The law that deals with most landlord and tenant disputes is the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. If you live in subsidized housing (social housing) the Housing Services Act also applies to you. The law is very different for members of housing co-ops. It is called the Cooperative Corporations Act.
Tenants most frequently have problems with their landlord if they have not paid their rent on time or have caused some damage or a disturbance. This is when the landlord tries to evict the tenant. Tenants often need to get repairs done to their apartment and are not sure how to go about it.
Our Clinic offers information, advice and representation to low income tenants. If you are having a problem with your rental unit or your landlord, we can help explain your rights and obligations under the law. We can also advise you when to get help from another service and how to take legal action to deal with your issue. In some cases we will represent you. There are many resources available in Hamilton to help you.
A tenant or a landlord can go to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) if they have a dispute. The LTB is like a court. This involves filling out forms and it can cost money to file the forms, depending on the issue. The tenant and landlord can try to settle the case using a mediator at the LTB. If it does not settle, both speak with an adjudicator who will listen to both sides and make a decision. This is called a hearing. It is possible to appeal the decision to court, but legal advice is necessary to take that step. Members of our staff are at the LTB to give advice and information on the day of your hearing. This is called “duty counsel”. Ask to talk with us.
Social housing tenants deal with rent subsidy disputes directly with their landlord. The process is called a “review”. The tenant asks for the review and explains why the decision is wrong. There is no appeal to the court. Tenants should get legal advice when faced with subsidy problems.
Landlords cannot take action against you unless they have given you the proper paperwork. Usually you will get a letter or a notice that tells you what the problems is and what the landlord is going to do. Often you can do something to stop any further action. If the landlord wants to evict you, they must give you papers from the LTB telling you when to show up. Call us for information and advice if you get any paperwork from your landlord.
If you need to get repairs done, first ask the landlord to fix the problem. If nothing is done, write a letter and ask the landlord to do the repair by a certain date. Keep a copy of the letter. If nothing is done, call the City and ask them to send an inspector to your unit. The City may be able to get the landlord to make the repair. If nothing happens, you will have to take the landlord to the LTB. Call us if you are having repairs problems.
Call us at one of our locations, or consult the resources below:
Housing Help Centre
119 Main Street East, Hamilton