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.
I have rented a house to a tenant and I’m wondering how often I can enter the property to do a maintenance inspection? I have been inspecting the property on a monthly basis but the tenant is now complaining that it’s too frequent. What does the law say about this?
The law does not set out how often landlords can carry out maintenance inspections, however the landlord should make a reasonable effort to limit the frequency of entries for the purpose of carrying out an inspection of the rental unit. A tenant could have grounds to claim that the landlord is interfering with their reasonable enjoyment of the premises by entering the unit too frequently to inspect.
The end of a fixed term lease does not necessarily mean the end of the tenancy. If the tenant wishes to stay and the landlord does not have a valid reason to terminate the tenancy then that means the tenancy will continue on a month-to-month basis (on the same terms and conditions of the original tenancy agreement). However, if the tenant has given proper notice to terminate their tenancy or the landlord has given notice to terminate based on a valid ground then the landlord has the right to show the unit to prospective tenants.
Here is a link to our Fact Sheet on entering the property: https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Entering-Unit.pdf.
The case law regarding the landlord’s right of entry into common areas (rather than into the rental unit) is limited and inconsistent. However, it is a wise practice for landlords to use 24 hours’ written notice even where they are entering common areas, in order to avoid any claims of illegal entry.
A landlord may enter a rental unit after giving written notice to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry under the following circumstances:
- To carry out a repair or replacement or do work in the rental unit.
- To allow a potential mortgagee or insurer of the residential complex to view the rental unit.
- To allow for a physical inspection of the rental unit by a qualified person to satisfy a requirement imposed under the Condominium Act, 1998.
- To carry out inspection of the rental unit, if,
i) the inspection is for the purpose of determining whether the unit is in a good
state of repair and fit for habitation and complies with health, safety, housing and
maintenance standards, consistent with the landlord’s obligation under subsection
20(1) or section 161, and
ii) it is reasonable to carry out the inspection.
- A landlord or, with the written authorization of a landlord, a broker or salesperson registered under the Real Estate Business Brokers Act, 2002, may enter a rental unit in accordance with written notice given to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry to allow a potential purchaser to view the rental unit.
- For any other reasonable reason for entry specified in the tenancy agreement.
The written notice must specify the reason for entry, the day of entry and a time of entry between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
What are my rights when it comes to cleaning up the units for a showing and open house? Can I paint? Bring in cleaners? Is there anything I can do about the extreme clutter? Can I ask the tenants to leave while the open house is going on?
The link below is to our Fact Sheet on Selling a Rental Property which is found on our website. It should provide some clarification on the rules surrounding the sale of the property and entering the unit for showings. https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/RTA-Selling-a-Rental-Property-REV2021.pdf. If the units are messy and cluttered, you can try asking the tenants to clean and clear the units of the clutter. There is no real way to enforce this, and unless they agree that you can help in cleaning up, you cannot do it yourself or hire someone to do it. If there are certain repairs to be done you’re allowed to enter to do the repairs as long as you give 24 hours written notice whenever you need to enter to do the work. You must specify the time of entry which can be between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. With regards to holding an open house, the law does not make any specific reference to this; it only refers to individual showings. This is something that you would have to discuss with your tenants and ask for their co-operation, but you must still provide them with proper 24 hour written notice for any showings, and it is their choice whether they want to be present or not, you cannot insist that they leave.
If it’s an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately in order to prevent damage to the property and/or the tenant’s personal belongings then the landlord can just enter the unit without notice. For other reasons that are not urgent such as repairs or maintenance inspections the landlord will have to serve a 24 hour written notice any time the landlord needs to enter the unit. The notice should indicate the date and reason for entry and a time of entry of not more than a few hours (between the hours of 2 and 4 pm, for example).
My tenant gave 60 days’ written notice to vacate their unit, and I am trying to show it to potential tenants. However, the old tenant is restricting when I can show the unit, and wants 24 hour notice before I enter. What can I do?
The tenant does not have the right to choose when you can enter the unit for showings to prospective tenants, and in this case the 24 hour written notice is not even required as stated under sec. 26(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act: Entry to show rental unit to prospective tenants (3) A landlord may enter the rental unit without written notice to show the unit to prospective tenants if, (a) the landlord and tenant have agreed that the tenancy will be terminated or one of them has given notice of termination to the other; (b) the landlord enters the unit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.; and (c) before entering, the landlord informs or makes a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the intention to do so. 2006, c. 17, s. 26 (3). If the tenant refuses to co-operate, you could try calling the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at 416-585-7214 and discuss this issue with them.
The Residential Tenancies Act makes provision for inspection by a potential mortgagee or insurer of the residential complex. A landlord may enter a rental unit after giving written notice to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry. The written notice must specify the reason for entry, the day of entry and the time of entry. The time of entry MUST be between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Landlords who are unable to gain access to the rental unit after following the provisions established by the Residential Tenancies Act have two options: a) Document their efforts to enter the unit and issue a notice of early termination on the basis of substantial interference with the landlord’s enjoyment of the premises; or b)Contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit. They will contact the tenant and, in many circumstances, are able to secure tenant cooperation without taking legal action. You can reach them at 416-585-7214 or Toll Free 1-888-772-9277.
I would like to do some landscaping work on my rental property, am I required to notify my tenants?
A landlord is not required to give tenants notice if the landlord is not entering the rental units itself. As a courtesy, a landlord should advise all the tenants in advance that they will be doing work on the property with details of what will be done.
I want to inspect my rental unit to make sure that everything is okay, and I gave a 24 hour notice to the tenant before my visit. During the visit, can I take some pictures of the house as evidence, in the event that damage occurs in the future?
Landlords are allowed to take pictures when entering the rental unit for an inspection. However, we recommend including that you may take pictures in the notice to enter. You should be careful not to take pictures of the tenant’s personal belongings.
I want to do a maintenance inspection of the rental unit and photograph any damage for a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing, what notice am I required to give to my tenant?
A landlord can enter a rental unit and do a maintenance inspection provided that the landlord provide the tenant with 24 hour written notice, specifying the date and time of entry between 8am and 8pm, as well as the reason for the notice. If you plan to take pictures, it is advisable to include in the notice that photographs may be taken.
I understand the landlord must give the tenant 24 hour notice to view the unit. Subsequently, if the landlord is serving the N4 or N8 notice, does he also have to give 24 hour notice to let the tenant know he is coming or can he knock on the door?
In order to serve the tenant with notices such as the N4 and N8, you do not have to give a 24 hour written notice since you’re not entering the rental unit. It is ok to go there and knock on the door and serve the notices if they answer. If the tenant does not answer the door, you can slide the notices under the door or place them in the mailbox.
I posted a notice to enter a unit to do an inspection. I was unaware the tenants were out of town. Due to this, they didn’t receive the notice and are angry because they say we entered illegally. Is this true?
I do not believe this would be considered illegal entry since proper notice was given and you were unaware the tenants were out of town. You could also try calling the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit and pose this question to them to get their opinion on this issue. They can be reached at 416-585-7214 or toll-free at 1-888-772-9277.
I need to enter and inspect a new smoke alarm. I can’t find a form, do I give a handwritten notice?
There is no form required when you’re giving notice to enter the rental unit. A handwritten notice is sufficient as long as it specifies the reason for entry, the day of entry and a time of entry between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
I have given my tenant a notice to terminate their tenancy and I want to show the unit to prospective tenants, what can I do?
A landlord may enter the rental unit without written notice to show the unit to prospective tenants. The Landlord may do this provided that they enter the unit between the hours of 8am and 8pm and have made a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the intention to show the unit.
A landlord may enter a rental unit without written notice to clean it if the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean the rental unit at regular intervals and, a) The landlord enters the unit at the times specified in the tenancy agreement; or b) if no times are specified, the landlord enters the unit between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm.
I am trying to purchase under power of sale by the bank and the existing tenant will not give access to the apartment. What rights do I have to get into the house?
An owner has the right to enter the rental unit as long as proper notice has been given and there is a valid reason, however in your case if you are not the legal owner yet, this notice must be given by the bank. When the tenant still refuses entry the landlord can contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at 416-585-7214 and report that the tenant is refusing access. They can usually intervene and speak to the tenant to try and resolve the issue.
A landlord may deliver the written notice of his/her intention to enter the rental unit by handing it to the tenant; placing it in the tenant’s mail box or where mail is ordinarily delivered; sliding it under the tenant’s door; by handing it to an apparently adult person; by facsimile to the residence or place of business; or by courier or regular mail with additional time added, five days if mailed; by posting on the door. A notice of entry can also be sent by email but only if the tenant and the landlord have agreed to that method of service. If so, both the landlord and the tenant must sign a Consent to Service by Email form.