RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program ensuring that building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards. As part of the program, bylaw enforcement officers conduct building evaluations, audits and investigate complaints submitted to 311, so that 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.
During registration, building owners and/or operators are required to provide an email address that will be used to provide written communication and notices related to the property. This information must be kept up-to-date. Learn more about RentSafeTO registration and renewal.
Download the Building Owner Handbook for an overview of the bylaw and summary of key regulations. The handbook was last updated on May 2022.
Read the 2021 RentSafeTO Year in Review and Infographic to learn more about the advancements in the program since 2017, including key performance data on building evaluations and audits, service requests, investigation and enforcement action.
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.
At 8 a.m., a tenant notices that the lock on their door is broken. The tenant fills out a service request form. This will be 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. The landlord also provides a copy of the service request form and response to the tenant, and keeps a copy for his/her records.
Landlords are responsible for providing heat to a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius from September 15 to June 1.
Please use your judgement. If outdoor weather raises or is expected to raise the temperature of apartment units above 21 degrees Celsius, you can turn the heat off.
Learn about the heat bylaw and heating in your building during the “shoulder seasons” (May 1 – June 1 and September 15 – October 15).
As an owner or landlord of a residential building, you play an important role in protecting tenants from extreme heat. You can help protect your tenants and prevent heat-related illness by creating a hot weather plan.
Under the Apartment Buildings Bylaw, you are also required to post information on air-conditioned locations that are accessible to tenants. See more under the “Tenant Notification Board” tab.
If a building has air conditioning provided by the landlord, the Property Standards bylaw requires that landlords turn it on between June 2 and September 14. But, if it is hot outside, landlords can turn it on earlier and keep it on longer, as long as the temperature does not go below 21 Celsius.
The Property Standards bylaw also requires building owners to ensure that all supplied facilities (including window air conditioning) are installed and maintained in a safe way.
City of Toronto bylaws do not prohibit window air conditioning units in apartment buildings.
Under the Property Standards Bylaw, landlords are responsible for ensuring window air conditioning units are installed and maintained to function safely and effectively. If the City determines that a window air conditioning unit may be unsafe, it may require the landlord to prove that a qualified tradesperson has installed, or confirmed proper installation and maintenance of, the window air conditioning unit. The City considers qualified tradespersons to be members certified under Ontario College of Trades and a City of Toronto business licence where required, or an accredited professional.
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 tenant may include requirements concerning air conditioning in the rental unit. Landlords and tenants 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.
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. Visit the Ontario College of Trades public register to find out if your tradesperson is certified and information about compulsory trades.
You must develop and maintain a State of Good Repair (Capital) Plan using the City of Toronto’s State of Good Repair (Capital) Plan template. A plan must be created for each of your apartment buildings.
Plans should include a five year forecast of major building repairs. Details should include when “the element” is expected to be replaced or updated.
Capital elements include, but are not limited to:
You must provide a copy of the Capital Plan to tenants within 60 days of receiving a request for a copy.
You are required to develop an electrical maintenance plan with a licensed electrical contractor. Tips on how to create a plan can be found on the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) website.
You must maintain any information and records to show that you have complied with the plan, and have them available when requested.
You must develop and implement a cleaning plan and keep records of cleaning activity to ensure buildings are clean and safe. Post a copy of this plan on the tenant notification board.
You are required to inspect all common areas daily for cleanliness.
The plan must list all common areas and how often they will be cleaned, including:
In an emergency situation (e.g. chemical spill, biohazard waste or any situation that would make the common areas dirty), you must state how and when the emergency will be resolved and keep a copy for your records. Include:
Keep a copy of the cleaning plan and have it available for inspection upon request.
You are required to take timely actions to remove pests, such as rodents, vermin, insects and bedbugs, from your building.
Create a plan for your building and maintain any information and records necessary to show that you are following that plan. Learn more about waste collection for multi-unit dwellings.
The plan should include the information on how you intend to follow the City’s garbage, recycling and organics storage and disposal requirements. These requirements are outlined in the Apartment Standards Bylaw, the Property Standards Bylaw and mandatory waste diversion requirements.
You are required to:
If your building receives the City’s garbage, Blue Bin recycling and Green Bin organics collection services, contact 311 to order print resources to help promote reduction, reuse and waste diversion programs.
You must create and maintain the following records/logs for two years (24 months):
In order to keep tenants up-to-date, a notification board must be posted in a central location within the building. See Tenant Notification Board Interpretation Bulletin.
A sample Tenant Notification Board is available to illustrate the information that must be posted. This is not a mandatory layout but an example that can be customized.
You must post information on the RentSafeTO program and inform tenants that they can contact the RentSafeTO team by calling 311. Download the RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards Program brochure for your tenants.
You need to post copies of the most recent building evaluation result received from the City on the tenant notification board. You can print a copy of the most recent evaluation letter through the RentSafeTO Online Portal. You can also view and print the evaluation results from this interactive webpage.
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.
The Property Standards Bylaw requires you to post a sign with emergency contact information. If the contact information changes, the sign must be updated within one week of the change.
You may create your own emergency contact information sign, or download, fill-in and print this Emergency Contact Information template.
You must post the following:
The following resources have been created to help with this requirement:
Information on cooling locations in the City are subject to change so ensure that the information is up-to-date before posting.
The City’s Heat Relief Network has more than 300 locations to help residents stay cool during the summer and during Heat Warnings. This includes locations such as libraries, community centres, pools/wading pools/splash pads, civic centres, drop-ins and several private and non-profit organizations, including some shopping malls and YMCA locations. An interactive map is available to help people find a Heat Relief Network location near them.
The City of Toronto will notify the building owner of any upcoming building audits. This information must be posted on the tenant notification board at least 30 days prior to the audit date.
Information on major capital projects 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.
Post details of any pest treatment activities, including:
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.
A copy of any notice and order issued by the City for common areas of the buildings such as property standards, graffiti, or waste must be posted on the tenant notification board.
Post information related to any violations of the Ontario Fire Code, as identified by Toronto Fire Services.
You must post the following
You need to post information about waste management on the tenant notification board.
Vital services are essential services that you must provide to keep tenants healthy and safe. Vital services include water, fuel, electricity, natural gas, and heat.
A vital service disruption is an event where any of these services is disrupted.
You are required to develop and maintain a Vital Service Disruption Plan for your building. This plan must be implemented when there is an unplanned vital service disruption in your building.
Download the Vital Service Disruption Plan Form and complete this for each registered apartment building in Toronto. The form provides minimum requirements for the Plan, including the timeframes in which you must take specific actions. A Guidance Document is also available to help you complete the form.
Failure to develop, maintain and implement this plan during a vital service disruption is a chargeable offence under the Apartment Buildings bylaw.
You are required to maintain a contact list of tenants who voluntarily self-identify as requiring assistance during evacuations or a temporary discontinuance of a vital services.
The following sample Voluntary Tenant Contact List has been created to help you with this task.
Keep the list in a secure area and ensure you can easily find it during an emergency.
You cannot rent a unit to a new tenant if there are any outstanding issues with that unit. This includes:
You are required to inform new tenants about the following when signing a lease agreement:
Type (don’t copy and paste) your email into the box below, check the box next to the e-update description and then click “Subscribe”. You will receive an email with instructions to confirm your request.