Review of Complaints From Landlords and Tenants

Renting accommodation in Canada, and seemingly having examined all the aspects of residential tenancy laws, yet be prepared that you may encounter certain misunderstandings with your landlord. Typically, the lion's share of tenant complaints relates to disputes with proprietors over various facets of their lease agreement or issues about the condition of the rental property. Depending on the province or territory, the very process for addressing tenant complaints can vary, as each region has its own residential tenancy laws and procedures. But one thing is crystal clear - both tenants and landlords have specific rights and responsibilities and are obliged to solve their issues in compliance with the local legislation.

Let's Look At Some of the Most Common Complaints Against Landlords:

Maintenance And Repairs

Landlords should meet the housing needs of their renters and provide them with decent living conditions. The overall condition of the rental property, along with its provision of timely repairs and effective maintenance is entirely the homeowner's responsibility. Thus, the property owner is responsible for taking necessary measures to provide the maintenance and repair of household appliances, like dishwashers, electric stoves, laundry, fridges, etc. in case they are included in the rental payment. The same list applies to elevators, security systems, and common areas, such as stairwells, halls, garbage rooms, etc.

Emergency Repairs

Landlords should always remember that regular maintenance is the key to reducing the likelihood of unexpected emergencies. Emergency occasions are defined as those that can affect the renter's safety or health, or endanger the overall building or property. These cases may include flooding the premises by a broken pipe or sewage system, a risk of fire or electrocution due to a short circuit in the wiring, a defective door lock, a broken heating system, etc. Note that it is even required under the law in certain provinces that emergency contact details should be prominently posted on your property, even when you're just renting.

If you're unable to reach your landlord in an emergency situation, you can approve repairs yourself. In case of an emergency, renters should try to contact their landlords at least twice and give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. After that, a tenant can call a service technician to fix the problem.

Request the contractor to invoice your landlord the remaining bill as all emergency repairs must be dealt with and paid for by the landlord by law. In case of their refusal, it's important that a tenant keeps all the payment receipts to get reimbursement from the lessor. However, renters are advised not to rush into paying for anything that is not an actual emergency since the owner may refuse to refund your costs. Furthermore, the renters should not be involved in carrying out minor repairs unless they have agreed to do so, or if they have caused the damage.

On the other hand, it's highly recommended to have a tenant insurance policy for contingencies since the landlord's responsibility doesn't extend to protecting the renter's assets or paying back for them in the event of damage.

Possible Steps to Overcome Tenant-Landlord Issues Concerning Repairs:

Primarily, each renter should be aware of the main provisions of provincial or territorial legislation to clearly understand the landlord's responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. A tenant should report the problem in writing to the landlord or property manager in writing, specifying the problem. It's highly recommended to keep a record of communication and request a reasonable timeline for repairs. Even when the owner doesn't carry out necessary repairs, the renter can't stop paying the rent as it may result in eviction. In this case, the tenant can contact a local housing authority and file an application with a concern to order the landlord to make the necessary repairs. Note that fire, health, or building inspectors are allowed to intervene in landlord-tenant disputes and force improvements to be made as well.

Rent Increases

Increasing the rent payments enables the house owner to offset the rising costs of maintaining the building, provide comfort and safety for residents, and ensure the rental unit is clean and in good condition for living. However, the issue of how often and by how much the cost of rent can be increased may result in tenancy complaints. According to the law, if the landlord is planning to raise the lease price, he must notify the residents in advance. Depending on the local guidelines, the length of the notice period is affected by the kind of tenancy (weekly, monthly, or yearly) and/or the lease anniversary.


In certain provinces, the existing tenancies are regulated by rent control, meaning that a landlord is not allowed to raise the rent payment until the tenant leaves the property. Under such circumstances, the only possible way for the owner to overcome the province's “rent increase guidelines” is to propose a rent increase. However, the local rent authority is obliged to approve such a claim before it can come into force.  

Apart from that, in some provinces, a tenant is allowed to request a rent reduction from the local housing authority in case increased costs have an impact on your finances. The basis for this may be as follows:

  • the landlord doesn't maintain repairs, improvements, or provide services as a necessary condition of rent increase;
  • there has been a reduction in municipal taxes;
  • there has been a reduction or removal of a building service or facility.

Disputes over the legality or fairness of a rent increase should be dealt with in a legal way. For instance, landlords can't just evict a tenant for non-paying rent, since eviction procedures should be carried out in accordance with the local housing regulations. Likewise, it is illegal to stop rent payments if a resident simply disagrees or feels that a problem hasn't been addressed. Therefore, the first thing a tenant needs to do is to review the lease agreement for any provisions related to rent increases. The allowable percentage for rent increases in a particular province or territory can be verified by contacting a local tenants' association or regulatory authority. Similarly, if a landlord hasn't notified beforehand, a renter can withhold payment of the increased cost of rent until he does. 


Tenant complaints concerning eviction issues as well as the following legal procedures are commonly regulated by the proper rental guidelines, differing from province to territory. So it's no surprise that eviction notifications should always be underpinned by actual breaches of the tenancy agreement and clearly specify the date by which the rented property must be vacated.

It should be emphasized that in case the cost of rent is late or unpaid, payment of the full amount due will automatically stop the eviction notice and allow a tenant to continue renting and stay. Yet, refusal to pay rent without a court order might directly result in eviction.

Deciding to complain about a landlord regarding the expulsion, a renter should thoroughly research the issues related to eviction notices, or the eviction process itself, and clearly understand the legal grounds for eviction. If a resident chooses to dispute the eviction, it's advisable to seek legal advice or contact a tenants' association. Respond to any eviction notice within the specified timeframe, as per local regulations.

Privacy Issues

In the general flow of complaints on a landlord, a due place belongs to the breach of confidentiality. Privacy issues are commonly regarded as concerns about unauthorized entry into the rental unit or invasion of privacy. For instance, homeowners are not allowed to interfere with a tenant's private affairs or to enter the rented property where a tenant lives without proper notice, except in emergency cases. In turn, following appropriate notification by a landlord, a renter is committed not to impede entry for repairs, and minor improvements, and allow screening of the apartment to future tenants or potential buyers.

If a tenant has faced any incidents of privacy violation, the best course of action is to document all instances of unauthorized entry. After that, it's advisable to communicate with the landlord about privacy concerns and request proper access notification. Additionally, a resident should check the landlord's entry requirements under provincial or territorial laws.

Harassment Or Discrimination

Discrimination and harassment of renters can occur for various reasons, and it's important to recognize that such behavior is not only unethical but also illegal in many jurisdictions. Tenants' rights in Canada are protected not only by provincial and territorial residential tenancy laws but also by human rights legislation, which, in turn, prohibits discrimination and harassment.

Discrimination and harassment of a tenant in Canada are serious issues that violate the rights of individuals. Discrimination may stem from certain protected characteristics, such as race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, family status, disability, or age.

Unfair treatment of a renter due to having children or being pregnant can also take a form of discrimination. Landlords are generally prohibited from making housing decisions based on these factors. Some jurisdictions prohibit discrimination based on a person's source of income. This means that landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who receive public assistance or housing vouchers. Sometimes, retaliation may exist when a landlord discriminates or harasses a tenant in response to the tenant exercising their legal rights, such as filing a complaint with housing authorities or pursuing a legal remedy.

If a tenant believes they are facing discrimination or harassment, they can contact the local human rights commission or a legal advisor, and seek guidance on filing a complaint. Apart from documenting all incidents in detail with descriptions of what happened along with dates, times, and locations, also take down contact information and names of any witnesses.

Human Rights Complaint:

If the discrimination or harassment is based on grounds protected by human rights legislation (such as race, gender, disability, etc.), you can file a complaint with the human rights commission in your jurisdiction. They will investigate the complaint and take appropriate action if they find evidence of a violation.

Remember that specific procedures and organizations may vary depending on your location within Canada, so it's crucial to check the regulations and resources available in your province or territory. If you're unsure about where to start or need advice tailored to your situation, consider contacting a local tenants' rights organization or legal clinic for assistance.

Security Deposit Issues

Disputes related to the return of a security deposit in Canada are relatively common, and they typically involve disagreements between landlords and tenants over the amount withheld and the reasons for withholding it. A tenant should carefully review the terms of the lease agreement, including any clauses related to the return of the security deposit. Lease agreements often outline the conditions under which the landlord can withhold all or part of the deposit.

If there are concerns about the return of your security deposit, communicate with your landlord and ask for a detailed breakdown of any deductions made and the reasons behind them. Request an itemized list of receipts for any repairs, and keep records of all communication. Before moving out, it is also advisable to take photos or videos of the condition of the rental unit noting any pre-existing damage or issues. This documentation can serve as evidence in case of a dispute.

It's crucially important to ensure that you provide the required notice before moving out, as specified in your lease agreement or local tenancy laws. Note that failure to give proper notice may affect the return of your security deposit.

According to the legislation, a renter should receive either the security deposit or a statement of account from their landlord within 10 days of leaving the rented apartment. In other cases, a tenant should immediately write to the landlord (and keep a copy) requesting the deposit to be returned or proceed through the courts or the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).

Other Lease Violations

Various issues not covered above, such as unauthorized charges, lease violations, or illegal activities can lead to landlord and tenant problems. To overcome these misunderstandings, a tenant should thoroughly document the issue and communicate with the landlord on that point of disturbance.

After all, tenants should familiarize themselves with the residential tenancy laws specific to their province or territory and may consider seeking advice from local tenants' associations, legal aid services, or regulatory authorities for guidance on addressing their specific complaints.

Is It Worth Complaining About a Landlord?

In Canada, tenants who encounter issues or have complaints related to their rental property can take certain steps to address their concerns. It begs the question of whether it is necessary to file a complaint against the landlord. The specific process and options available may vary by province or territory, but here are general steps tenants can consider:

Talk to the Landlord or Property Manager:

Many tenants’ problems with landlords can be resolved through open communication. If there is a concern, contact your landlord or property manager to discuss the issue and seek a resolution.

Document the Issue:

Before taking formal action, consider addressing the issue directly with your landlord. Communicate your concerns in writing, keeping a record of your correspondence, and including the date, time, and details of conversations with the landlord. If possible, take photos or videos to document the problem.

Check the Lease:

Review the terms of your tenancy agreement to understand both your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and those of the landlord. This will help you determine if the issue falls under the landlord's responsibility.

Check Provincial or Territorial Legislation:

Familiarize yourself with the residential tenancy laws in your province or territory. Each jurisdiction has specific regulations governing landlord-tenant relationships. These laws outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Mediation Services:

Some regions offer mediation services to help landlords and tenants resolve disputes without going through a formal hearing. Besides, mediation can be a voluntary and confidential process.

Contact a Tenants' Organization:

Tenant advocacy groups or legal aid services may provide assistance to tenants facing difficult situations. They can offer advice on tenants' rights and potential courses of action. Tenant organizations may be able to provide guidance, support, and resources to help renters navigate the complaint process.

Seek Legal Advice:

If attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful, and the issue is serious, tenants may consider seeking legal advice. Consult with a lawyer or legal aid clinic specializing in landlord-tenant law.

Submit a Formal Complaint

If other avenues are exhausted, tenants may file formal complaints about landlords, which can lead to a hearing where a decision is made based on the evidence presented by both parties.

Where To Complain About A Landlord?

In many provinces and territories, there are Residential Tenancy Authorities or Boards that handle disputes between landlords and tenants. Examples include the Landlord and Tenant Board in Ontario or the Residential Tenancy Branch in British Columbia. Check with the relevant authority in your area to understand the specific process for filing a complaint.

How To File A Complaint Against A Landlord?

There are several different application forms to use for addressing landlord-tenant complaints depending on the issue they would like to resolve. Each form has guidance on how it should be completed and what further actions should be taken. For some types of complaints, there are legal requirements for the submission of certain documents with your claim. What these documents are will be explained in the instructions for each grievance.

As a rule, all tenancy complaints and warnings should be submitted in written form. Filing a complaint against a landlord, briefly describe the problem, summarize what has happened, and include details of conversations with your landlord, relevant dates and times, and names of people involved in the issue, if any. Remember to document your concerns, keep records of communication with your landlord, and provide photos, videos, or any other evidence that supports your case.

Note that the person filing a complaint is fully responsible for providing only true facts and accurate information in their claim. Be aware of any timelines or deadlines associated with the complaint process in your jurisdiction.

Complaint Process

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 2: Research and Discussion

The investigating manager or supervisor will assess the complaint. This process commonly includes discussion of the matter with all the people involved in the complaint.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 1: Review

As soon as your complaint has been received, it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager or supervisor for consideration.

Step 3: Written Response

Within 30 days of your complaint submission, you will receive a written response explaining the actions taken to consider your grievance, the outcome of your appeal, and possible next steps.

It's important to note that the specific process and resources available may differ based on the province or territory. Tenants should check with local authorities or consult legal professionals for advice tailored to their situation and location.

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