My landlord's a jerk, but how big of a jerk?
October 2, 2009 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Does my landlord have to give me advance notice if he's going to shut down the building's water for a few hours? This is in Ontario.

This morning at 9:00 AM, some plumbers turned off the building's water. It wasn't an emergency, it was a repair that they had been scheduled to make. They told me the landlord was going to tell us. The first we heard of it was when the plumber knocked on the door and said "We're shutting it off now."

Obviously it's rude not to inform your tenants, and the landlord knows this too--he usually lets us know. However, I want to know how much notice he is actually obligated to give us, according to the Residential Tenancies Act, in which water is considered a vital service. I asked on Yahoo Answers, and someone replied that the RTC doesn't apply. Is that true? Is my landlord really not obligated to tell me when he turns off my water supply in a non-emergency situation? I would have assumed 12 or 24 hours was required! I want to know so that I can specify how much notice I want in the future.
posted by Beardman to Law & Government (8 answers total)
What does your lease say?

I doubt a temporary interruption in service due to a repair is likely covered in the RTC - even if it is "vital".
posted by bitdamaged at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2009

Your landlord is not a jerk. Please get over this.


Sometimes these types of plumbing repairs come up, schedules get changed, owners and managers forget to mail notices... you don't know.

But you know what you do know? Your plumbing probably won't break in the middle of the night because your landlord performs required maintenance:)

The water wasn't off for days or even hours. Let it go.

Here on the green, people have serious landlord issues. This, I assure you, isn't one of them.

Count your blessings.

(and if you don't believe me, type "landlord" into the search engine!)
posted by jbenben at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: I'm afraid I don't have the lease on me, but I don't remember it saying anything about it either way.

You could be right about the RTC, but as I recall, it says that shutting electricity off for repairs requires advance notice, and electricity is classified as a vital service along with water. I can't find anything about water, but you can see why I'd wonder.
posted by Beardman at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: jbenben, thanks for your response. The AskMeFi search you suggest that I run will actually bring up other questions I've asked which indicate that I know what serious landlord issues are, and where this one stands in relation to those. Still, today's issue is one more in a long line of communication lapses with this guy, and it's starting to get tiring. That's all.
posted by Beardman at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2009

From the Part 13 of your residential tenancies act:

"A vital services by-law may: (d) prohibit a landlord from ceasing to provide a vital service for a rental unit except when necessary to alter or repair the rental unit and only for the minimum period necessary to effect the alteration or repair;"

I could find no section requiring notice. Living in Oregon, I can only remember having my water shut off once, but I didn't receive any notice for it.
posted by pseudonick at 4:10 PM on October 2, 2009

Residential Landlord and Tenant Law (Ontario)
Chapter 3 - Tenant Rights, Responsibilities and Remedies
(April 2007)
. Maintenance Interruptions

The RTA provides that municipalities may, in their "vital services" by-laws, [Act s.216(3)(d)] provide for justified minimal interruptions of vital services for maintenance and repair purposes.
So, it is a by-law issue.
posted by Chuckles at 4:27 PM on October 2, 2009

I suspect there is no notice requirement in Toronto. Here is a site that links Toronto Vital Services By-Law, and from within that link:
835-8. Discontinuance of services for alterations and repairs.
[Added 2000-10-05 by By-law No. 788-2000]
A landlord may cease to provide a vital service only when such cessation is necessary to alter or repair the rental unit and only for the minimum period necessary to effect the alteration or repair.
posted by Chuckles at 4:43 PM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: OK, thanks. It seems there isn't any requirement to give notice.
posted by Beardman at 6:29 AM on October 5, 2009

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