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What is my landlord responsible to fix?

AlpineAlpine Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Me and four of my friends are leasing a house while we're at school this year in London, Ontario. It's a 5 bedroom older home, and there's some parts of the house that we noticed are in considerable states of disrepair now that we've had time to inspect it without any tenants in it. Now, obviously I wish I had inspected it more closely before we signed the lease, but as we saw it it was the best available rental that we had seen after a long period of searching.

A list of things that are in need of fixing up:

- working smoke detectors on all floors
- damp throughout entire house (there has been a ton of rain lately)
- water damage on ceiling in bedroom above kitchen
- no spindles on stair banister (are there not safety bylaws against this in most towns?)
- large tree in backyard with broken limb still semi-attached to the tree
- one room in basement and area around furnace have an inch of flooding
- mould on a basement wall
- eavestrough full of dirt and debris
- milk bottle door at back door missing outside door, only latch on inside
- hornets nest in front window and small bathroom window between bedrooms
- windows missing screens
- basement stairs are extremely steep and have no door protecting against falls

Now, pursuant to part III of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, sections 20.1,2,
Landlord’s responsibility to repair

20. (1) 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. 2006, c. 17, s. 20 (1).


(2) Subsection (1) applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering into the tenancy agreement. 2006, c. 17, s. 20 (2).

I know that he can't pull a "You get what you signed up for" on me. What can I reasonably ask him to do for us? How should I ask him? I'm going to do it over e-mail so that I know that I'll have a paper trail to prove that I asked him to do these things.

He also, when we signed the lease in April, agreed to add a few stipulations to the lease. He said that he would install new countertops in the kitchen, and when I went to the house last weekend to start moving things in, I realized his idea of new countertops was laying down a new pattern of mactac vinyl. He also said he would install cupboard doors below the sink, which he has not done. He also said he would install new, working smoke detectors, which he has not appeared to have done. These three items were supposed to be done by the end of July, which both parties agreed upon.

What should I do so that we're not living in squalor for $27000 a year?

Alpine on


  • ArikadoArikado Southern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    That mold is bad news if it isn't just superficial. I don't know how Canada handles it, but mold in your walls is a serious health risk in the U.S. and it can cost anywhere from $5k to $texas depending on how widespread it is.

    The basement sounds like it would require immediate attention. The rest of the things you mentioned could be self repaired but you should inquire the landlord about it.

    Arikado on
    BNet: Arikado#1153 | Steam | LoL: Anzen
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    hi5, UWO buddy - I'll be starting my master's degree there in September.

    The good news is, Ontario rental laws are heavily weighted in favour of the tenant. My parents own a couple of rental properties in Barrie, and one of their tenants has not paid rent at all this year. First it was just late, then he was going to pay three months' worth plus some extra as a penalty, then he kept coming up with excuses, then a couple of months ago they started the long process of eviction. The sheriff is finally kicking him out next week, but right up until 3pm on eviction day, he can just hand my parents all of the rent he owes and the eviction gets called off, at which point there is no way for them to kick him out legally. So, if you *do* end up needing to cause a fuss, at least you won't have to worry about getting your asses dumped on the street, because eviction is a long and arduous process.

    The bad news is, pretty much everything you *can* do will be a long and arduous process as well. First, you need to submit a written request for repairs to your landlord, signed and dated, and you need to keep a copy for your own records. Do not use email, because he can always pull the bullshit "Well I never got anything, the interwebs must have lost it!" excuse. Type it out, print it off, and send it by certified mail so your landlord needs to sign for it. Then, after a "reasonable time" (I'd say a week or two), if your landlord hasn't taken any action, you start talking to the City of London Property Standards Division. Explain to them what the problems with the place are, and they'll arrange for someone to come out and inspect it. If they find that there is indeed something wrong with the place, they can issue a work order to your landlord, and if the landlord refuses to have the work done, they can take him to court.

    There's some good general information on your rights at the Landlord and Tenant Board website. Basically: the government is there to help, so don't be afraid to call them in. Some of the stuff you listed is really more cosmetic, and they may well tell you "Sorry, you'll just need to live with that." But shit like mold and not having smoke detectors is kind of a big deal, and they will take action. So, go ahead and lay all your concerns on the table, first in writing to your landlord, then in a letter (or a visit) to the Property Standards office.

    Kate of Lokys on
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