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What are my rights as a tenant if I have a disability?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
Ontario's Human Rights Code says that if a tenant has a disability, landlords must try to "accommodate" their disability.
This means landlords must take away barriers for people with disabilities. They might have to make physical changes to the building, or they might have to change their rules or practices.
There are many different kinds of disabilities that affect people in different ways. Accommodating your disability means doing whatever is needed to give you equal access.
Here are some examples of how landlords might accommodate disabilities:
- installing a ramp and automatic doors for tenants who use wheelchairs
- putting Braille buttons and a voice announcement system in elevators for tenants with visual impairments
- avoiding materials or substances that cause allergic reactions for certain tenants
- helping family members or caregivers to support a tenant with mental health problems, instead of evicting them for disturbing other tenants
If the landlord says they can't accommodate your disability
The law says that landlords must try to accommodate your disability, even if it costs the landlord money or is inconvenient.
This doesn't always mean the landlord has to do whatever is needed, no matter how difficult or expensive. But it means they have to make very serious efforts to accommodate your disability.
If your disability can be accommodated without "undue hardship" to the landlord, then the landlord must do it. If a landlord will not accommodate your disability, that is discrimination.
The only things that can be considered undue hardship to a landlord are:
- costs that the landlord's business cannot afford, taking into account any outside sources of funding
- health and safety problems so serious that they outweigh the benefit of having more accessible housing
Every situation is different. If a landlord and tenant cannot agree on how to accommodate a disability, then the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario might have to decide. In some situations a decision can be made by the Landlord and Tenant Board.