Owners and operators of apartment buildings need to adopt COVID-19 health and safety measures. If you have health and safety concerns, talk to your landlord or building manager first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.

RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners comply with building maintenance standards. The program applies to apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units.

Residents need to contact their landlord first and submit service requests for issues such as pests, low or no heat, plumbing problems, leaky ceilings or problems in the common areas of the building.

Landlords need to respond to urgent service requests, such as no heat or water, within 24 hours. Non-urgent service requests need to be responded to within seven (7) days. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.

Owners of rental apartment buildings are required to register and comply with the RentSafeTO program. Learn more about what building owners must do to comply.

If landlords do not comply with the maintenance standards, the RentSafeTO team can issue orders and charge landlords, which can result in substantial fines. The City can also have a contractor complete any necessary work and place the costs on the building’s property taxes.

Condo buildings, townhomes, or units in a private home (basement or main floor apartment) are not part of the RentSafeTO program. If you are renting an apartment in a building that is not part of the RentSafeTO program  and experience a problem, please talk to your landlord first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 to have the City investigate.

Service Request Forms

If you have issues with the condition of the apartment that you are renting (such as plumbing problems, no or low heat, a broken window) or the common areas of your building, talk to your landlord or building manager and submit a service request in writing. Use this service request form as a guide: English French

Record Keeping

Make service requests in writing and keep copies of your requests. Your landlord must track these service requests and keep copies from the past two years. You can request to see these records. Learn more about landlord record-keeping requirements.

Response from Landlord

Your landlord needs to respond to urgent service requests within 24 hours. Service requests are urgent if they are related to vital services, such as:

  • hydro (electricity)
  • gas
  • heat
  • hot or cold water
  • breach of building security
  • problems with the outside of the building

When the service request is not urgent, you landlords needs to response within seven (7) days.  Allow your landlord reasonable time to make the repairs.

If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team. You can call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca to submit a complaint (service request) to the City.

Submit a Complaint (Service Request)

If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team. You can call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca to submit a complaint (service request) to the City.

What to Expect after Submitting a Complaint (Service Request)

Once you submit a complaint (service request) through 311, the RentSafeTO team will reach out to you.

If your complaint is urgent and related to vital services, the RentSafeTO team will respond within 24 hours. If your complaint is about a non-urgent issue then the team will respond within five (5) days.

The RentSafeTO team will come and inspect your issue. If your landlord does not resolve your issue in a reasonable amount of time, the team can issue orders and charge landlords, which can result in substantial fines.

The City can also have a contractor complete any necessary work and place the costs on the building’s property taxes.

Check the Status of Your Complaint (Service Request)

If you submit a complaint (service request) to the City through 311, you can check the status using the reference number provided to you. Enter your reference number in the Status Tracking box at the bottom of the toronto.ca home page and click “GO.”

You can also check the history of bylaw violations at an address.

Escalate Your Complaint (Service Request)

Once you have submitted a complaint (service request) to the City, you can escalate it if:

  • you made an urgent complaint and did not receive a response from the RentSafeTO team within 24 hours
  • you made a non-urgent complaint and did not receive a response from the RentSafeTO team within five (5) days

You can escalate your complaint by contacting 311. You will then be provided with the name and contact number of the Supervisor responding to your complaint.

Vital services in your building include hydro (electricity), gas, heat, hot or cold water, breach of building security or problems with the outside of the building.

  • Your landlord cannot discontinue vital services for any reason, even if you haven’t paid your rent
  • Landlords must address requests about vital services within 24 hours of receiving the service requests
  • If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team
  • If your unit is in a condo building where units are individually owned,  problems with vital services should be addressed by the owner of the unit
  • Landlords are required to maintain a contact list of tenants who voluntarily self-identify as needing assistance during an emergency or temporary shut down of vital services

Vital Service Disruption Plan

A vital service disruption is an event where any vital services is disrupted.

Landlords are required to develop and maintain a Vital Service Disruption Plan.

Failure to develop, maintain and implement a Vital Service Disruption Plan will be an offence under the Apartment Buildings bylaw.

Learn more about landlord responsibilities during a vital service disruption.

  • Apartments should be a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius from September 15 – June 1. Learn more the heat bylaw
  • Heat in the common areas of  the building, such as the lobby and hallways, are not regulated by the RentSafeTO team
  • There are time periods during September 15 to October 15 and May 1 to June 1, when the weather can be a bit warmer. This may 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, landlords can turn the heat down or off
  • If your unit is too warm during spring and fall, you can keep your units cool by keeping your curtains or blinds shut to block the sun during the day
  • Check out more tips to beat the heat as well as a full listing of air conditioned spaces in the City

This summer, since most publicly accessible air-conditioned spaces are closed to the public due to COVID-19, the City will operate Emergency Cooling Centres across the city during Heat Warnings, as declared by Environment and Climate Change Canada. These Emergency Cooling Centres will open during Heat Warnings. Find the cool space closest to you.

If your building has air conditioning provided by your landlord, the Property Standards bylaw requires that the air conditioning is turned on between June 2 and September 14. But, if it is hot outside, your landlord can turn it on earlier as long as the indoor temperature does not go below 21 Celsius.

Window Air Conditioning

City of Toronto bylaws do not prohibit window air conditioning units in apartment buildings.

If the City determines that a window air conditioning unit may be unsafe, it may require your landlord to prove that a qualified tradesperson has installed, or confirmed proper installation and maintenance of, the window air conditioning unit.

There are no City bylaw provisions requiring this proof from tenants or allowing landlords to require this proof from tenants. However, the terms of the lease agreement between the landlord (apartment building owner) and you (tenant) may include requirements concerning air conditioning in the rental unit. As a tenant, you may want to seek legal advice and information on how the Residential Tenancies Act applies.

Download the frequently asked questions  on window air conditioning in apartment buildings.

All landlords are responsible for maintaining a unit and making sure it is free of pests, such as ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, spiders, mice and rats.

Landlord Responsibilities with Pests

Once your landlord is aware of pests at the property, they need to:

  • eliminate pests and prevent their spread into other portions of the property
  • inspect the common areas of the property at least once every 30 days, and any area of the property within 72 hours of receiving any information about pests
  • hire the services of a professional pest control company licensed by the Ministry of Environment, if required
  • keep pest management records and post them on tenant notification boards
  • stop renting any units with pests to new tenants

Landlords are required to also post the following on the tenant notification board: pest management plans including documentation of pest control services and schedule, service standards and product information related to pest control activity.

Landlords will work with Toronto Public Health to respond to bed bug infestation complaints, where it may be a health hazard.

If you have concerns about pests, speak to your landlord or property manager and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.

What Tenants Can Do About Pests

While pest management is the landlord’s responsibility, the following tips can help prevent pest infestations in your unit:

  • keep your unit free of clutter
  • clean kitchens and bathrooms regularly
  • keep kitchen countertops clean and free of crumbs
  • vacuum regularly under rugs and beneath furniture
  • rinse containers before putting them in the garbage or in recycling bins
  • empty kitchen garbage containers often
  • avoid picking up mattresses and other furniture from sidewalks or the trash
  • store foods (grains, legumes, sugar) in sealed plastic or glass containers in kitchens
  • after travelling, check luggage carefully for spread of pests
  • learn how to prevent, identify and treat bed bugs in your home

You must allow your landlord to treat your unit for pests. Landlords must notify you ahead of time about what is required to prepare the unit for treatment, such as emptying cabinets, removing furniture from walls, etc.

In order to keep tenants up-to-date, a notification board must be posted in a central location in the building. Electronic notification boards are allowed as long as all required information can be displayed and read easily by tenants. Hard copies of the required information must be made available to tenants and prospective tenants upon request. Learn about the information that must be posted on the tenant notification board.

If you do not see this board in your building, or do not have access to an electronic version, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.

close-up of a window safety device on an apartment window overlooking trees
Window safety device on an apartment window.

For your protection, City bylaws require window safety devices on rental apartment windows that:

  • do not lead to a balcony
  • are more than two metres above the ground and less than 1.5 metres from the unit floor, and
  • are a common window where the lower sill is less than one metre (3.28 feet) above the floor (in this case the guard must comply with the Ontario Building Code)

Window safety devices must prevent any part of the window from opening more than 10 centimetres, which is the amount of space a child can crawl through.

You may be fined if you remove window safety devices.

Your landlord is required to:

  • inspect all common areas daily for cleanliness and keep plans that show how often they will clean a building. You can request to see these plans at any time
  • inspect the common areas of the property for pests at least once every 30 days
  • post in at least one common area of the apartment building information on waste, including what items go into recycling, green bins and garbage bins, as well as the location of the bins

Capital Plan

Your landlord is responsible for maintaining a capital plan to include a five (5) year forecast of major building repairs that lists when each item is expected to be replaced or updated. Examples of capital elements include: roof, elevators, windows, flooring and wall finishes, handrails, and mechanical systems.

You can request to view this plan at any time. Your landlord need to provide this within 60 days of your request.

Electrical Maintenance Requirements

Apartment building owners and operators are required to:

  • develop an electrical maintenance plan with a Licenced Electrical Contractor and maintain any information and records to show that they have complied with the plan
  • maintain a list of tenants who voluntarily self-identify as requiring assistance during evacuations or temporary shut down of vital services, such as hydro (electricity), heat or water

The City is also conducting proactive inspections of buildings that may be at higher risk of electrical malfunction. Learn more about the inspections, including those identified for the first round of inspections.

Building Evaluations

The RentSafeTO team will conduct inspections at every apartment building at least once every three years, based on scoring. Learn more about the different areas that are inspected during a building evaluation.

Your building owner will be provided with a copy of the property’s building evaluation results, which will include the evaluation score.

Your landlord need to post copies of the most recent building evaluation result received from the City on the tenant notification board.

The overall building evaluation score will determine if a full building audit is required.

Audits

If your building fails its evaluation by scoring less than 50 per cent, the RentSafeTO team will follow up with a building audit. During an audit, all the common areas of the building are inspected. This includes the underground garage as well as the building’s exterior grounds.

Your landlord is required to post a notice on the tenant notification board informing you of the upcoming audit, 30 days before its scheduled date.

If possible, during the audit the RentSafeTO team will be in the lobby of your building to take complaints (service requests) about issues in your unit. These complaints will then be given to your landlord so that they can respond and fix the issues. The RentSafeTO team will follow-up on your complaints submitted during the audit and take appropriate action, if required.

Check Your Building Evaluation

Look up your building evaluation score. The dataset contains evaluation scores for all buildings that are registered in the RentSafeTO program.

Archived: Apartment Building Audit Reports

Apartment Building Audit Reports (2008 – 2017) from the Multi-Residential Apartment Buildings (MRAB) Audit and Enforcement Program are archived below.

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