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TIP SHEET by csgirla


									                                            TIP SHEET
The purpose of this series of tip sheets is to give you useful information about the hearing process in the
Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal and how to prepare for your hearing. There is a general tip sheet on the
hearing process that everyone should consult. The remaining tip sheets deal with specific issues and how to
prepare your case for those issues. You need to be prepared to present all your evidence and witnesses on the
hearing date.

The purpose of this tip sheet is to set out the landlord's obligations with respect to providing heat
in the rented premises, and to outline the first steps in trying to fix a heating problem. If it
becomes necessary to make an application to the Tribunal for an order, please refer to the tip
sheets entitled "Repair" and "The Housing Tribunal Hearing".

What are the landlord's obligations with respect to heating the premises?

Generally, the landlord is responsible for keeping the building and the rental units in a good state of
repair and for making sure they meet all health, safety and maintenance standards.
The tenant is responsible for keeping their rental unit clean and repairing any
damage that they or their guests cause to the rental unit, building or property.

With respect to heat, there are two things that have to be considered. The
first is the heating equipment; the second is the fuel (such as gas, electricity or
oil) that is used to generate the heat.

        Heating equipment

Under the authority of the Tenant Protection Act, the Maintenance Standards regulation under the
Act, and various municipal by-laws, the landlord must maintain the heating equipment in proper
working order, and capable of maintaining a minimum indoor temperature. That temperature varies
between municipalities. See the chart at the end of this tip sheet for a listing of the local
municipalities in the clinic's service area, and the temperatures. A lease or verbal agreement saying
the landlord does not have to look after the heating equipment, or keep the minimum temperature,
is void.


The other aspect of heat is the fuel. Here, the landlord is allowed to agree with the tenant that
either the landlord or the tenant will pay for the fuel. If the landlord agrees to pay for the fuel,
he is not allowed to unilaterally change that agreement, so that he later says the tenant has to pay
for the fuel. It is illegal for a landlord to deliberately interfere with a supply of fuel, for example
by telling the gas company to cut off the gas. If your landlord changes the agreement or
interferes with the fuel supply, you should consult the clinic.

If the landlord has agreed to pay for the fuel, then it is his obligation to pay, and to keep the fuel
supply on. Failure to do so is a breach of the landlord's responsibilities.
If the tenant has agreed to pay for the fuel, to put the fuel account in the tenant's name, and to
pay the supplier directly, then it is the tenant's obligation to pay. If the fuel is being turned off by
the supplier only because the tenant has failed to pay the bill, then that is the tenant's problem,
not the landlord's. The lack of heat is then caused by the tenant's non-payment, not by any action
or fault of the landlord. The landlord in that situation has no responsibility to provide fuel (and
thus heat) to the tenant.

An in-between situation does arise when the tenant agrees to pay for the fuel, but the landlord
keeps the fuel account in his name. This usually happens because the tenant does not have the
security deposit the fuel supplier wants, or the landlord wants to keep the bill in his name so he
knows if the account is getting behind. The agreement is for the tenant to pay the bill directly, or
to pay the landlord, who then pays the fuel supplier. If the tenant does pay the fuel bill in full to
the landlord, who then fails to pay the supplier, resulting in a cutoff of the fuel, then the landlord
is in breach of his obligations. However, if the tenant does not pay the fuel bill in full, and the fuel
is cut off for non-payment, that is the tenant's problem.

What does a tenant do if they experience lack of heat for which the landlord
is responsible?

If a tenant is experiencing lack of heat, for which the landlord is responsible, they must notify the
landlord immediately of the problem to see if the landlord will authorize immediate repair, such as a
service call to fix the heating equipment or restore the fuel supply. If no immediate action is
taken, the tenant should tell the landlord in writing of the lack of heat and keep a copy of this
letter for themselves. If the landlord does not undertake to repair the items immediately, contact
your municipality (i.e. City or Township Office) to see if they have a By-Law Officer. Ask the By-
Law Officer to inspect to see if there is a breach of the municipal by-laws with respect to the
maintenance of the dwelling. You can ask that the By-Law Officer come to the rental unit and do
an inspection. The By-Law Officer will then complete an Inspection Report and you should ask for
a copy of this report. Tenants who live in municipalities without By-Law Officers should contact
the Maintenance Standards Unit of The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing by telephoning 1-
888-772-9277. Tenants should also take photographs of any disrepair and write on the back of
the photographs the date on which it was taken, who took the picture and what the disrepair is in
the photograph. If fuel has been shut off, the tenant should keep the notice of shut off given by
the supplier, and contact the supplier to try to get the reason for the shut off and the name of the
person spoken to. Tenants should also keep a log of the temperatures in the unit while the problem
is ongoing. A log sheet appears at the end of this tip sheet. The tenant will need to get the
temperature from the thermostat's thermometer (if there is one), or from a thermometer the
tenant has or gets. It is useful to record the temperature at several different times of the day.
The outdoor temperature can be obtained from a thermometer outside the premises, or from a
source such as the Weather Channel, or a radio station.

                                 HEATING STANDARDS
                                    Minimum temperatures

This chart lists all the municipalities (in alphabetical order) within the clinic's service area that
have a standard for a minimum temperature. For municipalities not listed, the provincial standard
applies: the minimum temperature is 20° C. (Maintenance Standards, O. Reg. 198/98, s. 15(1)). This
applies year-round. For municipalities not listed, enforcement is through the Maintenance and
Standards Unit of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 1-888-772-9277.

Municipality             By-law number             Minimum temperature       Enforcement
Barrie                   84-200, Property          20°C                      Property Standards
                         Standards, s. 32(1)                                 Officer, Planning and
                                                                             Department, (705)
Bradford-West            98-065, Property          21.1°C or 70°F            Enforcement Officer
Gwillimbury              Standards, s. 7.10.1                                (905) 775-5366 ext.
Collingwood              96-33, Property           Dwelling units: 21.2° C   Municipal Law
                         Standards, s. 3.36        or 70°F from 6am to       Enforcement Officer,
                                                   11pm; 18.8°C or 66°F      (705) 445-1030 ext.
                                                   from 11pm to 6am; if      255
                                                   the landlord pays for
                                                   the heat, the above
                                                   standards apply from
                                                   September 15 to June
                                                   Common areas: 65° F
Dysart et al. Township   2001-51, Property         21°C or 70°F              Municipal Law
                         Standards, s. 3.38                                  Enforcement Officer
                                                                             (705) 457-1740
Essa Township            2002-9, Adequate          20°C if heated at the     By-law Enforcement
                         Heat By-law, s. 3.1       landlord's expense,       (705) 424-9770
                                                   from September 15 to
                                                   June 15
Innisfil                 075-02, Property          68°F from September       Property Standards
                         Standards, s. 4.2.5       15 to June 1              Officer
                                                                             (705) 436-7120
Kawartha Lakes           2002-119, Property        20°C or 68°F; if the      Building Department
                         Standards, s. 6.13        landlord pays for the     (705) 324-6182 or
                                                   heat, the above           1-888-822-2225 ext.
                                                   standard applies from     203
                                                   September 15 to May
Midland                  2002-81, Property         20°C                      Municipal Law
                         Standards, s. 3.43                                  Enforcement Officer,
                                                                             (705) 526-4275 ext.
New Tecumseth              94-23, Property             20°C                     Building and
                           Standards, s. 5.17.1                                 Development
                                                                                Department (705)
                                                                                435-6219 or (905)
Orillia                    Chapter 853, Heat -         18.3° C or 65°F if the   Director of
                           Adequate Rental             landlord pays for the    Administrative
                           Dwelling                    heat                     Services or By-law
                                                                                Enforcement Officer
                                                                                (705) 325-1311
Penetanguishene            1998-77, Property           22°C or 72°F             By-law Enforcement,
                           Standards, s. 12                                     (705) 549-7452
Severn Township            2001-71, Property           20°C or 70°F             Building Permits and
                           Standards, s. 3.15                                   Inspections, Municipal
                                                                                Law Enforcement
                                                                                officer, (705)325-
                                                                                2315, ext. 243
Tay Township               99-74, Property             20°C                     Planning and
                           Standards, s. 2.1                                    Development
                                                                                Department, By-law
                                                                                Enforcement Services
                                                                                Division (705) 534-
                                                                                7248 ext. 237

Produced by:
Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes


                        DAILY TEMPERATURE CHART

Tenant's name:


The following log records the temperatures at the above address on the dates indicated.

                        Outdoor     Indoor
    Date         Time   temper-    temper-   Indoor location         Comments
                          ature      ature


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