Can a tenant refuse entry to a landlord in Ontario? In this article, we’ll take a look at the legal ramifications of this question along with the proper procedures for landlord inspections in Ontario.
Can a Tenant Refuse Entry to a Landlord in Ontario?
Tenants can refuse entry to landlords if certain procedures are not followed prior to the visit. Per Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act, landlords need to provide a notice of entry 24 hours prior to the intended visit.
There are a few notable exceptions, including:
an emergency requiring immediate attention
the tenant consenting to the landlord entering at any time
when the lease allows for regular cleaning at set intervals
if the lease is terminated and the landlord makes a reasonable effort to communicate with the tenant before showing the property to new prospective renters between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM
In most other scenarios (including performing non-scheduled maintenance), landlords must give 24-hour notice before entering the property.
According to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board, this notice must also include:
why the landlord needs to enter
the date and time the landlord will enter (must be between 8 AM and 8 PM)
Landlords are allowed to have someone else (i.e. a superintendent or other employee) enter the property on their behalf as long as these procedures are followed.
Other Restrictions on a Landlord’s Notice to Enter in Ontario
While Ontario regulations allow a landlord to enter between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM after giving 24-hour notice, legislation requires that the actual window be “reasonable.”
This can mean a number of things.
For example, if a third-party vendor (i.e. a utility company) provides a landlord with a certain timeframe for service, the landlord needs to communicate that same window with the tenant.
The Landlord and Tenant Board also recommends that landlords inform tenants of how long certain parts of the property will be unusable following the entry, if applicable.
How Often Can a Landlord Inspect a Property in Ontario?
Next, you might be wondering “how often can a landlord inspect a property in Ontario?” Well, there’s no specific limit on the number of entries. However, an unreasonable amount may be considered harassment according to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
As such, landlords need to be reasonable concerning how often they issue entry notices.
Tenant Responsibilities After Receiving a Landlord Notice to Enter in Ontario
So far, we’ve extensively discussed the legal obligations landlords have when entering a tenant’s dwelling. Landlords also have some responsibilities, though, which we’ll explore next.
First of all, tenants cannot prevent a landlord from entering the property unless the entry notice violates the aforementioned rules (i.e. it’s not delivered 24 hours in advance). Simply not wanting the landlord to enter is not a good enough excuse.
Additionally, tenants need to make every reasonable effort to give the landlord access to areas of the home as needed (i.e. keeping pets and children elsewhere).
Why These Rules Exist
These rules are no joke. In fact, according to ControlYourProperty.com, landlords can be fined as much as $25,000 for violating the Residential Tenancies Act, which is the document detailing these limitations to begin with.
These rules are so strict because legislators recognize legal entry as being a common source of disputes. Naturally, many landlords assume that because they own the property (or work on behalf of someone who does), entry should be a given right at any moment.
However, legislation exists to ensure tenants are able to enjoy privacy and the right to enjoy the premises they’re paying good money for. Landlords who jeopardize those two things face consequences.
This logic is also behind Ontario landlords being unable to prevent tenants from having guests over. While they may own the property, tenants still have the right to enjoy it reasonably.
Landlord Entered Without Notice in Ontario? Here’s What to Do
If you’re a tenant and your landlord entered without notice in Ontario, you have a few potential courses of action.
If your safety is in jeopardy, you can certainly call the police. Beyond that, however, you can also contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit of Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. You may also be able to contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to stop the landlord from entering unlawfully again.
More About the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit
The Rental Housing Enforcement Unit steps in when disputes occur between tenants and landlords in regards to matters concerning the Residential Tenancies Act.
If they confirm the existence of a valid legal issue, they’ll provide either party with a breakdown of their next steps.
If the matter is still unresolved after these efforts, an Enforcement Unit Investigator can escalate the matter in a provincial court.
More About the Landlord and Tenant Board
The Landlord and Tenant Board can levy fines against landlords found attempting to enter properties without taking the necessary first steps. The board can also issue an order to stop a landlord from entering in a specific instance.
While rules regarding landlord entry exist, it’s not uncommon for them to go unenforced. Many tenants and landlords have great relationships in which it’s considered acceptable to provide notice of entry via a text or phone call on the same day.
As long as both parties are happy with the arrangement, this is perfectly acceptable. However, landlords should just be aware that these rules exist and tenants aren’t obligated to be so accommodating.
Can a Tenant Refuse Entry to a Landlord in Ontario? Conclusion
Tenants are allowed to refuse entry when they’re not given appropriate notice. That means being told of the landlord’s intention to enter 24 hours in advance. Landlords must also provide a reasonable window of time for the entry and whatever happens afterward, whether it be maintenance, an inspection, or a showing.
For their part, tenants are expected to grant unimpeded access to the dwelling as long as appropriate notice is given.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When can a landlord enter their property without giving the tenant notice?
Landlords can only enter without providing notice if an emergency (i.e. fire, flood, concerns about the tenant’s wellbeing, etc) is underway or the lease agreement outlines access at specific intervals for maintenance.
Can a landlord enter my apartment when I am not home in Ontario?
Landlords are allowed to enter your apartment when you’re not home – as long as they’ve provided advanced notice. There is no law stating you have to be home during an authorized entry.
Can a landlord take pictures without my permission in Ontario?
According to Slaw.ca, landlords are not allowed to photograph a property while a tenant is occupying it unless the lease agreement says otherwise or the tenant grants permission.
The rationale here is that photographs might include a tenant’s private belongings.
How many times can a landlord do inspections in Ontario?
There’s no numerical limit regarding a landlord’s ability to inspect their property. Their frequency simply needs to be reasonable.
Do I have to leave my apartment during a showing in Ontario?
You aren’t legally obligated to leave during a showing. However, you also cannot obstruct the showing in any way.