COVID-19 and housing – Ontario housing law basics

March 5, 2021

  • Can my landlord enter my unit during the pandemic / lockdown?

    Generally, landlords are permitted to enter a tenant’s unit with a minimum of 24 hours notice if they provide a valid reasonThe current Emergency Order does not contain any rules or restrictions for landlords preventing them from entering a tenant’s unit. During the current lockdown, the provincial government has asked that landlords and tenants act with patience and understanding and follow public health guidelines. The Ontario provincial government has encouraged landlords to limit their notices to enter, but the current Emergency Order does not contain any legal changes to the law surrounding landlords entering a unit. Landlords are still able to issue notices of entry and they will expect to be able to enter the unit.

    More information is available on the Ontario government’s COVID-19 page:

  • What should I do if I have a health-related concern with my landlord entering my unit?

    We recommend that you contact your landlord and ask about the health and safety precautions that will be taken when they enter your unit.

    If your landlord refuses to take any health or safety precautions in line with public health guidelines, you may file a complaint with the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit.

    How to file a complaint with the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit:

    • Call: 1-888-772-9277 OR 416-585-7214
    • Provide them with the following information:
      • your name and contact information
      • your landlord’s name and contact information
      • details of the complaint, for example the date and what happened
      • supporting documentation, for example notice of entry or relevant emails

    Your local community health centre may have more information and resources about how to approach the situation.

    → Find your local community health centre

  • I have an underlying health condition or disability and am worried about my landlord entering my unit. What can I do?

    Many tenants have underlying health conditions or disabilities that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. These tenants have often taken extra precautions to avoid contact with others and may be deeply frightened or concerned by a landlord’s request to enter their unit.

    If you find yourself in this situation, you can ask that your landlord makes accommodation for you under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

    Under the Code, your landlord is obligated to accommodate you, up to the point of “undue hardship”. If your concern about your landlord entering your unit is connected to a disability, you can request that your landlord accommodate your disability. This could include requesting that your landlord takes extra measures to maintain physical distance, uses specific personal protective equipment, or provides you with longer than the regular 24 hours prior notice before entering your unit, so that you have enough time to make arrangements to vacate the unit.

    CCHR has a self-advocacy toolkit that walks tenants through the process of requesting accommodation from their landlord. If you have made a request, and you believe that you have not been properly accommodated by your landlord, you can file an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

    For more information about how to pursue an application at the Tribunal, reach out to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre:

    • Call: 1-866-625-5179 OR 416-597-4900
  • Can I be evicted during the pandemic?

    Many people have been confused about eviction processes during the pandemic as a result of the various shutdowns, stay-at-home orders and state of emergency orders in Ontario.

    On June 2, 2021, the stay-at-home order was lifted and the enforcement of evictions in Ontario resumed.

    The Landlord and Tenant Board is currently open and issuing eviction orders.

    If you have received a notice of eviction hearing, you should attend the eviction hearing as scheduled to defend yourself against an eviction order.

    Please contact CCHR if you need help navigating the eviction process, and our case workers can provide legal information supports and referrals.

    If an eviction is ordered by the Landlord and Tenant Board at a hearing, it must then be enforced by the Court Enforcement (or Sheriff’s) Office.

  • This is my first time falling behind on rent. What should I do

    Falling behind on rent can be frightening and confusing, and the pandemic has created unique financial challenges that have caused many tenants to struggle to pay their rent.

    If you have fallen behind on your rent, you should try to pay back the amount you owe (called “arrears”) as soon as possible. If you can pay back everything you owe, you may be able to avoid an eviction notice.

    Visit our COVID-19 resource page for information about income support, financial aid, food services, and mental health services that may be available to you.

  • I have received an eviction notice for unpaid rent. What can I do to avoid being evicted?

    If you have received an eviction notice or notice of a hearing for unpaid rent, you should first make an effort to pay off the arrears that you owe before attending your hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

    There are several resources to support tenants through the eviction process, and to help them remain housed:

    There are also rent relief or other financial resources that may be able to help you. Many of them are specific to your region or municipality. For information about rent relief and other financial resources in your area:

  • I am feeling worried or anxious about the pandemic / losing my job / losing my housing. Where can I get mental health support?

    If you are in need of mental health support or counselling related to the pandemic or your housing, we encourage you to contact a crisis hotline or counselling service in your local area.


  • I am a senior and am worried about the pandemic. What resources or services are available for me?

    Older adults may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of the pandemic lockdowns. If you are a senior and have concerns about your mental health, contact your local Seniors Active Living Centre for programs and supports.

    → Find the centre nearest you

If you need help in your housing, we may be able to assist you.

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) provides free, individualized services to renters in Ontario who are facing challenges in their housing.

Learn more about Ontario renters’ rights and landlord responsibilities.

Get the latest updates about the right to housing in Canada