Recourse for Damage from Tenants

Being a landlord is normally rewarding. You provide a safe and well-maintained place to live, and your tenants provide you with payment so they can live there. However, it can sometimes happen that even the most plainly worded rental agreement can go ignored, and even the most obvious of rational guidelines are broken. When that happens damage is often a result and the one who caused it must be held to account.

As a landlord you have a number of responsibilities to your tenants including proper maintenance of common areas and walkways and ensuring their rental unit is livable. That means making sure tenants have heat and water and are properly protected from the elements. In exchange the law recognizes that tenants have responsibilities to the landlord as well. Those responsibilities include keeping their unit reasonably clean, staying relatively quiet, and being accountable for any intentional or unintentional damage caused to the unit or common area by themselves, those that live with them, or any guests they’ve invited onto the premises.

These responsibilities are basically common sense but you may find tenants unwilling to pay for damages they’ve caused. Perhaps because it was not them but someone else who they didn’t know well, or they believe the damage was pre-existing or not their fault, or that the damage was due to your ‘improper maintenance’ of the building. Regardless you will now need to take action against them.

For smaller issues most complaints in Ontario will go to the Landlord and Tenant board, a quasi-judicial agency that attempts to mediate and adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants. Once the process is complete, a legally-binding order will be made to ensure that any wrongs are rectified. However, if the situation is particularly serious such as a major fire you may want to retain legal counsel and take the matter to the courts.

If you’ve had a tenant who did serious damage to your property you should call for a lawyer with experience in these matters. Call Conte & Associates at 1-877-614-0008.  Based in Vaughan, Conte & Associates works with clients in Vaughan and in the surrounding cities of: Thornhill, Woodbridge, Concord, Kleinberg, Maple and Richmond Hill.

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