Your first stop for self-help is a review of our FAQs. Take a look at the ever increasing collection of questions asked by Ontario’s small-scale landlords as well as the actual answers provided by Landlord’s Self-Help Centre.
Is the tenant allowed to install a lock with a key if the landlord gives permission? Would this go against fire safety regulations?
Although a landlord and tenant, by mutual agreement, can change or add locks to any door giving access to the property or unit, there may be certain restrictions to the type of locking system that may be used. These safety restrictions exist to make sure that there are no extra steps that are involved when an occupant – using normal force – is entering or exiting the unit in an emergency situation. These restrictions may fall under either the Ontario Fire Code, or the Ontario Building Code. The type of door that is being locked may also factor in to whether or not the additional lock would be considered safe.
For clarification on this, we recommend contacting your local Fire Services Department using this interactive service directory: http://www.secondsuites.info/service-directory/
Our tenant has changed the locks to their unit, has not provided us with keys, and is preventing us from entering the unit by using a chain lock on the door. What can we do?
It is an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act for a tenant to change the locks and bar the landlord’s access to the rental unit. A landlord may write a letter to the tenant requesting that the changed lock be removed. If the tenant does not comply, a landlord may contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at the Ministry of Housing at 416-585-7214. They can notify the tenant that he or she is committing an offence under the Act and can be fined. Read more about the process at this link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/solve-disagreement-your-landlord-or-tenant
If that does not get the tenant’s attention, you can serve an N5 Notice to Terminate Tenancy. When you issue the N5, you have to be as detailed as possible when describing the issues and include dates and times for when the incidents are occurring. The N5 is a 20-day notice but the tenants have the first 7 days to correct the problems (by giving you keys or changing the lock back, in this case). If the problems are not corrected in 7 days, you can file an L2 application at the Landlord and Tenant Board to go to a hearing and ask for termination of the tenancy.
I gave 24-hour notice for scheduled maintenance, I couldn’t enter due to a changed lock, what can I do?
It is an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act for a tenant to change the locks and bar the landlord’s access to the rental unit. A landlord may write a letter to the tenant requesting that the chain lock be removed. If the tenant does not comply, a landlord may contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Housing at 416-585-7214 or toll-free 1-888-772-9277. They can notify the tenant that he/she is committing an offence under the Act and can be fined.