Tips for Positive Relations Between Tenants and Landlords

Some of the most common complaints we hear in the Office are regarding unresponsive or difficult landlords (sometimes tenants, too!). As everyone knows, communication is key to any successful relationship - including the landlord/tenant relationship.

Here are a few tips for both parties to keep in mind:

  • Copy of the Tenancy Agreement: Both the landlord and the tenant are entitled to a copy of the written, signed tenancy agreement. The tenant must be supplied with a copy within 21 days after the signing of the agreement. (Residential Tenancy Act, Part ii, Section 8, sub-section 2).
  • Responsibility: As a tenant, you have the responsibility of maintaining your place of residence in an appropriate manner - as if it were your "own home". This includes proper cleaning and ensuring no damages are incurred while you are living there. As a landlord, you have the responsibility of respecting your tenant's privacy, which includes providing proper notice before entering the rented premises. Under the Residential Tenancy Act, neither party can "harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere" (with) the other party.
  • Property maintenance and repairs: It should be made very clear up front who is responsible for outside maintenance (eg. Landlord will provide snow shovel so tenant can shovel sidewalk; or, landlord will have full responsibility for all outside maintenance). As well, landlords are responsible for maintaining the premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation, and complying with all health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.
  • City By-laws: There are a variety of by-laws in place within the City of Hamilton which every tenant and landlord should be aware of. By-laws cover such things as noise (Did you know there is a 24-hour noise by-law in Hamilton?), snow-shoveling, garbage, parking and what you can leave sitting on your front porch. OCRC's "Living Off-Campus "(doc) brochure also contains further specifics, so download(PDF) a copy today, or stop by the office to pick one up.
  • Be responsive: As a landlord, it is vital that you return phone calls and respond in a timely manner to requests for repairs and other inquiries from your tenants. Check in with your tenants periodically (without harassing them) to make sure there are no problems that need tending to.