RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures that building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards. The program includes auditing and enforcement, so that the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents living in rental buildings have clean, safe and secure homes.

If you own one or more rental apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units, you are required to register and renew annually to comply with the program. See Interpretation Bulletin: Apartment Building Definition

Program Details

How to Comply

Contractors for maintenance

When servicing certain systems in your building, you must use tradespeople that are members in good standing of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).

There are 23 trades where certification and OCOT membership are legally required to practice. Go to the Ontario College of Trades to find out if your tradesperson is certified or any other information about compulsory trades.

Some compulsory trades include:

  • electricians
  • plumbers
  • air conditioning and heating systems mechanics
  • sprinkler and fire protection installers
  • boiler mechanics

You must keep logs of service and maintenance conducted on:

  • fuel burning appliances, such as furnaces and boilers
  • heating systems
  • cooling systems
  • ventilation systems and plumbing systems

The log must include:

  • the date and nature of service
  • the name of the certified tradesperson who performed the work

You must maintain a capital plan for building repairs. Details should include when “the element” (see list below) is expected to be replaced or updated.

Capital elements include, but are not limited to:

  • roof
  • elevators
  • building façade
  • windows
  • mechanical systems, including heat, air conditioning
  • underground garage
  • interior flooring
  • interior wall finishes (plaster, drywall, stucco, etc.)
  • balcony guards
  • guardrails
  • handrails in stairwells

City staff and tenants (current or prospective) can request to view this plan at any time.

Develop and implement a cleaning plan and keep records of cleaning activity to ensure buildings are clean and safe.

You are required to inspect all common areas daily for cleanliness.

Cleaning plan requirements

A list of all common areas and how often they will be cleaned, including:

  • garbage storage area
  • walls
  • floors
  • laundry room
  • washrooms
  • items, equipment or elements within these common areas, such as counters, washers and dryers, garbage chutes, sinks and toilets etc.

In an emergency situation (e.g. chemical spill, biohazard waste or any situation that would cause common areas to be in a state of uncleanliness), you must state how and when the emergency will be resolved and keep a copy for your records. State:

  • the process – how it will be cleaned up
  • how long it will take to clean up (using a timeline of hours).

Keep a copy of the cleaning plan and have it available for inspection upon request.

Post a copy of this plan on the tenant notification board.

You are required to take timely measures to eliminate pests within your buildings. Pests include: rodents, vermin, insects and bed bugs.

Pest inspection requirements

  • All common areas (inside and outside) must be inspected at least once every 30 days.
  • If a complaint is received about pests, the area must be inspected within 72 hours.

If pests are found:

  • You must retain a pest management operator licensed by the Ministry of the Environment.
  • Take adequate measures to:
    • prevent the spread of the pests into other portions of the property
    • eliminate or exterminate the pests in all areas where the presence of the pests is detected.
  • Do not hide the presence of pests.
  • You cannot rent to a new tenant if you are aware of pests in the rental unit.
  • Pest inspection and treatment records must be made available to tenants and prospective tenants, upon request.
  • Post a copy of this plan on the tenant notification board.

Record keeping requirements

You must create and maintain the following records/logs for two years (24 months):

  • Information regarding tenant service requests and responses.
  • Log of scheduled and unscheduled activities relating to the waste management plan, including the date and location of the activity
  • Log of scheduled and unscheduled pest inspections, including:
    • date and location of proactive and reactive inspections
    • name of pest management operator
    • inspection results
    • recommended treatment, if any
  • Log of all pest treatment activities, including:
    • date and location of treatment
    • name of pest management operator
    • nature of the treatment
  • Log of service and maintenance conducted on fuel burning appliances (such as hot water furnaces or boilers), heating systems, cooling systems, ventilation systems and plumbing systems including:
    • date and nature of service
    • name of licensed contractor
  • Log of scheduled and unscheduled cleaning activities, including the nature of the activity and the date and location where it occurred
  • Information regarding the following fire safety elements: approved fire safety plan, annual fire alarm and voice communication system test records, annual sprinkler test records (if applicable), emergency power supply test records, annual fire pump flow test records for elevators. If you have questions regarding these fire safety elements, contact Toronto Fire Services.

You cannot rent a unit to a new tenant if there are any outstanding issues with that unit, including:

  • outstanding property standard orders with the unit
  • suspension of fuel (oil or propane), electricity, gas, heat, or hot or cold water in the apartment building
  • presence of pests in the rental unit

In order to keep tenants up-to-date, a notification board must be posted in a central location within the building. The following information must be posted on the board.

Planned or unplanned service disruptions

This includes heat, water, security systems, electricity, and elevators. Details must include: what is out of service, how long it will be out of service, and which units are affected.

Emergency contact information

Name, address and phone number (available 24 hours) of owner or property manager. Lettering must be 12.7 mm high

Note: Phone number must not have a charge back fee.

Nearest cooling location

Information must be provided for:

  • closest air-conditioned place in the building, accessible to tenants
  • closest public cooling location – details should include name, address and map
    • The Summer Heat Safety Notice provides all of this information; it is an annual listing of cooling centres available across Toronto.  You can find the notice and the listing at www.toronto.ca/health/keepcool

Any upcoming building audit dates from the City of Toronto

The City of Toronto will notify the building owner of any upcoming building audits.

Major capital projects

Details must include: name of the project; how long it will take, and which units are affected.

Capital elements include but are not limited to: roof, elevators, façade, windows, mechanical systems, underground garage, interior flooring, interior wall finish, balcony guards, and handrails.

Pest inspections and treatments

Any pest treatment activities, including the date of the treatment, name of the licensed pest management operator undertaking the treatment, and the nature of the treatment.

Cleaning plan

The cleaning plan is a list of all common areas (such as the garbage and recycling storage area, walls, floors, and laundry room etc.) in the building and how often the areas will be cleaned.

City-issued notices/orders

A copy of any notice and order issued by the City for common areas of the buildings regarding property standards, graffiti, waste or orders issued by Toronto Fire Services.

Appeals to property standards orders

You must post a notifications that an appeal has been submitted to the Property Standards Appeal Committee (PSAC), as well as confirmation that the appeal has been received by the City. A copy of the letter received by the City confirming the date of your appeal to the Property Standards Appeals Committee (PSAC).

See Tenant Notification Board Interpretation Bulletin

You must develop a process for receiving and tracking tenant requests for repairs and other issues, such as graffiti, long grass and weeds, litter and garbage, etc.

Requirements for building owners

  • You must keep records of requests and their responses for 24 months, and show them to City staff if requested.
  • Respond to urgent requests within 24 hours. Requests are urgent if they are related to the disruption of the following vital services:
    • electricity
    • gas
    • heat
    • hot or cold water
    • or breach of building security or problems with the outside of the building.
  • Respond to non-urgent requests within seven (7) days.
  • A record should be created for each request and must include:
    • date and time of service request
    • location of issue (including unit number)
    • nature of issue
    • tenant name and contact information
    • determination of urgent or non-urgent request
    • any response or action taken by building owner.
  • You must be able to provide a copy of the information collected from the tenant.
  • You must keep copies of all responses made by the owner or operator in relation to the service request.

Example of an urgent service request:

At 8 a.m., a tenant states that the lock on their door is broken. The tenant fills out a service request form and notes that this is an urgent request based on the safety and security of the unit. The landlord communicates with the tenant that this will be fixed by 12 noon on the same day (as it is an urgent matter), provides a copy of the service request form and response to the tenant, and keeps a copy for his/her records.

Create a plan for your building(s) and maintain any information and records necessary to demonstrate that you are following that plan.

Requirements for plan:

  • include the information on how you intend to comply with the City’s garbage, recycling and organics storage and disposal requirements outlined in Chapter 629, Property Standards.

Waste diversion requirements

  1. Post garbage, recycling and, if applicable, organics diversion information (accepted items, location of collection bins) in a common area.
  2. Use stickers or posters to identify the correct place to deposit garbage, recycling and, if applicable, organic materials.

If your building(s) receive City of Toronto garbage, Blue Bin recycling and Green Bin organics collection services, contact 311 to order print resources to help promote reduction and reuse, and how to participate in waste diversion programs.