Tenant Resources in Ontario
by Robert Levitt (v1.8) Jan 2016 (Copyright)
This text is meant as a resource for tenants in Ontario.
I am posting this to give tenants sources of information and some basic information so that you can help yourselves.
The following are just a few of the issues that are now facing tenants. For the other particular problems see the Ontario Tenants Most Asked Questions and Their Answers
Remember the only rights you have are the rights you are informed about and stand up for.
There are tenants' organizations that not only help to inform you, they also help you to organize yourselves, and they lobby for tenant rights with our governments. They lobby with the governments to keep rents at reasonable affordable levels, and for regulations to ensure safe and decent housing, and so deserve your support.
Landlords have their own lobbying organizations who successfully convinced the provincial government to reduce tenant rights and are further lobbying to loosen building and health standards.
There is a listing of community legal clinics throughout Ontario at the end of this text for low-income tenants you can access by clicking here.
You can often get assistance from your City Councillor or MPP's offices. You can find out how to reach them through my Government Web links page
The Ontario government's Residential Tenancies Act, which came into effect on January 31, 2007, repealed the Tenant Protection Act though it has many similarities. If you are upset about this law you will likely want more information from your community legal and information clinic and tenants' association. If you are upset over the governments landlord tenant act, you should both write and call your MPP and Premier Wynne, and on letters be sure to write "Personal and Confidential" on the envelope.
The Premier can be called at (416) 325-1941, FAX at (416) 325-7578.
Her address is:
Premier Kathleen Wynne
The Residential Tenancies Act can be read at: RTA
What is known, is that:
There continues to be Vacancy Decontrol. Whenever a tenant moves out of a unit, the landlord will be able to charge the new tenant anything they wish. This is a direct financial incentive for unscrupulous landlords to force tenants out to get huge rent increases.
The Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal is being renamed the Landlord and Tenant Board and adjudicators continue to be government appointees. All decisions are final and can NOT be appealed in court.
If each and every tenant does not sign and is therefore not included in any tenant application, they will not reap the benefits of such a tenant application. Under the old Rent Control Act if even one tenant applied for a rent decrease and the Ministry found the condition applied to all units, their order would automatically apply to all units whether or not the others knew about the application; they would all benefit. Under this new law it is very important if you have a bad landlord to organize a tenants' association in your building.
Housing is regulated by the province and municipalities. Housing issues are regulated by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing primarily under the Residential Tenancies Act, and by your particular municipality primarily under their Building's Inspections, Fire, and Health departments. Rent increases are the jurisdiction of the province, and building standards are first the jurisdiction of the municipality but can also be taken to the province's Landlord and Tenant Board for a fee.
The Ontario Ministry of Housing has publications that not only inform you of your rights but also your obligations as a tenant. It is a good idea to call the government's Landlord and Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234 (416-645-8080 in the 416 calling area) to get all the available forms and literature or go to the site for the Landlord and Tenant Board.
GETTING REPAIRS DONE AND THE HEAT TURNED
REMEMBER: Document everything you can. This documentation will be necessary if you take your landlord to the Tribunal, or if you want to get a rent reduction for a lack of services. Otherwise it will just be your word against the landlord's.
Examples of repair problems include: no heat, no water, cockroaches, mice, noise-problems and dirty conditions.
COMMUNITY LEGAL AND INFORMATION CLINICS
These clinic will assist you with specific legal problems, if you are have a low income. You should pick the one that is the most appropriate, or that is closest to you. They may ask you your address to see if you are in their area and if you are not, they should direct you to the most appropriate clinic.
They do have income criteria and only provide assistance to those with lower incomes. If you do not qualify and need legal advice, the Law Society of Upper Canada do provide a ($6 charge on your phone bill) lawyer referral service that includes a free one-half hour consultation: Their lawyer referral service phone number is 1-900-565-4577 and remember it will cost you $6 for the call.
Listings are first by general area. sorted by telephone area code, and then are alphabetical, so look thoroughly through the list to find the clinic most appropriate for you. There may be more than one clinic in your town or area.
Please call them and make an appointment with them before you go visit their offices.
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped
African Canadian Legal Clinic
Centre for Spanish-Speaking Peoples
Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Centre francophone de Toronto
Downsview Community Legal Services
East Toronto Community Legal Services
Flemingdon Community Legal Services
2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. 6:00p.m - 8:00p.m.
Walk-ins welcome. For appointments call: 416-441-1764 Ext 28
2A The Market Place, East York
Jane Finch Community Legal Services
Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services
Neighbourhood Legal Services
Parkdale Community Legal Services
Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
Scarborough Community Legal Services
South Etobicoke Community Legal Service
Unison Health & Community Services
West Scarborough Community Legal Services
West Toronto Community Legal Services
Willowdale Community Legal Services
Community Legal Clinic - Brant, Haldiman, Norfolk
Waterloo Region Community Legal Services
Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic
Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County
Waterloo Region Community Legal Services
Neighbourhood Legal Services (London and Middlesex)
Grey Bruce Community Legal Clinic
Community Legal Assistance Sarnia
Elgin-Oxford Legal Clinic
Huron-Perth Legal Clinic
Legal Assistance of Windsor
Windsor/Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic
Community Advocacy & Legal Centre
Clinique Juridique Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Legal Clinic
Clinique juridique populaire de Prescott et Russell
Kingston Community Legal Clinic
Community Legal Services (Ottawa-Carleton)
Ottawa Immigration & Refugee Law Office
South Ottawa Community Legal Services
West End Legal Services
The Legal Clinic
Renfrew County Legal Clinic
BRACEBRIDGE and the Muskoka area
Lake Country Community Legal Clinic
Elliot Lake & North Shore Community Legal Clinic
Clinique Juridique Grand Nord
Keewaytinok Native Legal Services
Nipissing Community Legal Clinic
Community Legal Clinic - Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes
Peterborough Community Legal Centre
SAULT STE. MARIE
Algoma Community Legal Clinic
Sudbury Community Legal Clinic
Timmins-Temiskaming Community Legal Clinic
Northwest Community Legal Clinic (Rainy River)
Northwest Community Legal Clinic (Kenora)
Family Law Office
Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic
Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services
North Peel & Dufferin Community Legal Services
Northumberland Community Legal Centre
Halton Community Legal Services
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
1320 Barton St., East,
Hamilton, ON L8H 2W1
905-528-0163, extension 3253
Mississauga Community Legal Services
Durham Community Legal Clinic
Niagara North Community Legal Assistance
Community Legal Clinic of York Region
Community legal clinics do not handle criminal cases. For those, you need to go directly to your Legal Aid Ontario office to get a certificate to use with a private lawyer who takes such certificates. You can find the list of Legal Aid Clinics, (and specialty injured workers clinics, Toronto only) in your area by clicking here