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Can my landlord come into my place whenever they want?

Question
Can my landlord come into my place whenever they want?

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Reviewed: 
August, 2015
Answer

The place you are renting is your home. Your landlord must respect your right to have privacy.

The reasons listed in Step 2 below are the only reasons your landlord, or anyone working for them, has a right to come in. If they have a valid reason and follow the rules, you have to let them in, and they can even come in when you are not home.

You can let your landlord in at other times and for other reasons but that is up to you. If they do not have a valid reason or are not following the rules, they have no right to come into your home, and you do not have to let them in.

If your landlord repeatedly invades your privacy, that could be considered harassment. There are things you can do if your landlord is harassing you.

1. Ask your landlord their reason for entering

In some situations your landlord must give you 24 hours' written notice and must write the reason on the notice, as well as the date and time they are coming in.

But even in situations where your landlord does not have to give 24 hours' written notice, you still have the right to know why your landlord wants to come into your home.

Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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2. Find out if your landlord is allowed to come in

Landlords can come into their tenants' homes only for the reasons listed below. The rules your landlord must follow depend on the reason they want to come in.

Entering with no notice

Your landlord can enter your home without telling you ahead of time:

  • any time, if there is an emergency
  • to clean your place, if your rental agreement says that your landlord does the cleaning
  • to check on your condition, if you are a care home or retirement home tenant and your tenancy agreement says your landlord should do this

Entering on 24 hours' notice

If your landlord wants to come in for other reasons, they must give you notice in writing 24 hours ahead of time. They can come in only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and only for these reasons:

  • to do repairs or work in your unit
  • to see if any repairs are needed, if there is a reason to do this
  • to show your place to a possible buyer, insurer, or mortgage lender
  • to let a real estate agent show your place to a possible buyer
  • to have a property inspection done before turning your building into a condominium
  • for a reasonable purpose listed in your rental agreement

Entering to show your place to prospective tenants

If you are moving out, your landlord may want to show your place to someone who might want to rent it. Your landlord does not have to give you 24 hours' written notice but they must try to let you know when they are coming and it must be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Your landlord can do this only if:

  • you have given notice to move out,
  • your landlord has given you a notice to move out, or
  • you and your landlord have agreed that you will move out.
Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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3. Make sure your landlord knows the rules

Some landlords might not know that tenants have a right to privacy. They might think they have the right to come in whenever they want to because they are the owner or they work for the owner.

You can tell your landlord you expect them to follow the rules about giving you notice and about when they can come into your place. Showing legal information about this to your landlord may help convince them to respect your privacy rights.

If an employee or contractor is coming into your place, you might want to ask the company or the owner to make sure everyone who works for them respects your rights and follows the rules.

If the problem continues, you can complain to your landlord in a letter. Your letter should include details about what happened and why you think your landlord did not follow the rules. Put the date on the letter and keep a copy for yourself in case you need it later.

Reviewed: 
September, 2016
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4. Complain to a government agency

If the problem continues, you can contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU). The RHEU is part of the Ministry of Housing. Its job is to try to make sure landlords and tenants follow the law.

You can call the RHEU at these numbers:

Toll Free Phone Line: 1-888-772-9277
416 Dialling Area: 416-585-7214
Fax: 416-585-6464
Toll Free Fax Line: 1-866-321-4127

Sometimes landlords will change their behaviour when someone from the RHEU contacts them.

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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5. Take further action

If the problem does not stop or is very severe, you might need to take further action.

If the situation is urgent or you feel unsafe, you might want to call the police.

Otherwise, you can file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board for illegal entry, harassment, and serious interference with your reasonable enjoyment. You must apply within 1 year of the incident.

The Board can order the landlord to stop coming into your place without following the rules. You can also ask the Board to make the landlord pay for violating your rights.

Reviewed: 
September, 2016
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Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations
Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

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