Can my landlord refuse to do repairs because of COVID-19?

Landlords are responsible for repairs and maintenance of your unit and any common areas of the building, except for damage caused by you or your guests. This hasn't changed because of the COVID-19 emergency.

If your landlord doesn't feel safe coming into your unit because of COVID-19, you can ask them to hire professional tradespeople to do the repair. You can find a list of the places allowed to be open here.

If you're sick from COVID-19 or you're self-isolating or quarantined, you should make sure your landlord tells the repair service. Before starting work, the tradespeople should take precautions such as wearing masks and following covid-19 safety rules. Or they might want to wait until your situation changes, for example, when 14 days have passed.

You should allow a reasonable time for your landlord to get the repair done. What is a reasonable time will depend on how urgent the problem is and if you're in self-isolation or quarantine. For example, a broken fridge is usually more urgent than a dripping tap.

If your landlord doesn't take action, you can ask your local property standards or by-law enforcement office to send an inspector. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, they might not be doing inspections except in the most urgent situations.

If your landlord can't or won't get the repair done, and it can't wait, you might be able to do it yourself and then ask your landlord to repay you. You should do this only as a last resort and only if you're sure you can do the repair properly and safely. Always tell the landlord you plan to do the work before you start, and send them an estimate of the cost. Make sure to keep receipts for materials and keep track of the time you spend working on it.

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