Tenant and landlord responsibilities in Ontario
Renting your home, as a part of owning it, is a common way of life among many Ontarians. In fact, about 30% of Ontarians are estimated to be renters. There are many reasons why someone might choose to rent as opposed to own: Sometimes low supply, high prices, and high-interest rates make homeownership financially unfeasible, while others may choose to rent in order to save up for a down payment. Young people just starting out in life may choose to rent while sorting out their career and their studies, and recent arrivals to Ontario will also be more likely to rent when first starting out. For many people, renting is a great and flexible way to get their footing and build a foundation before settling down.
Anyone who rents their home has a landlord. The landlord-tenant relationship can often be a source of tension and even legal disputes, which is why it’s very important to be aware of the responsibilities and duties of each party involved. After all, no one wants to be fighting with their landlord. The province of Ontario has set forth very specific guidelines for the responsibilities of tenants and landlords. These guidelines are established in the Residential Tenancies Act of 2006.
Maintenance and repairs
One of the main responsibilities of a landlord is to ensure that the building and the rental units are in good shape. This means that regular maintenance is being carried out to ensure the integrity of the building and its units, as well as carrying out all repairs in a timely manner and in a professionally acceptable fashion. The building, its structural elements—such as roofs, walls, staircases, and fences—, and the rental units should be safe, clean, and capable of withstanding the daily wear and tear that comes with residential life.
A landlord is also responsible for repairing any appliances or fixtures that came with the rental unit, such as refrigerators, radiators, elevators, or leaking pipes.
If your apartment has suddenly become the hottest club for all the hip cockroaches in the city, it’s time to call your landlord. They’re responsible for taking the initiative on how to get rid of the pests, which usually entails calling in pest control. As a tenant, you’re expected to comply with your landlord’s efforts to get pest invasion under control.
Heat, water, and electricity
Landlords are also required to ensure that the building and all rental units have access to electrical power as well as any other type of fuel required in the rental units, such as gas. Heat also falls within the landlord’s area of responsibility: According to the RTA: “Heat shall be provided and maintained so that the room temperature […] in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants […] is at least 20 degrees Celsius.”
A landlord must also provide hot and cold water access.
Lighting and ventilation
No one likes going through a dingy hallway with one flickering lightbulb that’s about to give up at any second. As such, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all areas accessible to tenants, including the rental units, have adequate artificial light. The same goes for outside areas that tenants usually pass through, such as driveways or walkways.
Proper ventilation is another big one: All bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms need to have a window that faces the outside of the building. Anything that may cause toxic fumes, such as chimneys and gas vents, has to be kept clear of debris and obstructions and maintained on a regular basis.
While the list of landlord responsibilities is extensive and pretty much set in stone via the RTA, tenant responsibilities can vary depending on what the tenant and landlord agree to in the lease.
Fixing damages you or a guest made
However, tenants do have the general responsibility of fixing any damages that they or their guests caused. So while a landlord has the responsibility to fix any damages that occur in your rental unit, you’re on the hook if you or your guest are the ones who caused the damage. Thankfully, that’s where tenant insurance comes in handy!
Responsible pet ownership
A tenant also has the responsibility of cleaning up after any pets they have and ensuring that the pets don’t disturb or threaten other tenants in the building. That means you have to make sure your dog has enough walks to do their business outdoors, and clean up after them if accidents do occur. If Fido does mess up the building’s hallway carpet sometimes, then tenant insurance can help ensure you’re not left to pay for the cleanup yourself.
Pay rent on time
And finally, perhaps the biggest responsibility of all: A tenant is required to pay their rent, in full and on time. After all, this is one of the foundations upon which you and your landlord entered into the rental agreement.
As you can see, tenant insurance is a great way to ensure that you can comply with the responsibilities you have as a tenant. It ensures that you’re not left paying a massive bill for a small mistake you, your pet, or a guest made, as well as keeping the peace between you and your landlord. If you’ve ever had a contentious landlord, you’ll know that that harmony is worth its weight in gold.
If you’re currently wondering where you can get a tenant insurance policy that fits your life and your budget, you’ve come to the right place. At YouSet, we have you fill out a short online survey before matching you with insurance policies that we think you’d like. You can instantly compare coverage and prices in order to find the policy that best suits you, with the knowledge that you’re getting the best price out there. Curious? Come check us out!
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