Low or No Heat/Other Vital Services in Rental Units
Vital services include fuel, hydro, gas, hot and cold water.
Heating (Minimum temperatures)
All landlords are responsible for providing heat to a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius from September 15 to June 1. There are time periods during this stretch of time when the weather can be a bit warmer (September 15 to October 15 and May 1 to June 1), which can cause the temperature indoors to be above 21 degrees Celsius, resulting in uncomfortable living conditions for tenants.
If the weather outside means that the building is 21 degrees Celsius without heat, property owners and landlords can turn the heat down or off.
If a building has air conditioning, the Property Standards Bylaw requires that they turn it on between June 2 and September 14. But, if it is hot outside, landlords can turn it on earlier as long as the building does not go below 21 Celsius.
If you have concerns about low or no heat in your rental unit, speak to your landlord or property manager. If this issue is not resolved in a timely manner, you can contact the City.
To report an issue, contact 311.
Understanding the Heat Bylaw - for Landlords
If the outdoor temperature is high enough that the building would be 21 degrees Celsius without the heat on, you can turn the heat off. You can use your judgement when heating your building in the “shoulder season” (from September 15 to October 15 and May 1 to June 1).
When a tenant contacts you about inadequate or no heat, these are considered an urgent request and you must respond within 24 hours:
- Respond to urgent requests about inadequate or no heat within 24 hours.
- Keep copies of all responses in relation to the service request.
- Track and keep these requests as part of your record-keeping obligations.
As a landlord, you are responsible to ensure the heating and ventilation systems are maintained and regularly serviced.
Under no circumstance can you withhold the supply of any vital service, including heat. This rule applies even if the tenant’s rent is overdue, or the tenant has damaged the property.
If it is difficult to turn off and on the heating system in your building during a period of warm weather, here are some strategies for managing extreme indoor temperature:
- Designate a shared, cool space inside the building, or a shady space outside to provide tenants with relief.
- Ensure your building’s tenant notification board is updated with information on the nearest City of Toronto air conditioned library or community centre.
- Provide strategies to tenants to keep their units cool, such as keeping their curtains or blinds shut to block the sun during the day.
- Go to toronto.ca/health/keepcool for more tips to beat the heat as well as a full listing of air conditioned spaces in the City.
If the condo unit is rented, the landlord is responsible for ensuring that the heat bylaws are followed. If tenants are experiencing low heat complaints, they should talk to their landlord first. If the problem is not addressed, they can contact 311 to have the City investigate.