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My tenants won’t let me enter the property!

November 24th, 2011 · 8,852 Comments · landlord entry, ontario landlords, Residential Tenancy Act (Ontario)

It happens more than most people who want to become landlords might believe.  There are many tenants out there who honestly think the ‘law is on their site’ and the landlord does not have the right to enter the property they rent.

Does it sound crazy?  Yes, it does!   But many tenants believe their rental property in their ‘home’ and you, the landlord (who owns the property, has the deed, pays the property taxes….cleans the eavetroughs, fixes the fence, makes sure the furnace filters are changes and hires the plumber when the tenants clog the toilet….) have no rights of entry!

Is it true?

No, it’s not.

The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board has clear rules regarding when and how landlords can enter their rented out properties.

Let’s look carefully at the rules.

Here is what the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board says about “Entry Without Written Notice.”

A landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit without written notice if:

  • there is an emergency such as a fire,
  • the tenant agrees to let the landlord in,
  • a care home tenant has agreed in writing that the landlord can come in to check on their condition at regular intervals.

A landlord can enter a rental unit without written notice, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. if:

  • the rental agreement requires the landlord to clean the unit – unless the agreement allows different hours for cleaning,
  • the landlord or tenant has given a notice of termination, or they have an agreement to end the tenancy, and the landlord wants to show the unit to a potential new tenant (in this case, although notice is not required, the landlord must try to tell the tenant before entering for this reason).

Entry with 24 hours written notice

A landlord can enter the rental unit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and only if they have given the tenant 24 hours written notice:

  • to make repairs or do work in the unit,
  • to carry out an inspection, where reasonable, in order to determine whether repairs are needed,
  • to allow a potential mortgagee or insurer of the complex to view the unit,
  • to allow a potential purchaser to view the rental unit (note: the Act also allows a registered real estate agent or broker to enter for this purpose if they have written authorization from the landlord),
  • to allow an engineer, architect or other similar professional to make an inspection for a proposed conversion under the Condominium Act; or
  • for any reasonable purpose allowed by the rental agreement.

The notice must include the reason why the landlord wants to enter the rental unit and must state what time, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the landlord will enter the unit. If the landlord gives the tenant the correct notice, the landlord can enter even if the tenant is not at home.

Can a tenant refuse to let the landlord in if the landlord wants to enter their unit?

If the landlord enters the tenant’s unit as allowed by the Act, the tenant cannot refuse to let the landlord in. If the tenant does not let the landlord in, the landlord can give them a notice of termination claiming that the tenant is interfering with their lawful rights.  A Member could order the tenant’s eviction for this reason. Also, interfering with a landlord’s lawful right is an offence under the Act, and the tenant could be prosecuted.

For information about when a landlord can enter and how much notice a landlord is required to give before entering a tenant’s rental unit, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

What can happen if a landlord enters a unit illegally?

If a landlord enters a tenant’s unit illegally, the tenant may file an application with the Board. If the Board finds that the landlord has entered the unit illegally, there are a number of things that the Board may order. For example, the tenant could receive an abatement of rent or the landlord could be ordered to pay a fine. What is ordered is up to the Member who hears the application.

For information about when a landlord can enter and how much notice a landlord is required to give before entering a tenant’s rental unit, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

 

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