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My landlord is harassing me. What can I do?

Question
My landlord is harassing me. What can I do?

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Reviewed: 
August, 2015
Answer

You have the right to use and enjoy your home. The landlord is not allowed to harass you, threaten you, or invade your privacy.

Your landlord must also make sure no one working for them or acting on their behalf does any of these things.

In some situations, your landlord might be responsible for trying to stop other tenants from harassing you.

Here are some examples of things that could be harassment:

  • yelling at you or insulting you
  • making unwanted sexual comments or advances
  • saying or doing things that discriminate against you, for example, because of your colour, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, or family status (having children)
  • entering your place when they don't have the right to come in
  • taking photographs of you or your home without your permission
  • giving your personal information to someone without your permission
  • cutting off or interfering with an important service such as electricity, heat, telephone, mail, meals, or care services
  • trying to stop you from joining a tenants' association or from doing other things to stand up for your rights

Next steps

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Sometimes landlords harass tenants on purpose. They may do it to try to get the tenant to move out or they may do it for personal reasons. Some landlords do things they aren't allowed to do because they don’t know the law. Or a landlord might not even know that someone who works for them is harassing a tenant.

In any of these situations, it is usually important to tell your landlord that what is happening is wrong and that you want it to stop.

If the harassment continues, keep notes of the times and dates of what happened.

It is usually a good idea to give your landlord a written letter in case you need to prove that you told them about the problem. Your letter should include details about what happened and what you want your landlord to do about it. Put the date on your letter and keep a copy for yourself.

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Find out if other tenants in your building have similar problems. For example, maybe your landlord is discriminating against a specific group of people in your building, or often comes into tenant's apartments without a good reason. You might be better able to solve these problems if you work together with other tenants.

If there are ongoing issues in your building or neighbourhood, you might want to think about forming a tenants' association.

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If the problem continues, you can complain to 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 contact the RHEU's call centre 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.

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You may be able to get help from a community legal clinic. Sometimes a letter or phone call from a lawyer or legal worker can get a landlord to change their behaviour.

If the situation involves discrimination, you may be able to get legal advice or information from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) or from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

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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. The Board can order the landlord to stop the harassment and to pay for violating your rights.

If the situation involves discrimination, you might have the choice of applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board or to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

The Human Rights Legal Support Centre has an online tool to help you figure out if you have the option of applying to the Human Rights Tribunal. The Support Centre can then help you choose, and help you apply to the Tribunal if that is what you decide to do.

Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations
Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

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