Tenant woes in Ontario
April 27, 2015 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Are security door chains illegal in apartments in Ontario?

I rent an apartment in Ontario, and I'm having problems with my landlord coming in without notice. I know it is illegal, he has been asked to stop but that's not working so far. I am filing a complaint with the Landlord Tenant Board but it will take 3-6 weeks before I will get help from them.

The Residential Tenancies Act says "A tenant shall not alter the locking system on a door giving entry to a rental unit or residential complex or cause the locking system to be altered during the tenant’s occupancy of the rental unit without the consent of the landlord," but is adding a security chain to the door illegal? I would not be removing the current lock or changing it, I just would like to add a chain so that he can no longer walk in on me when I am sleeping, in the bathroom etc. It would be this kind of chain, and used only when I am at home.

I can call the board tomorrow and ask but does anyone have any experience with this? You are not my lawyer, etc.
posted by Lay Off The Books to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In an oh hey I'm avoiding the question answer, you could get one of these instead -- they don't attach to anything permanently, they just use the door's weight to block the door, so you would definitely not be altering anything by using one.
posted by brainmouse at 3:17 PM on April 27, 2015 [8 favorites]

I like brainmouse's suggestion here. Since your landlord is being shaaaaady as fuck, in order to have as much traction as possible in whatever comes next, I would stick to the letter of the lease terms and not physically alter any part of the door.

But physical blockers for the door? Oh hell yes. I would also hang some jingle bells around the knob for an extra warning feature (for you). My grandma has one of the stick ones like brainmouse links--those are easily dislodged with just a bit of force. Maybe that's enough of a deterrent for the landlord, I don't know. I've seen demonstrations of this particular one being used and (while it seems like it might be tricky to set up?) it seems to work pretty well.
posted by phunniemee at 3:25 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

In 2010, the Board said it wasn't (2010 CanLII 44205), and in 2011, the Board said it was (2011 CanLII 91378). I wouldn't do it if I were you as there's a risk the board would decide against you.
posted by grouse at 3:29 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

This doesn't answer your question, but perhaps you'll find it helpful -- a set of affordable door alarms.
posted by theraflu at 3:30 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you can't do it, perhaps call the police if you hear an intruder in your place when you're sleeping...?
posted by taff at 3:45 PM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

You might want to set up a cam. Catch proof of him coming in while you're there, and find out what he's doing when you're not.
posted by sageleaf at 4:10 PM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

I don't know if what brainmouse suggests is legal or advisable, but these devices are pretty great. They take a tiny bit of practice to learn how to use, so don't get discouraged. After setting the height (one-time only), you really need to push/kick the bottom foot tightly into place so it forms a very tight wedge. And then you carefully kick the bottom the opposite way (and hold onto it so it doesn't fall to the floor) so you can get out. Using it may loosen/mess up your doorknob over time, but it's still probably a net win if you go this route.
posted by zeek321 at 4:36 PM on April 27, 2015

If you want to avoid marking up the door you can use these child safety locks that use adhesive and are removable but very strong.
posted by bq at 4:48 PM on April 27, 2015

Just get a wedge and wedge it shut.
posted by Slinga at 5:10 PM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the answers everyone! I've decided against the security chain since the board is undecided on it and I don't want to run into problems later on. I found a door stop/alarm that will let me know if he is trying to enter, and might make the door harder to open as well.
posted by Lay Off The Books at 5:33 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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