Saturday, 17 December 2016

Cold Apartment? Fight For Your Right to Heat

Tenants' Rights to Adequate Heat 

The Park Vista Tenants' Association is aware that some tenants have raised concerns about cold apartments. This post provides information about tenants' rights to adequate heat and what steps to take if your unit is cold. 

Toronto's Minimum Temperature Requirement

Under the Toronto Municipal Code, landlords are required to provide heat and maintain a minimum temperature of 21°C between September 15 and June 1. 

Ontario Rules Regarding Building Conditions 

Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) says that landlords must:
  • keep their rental housing in a "good state of repair and fit for habitation"
  • follow all applicable housing standards
This means that landlords must make sure that heating systems – things like furnaces, boilers, thermostats, ducts, and radiators – are working properly.

It also means that they must correct other problems that can cause an apartment to be too cold, such as:
  • windows that don't close properly
  • drafts from doorways and other openings
  • poor insulation
Steps to Take if Your Apartment is Cold 
  1. Get a thermometer
  2. Record the temperature in various rooms of your apartment and keep a log
  3. The temperature readings need to be taken in the middle of a room, about three feet off the ground
  4. Once you have proof the temperature is below 21 degrees, submit a work order to CAPREIT and keep a copy. (It's a good idea to scan a copy of the work order or take a photo before you drop it off and follow up by emailing the scanned copy or photo of the work order to Ask CAPREIT to confirm the work order was received.)
  5. If CAPREIT doesn't act within a reasonable time, you can submit a complaint to the City of Toronto by calling 311 or emailing
While the Park Vista Tenants' Association is interested in hearing from tenants who have heating problems (to try to identify any patterns in buildings and find out which tenants are using heaters), the association has no legal power to force the landlord to comply with property standards requirements.

As a first step, you must deal with the landlord directly. If that doesn't resolve the problem, you can contact the City of Toronto. Enforcement staff will ask what steps you have taken to bring the problem to the landlord's attention before escalating the issue. 

Tenants at a CAPREIT building at 75 Eastdale Ave. (near True Davidson Acres) held a protest earlier this year to complain about inadequate heat. You can read more about the situation at the following link:

We hope this information has been helpful. 

Wishing you a safe, happy and warm holiday season. 

Maryanna Lewyckyj, President
Park Vista Tenants' Association