Tenants don’t have to be overwhelmed when seeking legal assistance. Rentals.ca has compiled this list of resources for renters in the province.
Canadians of all income levels — and especially those in Ontario — are well-served by a number of organizations providing everything from mobile tenancy law education, to online guidebooks, to legal representation before the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Whether you simply have a question about your rights, or you are ready to file an application, check out these seven organizations serving Ontario tenants.
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Founded in 1974, FMTA is the oldest and largest Tenant Federation in Canada made up of more than 3,000 affiliates and members advocating for tenant rights.
Besides an extensive tenant rights FAQ, covering everything from controlling the temperature of your apartment to exercising your rights when organizing a tenants’ association, the FMTA offers a variety of resources in over a dozen languages.
Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the FMTA offers a Guide to Tenant Rights and a Tenant Survival Manual with a comprehensive breakdown of information every tenant should know, written in plain and simple language — no legalese here.
The FMTA also offers outreach education for Toronto tenants that fits any schedule, anywhere in the City of Toronto.
The organization also provides resources, funding, and referrals to tenants filing an application to the Landlord Tenant Board, form tenants’ associations, and fight demolitions or conversions of buildings.
The FMTA is an established name to trust when looking to resolve tenants’ issues in Toronto.
If you rent in Ontario and have a Facebook account, you are just a few clicks away from help.
Although Ontario Tenant Rights does not provide legal advice, this tenant education group is managed by licensed paralegals who specialize in Ontario tenancy law, and many more legal experts from every corner of the province are among its 23,000+ knowledgeable members. They can answer your questions, or provide you with a referral to legal aid in your area and price range.
The tight-knit Ontario Tenant Rights group makes accessing legal assistance easy, quick and convenient.
Operated by the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, this legal clinic offers a variety of legal services for low-income Toronto residents and University of Toronto students provided free by law students supervised by expert staff lawyers at the country’s top-ranked law school.
Its housing law team assists tenants in negotiating with landlords and preparing tenants for hearings before the Landlord Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and small claims court.
Anyone in Toronto who receives social assistance (Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, or Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits) automatically qualifies for Downtown Legal Services’ free legal aid. This clinic, which assists over 2,000 people annually, also offers public legal education and social work support for clients in need.
This compilation of housing law resources written in English and French is a subset of Steps to Justice, a one-stop shop for legal resources for every resident of Ontario.
Contributors to the community include: the Ministry of the Attorney General, Legal Aid Ontario, community legal clinics, the Law Society of Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice and the Action Group on Access to Justice.
The community also serves Ontario’s Francophone population via Justice pas-à-pas, which provides comprehensive legal information and assistance with tenancy issues en français. Here, you can find easy-to-read fact sheets on a variety of common tenancy issues, including fighting evictions, maintenance and repairs, and harassment and discrimination.
The group also provides checklists, fillable forms, and self-help guides; and if you can’t find the information you are seeking within its extensive online library, live chat and email support with experts will help you quickly find your answer.
All tenants in Ontario, regardless of whether their lease or rental agreement is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), are protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
If you have experienced discrimination or harassment on the grounds of your citizenship, race, place of origin, ethnic origin, colour, ancestry, disability, age, sex/pregnancy, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and/or receipt of public assistance in your housing arrangement, you could be eligible to apply for a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
The centre specializes in human rights, and it offers assistance with all stages of human rights tribunal hearings, as well as legal services on a case-by-case basis. Its website offers self-help materials and how-to guides for DIYers.
Find all this confusing? Start with the Law Society of Ontario, a referral service which will connect you with a licensed lawyer or paralegal for a free 30-minute consultation.
Established in 1797 as the governing body of lawyers and paralegals in the province, the society ensures the highest standards of competency and professional conduct of its members — enough said.
If your income is too high to qualify for free legal aid, and too low to afford standard legal fees, JusticeNet offers professional legal services to thousands of Canadians at reduced rates on a sliding scale.
For more than 10 years, JusticeNet has made legal services accessible to anyone who qualifies, anywhere in Canada. Its members offer services and can represent landlords and tenants before the Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal, and small claims court.
Lauren McGoldrick is a Toronto-based writer who studied English at Ryerson University. She likes to write comedy and about the Canadian housing market, which is not so humorous. In her free time, she enjoys getting into nature to hike, surf and scuba dive.