It is the Landlord’s responsibility to keep the unit in a good state of repair and ensure that the unit complies with health, safety, housing, and maintenance standards. It makes no difference whether the Tenant was aware of a problem when the Tenant agreed to rent the unit.
A Landlord cannot shut off or interfere with the supply of any of the following vital services to the rental unit:
The Tenant is responsible for keeping the unit clean, up to a standard that most people would consider normal cleanliness. The Tenant is also responsible for repairing or paying for any damage to the rental premises caused by the Tenant, the Tenant’s guests, or another person living in the rental unit.
The law does not require a Landlord to update a unit with renovations (such as carpeting and painting when a Tenant moves in, or after a Tenant has lived there for a number of years). The Landlord must, however, comply with health, safety, housing, and maintenance standards that apply to the property. For example, if the carpeting is unsafe because it is badly ripped and might cause someone to fall, the Landlord may have to replace or repair it, regardless of how old or new it is.
The short answer is “no”. If a Tenant withholds rent, the Landlord can apply to evict the Tenant for non-payment of rent. Other options exist for dealing with maintenance problems, such as filing a maintenance application with the Board.
If repairs are needed to the Tenant’s unit or building, the Tenant should talk to the Landlord first and let the Landlord know what the problems are. The Tenant should follow up by putting all of the problems in writing and providing a copy to the Landlord. If the Landlord fails or neglects to discharge his/her duty to maintain the property, the tenant may seek the assistance of a Paralegal.
If the Landlord provides heat, the Act requires that the Landlord maintain the heat at a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius from September 1st to June 15th. Note that many municipalities have their own property standards or bylaws concerning heat, therefore it is important to consult your local municipality.
Heat is a vital service. The Landlord is responsible for providing heat, and if heat is not maintained to the required standards, the Landlord may be committing an offence.