If you’re finding your home uncomfortably cold during the frigid Toronto winter, there’s a chance you may be able to force your landlord to turn up the heat.
Although many rental homes in the city give individual tenants the option to set their own temperature, others have heating systems that are either set by the landlord or controlled building-wide. So to protect Toronto residents against any landlord’s chilly temperature preferences, the City instituted a bylaw to set a minimum temperature standard.
It requires that from September 15 to June 1, all landlords provide their tenants with heat to ensure a minimum air temperature of 21°C. This means if your home is 20°C or less, they are legally required to warm it up.
According to the bylaw, landlords cannot under any circumstance withhold the supply of heat. This includes instances of unpaid rent or property damage.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your home has either insufficient heat or no heat at all, there are a number of steps you can take. The first and most obvious step is to contact your landlord and inform them of the heating issue. According to the City, landlords are required to treat a notice of inadequate or no heat as an urgent request and must respond within 24 hours.
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If a request to the landlord isn’t getting any results, tenants can contact 311 to submit a complaint about low or no heat, and a Bylaw Enforcement Officer will investigate. The City says that each issue is addressed on a case-by-case basis and that some issues can be resolved through landlord education while others will require further enforcement.
Landlords who do not comply will be issued a summons to court and may have to pay a fine of up to $100,000 or a daily fine up to $10,000 for each day the violation continues.