The summer is finally here, bringing with it brutal heat waves, sweaty days and nights, and the almost inevitable introduction of air conditioners in houses and apartments across the city. Air conditioning provides relief for many tenants around Toronto, but it’s also been the cause of many conflicts between Toronto landlords and their tenants. Before you decide whether to provide your tenants with air conditioning or to allow them to install their own A/C units, it’s important to take a variety of factors into consideration.
Do Toronto landlords have to provide tenants with air conditioning?
The simple answer to this question is no, Toronto landlords aren’t required to provide tenants with air conditioning. In previous years, Toronto mayor John Tory has urged landlords to provide tenants with air conditioning during extreme temperature events, but the law doesn’t necessitate the use of an air conditioner. If air conditioners are provided to tenants by the landlord, they should be allowed for use between June 2nd and September 14th – this is in order to keep indoor temperatures to a level under 26oC. Additionally, Toronto bylaws state that landlords are required to maintain indoor temperatures of at least 21oC from September 15th to June 1st each year, though Toronto bylaws don’t state a maximum indoor temperature.
What if air conditioning is already available to tenants?
If you’ve already made the move to offer air conditioning to your tenants, there are a few things you should know. The biggest issue with A/C is the cost associated with it – if you wish to charge more for the use of air conditioning throughout the summer, this amount must be tied into the monthly rent amount – it can’t be in the form of a one-time payment. If air conditioning has been made available to tenants, you are not legally allowed to remove it if it’s been included as part of the rental agreement. Doing so would be considered to be a loss of service to the tenant. Toronto landlords also can’t introduce new or additional charges for services that have previously been included in the rent amount. This is considered to be an illegal charge.
Should you allow tenants to install air conditioning units themselves?
You may feel the need to help your tenants beat the heat this summer by supplying them with air conditioning. You can either supply and install the unit(s) yourselves, or allow tenants to bring and install their own units. Installing A/C units can bring a number of issues with them that can result in costly damages – this usually occurs from poor distribution, installing the wrong sized unit, not insulating the unit, or being unable to keep it level. If you’re concerned about the possible damage to your windows and window frames, then it might be in your best interest to supply the air conditioner yourself, and to arrange for its installation by a professional who will ensure that the units are installed safely. Alternatively, you can offer to install air conditioning units that tenants have purchased. When budgeting for this, don’t forget to count the cost of uninstalling the unit in the fall and reinstalling it the following summer, and ensure you have proper storage available for window air conditioning units when they are not in use.
Maintaining central air units
If your property has central air installed, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t fail or break down at the height of the summer. Conducting annual checks on your central air conditioning systems is vital – this means changing filters, cleaning and removing debris both in and around the unit, and if possible, having a professional inspect the unit. Maintaining central AC units is a far more cost effective method than replacing it outright, and your tenants will thank you for it during the next inevitable heatwave.
Toronto property management companies like Highgate Properties are well-versed in Toronto bylaws and regulations related to air conditioning, as well as the professional installation of A/C units, and regular maintenance of central air units. Property managers take these everyday hassles away from you, giving you the opportunity to focus on the more important things in your life. For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.