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Ontario Landlord Law On Property Showing

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

Birds eye view of Niagra Falls

Many Ontario landlords and tenants just don’t know the law about renting a property after the tenant has given notice. Everyone just assumes that it’s 24 hour written notice just like with maintenance issues. It’s not.

A landlord can enter a rental unit without written notice, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. if:

the landlord or tenant has given a notice of termination, or they have an agreement to end the tenancy, and the landlord wants to show the unit to a potential new tenant (in this case, although notice is not required, the landlord must try to tell the tenant before entering for this reason).

This is an extremely important distinction because potential tenants want to see a place when they are available. They may be in the area or from out of town. Let’s face it the tenants who are vacating are not usually thrilled with having their personal space invaded either. That’s why the part about “trying” to tell the tenant is so important. Before a showing I try to call and leave a message and send an email letting the current tenant I am going to show the place.

Initial Arrangements are Crucial

The first time I meet current tenants of a place I am trying to rent, I tell them what the law is and how it works and that I will do my best to notify them as far ahead as I can that I will be entering. I send them the link to the appropriate Ontario Landlord & Tenant Board brochure.

I do go out of my way to create a pleasant situation for everyone, it’s just easier…but I can assure you that I almost never reschedule an appointment because the current one is not “convenient” for the current tenant. I don’t care so much about their convenience, they are leaving and I’m trying to save the landlord one month’s rent if I can. I have even offered current tenant who were not happy at having their privacy invaded a chance to pay an extra month’s rent if they really don’t want me to show the place. No one has ever taken me up on my generous offer.

Don’t Bother Showing The Place If…

There are certain times that showing a place is just a waste of time or even worse, likely to attract a bad tenant.

  1. It’s Dirty – No decent tenant will take a dirty place

  2. It’s Full of Gross Furnishings – Some people have very strange ideas about furniture, just his year I was asked to rent a place with a living room full of commercial DJ equipment and a motorcycle in the dining room.

  3. Current Tenants Are Hostile – I’m not sure what could be worse than the current tenant hanging around giving your potential tenants the stinkeye during the showing.

  4. The Place Stinks – Cat litter, food smells, dirty laundry, the list is endless.

  5. The Apartment Needs Significant Renovations – If the place is not in great shape, your chances of renting are minimal.

  6. Too Many Pets – Dogs are intimidating especially big ones, cats, well it depends how many there are. I have been attacked by a cat as well. I had to “convince” it to go into the laundry room, where I locked the hissing spitting demon in. Other pets may not be conducive to renting, one tenant had a large fish tank full of pet rats. Large iguana’s and snakes are not exactly tenant attracting material.

While you don’t want to lose a month’s rent, you also don’t want to waste your time and then lose a month’s rent. You also don’t want to get desperate and take a potentially bad tenant because you’re sick of showing the place over and over.

Rent It If You Can And Save Money

If the current tenants are decently clean and have nice furniture it’s worth the effort to try to rent the place and see if you can find a tenant to move in right away. This way you avoid losing one month’s rent. If they don’t mind just going for a walk during the showing that’s awesome. I have rented many places with tenants still in the apartment. Believe me the best case scenario is trying to rent a spotless place that looks staged, with nice designer furniture. I do see these on a regular basis. I’ve said it before there’s some great tenants out there and you won’t have problems renting their places out.

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