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Landlord’s right of entry to a rental unit in Ontario

This article summarizes some key laws related to landlord entry to residential units in the province of Ontario. We’ve used the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act and other publicly available legal resources to research this article. This article is only intended as an information resource and is not a substitute for qualified legal advice. Rental laws are always changing and you are responsible for performing your own research into the laws that apply to your unique situation. If you have legal questions or concerns, please contact a lawyer who specializes in rental laws in Ontario. 

Are there rules regarding a landlord’s right of entry to a rental unit in Ontario?

Yes.  The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board has clear rules regarding when and how landlords can enter rental properties. A landlord can enter a rental unit without notice, with verbal notice and with written notice, depending on the landlord’s reasons for entering the rental unit.

And are landlords restricted from entering the rental unit at certain times in Ontario?

Yes. Landlords can only enter the rental unit between 8 am or 8 pm. There is one exception to this rule if the rental agreement requires the landlord to clean the unit and the agreement specifically allows for different hours for cleaning.

When do landlords have to provide 24 hours written notice before entry in Ontario?

Landlords can only enter the rental unit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and must give the tenant 24 hours written notice:

  • to make repairs or do work in the unit,
  • to carry out an inspection to determine whether repairs are needed,
  • to allow a potential mortgagee or insurer of the complex to view the unit,
  • to allow a potential purchaser to view the rental unit (note: the Act also allows a registered real estate agent or broker to enter for this purpose if they have written authorization from the landlord),
  • to allow an engineer, architect or other similar professional to make an inspection for a proposed conversion under the Condominium Act; or
  • to inspect the rental unit for the purpose of determining whether the unit is in a good state of repair or fit for habitation and complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards
  • any other reasonable reason for entering specified in the tenancy agreement.

The notice must include the reason why the landlord wants to enter the rental unit and must state what time, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the landlord will enter the unit. If the landlord gives the tenant the correct notice, the landlord can enter even if the tenant is not at home.

How should notice of entry be delivered to tenants in Ontario?

Landlords should provide written notice of entry by handing it to an adult tenant, placing it in the tenant’s mail box or where mail is usually delivered, sliding under the door or by posting it on the tenant’s door. This is the only notice that can be posted on the tenant’s door. It can  also be faxed to tenant’s the residence or place of business or by courier or mail with additional time added.

When can landlords enter a unit without providing 24 hours written notice in Ontario?

Landlords can enter a tenant’s rental unit without written notice if:

  • there is an emergency such as a fire,
  • the tenant agrees to let the landlord in

What is considered an emergency requiring immediate landlord access in Ontario?

A fire or a flood would be considered emergencies that justify the landlord entering the unit without notice.

Do landlords have to provide written notice before showing the unit to other prospective renters?

If the tenant has given a notice of termination and the landlord wishes to show the unit to prospective tenants, landlords do not have to notify the tenant of each viewing in writing, but landlords must verbally notify the tenant that they will be showing the unit. Landlords can only enter a rental unit between 8am and 8pm to show it to potential tenants before the current tenant moves out.

Can a tenant refuse to let the landlord in if the landlord wants to enter their unit in Ontario?

No. If the landlord enters the tenant’s unit according to the rules outlined by the Residential Tenancies Act, the tenant cannot refuse to let the landlord in. If the tenant does not let the landlord in, the landlord can give them a notice of termination claiming that the tenant is interfering with their lawful rights.  A Member could order the tenant’s eviction for this reason. Also, interfering with a landlord’s lawful right is an offence under the Act, and the tenant could be prosecuted.

What can happen if a landlord enters a unit illegally in Ontario?

If a landlord enters a tenant’s unit illegally, the tenant may file an application with the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board. If the Board finds that the landlord has entered the unit illegally, there are several things that the Board may order. For example, the tenant could receive an abatement of rent or the landlord could be fined up to $25,000 if found guilty of an offence under the Act.