Can my landlord ban visitors because of COVID-19?

Normally, tenants have the same rights to have visitors as homeowners do. And normally, tenants have to use this right carefully because they are responsible for what their guests do.

So landlords can't ban visitors to a whole building. But they can expect tenants and guests to make sure they don't put other people in danger or interfere with other tenants' or the landlord's reasonable enjoyment of the building.

During the COVID-19 emergency, this means everyone must follow all public health directives about avoiding social gatherings. It can also mean you must self-isolate if:

  • you have tested positive for COVID-19
  • you are waiting for test results
  • you have reason to suspect you might have COVID-19, or
  • you have had close contact with someone who is in the above situations

Self-isolating means staying in your apartment and not having visitors. If you are self-isolating, you might still be allowed certain visitors, such as a personal support worker or health care professional. Check with your local health department.

Tenants who don't follow public health warnings and emergency orders could get eviction notices.

What landlords can do instead of banning visitors

Landlords should make sure that people can come and go from the building with as little risk as possible to themselves or others.

For example, Toronto Public Health recommends that all building entrances and common areas should have hand sanitizer dispensers or handwashing stations with soap and water.

They also recommend that landlords increase the cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched parts of the building, including:

  • doorknobs
  • elevator buttons
  • light switches
  • counters
  • handrails
  • touch screens
  • keypads

Tenants can contact their local public health department if their landlords aren't doing enough.

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