Is my landlord responsible for enforcing physical distancing?

During the COVID-19 emergency, there are special rules everyone must follow to help slow the spread of infection. These rules include not having any social gatherings and keeping at least 2 metres away from people who are not in the same household while in public places. This is called “social distancing” or “physical distancing”. And some people are required to self-isolate or quarantine for a certain amount of time by staying in their homes and not having visitors.

These rules can be enforced by officers, as well as police and provincial health authorities.

Landlords don't have authority to enforce the law. But they can:

  • report tenants who break the law, and
  • apply to the to tenants who break the law or endanger others.

Landlords must also follow the rules about physical distancing themselves and do whatever they can to help their tenants follow the rules.

For example, landlords could post signs to let people know how to maintain physical distancing on elevators and in common areas like laundry rooms. Landlords could also close non-essential common areas where it is hard for people to maintain physical separation, like lobby sitting areas and bathrooms.

In apartment buildings, property managers or superintendents could provide a way for the building to accept deliveries of food, medications, or other essential goods. This can help reduce the number of outside trips tenants have to take and the number of delivery people moving through the building.

For information about whether your landlord can show your place to a possible renter or buyer, read the question: Can my landlord show my place during the pandemic?

Landlords always have a responsibility to make sure their buildings meet the standards for health, safety, housing and maintenance. During the COVID-19 emergency, this means they may have to do more than usual.

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