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December 04, 2022, 04:04:30 am

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Common Tenant Problems - Air Conditioners

This section is for renters to discuss issues regarding problems they may be having with their air conditioner, including harassment by your landlord regarding your window-mounted Air Conditioner, or demands that you remove yours.

Landlords are not required to provide air conditioning, however buildings that do provide central air must turn it on from June 2 to September 14, and must maintain an indoor temperature of not more than 26 degrees Celsius.  The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations Heat/vital services webpage has more information, as does this City of Toronto webpage: Bylaw enforcement - low heat - no heat - air conditioning - air conditioner units - residential properties.

If you have an window-mounted air conditioner, it must not constitute a danger to others, nor cause damage to the building (dripping water?), nor bother your neighbours, and one's Tenancy Agreement (Lease Document) may forbid window mounter air conditioners.  But if none of these scenarios applies to you then the landlord cannot make your remove your air conditioner.

Landlords are not always honest about the fact that they have no legal means to force a renter to remove their air conditioner, for example in this article: Can my landlord ban window air conditioning units in my apartment?, NOW Magazine points out that "Medallion, Greenwin and other landlords have cited the city bylaw Section 629 as prohibiting window units that are not on a balcony, but according to the city of Toronto, that is not what the by-law says."

In addition to this forum there are some terrific information resources available on this topic:

• From the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, Rules Around Air Conditioners

• From the The Toronto Star, Air-conditioning, renting and your rights: An expert explains the rules

Author Topic: Ontario Human Rights Commission calls for mandatory maximum temperature in RTA  (Read 967 times)

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Creepella

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The OHRC has declared access to air conditioning a human rights issue. They are also calling for the Residential Tenancies Act to be updated to include a provincial maximum temperature for all apartments and declare air conditioning to be a vital service, just as they do for heating as a vital service with a minimum temperature.

"Recent media reports point to a concerning trend of housing providers denying tenants’ ability to install air conditioning units and threatening rent increases or eviction, or both, if they do so. Any situation where a housing provider issues a complete ban on air conditioners and cooling devices without exceptions likely violates the Code and could lead to a human rights complaint.

As the number of extreme heat waves increases, the right to accessible, adequate and safe housing should include air conditioning. Landlords and housing providers should remove blanket bans on air conditioners and cooling devices. Any policies that prohibit these products must contain human rights-based exemptions and reflect the duty to accommodate."

"The Ontario Human Rights Commission calls on the Government of Ontario to include air conditioning as a vital service, like the provision of heat, under RTA regulations and to establish a provincial maximum temperature to make sure that vulnerable Code-protected tenants are protected against threats of eviction for using safely installed air conditioning units.

Extreme heat caused by climate change is killing people from Code-protected groups disproportionately and will continue to get worse. A human rights-based approach to air conditioning/cooling is required to make sure all Ontarians have accessible, adequate and safe housing."

Now that the OHRC has acknowledged that air conditioning is a human right, it's good news for people fighting their landlords for the right to install and use air conditioners without harassment and demands for illegal fees. These people can now file a human rights complaint, especially if they have a disability or health condition which is made worse by heat. I'm guessing it would take a lot less time to file with OHRC than trying to file a T2 and wait a year for a landlord biased hearing at the housing tribunal.

https://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-statement-human-rights-extreme-heat-waves-and-air-conditioning

 

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