What can I do if my landlord cuts off a vital service?
Question & AnswerWhat can I do if my landlord cuts off a vital service?
Important COVID-19 updates
Time limits: When figuring out the deadline to take a legal step, the time between March 16 and September 14, 2020 does not count. This is because of an emergency that stopped all time limits to start a case during that time. Find out how this could affect you.
Landlord and Tenant Board: The LTB is holding most hearings remotely, by phone, video, or in writing. Some people have had trouble connecting to remote hearings. If you have a video hearing scheduled, download Microsoft Teams and Zoom ahead of time and make sure your setup is working.
It is illegal for your landlord to cut off or interfere with any vital service. This means hot or cold water, fuel, electricity, natural gas, and heat. The same rule applies to meals and care services.
Your landlord is not allowed to do this for any reason, even if you owe rent.
If it is your landlord's responsibility to pay for any of these services, they must not let the service be cut off because of an unpaid bill.
Before you apply to the Board
If a vital service has been cut, or if your landlord is threatening to cut services, you might be able to solve the problem by contacting your landlord or trying these steps first. You could also contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU), a government office that can try to get your service restored. A letter from a lawyer, community legal clinic, or student legal aid society might also convince your landlord to restore the service.
If that doesn't work, you can apply to the . The Board can order your landlord to restore the service. A Board order is like a court order, so this sometimes works when other things don't.
The Board can also order your landlord to pay you compensation for any losses or harm caused by their actions.
You will have to follow the right steps to get the Board to hear your case quickly. And you will have to show evidence to the Board to prove that there is a problem.
If the service has already been restored and you are applying only for compensation, it is best to apply to the Board within one year after the service was first cut off. The Board can only give you money for problems going back one year before you applied.