What are my rights as a tenant?

As a tenant in Ontario, you have legal rights. These rights are explained in the Human Rights Code and the Residential Tenancies Act.

The Human Rights Code applies to every person in Ontario. The Residential Tenancies Act applies to most people who rent their housing.

Before you rent

Your landlord cannot discriminate against you because of your:

  • Race, place of origin or ethnic origin;
  • Religion;
  • Sex, age, sexual orientation or marital status;
  • Family status; or
  • Disability.

For example, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because you are a newcomer to Canada or because you have children.

Read New to Canada and Facing Discrimination in Housing? [PDF] for more information.

After you move in

Once you move into your home, you have important rights. Some of these rights include the right to:

  • A Safe Home: Your home must be safe and in good repair. This is true even if you knew about the problems before you agreed to rent the home.
  • Vital Services: You must have access to heat, hot and cold water, electricity, and fuel (such as natural gas). Your landlord cannot shut-off these services, even if you have not paid your rent. Your landlord may shut-off services for a short time so that they can make repairs. Your landlord might pay for vital services; or you might pay for them.
  • Heat: Your landlord must heat your home from September 1 to June 15. The landlord has to make sure the heat is at 20°C or more. Some cities have a higher heat standard. Check with your municipality to find out more about minimum heat standards in your community. 
  • Central Air: If your rental unit has central air conditioning, your landlord may be required by your municipality to maintain a maximum temperature of not more than 26°C between June and September. 
  • Privacy: Your landlord can enter your home only for certain reasons. For example, your landlord can enter your home to make repairs or show the home to possible tenants or in an emergency.
  • Controlled rent increases: Your landlord may raise your rent once in a 12-month period. The amount of the increase has to be within legal limits. There are special circumstances that a landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to raise it more than the limit in a given year. 
  • Protection from unlawful eviction: You can be evicted for certain reasons only. If your landlord tries to evict you, you have the right to a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board.
  • Children in the home: You have the right to have children living in your home. Your children and family have the right to make a "reasonable" amount of noise.
  • Documents: You have a right to a written copy of your tenancy agreement, written notice of your landlord's legal name and address, and rent receipts.

You can contact a legal clinic or housing help centre for more information. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

As a tenant, you also have responsibilities. Please read What are my responsibilities as a tenant? to find out more.

For More Information

Last updated: November 14, 2018 4001270