Repair & Maintenance Obligations in Ontario for Landlords and Tenants

Explore the repair obligations of landlords and tenants in Ontario. Contact TDJ Law, your trusted real estate lawyer in Ontario.

Written By

Todd Ji, real estate lawyer

Todd Ji

Published On

July 11, 2023


In any residential lease agreement, both the landlord and tenant have certain responsibilities towards the repair and maintenance of the rental unit. These responsibilities are mainly governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in Ontario. However, the specific division of these responsibilities may vary according to the terms of the lease agreement.

Landlord’s Responsibilities

Maintenance of the Premises

Under the RTA, landlords are obligated to keep the rental premises in a good state of repair and comply with health, safety, housing, and maintenance standards. This includes structural repairs, electrical, plumbing, heating systems, and appliances provided by the landlord.

Common Areas

Landlords are responsible for maintaining common areas in a clean and safe condition. This includes shared spaces like hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms, parking areas, and outdoor spaces in the rental property.

Vital Services

Landlords are obligated to provide vital services such as hot or cold water, fuel, electricity, gas, and, during certain months of the year, heat. The failure to provide these services can be deemed as an unlawful act.

Pest Control

Landlords are also responsible for pest control and extermination. If pests are present due to the behavior or negligence of the tenant, the landlord may seek reimbursement for pest control services.

Emergency Repairs

In case of emergencies like flooding or loss of heat during the winter months, landlords are required to address the issue immediately.

Tenant’s Responsibilities


Tenants are expected to keep the rental premises clean, up to a standard that most people would consider ordinary or usual cleanliness.

Repair of Damage

Tenants are responsible for repairing any damage that they, or their guests, cause intentionally or negligently. This is not restricted to the rental unit itself, but also includes common areas.

Reporting Repair Issues

Tenants should promptly inform their landlord about any needed repairs. If they fail to report in a timely manner and this results in more damage, they may be held responsible for the additional repair costs.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Different Scenarios

Non-emergency Repairs

If non-emergency repairs are needed, the tenant should first notify the landlord in writing, detailing the problems. The landlord is generally given a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs.

Withholding Rent

Tenants are not allowed to withhold rent due to needed repairs, regardless of the nature of the repair. If a landlord does not respond to repair requests, the tenant should file a complaint with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

Emergency Repairs

In the case of emergency repairs, tenants may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from their rent, provided they have given the landlord a chance to do the repair and have followed the correct process outlined by the LTB.

Interference with Reasonable Enjoyment

If a landlord's failure to make necessary repairs interferes with the tenant's reasonable enjoyment of the property, the tenant may be able to apply to the LTB for a rent reduction.

Dispute Resolution

In the event of a dispute about who should be responsible for a repair, either the landlord or the tenant can apply to the LTB for a resolution.

How Real Estate Lawyers Help with Legal Advice

Real estate lawyers help get you a smooth real estate transaction, provide legal advice, and help avoid costly mistakes. 

Review of Legal Documents

A significant part of real estate transactions involves complex legal documents, including purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents, and transfer documents. Real estate lawyers review these documents to ensure that the rights and interests of their clients are protected.

Legal Advice

Real estate lawyers provide legal advice on various aspects of property transactions. They can advise on the legal implications of the terms and conditions of purchase agreements and other contracts, zoning issues, tax implications, and more.


Lawyers also participate in the negotiation process, ensuring that the terms and conditions of the real estate deal favor their client. They can negotiate repairs, price adjustments, and other factors based on the property's condition.

Closing Process

Real estate lawyers manage the closing process. They ensure that all the necessary documents are prepared and signed, the title is transferred correctly, and the closing funds are properly disbursed.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer in Ontario


Experience in the field of real estate law is crucial. An experienced lawyer has likely dealt with similar issues before and can anticipate potential legal hurdles.


Real estate law can be complex and differs significantly from other areas of law. It's advisable to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate law to ensure expert advice.


The lawyer you choose should be someone who communicates effectively. They should be able to explain complex legal terms in simple language and keep you informed about the progress of your transaction.


Consider the reputation of the lawyer or the law firm. Online reviews, testimonials, and referrals can give you an idea about the credibility and reliability of the lawyer.

Fee Structure

Understanding the lawyer's fee structure is essential before making a decision. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for specific services, while others charge an hourly rate.

Contact TDJ Law for Trustworthy Legal Advice from a Real Estate Lawyer in Ontario

At TDJ Law, we are committed to providing trusted legal services in real estate law. Our experienced real estate lawyers in Ontario are ready to guide you through your real estate transaction process and through your tenancy, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected at every step. Get in touch with us to learn more and get a quote for our services.