Tenant rights and responsibilities - obligations of landlords and tenants


It is important for both the landlord and tenant to understand what their respective responsibilities are at the beginning of this relationship, as well as keep the lines of communication open when it comes to each other’s expectations. This relationship begins after the landlord officially accepts the tenant’s application. The legal binding contract of the rental agreement is activated once the document is signed and the tenant begins paying rent. If either the tenant or landlord breaks the rental agreement, compensation may be given to the offending party.

There are certain situations that can come about which demand the attention of the landlord and tenant. Both parties have to rely on each other to take care of repairs, emergency situations, and complaints, so that all of these things are handled in an appropriate and timely manner. It is crucial that the landlord and tenant have a good relationship, as certain problems can cause legal troubles and other issues.

Landlords in all provinces across the country are legally required to ensure that the units they rent out are in full compliance with all safety, health, housing and maintenance standards set by local laws. Before a landlord is able to rent out a property, it must adhere to certain municipal standards, fire safety regulations, local building codes, and zoning bylaws. If the property meets the minimum acceptable standards, it is up to the landlord to ensure that the unit never falls above these standards and is taken care of on a regular basis.


Landlords have to:

  • Perform any necessary maintenance on a tenant’s rental unit/property to ensure that it is fit for habitation and so that it complies with all safety, maintenance, and housing standards.
  • Not withhold electricity, hot and cold water, fuel supply, or any other utility services, unless the tenant has already agreed to pay for them.
  • Not interfere with the tenant’s right to enjoying their own private space, as well as the enjoyment of any other members of the household, including guests.
  • Not take any of the tenant’s private property for rent or any other reason, unless they have gone through the proper legal channels
  • Not harass, threaten, or illegally interfere with the tenant in any way.

Tenants have to:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the rental property clean, repair any damages caused by negligence or willful destruction by either the tenant or those who the tenant allows to enter the premises
  • Not harass, threaten, or coerce the landlord in any way
  • contact the landlord immediately when a serious problem of any kind arises, including damage that requires repair work or other services.
  • Allow entry (with advance notice) for necessary repairs or showing the unit to prospective tenants