Make sure you’re compliant with the Residential Tenancies Act or the Régie du Logement du Québec regarding heating in your rental.
1. Respect the rules about rentals’ temperatures and heating periods
Across all provinces, landlords must insure that the heating system is properly installed and in good working condition.
Be compliant with the Residential Tenancies Act & your bylaws
- You must heat your rented property from September 1st to June 15.
- The minimum temperature required is 20°C but some cities’ bylaws have higher standards (e.g. Toronto is 21°C). It is usually between 20-21°C during the day and 16°C at night. Contact your municipality to learn more.
- If you don’t respect this, your tenant can make a complaint to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
- According to the Public Health Act – Housing Regulation, you must heat your rented property from September 1st to May 1st.
- The minimum temperature required is 22°C in all habitable rooms.
In British Colombia:
- Municipality bylaws would usually set the standard regarding the minimum temperature.
- For example, in Vancouver it’s maintaining 22°C in all rooms.
Be compliant with the Régie du Logement du Québec
- You can’t include a clause in your lease to specify exactly when the heating must be turned on.
- As a landlord, if you’re in charge of paying the heating bill, you must make sure that there is an adequate ambient temperature regardless the time of year.
- There is no law nor municipal by-laws specifying what is the right temperature but the Régie du Logement is suggesting 21°C during cold weather.
Remind your tenants their obligations regarding heating
The tenants should use heating devices properly and must not overheat the rented property. Plan regular visits to your rental to monitor.
In Quebec, in case of overheating, you can take action against them at the Régie du logement:
- To make your tenants reduce the ambient temperature in your rental
- To make your tenants pay for the cost of overheating
- To terminate their lease
Obviously, the Régie du logement would take action once considering the potential reasons of overheating such as extreme cold weather or bad insulation of the rented property.
2. Heating problems: Your obligations as a landlord
Remember to ask permission to access your rental
If you want to access your rented property to do some repairs, you must :
- Give verbal or written notice to your tenants
- At least 24 hours ahead
- For a specific date, time and purpose (you can’t ask for access sometime between Monday and Saturday)
- That is not a holiday or your tenant’s day of religious worship.
If it’s an emergency (e.g. bursting pipes or heating failure during winter), your tenants can’t deny you access and you can enter your rental even if your tenants are not around. Obviously it’s easier to access your property quickly if you’ve established a good relationship with your tenants. Read here our 10 tips.
Respect the working hours
You can only do repairs:
- Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
- Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in Quebec.
Why it’s important you act within a reasonable time
If after receiving an oral and / or written complaint from your tenants, you can’t do the repairs straight away, try to give a temporary fix to your tenants. You can install an auxiliary heating or a generator.
If you don’t act within a reasonable time; your tenants might file a complaint to the local authorities. If the Court finds a legitimate problem, they could order you to:
- Do the repairs or maintenance,
- Reimburse partly the rent for the time the repairs are not done,
- Reimburse your tenants if they paid for the repairs or did them themselves
- Let the tenants move out without respecting the proper notice (if the conditions are very bad)
However, note that your tenants cannot withhold rent on their own initiative.
Furthermore, a deficient heating system can cause significant problems such as water damage. If you couldn’t prevent it, rely on APRIL’s water damage coverage. Consider Rental value protection in the event of a significant loss that would require your tenants to temporarily move out for the time of the repairs, leaving you without rents to collect. To report a claim, please contact us.