When Can I Enter My Tenant’s Home in Canada?

You may own the property, but if you’re a landlord in Canada, you can only legally enter your tenant’s home under a limited number of circumstances. To protect yourself against liability claims, it’s important you make yourself aware of, and make sure you adhere to, tenancy laws local to your province.

Notice of Entry

You must give your tenant a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before entering his or her residence. Preparing a written Notice of Entry is the surest way to ensure a legal entry into your tenant’s apartment. On a Notice of Entry, you should include:

  • the names and addresses for both you and your tenant,
  • the date and approximate time range of your entry (e.g., 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.),
  • the reason for entry (e.g., governmental regulations, repairs, etc.),
  • your signature, and
  • the date of the Notice’s service to the tenant.

In the event of emergency, you may be able to waive the Notice of Entry requirement; however, you should make yourself aware of what classifies as an emergency. A flooded kitchen would probably allow you to legally enter the suite without notice; a faulty hot water heater may not.

Legal Proceedings

When you are preparing a Notice of Entry, make sure you keep a copy for your own records. By maintaining a paper record of entry into your tenant’s suite, you can save yourself a significant headache in the event of an evictions hearing. You should also urge your tenant to keep a copy; records can prove beneficial to each of you.

You should serve the Notice on your tenant more than 24 hours ahead of your planned entry to the suite. Many landlords choose to tape it to the tenant’s front door so that they will be sure to see it; laws generally state that taping it to the tenant’s front door is sufficient but you should check with your provincial landlording or residential tenancy association for the specific rules in your area

Why Might I Need to Enter My Tenant’s Residence?

Repairs are the most common reason for landlord entry into a residence. These can be scheduled or incidental. If your tenant asks you to make a repair, you should push for a written request — also for legal reasons. Maintaining a paper trail of business between you and your tenant is always a good idea in the unlikely event of a legal problem between you.

You may also have reason to enter a suite for the sake of inspection. For instance, the Residential Tenancy Act in British Columbia provides for the option to inspect a residence once per month in order to ensure illegal activities (such as grow ops) are not taking place. However, you must still provide a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before entry into your tenant’s residence under this provision. If it seems clear that there is a safety hazard associated with potential illegal activity in a particular suite, you may be able to enter the suite without warning — but be sure that the safety hazard could be classified as an emergency and communicate that clearly.

There is no substitute for familiarizing yourself with the tenancy laws particular to your area when deciding whether or not to enter a suite.

About landlording-in-canada-cover-largeFor more information about landlording and how to deal with tenants, consider Landlording in Canada by Michael Drouillard, available in our Web store. Self-Counsel Press also supplies a variety of forms kits for rental agreements and for commercial lease agreements. These forms are available in our Web store as CD kits, paper kits, and as downloadable kits.

4 thoughts on “When Can I Enter My Tenant’s Home in Canada?

  1. Does an email to a tennant classify as a written notice or does it have to be wrote out and delivered to the residence?

  2. A written notice provides a better and harder to contest record than an email.Richard DayPublisherSelf-Counsel Press

  3. The legal system would view that as harassment of the tenant. Per the article, it is common for provincial tenancy laws to only permit one inspection a month by the landlord (and to require 24 hours' written notice). The law generally recognizes that a tenant should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.So, yes, it needs to be narrowed down to a specific day.Richard Day

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