Inconsiderate Landlord
February 9, 2012 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Landlord telling me to leave apartment for 8 hours on Sunday....anything I can do?

My landlord has decided to have renovations done to my apartment (not anything requested or required by me, could certainly be done at some point when the unit is between tenants) and has told me I should leave while the work is being done (it's a tiny one-room unit). She's having this done on a Sunday. Like most people, I work weekdays and am off weekends, so this is forcing me out of my home for the duration of my day off. Is there anything I can do? I'm in Ontario, Canada.
posted by Paquda to Law & Government (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have a lease? Does it mention how much notice he has to give you?
posted by Ideefixe at 12:43 PM on February 9, 2012

Response by poster: I'm on month-to-month now, but, in any cans, they've told me in advance, so notice isn't an issue.
posted by Paquda at 12:45 PM on February 9, 2012

Response by poster: *case
posted by Paquda at 12:45 PM on February 9, 2012

Did you try asking if this work can be performed while you are at work on a weekday?
Also, you can turn this lemon into lemonade and go have fun for the day =c)
posted by pyro979 at 12:51 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know the laws in Canada, but this is against UK renting laws... Anyway, without knowing further details about renting laws in Canada, you should state your rent for that day be deducted (pro-rated) from your monthly rent, because she's using that day for her own convenience.
posted by moiraine at 12:54 PM on February 9, 2012

Response by poster: Well, she knows my work schedule and I have to assume to she understands the imposition she's making but has chosen to do this because she can save some money using some guy who does renovations on weekends only as a sideline.

Re: making lemonade...I just resent that I will have to pay for all my meals out that day, instead of relaxing at home and cooking; will have to find things to do; won't be able to get my laundry, etc., done, as I usually do that day. Please let me know if I'm being petulant.
posted by Paquda at 12:56 PM on February 9, 2012

I would tell her that it's not possible this Sunday, and if she needs it to be on a weekend, she should give you a little more lead time.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:58 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Why do you have to leave for them to do the renovations?
posted by AugustWest at 12:58 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried talking to her yet? That would be my first step - telling her that this doesn't work well with your schedule, and asking her if it would be possible to reschedule for a weekday.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:59 PM on February 9, 2012

In Ontario a landlord can enter a rental rental unit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with 24 hours advance notice if it is to do repairs or renovations.
posted by Jairus at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2012

Legally, you have no leg to stand on. But speaking with my landlord's hat on: suggest that this is not going to work for you, and ask if you can arrange a time directly with the contractor in question. This is how my tenants and I handle any necessary scheduling.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:03 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The landlord certainly can't force you to leave during the day to do a repair, but is allowed in with notice. (This may depend on which city you are in, but is true in Ontario as a whole. They cannot start before 8 am.)

I'd ask your landlord to reschedule for a weekday (if you are comfortable having these repairs done while you are at work), as it will not be possible for you to vacate your apartment on the weekend.
posted by jeather at 1:03 PM on February 9, 2012

Generally speaking, I'd suggest not being too bitchy about having a landlord who is actually trying to keep your apartment in a state of good repair above and beyond what is strictly necessary and required.

More specifically, the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act allows entry "To carry out a repair or replacement or do work in the rental unit" with 24 hours notice, doesn't exclude weekends from the times allowed (8am to 8pm) and doesn't set any limits on what constitutes a repair.

So the likelihood is that if they've issued sufficient notice, you get to suck this up and deal with it. You can try being nice and asking her if it's possible to change, but you probably can't demand it.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:03 PM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Adding: you probably can *stay* in the apartment during that time, there's no indication that she can force you to vacate, but if that's somehow unwise or unsafe, then again, not something you really want to make a giant fuss over.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:05 PM on February 9, 2012

Well, she knows my work schedule and I have to assume to she understands the imposition she's making but has chosen to do this because she can save some money using some guy who does renovations on weekends only as a sideline.

Ask vs. Guess Culture. Don't assume, just ask. Can't hurt, right?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2012

Response by poster: Just asked... she responded that that's when the person doing the work is available and she can't change it.
posted by Paquda at 1:13 PM on February 9, 2012

They're renovating your apartment and you don't even have to move out for them to do it? Count your blessings and spend the day elsewhere. Come back to an improved apartment.
posted by kindall at 1:14 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

My landlord ... has told me I should leave while the work is being done

This could mean "it's going to be stinky/noisy/unsafe, so you should leave" and not "GET OUT." Inform her you're going to stay and go about your business. If there's some legal regulation (they're removing asbestos or something) she'll surely tell you, and you really won't want to be there in that case.

Aside: I've had more than one worker let my indoor cat outside/into the basement, so if you have cat(s) you might want to stick around.
posted by desjardins at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2012

I imagine you could stand your ground, refuse to leave the apartment, and force your landlord to do this at a time when is more convenient for you. I'm not sure what the legality of this is, but I imagine your landlord might reschedule the repairs if your stood your ground.

However, I guess my question is, do you really want to do this? There are a lot of situations where we could draw a line in the sand, but sometimes the earned good will makes it worth it to let it slide and make things easier/cheaper on someone who owns your home. This assumes, of course, that your landlord has generally been a good property owner and doesn't make a habit of inconveniencing you.
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:57 PM on February 9, 2012

@Betelgeuse: Just because someone ~*owns your home*~ doesn't mean anything. She still needs to abide by the terms of the lease that was signed.
posted by speedgraphic at 2:03 PM on February 9, 2012

not a lawyer, but UK renting laws states that:

"It is the tenant’s right not to be disturbed or harassed while living in the property. Landlords are not entitled to enter the tenant’s living area without permission as they have the right to use the property as their home.
Where necessary, landlords can get access to inspect the condition of the property. A convenient time should be agreed with the tenant, or landlords may write to the tenant giving at least 24 hours’ notice.
Landlords cannot let themselves into the property without first giving this prior notice. If the tenant refuses to let the landlord in, the landlord cannot force entry unless there is a fire or flood."

Much have been made out of the statement that tenants are entitled "quiet enjoyment" of their property. There have been a couple of cases where tenants have complained (successfully) against landlords who have made unnecessary repairs as it goes against the "quiet enjoyment" statement.

Perhaps you can scan through the relevant tenancy act for your province to see whether there's such a clause - and then you have some ground to make your case.
posted by moiraine at 2:22 PM on February 9, 2012

This may or may not help-check your local noise and construction bylaws.

As a contractor-I was not allowed to work before and after certain times and Sundays were usually completely forbidden unless the work was an emergency.

IMHO you have a poor property manager who would even think it was okay to inconvenience a tenant with Sunday work (unless it was a critical emergency and 100% necessary)The other tenants should have issue with it as well unless there will be absolutely no noise.

The property owners I worked for were taken to the Tribunal for allowed/approved renovation construction and ensuing loss of quality in tenancy (this is covered by the Ontario rental laws)Working Sunday (again if NOT an emergency) would have guaranteed more court cases.

If you if your landlord will do this type of thing-maybe not a place worth staying?

Good luck
posted by plumberonkarst at 9:55 PM on February 9, 2012

Moiraine, just as a flag "UK renting law" does not prevent a landlord from accessing the property to make repairs required to the standard in the lease/by law. In many cases, leases will expressly reserve the right of access for the landlord on reasonable notice to enter and carry out repairs etc. In any case this is implied by law (although the landlord should also first seek the permission of the tenant etc.).

So yes, excessive amounts of unnecessary repairs could amount to breach of the quiet possession covenant, but if the repair is necessary etc. then it would not. Difficult to show to a court that "renovations" weren't actually repairs to keep structure/applicances etc. in good working order.
posted by Mattat at 2:31 AM on February 10, 2012

Response by poster: Well, the renovation was done and she's now emailed me to tell me that she's selling the unit (so that was the reason for the unnecessary renovating) and that I must stay out while she shows the place, with showings taking place at any time up to 9 pm every day of this week. Then, on Sat and Sun, she's planning an open house all day and says I must stay out for the duration. She concluded by saying she will drop off a Starbucks gift card so I have something to do while I'm out. She also added a reminder that if I wish to leave I must give her 60-days notice.

At this point, I guess my first priority will be to find a new place. My second will be to try to get back the rent I paid for this month (since I'm not getting what I paid for, a home to come back to and rest after work) and to get back my deposit. I don't know if I have any leverage. I'm too busy with work to deal with this. What a turd.
posted by Paquda at 7:37 AM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: Legally, she can command access -- though only until 8pm, not until 9pm -- to show the unit. She can't require that you not be present during those showings. It's awkward to do showings with the tenant present, so you probably do have some leverage on that front.

Promise to be away and to keep the place ready for showing (ie, no dirty laundry / dishes / etc laying around) in exchange for not paying rent for the week.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:46 AM on February 13, 2012

She's allowed to show the place with 24 hours written notice. She cannot kick you out of the place. She cannot be there past 8. You should remind her of these things.

"Dear Landlord,

You are allowed to show the place with 24 hours written notice, not later than 8 pm. Please be sure to inform me in advance before any showings. I will be at home after work and on the weekends.

Thank you,


Also, phone your local tenant board.
posted by jeather at 8:11 AM on February 13, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you, all, very much. I was able to formulate a message to her using the legal information you provided and got a reasonable agreement from her. I also appreciate that I felt less alone and more clearheaded in dealing with this, than I would have otherwise, because of being able to talk about it here on Metafilter.
posted by Paquda at 11:10 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

« Older Modding my jam safely?   |   The First Question of Ask Metafilter (because I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.