What can I do if the place I rent needs repairs?

In an apartment building, the landlord is responsible for looking after and cleaning all tenant common areas. This includes areas such as the lobby, halls, elevators, stairs, laundry and garbage rooms. The landlord also cuts the lawn and shovels the snow. If you rent a house, your lease should state if you or your landlord has these duties. You are responsible for cleaning inside your apartment or house.

Your landlord is responsible for repairs in all types of rental housing. This includes repairs to heating, plumbing, electricity and appliances that come with the apartment (for example stoves, refrigerators). If you or your guests cause damage to the unit or building, you are responsible for repairing it.

If something needs to be fixed, ask your landlord first. Some landlords will ask you to fill out a form. If the repair is not made soon, ask the landlord again in a written letter. Keep a copy of the letter.

If your landlord ignores your requests, call your municipal government to find out how you can contact the local building inspector. The Ontario Maintenance and Standards Unit looks after cities and towns that do not have an inspector. You can call the Unit at 1-888-772-9277.

You can also report problems with your landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board. This board can order your landlord to:

  • Do the repair.
  • Pay you back for doing the repair yourself.
  • Give you back some of your rent for the time the repair was not done.
  • Let you move out without giving proper notice.

You cannot refuse to pay your rent because a repair is not made.

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

For More Information

  • Maintenance/Repair Request Form – You can use this sample form to show your property owner or building manager what repairs need to be made. This form has been created by the City of Toronto, but can be used by any tenant across Ontario. Available in more than 20 languages.
  • Landlord and Tenant Board - Provides information about the RTA and to resolve disputes between most residential landlords and tenants.
  • What Tenants Need to Know About the Law - Topics covered include rent increases, deposits and other charges, repairs and maintenance, privacy, moving out, and eviction.
Last updated: August 13, 2015 4001266