landlord and informing him of your obligations. The alternative is to confirm your landlord's answer to your maintenance request and then calling a furnace company to come and service the furnace. You can then take the landlord to the Board for a reimbursement of this expense.

      Good luck

      Michael K .E. Thiele

      Delete
  33. Hi Michael, i live in an apartment that has no kitchen sink, the only sink in the apartment is the one in the washroom. The apartment only has one skylight that does not open and the ventilation is very poor im not even sure if I have any because theres no return duct in the apartment. What can I do? and if i plan on moving how do i get my last month back? any help would be appreciated. thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: Is this a unit in a rooming house? I'll presume not because you describe it as an apartment. What an odd place it must be as I can't imagine anyone constructing a rental unit without a kitchen sink.

      You don't say whether you are on a fixed term lease or month to month. If you are at the end of your lease or on a month to month are you willing to give 60 days notice to vacate. You could simply terminate the tenancy in accordance with the RTA and therefore not have to worry about getting your LMR back as it would be used for the last month of your tenancy. If you need to terminate sooner and are unable to provide lawful notice then you will need to look for grounds for termination of the tenancy. Strangely enough, the lack of a kitchen sink could be grounds to terminate your lease. While there are exceptions, the law does require every rental unit (not rooming houses units inside the room) to have a kitchen sink. You can find this requirement in Ontario Regulation 517/06 section 10 (you can find this regulation on www.canlii.org---search first for the Residential Tenancies Act Ontario and then after you navigate to it click on the regulations tab). Compare your situation to the requirements of this regulation. Does your unit have the mandatory items set out in that section? If not, this may be your avenue to file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board for early termination of your tenancy.

      If you are given the right to terminate your tenancy early the return of your last month's rent will flow from that Board Order. If the landlord refuses to return the money then you would have to apply to the Board for an order and then take enforcement steps against the landlord.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  34. Hello Mr. Thiele.

    I live in an attic apartment, it's a small bachelor with radiator heat. I have two rooms each with a radiator, however, because the house is so old there is very little water pressure to force the water from the boiler in the basement up to the fourth floor attic apartment. I've spoke to my landlord about this issue last year and again a few weeks ago. He offered to give me a space heater for the winter, but I would have to pay for the cost of heating my apartment (paying the hydro). Sometimes the radiators are warm but in the cold winter they barely pass lukewarm. Even now they're cold to the touch though when your in the common space it's nice and warm.
    Is it possible to ask my landlord to pay a portion of my hydro because I will likely be using the space heater as primary heat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The heating system needs to be inspected by a qualified heating contractor and the problem with the radiators in your unit needs to be addressed. The explanation of lack of water pressure does not really make sense to me in relation to the boiler systems I am familiar with. Most boiler systems have water being pumped through the closed loop. It isn't a matter of pressure as in water in a house. Other systems relying on heat (hot water) rising also would circulate through the loop though be a bit slower. I suspect a problem in the system, pipes, valves perhaps not open, air needing bleeding from the radiators. If after a proper inspection by an "expert" the answer is that the system is simply incapable heating your unit (i.e. it is not an issue of non-repair), then you can explore alternate heat sources with the landlord.

      The landlord is required to provide you with heat. A space heater is not technically acceptable. If heat is indeed included in your rent then of course you may require the landlord to pay for the heat. If you do end up with the space heater being the source of heat you can calculate the electricity use from the packaging material that comes with the space heater.

      Good luck

      (P.S. I'd welcome comments from actual HVAC experts!)

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  35. Hi there,

    I just had a quick question in regards to what should be provided or taken care of by the landlord. We rent an older house where we lose a lot of heat through the frames of the windows. Not enough to demand fixing but enough to increase our oil bill over the winter months. Last year we attached the plastic sealing around all the windows and found a huge difference and drop in our bills. My question is should the cost and/or installing of the weather proof plastic be taken care of by the landlord or is that something that would fall to the tenant to pay for and handle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The landlord is required to repair and maintain the property. If the windows and the frames work as designed then I don't think you would have any claim against the landlord. The cost of sealing around the windows, I think, is at your cost. A landlord is not required to upgrade the appliances and things in a rental unit to modern efficiency and energy saving standards. In fact, in some old heritage designated buildings it is sometimes impossible to "improve" the unit. As long as the windows, frames, doors, are in good working order and functioning as designed I don't think that you have a claim against your landlord.

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  36. Hi Michael, I have a question. The temperature in the house is over 20 degree. Can I ask it to be 25 degree? If it cann't be over 25 degree, can I ask the landlord to do something? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I am unaware of any requirement for a landlord to provide heat in excess of the "vital service" defined temperature of 20 degrees. By-laws of various Ontario Cities, towns, townships, may impose a higher minimum temperature but I really doubt you'd find a law supporting 25 degrees. Certainly you can ask the landlord but I don't think that you could legally require the landlord to provide 25 degree room temperature.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  37. Hello,

    In my case I am in a house nn Ottawa that does not have a central heating system. Has a gas fireplace, that is not connected at the moment, on the main floor and baseboard heaters in the three bedrooms. But, there is nothing in the basement where there is both the laundry room and an additional bedroom. At the current situation we have no heating on two levels of our home and even if we connected the fireplace which costs $$, there is no way it could heat the whole main floor. Our landlord said the previous tennant used a space heater and offered us one. What can we do in our situation?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There are many questions. Do you pay for the heat? Are you responsible for hydro? The landlord is required to provide you with a way of heating the premises to the minimum required (20 degrees--during the heating season). If the landlord is in breach of his obligations and isn't prepared to rectify the situation you can call Property Standards for an Inspection and Order and/or you may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order requiring the landlord to provide heat and property heating equipment (use a form T6 & T2 at the LTB).

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  38. I live in an apartment building with 6 apartments and there is only one thermostat for all apartments. I complained the other day as my place was 26 degrees and so hot. I told my landlord this and they turned it down but did tell me that if the tenants upstairs complain they will have to turn it back up and I can open my windows. I live in a basement apartment with the windows at ground level and am not comfortable sleeping with my windows open to try and cool my place down. Is there anything I can do for them to leave the heat where it is as it is at the legal temp. They have it set at 18 and it heats up to 22 and set at 21 goes up to 25 or 26. Please help me !!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hello, I rent an apartment in Toronto in a building and it appears that there is no vents or baseboard heating therefore no source of heat. Our rent is supposed to be all inclusive. What legal rights do in have and how can I go about this? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi

    I am currently renting a place I have been in for 2 years as of September. I have a new born son and I am terrified to go threw another winter like last year that ended in heating bill that cost us over $2000.00 for 5 months. The issue is there is single pane store front windows at the front if my apartment. (they turned a old restaurant into a duplex) I chip off over 6 inches of ice off the window in March from the condensation. My landlord will not do anything about it. my husband got told to "turn up the heat". i could not get it past 70 in here last year even with heavy curtains on the windows, 2 electric heaters, and using the stove and dryer for extra heat. It would cost us over $400.00 to "plastic the windows" to have SOME resistance, but that is $400 we do not have right now. Is there ANYTHING I can do to.. well scare him into fixing the windows or even buying the winterizer ? PLEASE help. i dont want my 7 week old son to have to go threw hell like we did last year!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hello.
    I have been in this apartment for 2 years and the winters are BRUTAL. they cost me over $2000.00 in gas heat all because there are huge single pane store front windows in the front of my apartment. I have asked my landlord to help us out and do something about all our heat going out these windows and I got told to "just turn up the heat". I have a new born son only 7 weeks old I do not want him to have to go threw a winter like last year, were I was chipping 6 inches of ice off the inside of the windows from the condensation, or having to turn on the stove and dryer to stop the wind from blowing across the floor. It would cost us over $350.00 to winterize these 6'x9' windows (there is 2). I need some help,something to even reassure me that I am on the right track. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  42. hi there i live in aylmer ontario and my furnace quit tonight and it will be -2 out tonight i was speaking with my landlord about the issue, called a heating guy and he said he needed landlord confirmation, called my landlord back and he did not answer me ...and theres nothing i can do? i have a 5yr old and a 6month old .... what do i do?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hello Michael,
    Thank you for providing this service. I was having difficulty finding any resources relating to the problem we are experiencing. This situation is somewhat unique. My colleague and I have been assigned to a remote area in Northern Ontario to provide health care for the community. We are only here for a short time before we move on to our next location. We have two problems: no hot water to wash dishes or shower and mice. We initially had hot water but then there was a break down. My colleague was in the basement over the water issue and told me that if creatures wanted to enter the building, they would have no difficulty.I am particularly concerned about the rodent issue since they spread disease. I do not know what body or organization is ultimately responsible for these issues because there are a number of parties involved in these ventures Health Canada being one. The people who are on site and in charge are aware. Thank you for any insight you may be able to provide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The simple answer, in a "regular" community is to file a T6 & aT2 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The T6 is the maintenance application for the hot water heater and the holes that allow mice in. The T2 is compensation for the impact of this non-repair on you. You can get orders compelling the broken things to be fixed and other remedies, including compensation, to deal with the actual problems.

      Unfortunately, I take from your question that you are far from being in a "regular" community. If the Federal Government is involved there may be some question of whether the provincial legislation applies--i.e. does the Residential Tenancies Act apply to your housing relationship with your landlord. I don't have enough information here to begin to try to answer that question. Hopefully, though, I can suggest a shortcut to getting the answer and that is to call the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234. They should be able to answer if the RTA applies to you after asking you some questions about exactly where you are staying and who your landlord is. If you and your landlord are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act and the housing standards that flow under it then they will be able to tell you how to apply (which you will presumably do after trying to get a solution by dealing directly with your landlord).

      If the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act does not apply, then the Landlord and Tenant Board will have no jurisdiction. If your housing is provided as a part of the program that you are working with or through then your recourse may be to your employer. If your housing is something that you separately contract and it is not your employer or sponsoring organization then we would look for the law applicable on the lands that you are on. This is likely a Federal/Provincial jurisdiction issue if, for example, you are on reserve land.

      I'd recommend that you start with the Landlord and Tenant Board. Have all of your details ready. If the answers you get raise more questions then you might consider filing an A1 application to ask if the RTA applies to your situation. Again, you would pursue this after getting nowhere with your landlord.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  44. Hello.

    I'm currently living in an apartement building that is being sold. It has come to my attention that I have not been receiving notices of the showings. I found out showing were happening when realtors and potential buyers were entering my apartment while I was home. Turns out the the realtor did not have my correct email address. When this was brought to my attention I notified my landlord of the error, he followed up with the realtor but I still did not receive any notice and I had people walking in to my apartment "unanncouned" while I was home.

    The landlord sent an email to the tenants notifying us that the sale would end the beginning of December as they have had 15 showings. I was notifed of 1 of those 15 showings. Is there anything I can do about those 14 unotified entrances?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello: Take a look at the T2 form on the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website. Entry without notice is illegal in most instances. You may seek compensation for the entry. Whether the amount of the compensation is worth pursuing or not is up to you. The Board will look at the facts surrounding the entry and determine how serious the violation was and that will factor into any compensation, fine, etc.. Certainly, being walked in on in your unit is serious.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  45. Hi Michael,

    I'm so glad to find your blog as my husband and I are very frustrated and annoyed by our ignorant landlord / management company.

    My husband and I moved into an apartment in Mississauga on August 1 this year, and the problems we have encountered with these people in the past few months drive us insane. First we were not able to get an assigned parking spot for 2 months (they have plenty of empty parking spots) which result in damaged to my husband vehicle; then the brand new dishwasher has not been working since Day 1. Moreover, the building is infested with cockroaches for years and we did not find out about this problem until we moved in.

    What really upset me is that our unit has no heat; at least there is no way the temperature is anywhere close to 20 degrees as stated in the [Mississauga - Adequate heat by-law 0365-95]. It has been 2 months without heat now. I know I can go get another heater and file an application to LTB to have it remitted and all; but our financial situation is tight right now and that we cant even afford to pay that $170 filing fee + "to-the-roof" electricity bill. I have repeatedly ask our on-call maintenance staff to fix the problem, but the building management is well-known for ignoring work order requests. In fact, our next door neighbour told us that the building did not turn the heat on til February last year. After numerous complaints, we decided not to pay rent until their staff give us a proper response. Finally, the maintenance staff showed up last week when it was +18 degrees out and told us that the temperature of our apartment is fine...

    We will pay the rent today as I know non-payment of rent could get us into troubles. I really want to end the tenancy instead of paying these people over $1200 a month for their ridiculous services. Is there a faster solution than filing to LTB and wait for 4-6 weeks for a hearing?

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The law that applies in governing the relationship between residential landlord and tenant is the Residential Tenancies Act. The "legal" way to go about terminating your tenancy is in accordance with the RTA. Hence, to terminate early you can seek agreement with the landlord, seek the right to assign the tenancy, or bring an application to terminate your lease. That is what the RTA contemplates in relation to your question. Of course, there are other ways to consider proceeding and whether that makes sense or not depends on your risk tolerance and what you are willing to put up with. That, however, amounts to using the RTA to get your tenancy terminated in a way that the RTA was not contemplated to be used.

      I'll point out, by the way, that you can file a T2 application for free. There is no $170 filing fee for that application. Take a look at it on the LTB website.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  46. HelloI am renting an apartment in Oshawa Ontario,The boilers in our building are broken so the landlord has provided us with a space heater to heat our apartment which consistently runs all day and all night and never gets above 20°C it also has put our Hydro bill through the roof, what am I to do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brooke: It is difficult to tell from your comment whether the situation with your landlord is a situation of neglectful non-repair or whether the boilers broke, a company has been hired to do the work and there is a delay due to getting parts. There is a difference in how one would approach a landlord who is proceeding as diligently as possible and one who has decided that replacing the boiler is too expensive and space heaters will have to do.

      For the landlord who is doing nothing to get the heating working the first step is to call the city, property standards, and get them involved. Document your loses, increased costs, and then consider filing a T2 & T6 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The T6 is to force the landlord to repair the boilers and the T2 and T6 combined also allow you to ask for a rent abatement. Certainly some abatement for the inconvenience is reasonable as is an award for the costs of your increased hydro pending the repair of the boilers.

      For the landlord who is working towards a solution you could take the same steps. However, for a landlord that acknowledges its responsibilities, who is seeking to repair the problem, who has provided space heaters, the reasonable approach is probably to write directly to the landlord asking a series of questions and advising that you have inadequate heat even with the space heaters (i.e. ask for a solution). Your landlord may bring you a bigger space heater, or another one. You can ask for a time line for the repair and ask what the delay is. You can advise that the added hydro costs are significant and that you would like to deduct the added costs from your rent. The landlord may simply agree to this if you provide comparable bills--i.e. show the increase. The point is that a reasonable landlord will entertain reasonable questions and complaints from tenants and provide explanations. If you can get a timeline for the repair you can make a plan. If for some reason the repair won't be completed for a very long time you may need to look into alternative housing pending the repair. These are all things to bring up with the landlord.

      Of course, if you reasonable landlord turns into an unreasonable one you always have recourse to the Property Standards department and you can file applications with the landlord and tenant board. Make sure to document your complaints to your landlord--preferably via email, so you can prove that the landlord was informed of the problems you are having.

      Good luck
      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  47. Hi Michael I have a question. I live in a triplex in Toronto and we all have separate hydro bills. But there is 1 thermostat that controls all the heat in all 3 apartments. The thermostat is in my apartment. Our landlord has a LBX on the thermostat and a card board paper covering the inside of the box. Is this legal? We think he has it less than 21 degrees because my apartment is extremely cold and we complain and so does the other tenants but he doesn't do anything about it. And on the weekends it seems our hot water doesn't work either.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi there
    I was wondering if I rented an appartment that included live in superintendants
    only to find out theyre is no one on site for emergencies. Ie. Fire, Floods, Elevators, Power Outage etc.
    They do have on site security just recently, however he calls someone who isnt on premises who is represent as on premises.
    Originally in my rental agreement there was 24/7 emergency service support staff.
    The property management company has no longer employed supers on site, unbeknownst to all tenants

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hi Michael, we live in Peterborough and our Boiler heater has broken down four times this year. Each time we've had to use our gas fireplace to heat our 150yr old house. Unfortunately, we don't keep it on at night for fear of fire, so we wake up to 15° house. Our landlord has been OK with us trying to get it fixed, but you can tell he's irritated that it's having problems, stating he never had a problem till we moved in. But, that's not true. Previous tenants left and boiler pipes bursting so he had to replace all copper pipes and major renos to house after burst pipes. This most recent time - over the past month, it has been mild enough but we still have been without heat with three service calls and now a part being ordered for replacement. My question - does us using the fireplace during the day constitute as a landlord proving heat or is this a gray area. I just feel like our heating bills have escalated using fireplace only, and even that during the daytime.

    Thanks for your help.
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat: The fireplace is not a proper replacement for the actual boiler and heating system in the house. Given that your house has a heating system I presume that the fireplace is not of the size nor designed to be the principle source of heat. That being said, it is likely nice to have and in a pinch it can make the house a little cozier.

      Given that you have a furnace/boiler system you are entitled to have it repaired and functioning. I'm not sure if the fear of fire is a reasonable one but that is perhaps a question for the manufacturer or supplier if you ask them about continuous full time use. What kind of use was it designed for?

      Your concern over increased bills and efficiency is well founded. You rented a house with a proper boiler system not a place that is heated by a gas fireplace.

      All that being said, it appears that repairs are being made and presumably there is an end in sight to repairs? Maybe ask the repair person what the reason is for the repeated repairs and whether the system is beyond its useful life. While the landlord does not have to provide you with a "new" heating system--i.e. he is entitled to repair an older chattel in the house, if the boiler breaks continually and the repair person suggests that it is worn out then you could demand a replacement and file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to make that happen if the Landlord does not agree to act in a reasonable time.

      Good luck.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www,ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  50. Hello Mr. Thiele... I am rather new to Ottawa as of July of this year so the regulations within a municipal bylaw is not what I am used to. Having been a home owner my whole life until moving here I never had the concerns of cold temperatures within a living area.
    I am now residing in an apartment which seems to be rather chilly during the day and even more so during the evening and night hours after the sun goes down. I have taken a very brief peek at the Ottawa municipal heating bylaw, however it seems that the air temperature in the apartment may not be as required. Even the stated requirements within the bylaw seem to be less then "adequate" by their terms. A required heat of 16.67 C during the night hours seems a little low to my thoughts.

    I have read the thermostat in the unit and the temperature is usually showing about 18 C during the day hours and less in the night hours... however I am certain the thermostat reading is not accurate and is showing a touch higher then the actual temperature. Keeping in mind the thermostat is located approximately 16' from a window and is also at a height level of 5'.

    The building is under a management company and they control the heat within the building and units. I am finding it below 20 C during the day and each night. I am also finding that my fingers are cold to the touch while relaxing or using my computer during the day or night. My concern is that we are in the beginning stage of the weather turning colder here in Ottawa, with today's temp only -5, we will be soon experiencing very colder temperatures which will undoubtedly create a much colder environment within my unit than t has already become.

    What can I do to make some changes, if any, to the current dwelling conditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John: I trust that you know to complain to the landlord in writing and to ask the landlord to increase the heat in your unit. Hopefully that results in an acceptable response from the landlord. If not, then you are correct to start looking at the legal requirements for heat in a rental unit. I personally don't believe that the City of Ottawa By-law is worth anything and I don't think it is reflective of reality. I don't know any family (my own included) where there isn't at least one person who needs the thermostat turned up higher than 20 degrees in order to be comfortable. Most places I see have the temperature set at 21, 22, or 23 degrees and on blisteringly cold nights the thermostats go even a bit higher to make the house/apartment comfortable. I see the 20 degree's threshold in the RTA as an absolute minimum 24 hours a day (unless the tenant is given control over the heat).

      Elsewhere in this blog you will find a comment and a very long explanation from me describing why I think the by-law is useless and why I think the requirements to the Residential Tenancies Act over-ride whatever the local by-laws say. In my view, the by-laws of cities, towns, etc., are only able to mandate higher minimums than provided by the RTA. I do not believe that municipalities can pass by-laws that reduce the minimum mandated temperatures under the RTA. It will take a decision of a binding appellate authority to make me accept that position as true. It simply isn't reasonable to make tenants suffer the cold in their rental units--which is what many of the city by-laws do.

      Aside from temperature by-laws, there are other ways to approach and challenge the lack of appropriate heat. If your lease provides that the landlord is responsible for heat then you can combine that responsibility with the landlord's obligation to provide a rental unit that is fit for habitation (also a statutory obligation). Tell a story about a freezing cold toddler in the middle of the night in a rental unit that is "legally" 16 degrees and a tenant who can't plug in space heaters because breakers blow and huddling together with a flu/cold/fever trying to stay warm and you get the thrust of the argument. How is such a rental unit fit for habitation? At that stage, compliance with the by-law is meaningless. The by-law does not state that providing heat to the minimum levels deems that the rental unit is fit for habitation. All that compliance with the by-law does is stop a by-law officer from issuing a ticket to the landlord. It does not insulate against proceedings under the Residential Tenancies Act.

      Hope that gives you some idea on how to proceed. You can see from the numerous comments on this issue that you are not alone.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  51. Hi Michael,

    I've been living in this house for a few years now. The washroom which was an add on and its electric heat. I have to keep that room ay 25+ as the pipes have frozen last year due to poor insulation. The landlord brought hay bails and put around outside of the room. Which now mice get in and are in the walls. Last winter when the pipes froze we just kept the heat high but over the last year is when they added hydro to our bills and this winter is killing us in hydro. Plus they have yet to bring hay bails which im not sure is the correct action. Just curious if there is anything to go on here.

    Thanks in advance Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tom: The problem is obvious and the only thing to solve this problem long term is to move pipes and/or insulate the walls and floor properly. Until that happens you are fighting a very expensive battle that mother nature will likely win from time to time. This issue/problem is the landlord's problem. Heating the great outdoors is not something that should be imposed on the tenant. I see a letter to the landlord, a demand that you can deduct the increased hydro cost from the rent and a request that the landlord properly fix/repair this problem. Failing agreement from the landlord, and if you're up to it, perhaps get a city/township inspector in to make report about what the problem is and then an application to the landlord and tenant board (T2 & T6 application) seeking an order to repair and a rent abatement for the increased hydro pending the repair. I would principally argue that the premises are not fit for habitation and do not meet building code and standards given the need to heat the bathroom so excessively to prevent pipes from freezing (the hay bale evidence it clear evidence that the bathroom is too exposed to wind and cold from the outdoors).

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele

      Delete
  52. I live in an all inclusive apartment in London and my place is so cold my 6 month old baby wakes up several times due to very cold arms. You're not supposed to have blankets on them at this age due to SIDS but I find I have no choice. The windows and patio are constantly wet and you can feel cool air coming in from outside. I myself as well as my other, older, children and husband are constantly freezing and it only warms up in here so long as the weather is above 0°C. I don't know what to do to either fix the windows and patio door or turn up the heat. Our heat is water baseboards.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I live in an apartment in cornwall, ontario. my hot water has been off all day, i have complained to the only contact i have that works with my landlord. and still no hot water 6 hrs later. not to mention my kitchen sink has been leaking since before i moved in and the landlord knows because the water leaked into the kitchen of the restaurant downstairs, my baseboard heaters do not work properly, they are always off or on, no in between (and i am lucky to get them on if they are off, or off if they are on. i have to wiggle the thermostat a bunch of time to get anything to happen. the windows are drafty, the door i can see outside through the cracks, it gets cold in here with no heat regulation and i pay hydro. and to top it all off, last week my power was going off and on, when i asked that day, the response was oh, she has someone working in the restaurant on the power they told "US" the power was going off. (no one told me or my wife, verbally or in writing), i can understand, if i pay my power, how can any work being done in the restaurant downstairs require my power to go off.

    My landlord is aware of all of the issues in the apartment and has done nothing, 3 weeks ago she said she was sending someone for the heat, but still nothing. Not to mention i have an exposed circuit in my ceiling that appears to have been a smoke detector at one time. an old looking battery operated smoke detector that i still have not received a battery for this year (moved in this apt in june 2015).

    I will admit i am $200 behind on my rent for last month. but these issues have been ongoing. i am not with holding the rent, i just have had very few hours at work and am behind on bills/rent.

    any advice is appreciated..what can i do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The problems with your rental unit seem to be rather extensive. The City of Cornwall does have a property standards by-law. That by-law deals with the issues you identify. You may wish to contact the city to ask for an inspector to come and look at your property and to make the appropriate repair orders. The City of Cornwall's website lists the following contact number: Bylaw Enforcement, Animal Control & Property Standards - (613) 930-2787 ext. 2310.

      If you have little success with By-law Services, or you want to add some punch to a repair order from the City, you can always file a T6 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Board will hear complaints going back one year from the date of filing the application.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  54. Hello Michael,

    I have been renting a half basement apartment in Ottawa for the last 5 years. The original agreement with our landlord was hydro was extra but the gas for our fireplace was to be included. We ended up taking the place because he explained that the fireplace was sufficient to heat the whole place which it does well. This avoids us having to us the very costly electric baseboard option. Recently he emailed saying we were to start paying for the gas as well. I asked for a 12 month history to get an idea of what the added cost would be. He has yet to provide this. He provided only one bill that was for December 2015. Additionally, the account set up fees are $250 which I told him I am unwilling to front. Looking at the gas bill he provided it would represent a 6.9% increase in my cost which is far beyond the 1.6% allowable for rent increase. Does this count as a rent increase or would it be considered separate? What are my rights here?? Can I decline to pay the gas bill and if so what could possibly be the fall out.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hello Michael,

    I recently rented out my basement apartment to a mom with 2 daughters. The daughters are young and all three of them are home 24/7. We have increased the heater temp to accomodate them, but now they use spare heaters (3 of them), that really increases the monthly bill to double than what it was with other tenants. I was wondering if there was a way around this? The bill has doubled from just exactly last year when someone else was living.

    Thanks!
    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hello my name is Carlos, my wife and I moved into a 3 bedroom apartment in Toronto and it wasn't till night time we realized that this apartment is freezing. The heaters work properly its the windows that's letting in cold drafts these windows are pretty old looking and if I try to close one side the other side opens a bit and if I close that side then again the other side opens a bit. It's all of the windows in the apartment that's letting cold drafts in and my question is if I was to put a work order for them to repair the windows or to stop the drafts getting in and they say we can't do nothing about it as a tenant what can I do? I have a 6 month old daughter and we just started putting on heavier pjs when she's going to sleep and we put 2 layers of blankets on top I can't Handel this no more my bed is literally in the middle of the bed room because it was against the window wall at that time. Thank you for your time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carlos: From your description of the windows it seems to me that they are not working properly. A landlord is not required to upgrade an apartment or change things in a unit to adopt a more modern standard or efficiency. However, what is in the unit must indeed operate properly. A window that does not properly close is not a window that is working properly. Hence, the landlord needs to either repair the window or replace it. The question now is how to force that to happen if the landlord is reluctant. Window replacement is always a fairly expensive undertaking.

      I would start first with the landlord and put in a work order. Be home when the person comes, indicate the problem, and wait to hear what the landlord's response will be. They need to provide you with at least a temporary solution (storm window installation, plastic seal, or something else). Then they need to schedule either a window replacement or repair--it all depends on what is needed to give you windows that work properly.

      If the landlord does nothing, refuses to do anything, or stalls and obfuscates, then you could call the City and ask for the apartment to be inspected by property standards. A property standards officer can make orders requiring the repair of the windows. If it is difficult getting City response then you could collect your own evidence of the problem. Presumably a video of the window from smart phone could demonstrate the issue? Take video, record the temperature in the unit, especially near the window. Collect evidence showing the impact of this problem on you and your family. Once you have the evidence, file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board against your landlord. Use the T6 & T2 forms. You will be asking for an order requiring the landlord to repair the windows as well as an order for an abatement of rent. If you spend money on extra heaters, plastic shrink wrap for windows (go to Canadian Tire they have plastic specifically for leaky windows like this), you can ask the Board to award you your expenses in dealing with the lack of heat/drafts.

      Hope that helps you. Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  57. hello ive recently been having issues with heat in my rental unit. the land lord has finally decided to fix the furnace however i now have an outrageous electricity bill from the furnace running 24/7 when it wasnt working can i hold the land lord responsible for this or even a portion of it?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi
    I am living in a basement and our furnace is not working since last 3 days. So its very cold here. I live in Brampton. I called my landlord to discuss the same but she is saying I called the technician but he didn't come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: There are a few ways to deal with this depending how aggressive you want to be. One way would be to call the Ministry of Housing Enforcement Unit at 1-888-772-9277. You can google it as well and pull up the address and other contact information. Calling them to file a complaint can result in orders be made and charges being laid. If they are unhelpful, you could call Property Standards in your town/city and ask them to respond on an emergency basis for no heat and they can Order your landlord to do the work asap. A further alternative is that you can file a T6 & T2 application against your landlord at the Landlord and Tenant Board. This will take a little while but you can ask for a rent abatement and rebate for having to suffer through this plus you can ask for an order requiring the landlord to fix the furnace.

      Take your pick from the above ways of proceeding. If you have a bit of money and access to the utility room and you are feeling aggressive about the whole thing consider calling a certified technician, have the work done yourself, pay the guy, deduct it from the rent and dare your landlord to take you to the Landlord and Tenant Board for rent arrears. This is not the recommended way of proceeding but it sure is effective, solves the problem, and as long as money isn't a serious problem the cost of proceeding "aggressively" may indeed be worth it.

      Good luck to you.

      Michael K. E .Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  59. when the landlord turns the heat off does she have to reduse my rent if the utiities are all inclusive

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: I presume that heat is included with your unit and that when you say "turn off the heat"it is because we are out of the heating season. In such circumstances the answer is no.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  60. Hi there ,

    I rent a house for $1600 plus heat and hydro, my previous lease was for 1200 and the heat and hydro were included but it was just for the main floor of the bungalo. I have been in this lease now for 14 months and have just discovered that the insulation in the attic is a poor r15 with minimun code standards being r50. I now know why my hydro bills and heating bills are so outrageous. Am I entilted to some renumeration for lack of insulation causing my bills to skyrocket ?

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: What you describe is not an obvious or easy case. If there were to be a chance of success I would want to see that the house does not meet minimum building standards (code at time of building and not new code)and/or other conditions that suggest that the house is "not fit for habitation" or that it is not in a good state of repair and not fit for habitation or that it doesn't comply with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.

      In order to be successful you will need to show that the landlord is in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act (see section 20), and that the consequence of the breach is your outrageously high energy bills. As far as I know there is no explicit requirement that a landlord provide a tenant with a well insulated roof/attic and hence the energy inefficiency is just what it is without there being any liability for it. You need to be able to characterize this lack of insulation as a breach of the RTA before you can begin to think about winning damages for the money you have spent on heat.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  61. Hello Mr. Thiele,

    My room mate and I rent an apartment in downtown Pembroke for $600/month plus hydro. Currently, we have no heat. We have brought this to our superintendent's attention (as our landlord lives in Toronto). In late October, she advised us that the heat would be turned on "by the end of the week". She, then, purchased a small electric heater for us to use (which is going to increase our already outrageous hydro bill). To date, we still have no heat. She doesn't answer phone calls or text messages. Our rent is paid directly to her each month so we don't even see her then. The small heater that she has provided does not do much, as our apartment is quite large. The building we live in was built in 1893, the ceiling is 12 feet high, windows are 10 feet. We need more than a small electric heater! We don't know what to do. Does it not cost $100-$150 to file with the LTB? We cannot afford that. This heat issue is just one problem that we have. It is the most important and most time sensitive. Another question, with the hydro increase from the electric heater, should she be providing some payment towards the increase?
    Thank you so much! With all this snow Ottawa and the Valley has been hit with yesterday and today, we could use some advice... and heat!
    Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: The town/city of Pembroke has a property standards by-law that has a section that deals with heat. A quick online search--if I hit the right one--reveals that section 4.9 addresses proper heating for housing. What you have been given does not meet this minimum standard. Knowing that there is a property standards by-law the next thing to do is to complain to the City to get an inspector into your place and have orders made. I looked up the contact details for Pembroke and found the following:

      City of Pembroke
      1 Pembroke St E
      Pembroke ON K8A 3J5
      Phone : (613) 735-6821 x 1360

      Start with the City and hopefully you will get satisfaction from them. You can then follow up with an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board if needed.

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete
  62. I work at a hair salon in Cambridge, out landlord refuses to hear us say it's cold in here. Hydro is it included in the rent, he installed small in the wall heater for us to supplement but it's always cold, some mornings it's 0 when I walk in, in the mornings and only warms to 66. He gave us the excuse that we are the farthest away from the furnance, my bedroom is the farthest away at me home and I have air blowing in my room. We think he's closed the vents in the ducts so that we don't get heat. What can be done?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi: It must be very difficult working in such a cold environment and I'm sure your customers can't be happy either. Unfortunately, the law that applies to Residential Tenancies does not carry over to commercial tenancies. You would think that the law would be similar but in fact commercial and residential tenancy law is like apples and oranges. In a commercial tenancy much is governed by the negotiated terms of the lease. That would be the place to start to look for responsibility. Failing agreement with the landlord you will need to see a lawyer with experience in commercial leasing to help you.

      Good luck

      Michael K. E. Thiele
      www.ottawalawyers.com

      Delete

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Any answers provided are intended to reflect the Law of Ontario, Canada. The answers are not legal advice and no one should rely on the answers provided as legal advice. The answers are intended to be general information about Ontario Law and are the personal view of the author based on the limited facts provided to the author. The answers may not be legally accurate and may indeed be contrary to the law of Ontario. Answers and conclusions drawn may have been different if facts had been shared that have not been disclosed in the comment/question. This blog is intended to assist people in learning about Ontario Landlord and Tenant Law. However, if you have actual legal problems this blog should under no circumstances replace proper legal advice obtained by retaining a lawyer or licensed paralegal to advise you. Nothing in this blog, comments submitted or answers provided, gives rise to a solicitor and client relationship. Comments are published as submitted and commenters should be aware that if they identify themselves in a comment that their identity will become public upon the comment being published. Comments that have been published may be deleted upon request to the author.

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About Michael Thiele

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Ottawa lawyer and partner at Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP.  Graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.  Called to the bar in Ontario in 1997.  Undergraduate degree at Colby College, Waterville Maine, U.S.A.