Frequently Asked Questions
An FAQ for Akelius tenants in Toronto.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to frequently asked questions from Akelius tenants in Toronto! Our FAQ includes answers about AGIs, pests, repairs, evictions, and more.
PART I: Maintenance and Repairs
1. How can I make sure maintenance and repairs get done?
A lot of maintenance and repair issues can be resolved by submitting a maintenance request. But you'll need to make sure that you submit your request the right way.
Here's the procedure recommended by the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations (FMTA) and legal clinics for submitting a maintenance request. This procedure includes steps you can take if your landlord fails to resolve the issue. Where appropriate, we've also included tips specifically for Akelius tenants.
Step 1: Submit a written maintenance request (and keep a copy)
Submitting your maintenance request in writing is critical, since it gives you a record of the request. This can be done by email, text, or a work order form. However you submit your request, make sure that you keep a copy and store it in a secure place.
Tips for Akelius Tenants:
- You can submit a written maintenance request via email through the Akelius Toronto Service Centre. Make sure to include your name, building address, unit number, and an explanation of your request.
- Make sure that you receive a service ticket number from an Akelius Service Centre representative in response to your maintenance request. Without a service ticket number, your request might not be entered into their system.
- Some Akelius tenants prefer to submit maintenance requests via phone, since they receive an immediate answer. If you do this, you'll still want a written record of your request. This can be accomplished by writing an email to the Service Centre immediately after your phone call. In your email, include a summary of the call and the service ticket number.
- The Akelius Service Centre may ignore maintenance requests if they are submitted by someone who is not a registered Akelius tenant, even if they are an unregistered legal tenant or an unregistered legal resident of an Akelius property.
Step 2: Send a written follow-up message (and keep a copy)
Make sure that you provide your landlord a reasonable amount of time to complete the request. If they don't complete the request in a timely manner, send a written follow-up and keep a copy.
Tips for Akelius Tenants:
- If you're having trouble getting the Akelius Service Centre to respond to a service request, consider cc'ing your property manager when you send a follow-up email.
Step 3: Consider contacting the City of Toronto
If maintenance or repairs are not performed in a timely manner, you may wish to contact the city’s property standards inspectors. To do this, call 311 and ask to talk to a property standards by-law officer.
The property standards by-law officer can order the landlord to carry out repairs if you file a complaint with them. They might ask if you tried to solve the problem with the landlord, so you may have to show them the letters or work orders that you already sent.
Step 4: Consider filing a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board
If issues persist, you can make an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to ask them to order the landlord to make repairs, refund part of your rent, or let you out of your lease.
To support your Landlord and Tenant Board application, you will need evidence. This will include copies of written service requests and follow-up communications, and may also include photos, videos, documents, or witnesses.
When filling out your application, consider getting help from the Tenant Duty Council at your local Landlord and Tenant Board office or from your local Community Legal Clinic.
Documenting maintenance issues
It is strongly recommended that you document any issues by taking photographs, recording audio, or making videos, depending upon the problem you are documenting.
Save these in a safe place. If they are stored on your phone, make sure you have backup copies. Also, save all documentation that you send to your landlord, and all replies that you receive from them.
This evidence will be helpful in getting your complaints taken seriously by the landlord, city by-law officers, and the Landlord and Tenant Board.
2. How should I respond to pests in my unit or my building?
Pest infestations can be treated the same as any other maintenance request. The only difference is who you should contact if the landlord doesn't address the issue in a reasonable time frame.
If your landlord doesn’t fix the infestation promptly, you'll want to report the issue to the City of Toronto. City inspectors will deal directly with the landlord and have a lot of power when it comes to pest issues.
Reporting pest issues to the City of Toronto
Bed Bugs: To report bed bugs in your unit or building, contact Toronto Health Connection by phone at 416-338-7600.
Other Pests: To report other pests, including mice, rats, cockroaches, etc., call 311 and ask to speak with a Property Standards By-law Officer. You may wish to also email 311 at firstname.lastname@example.org after the call to create a written record.
Who pays for pest control services?
With rare exceptions, your landlord pays. You don't.
The Residential Tenancies Act state clearly that your landlord is responsible for the full cost of pest control services. Similarly, the Toronto Municipal Code states that your landlord is responsible for any fines levied by city inspectors.
However, there have been cases where tenants have had to pay for pest control services. In these cases, tenants were found to have negligently brought infested furniture into their apartments.
Documenting pest issues
As with any other maintenance issue, it is strongly recommended that your document any pest issues in writing, photographs, and videos and store this evidence in a safe place.
3. What can I do about asbestos during repairs or renovations?
If you're worried about the presence of asbestos during maintenance or construction work, you may be able to request that asbestos testing is performed. In fact, under the Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, your landlord may be legally obligated to test for asbestos.
First, you may wish to contact your landlord or property manager and ask if they've already performed asbestos testing. If they say that testing has already been performed, you can request a copy of the test report.
If testing has not been performed — or if they refuse to provide you with a copy of the report — you can send them an email citing O. Reg. 278/05. This is the Province of Ontario Regulation that requires building owners to perform asbestos testing.
You may wish cite section 10 (O. Reg. 278/05, s. 10), which states:
[T]he owner shall have an examination carried out [...] to establish whether any material that is likely to be handled, dealt with, disturbed or removed, whether friable or non-friable, is asbestos-containing material.
Should the landlord still refuse to perform asbestos testing, you can threaten to file a complaint with Toronto Public Health. Usually, this will be enough for the landlord to agree to testing. If they still refuse to have testing performed, you can file a complaint by calling 311.
PART II: Unit Entry by Landlord
1. When is Akelius allowed to enter my unit?
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, your landlord (or an employee of your landlord) can only enter your unit under certain conditions.
Without written notice
Your landlord can enter your apartment without giving written notice in a small number of circumstances, most notably:
- If there's an emergency, such as a fire or flood
- If you give your permission for the landlord to enter
- If your tenancy is ending and they're showing the unit to a potential new tenant between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM
Note: There are also cases where a landlord may enter without notice if they provide in-unit cleaning services as part of the rental agreement or if a tenant is receiving home care and requests check-up visits.
With 24 hours' written notice
In most other cases, the landlord can only enter your unit if they've provided proper notice. Here are the conditions that must be met in these situations:
- The landlord has provided valid written notice of entry
- The notice of entry was provided at least 24 hours in advance
- The notice of entry includes a valid reason for entry*
- The notice of entry states the approximate time of entry**
- The time of entry is between 8 AM and 8 PM
Please note that if the above conditions are met, your landlord can enter your unit even if you are not at home.
* For more information on valid reasons for entry, please see Question #2, "What's a valid reason for entry?"
** For more information on the approximate time of entry, please see Question #3, "How can I respond to an entry notice with a vague entry-time window?"
2. What's a valid reason for entry?
If your landlord provides written notice of entry, a valid reason for entry can include:
- Performing necessary repairs or maintenance
- Performing maintenance and repair inspections, where reasonable
- Showing the unit to a mortgagee, insurer, or purchaser
- Showing the unit to an engineer or architect for converting the unit to a condo
- Any reasonable purpose allowed by the rental agreement
A number of vague or non-urgent reasons for entry may seem unreasonable to tenants. For example, we often hear from tenants who receive notices of entry for the purpose of unit measurements, even when similar measurements have already been taken by the landlord.
While these reasons for entry may seem unreasonable to tenants, it can be very difficult to prove this if you're brought before the Landlord and Tenant Board. As such, it can be legally dangerous for tenants to deny a landlord entry on these grounds.
3. How can I respond to an entry notice with a vague entry-time window?
A valid notice of entry needs to state the time of entry. Sometimes, this will be a specific time, such as "1:30 PM." Other times, the notice will include an entry-time window, such as "between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM."
As a tenant, you have a right to a reasonable entry-time window. However, you may receive a notice of entry that states a vague entry-time window, such as "between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM." In this case, you can request a shorter, more reasonable entry-time window.
Below you will find a draft of an email that you can customize and send to your property manager for this purpose. Emails using this template have worked when sent to other Akelius property managers in the past.
Dear [Property Manager],
The notices of entry that were recently distributed to the tenants of [your address] specify a very wide entry-time window, which is not legal. A entry-time window of [length of entry window, e.g., "8 hours"] is illegal. Your legal obligations are described in the section labelled “Specifying the time of entry,” in this document:
The fact that you are entering all of the units in the building does not negate my right to a specific window for entry. Below is a link to a precedent-setting case in which a tenant was awarded $1000 because their landlord did exactly what you are doing.
[Add a paragraph here detailing the remedy you would like to receive. You may request a new notice of entry with a shorter entry time window, e.g., one that is 2-3 hours long.]
4. Can Akelius take photos of my apartment or belongings?
Unfortunately, your landlord can legally take photos of your apartment under a number of circumstances. For example, your landlord can photograph your unit if they want to document its state of repair, or needs photos for planned renovations.
Note that, in these cases, they are not supposed to photograph your personal possessions, if they can avoid doing so.
However, there are also privacy protections in Canadian law. If you visit this page about landlord/tenant privacy law and you scroll down to the section marked "Can a landlord take pictures of my apartment and its contents?," you'll find the following:
Taking photographs of an individual’s rental unit is a collection of personal information. The landlord must identify the purpose prior to, or at the time of, collection, and also obtain your consent. The landlord must also make a reasonable effort to ensure that you understand how the information will be used or disclosed.
Several tenants in the past have been able to get Akelius to change their mind about photographing their apartment by writing a polite but strongly-worded letter that includes the above link and paragraph.
However, we have been informed by a knowledgeable lawyer that the Privacy Commissioner’s website is not the law, and does not constitute legal advice. As a result tenants who try to prevent the landlord from taking photos could be interfering with the landlord’s lawful rights, and there could be consequences for tenant.
So, if you are uncomfortable with having your apartment photographed, then you can resist by writing a letter as described above, which may work, but you should probably not refuse the landlord entry, because you could get into trouble (unless you can find another reason that the notice of entry is illegal). Also, consider consulting a lawyer (see the question “How do I find a lawyer?” above for advice on finding a lawyer).
5. When am I allowed to deny Akelius entry to my unit?
As a tenant, you have the right to deny entry if the landlord illegally attempts to enter your unit.
However, there may be severe consequences if you are found to have unreasonably denied the landlord entry to your apartment. As such, many tenants exercise a great deal of caution before denying their landlord entry.
Tenants can safely deny the landlord entry if the notice of entry is clearly illegal. For example, you may deny entry if no notice was given. You may also deny entry if the notice was delivered less than 24 hours prior to the entry. (Note, however, that the 24-hour rule depends on when the landlord delivered the notice — not when you found the notice.)
Before denying your landlord entry to your unit, we strongly recommend reading the Landlord and Tenant Board's interpretation guildeline on this issue.
It’s quite short, so it’s worth reading the entire document. In particular, you will want to read the last section, titled "Tenants’ rights and responsibilities," which states:
A tenant may remain in the rental unit while the landlord exercises their right of entry. However, the landlord's right of entry can be exercised if the tenant is not in the rental unit at the time of entry.
A tenant has the right to deny entry to the landlord if the landlord has not met the requirements under the RTA relating to entry. A tenant does not have the right to deny entry simply because the time of entry is not convenient to the tenant. The tenant must:
- not interfere with the landlord's right of entry;
- not interfere with the landlord and its agents; and
- take whatever steps are necessary to provide access to rooms where the work is to occur, including safely restraining pets in the rental unit.
With all of that said, if you are at home when the landlord or their representative tries to enter, and if your landlord did not provide a valid notice of entry, you can refuse the landlord entry to your unit.
PART III: Change of Building Ownership
1. Do I have to sign a new lease when Akelius acquires my building?
When a landlord buys a building, the new landlord must abide by any existing rental agreements. Tenants that were living in the building prior to the purchase cannot be compelled to sign new leases, nor other ancillary agreements. The terms of your rental stay the same as they were under your original lease.
However, tenants sometimes report being coerced into signing new lease agreements when their building changes ownership. Many of these new leases include charges or stipulations that are not to the tenant's advantage.
In other cases, a landlord may present a new parking agreement or say that you are required to open an account at a utilities company. Often, these are attempts by the new landlord to get you to agree to pay more. If you are presented with any such agreement, we strongly recommend that you consult with a lawyer or paralegal before signing the document.
Also, tenants should be aware that a new landlord is required to continue to provide all services and facilities provided by the previous landlord. The terms of your original lease continue to apply to your rental. If you had a parking space, or a dishwasher, or if smoking was allowed in your apartment under the previous landlord, then these things should all remain under the new landlord.
If your landlord tries to take any of these things away or add new stipulations to your rental agreement, then you should speak with a lawyer and protect your rights.
2. Will Akelius try to evict or "renovict" me from my unit?
Some landlords in Toronto attempt to evict tenants through any means necessary, since this allows them to charge higher rent to new tenants. Many of these landlords will try to use renovations as an excuse for evicting tenants, a practice known as "renoviction."
While the Residential Tenancies Act allows landlords to evict tenants for the purposes of renovations, sections 53 and 54 state that evicted tenants have the right to return to their unit and to continue paying the same rent. Additionally, the landlord must compensate displaced tenants:
“A landlord shall compensate a tenant who receives notice of termination ... for the purpose of repairs or renovations in an amount equal to three months rent or shall offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to the tenant.”
Despite these protections, some Toronto landlords still pursue renovictions against tenants.
Some succeed because tenants are unaware of their rights or are unclear about the steps they need to take to move back into their unit. Others succeed because the profit of renting out the renovated unit far exceeds the compensation to older tenants and any fines levied by the Landlord and Tenant Board.
However, for most landlords, it is difficult to succeed with a renoviction if tenants are knowledgeable about their rights.
Okay... so what about Akelius?
Akelius is open about their practice of renovating vacated units to charge higher rents for new tenants. However, unlike some other landlords in Toronto, Akelius does not have a history of evicting tenants to do so. Instead, they usually wait for tenants to leave on their own. As such, it us unlikely that Akelius will attempt to evict you from your unit solely for the purpose of renovating it.
That said, tenants cannot be blamed for worrying about eviction threats in Toronto's current rental climate. Additionally, Akelius may pursue eviction against you for other reasons, such as failure to pay rent. As such, it's important that tenants understand their rights regarding evictions.
PART IV: Above Guideline Rent Increases
1. How can I respond to an Above Guideline Rent Increase?
The ATN has a number of detailed guides on how to respond to Above Guideline Rent Increases. You can find them here:
PART V: Information About Tenants Rights
1. Where can I get information about my rights as a tenant?
If you're looking for information about your legal rights as a tenant in the Province of Ontario, we suggest starting with the following two resources. Both are highly recommended by ATN organizers.
Tenant Hotline (FMTA)
The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations (FMTA) operates a free Tenant Hotline service to answer renters' questions about tenants' rights in Ontario. While the Tenant Hotline cannot provide you with legal advice, they can provide you with the information you need to understand the law and advocate for your rights as a tenant.
Steps to Justice (CLEO)
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)'s Steps to Justice website provides step-by-step information about legal problems, with reliable, practical, and easy-to-understand answers. Steps to Justice has a dedicated section for Housing Law, with detailed answers to 90+ questions about tenants' rights and housing law.
PART VI: Legal Advice and Representation
1. Where can I get legal advice or hire legal representation?
If you require legal advice or wish to hire legal representation, we suggest one of the following four options:
Tenant Duty Counsel
Thanks to the Tenant Duty Counsel program, you can speak to a lawyer for free at any of the Landlord and Tenant Board offices. Lawyers are available to answer questions and advise tenants, but they cannot represent tenants at a hearing.
The Tenant Duty Counsel is primarily meant to provide advice to tenants who are facing hearings that day at the Landlord and Tenant Board. As such, these tenants receive priority from Tenant Duty Counsel lawyers. However, if you're polite and patient, you may be able to get free legal advice this way, even if you don't have a hearing scheduled.
Community Legal Clinics
There are Community Legal Clinics throughout Toronto that provide free access to a lawyer for people who live in their service area. These legal clinics generally will not represent tenants at the Landlord and Tenant Board, but they will help with writing demand letters, filing applications, gathering evidence, and preparing you for your hearing.
You can find the clinic that services your area by typing your address into the form at the top of this page:
If you cannot find your local clinic, try contacting other clinics. They should be able to direct you to a clinic that will help people living in your area.
Also, keep in mind that these are busy law offices. So don’t leave things to the last minute! Instead, give them the time they need to be helpful. Most clinics have open office hours at certain times each week where anyone can go in-person to speak with a lawyer. This is a much better approach than leaving a telephone message, since clinic lawyers may not have the time to call you back.
Lastly, be aware that some clinics are mandated to prioritize lower-income persons. So there may be eligibility requirements. If there are such limitations, they will explain this to you when you visit.
Law Society of Ontario
You can use the Law Society of Ontario's Referral Service to find a lawyer or paralegal. Here is their website:
Go to their website and click on “Request a Referral.” The website will give you information and instructions to register with their service.
After you've done this, a lawyer or paralegal will call you and provide you with a free 30-minute consultation. This is usually conducted over the telephone. If you feel comfortable with the lawyer or paralegal, you can choose to hire them at that point.
You can also search for a lawyer or paralegal yourself by using the Law Society's directory, which can be found here:
Akelius Tenants Network Forum
Many Akelius tenants in Toronto have hired lawyers and paralegals. So you may wish to post a referral request to the ATN's online forum.