Entering the Tenant’s Unit

Can a landlord enter a tenant's unit?

The Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) allows a landlord to enter a tenant's unit only under specific circumstances.  In most cases, the landlord must first give the tenant 24 hours written notice, stating when they will enter and for what reason.  There are some exceptions, however, such as in the case of an emergency or if the tenant agrees to allow the landlord to enter the unit.

For more information about when a landlord can enter a tenant’s rental unit, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Can a tenant refuse to let the landlord in if the landlord wants to enter their unit?

If the landlord enters the tenant's unit as allowed by the Act, the tenant cannot refuse to let the landlord in. If the tenant does not let the landlord in, the landlord can give them a notice of termination claiming that the tenant is interfering with their lawful rights.  A Member could order the tenant’s eviction for this reason. Also, interfering with a landlord’s lawful right is an offence under the Act, and the tenant could be prosecuted.

For information about when a landlord can enter and how much notice a landlord is required to give before entering a tenant’s rental unit, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

What can happen if a landlord enters a unit illegally?

If a landlord enters a tenant's unit illegally, the tenant may file an application with the Board. If the Board finds that the landlord has entered the unit illegally, there are a number of things that the Board may order. For example, the tenant could receive an abatement of rent or the landlord could be ordered to pay a fine. What is ordered is up to the Member who hears the application.

For information about when a landlord can enter and how much notice a landlord is required to give before entering a tenant’s rental unit, see A Guide to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Can a tenant change the locks?

A tenant cannot change the locks unless the landlord agrees.  Also, the tenant cannot add locks that might stop a landlord from entering the unit if there is an emergency or if the landlord has a valid reason for entering the rental unit and the landlord has given the tenant proper notice to enter.  If the tenant does change the lock, a copy of the key should be given to the landlord immediately.

Can the landlord change the locks?

A landlord can change the locks while the tenant is living in the unit as long as they give the tenant a key for the new lock.

Note:  Once a tenant has been evicted from the unit, the landlord can change the locks, even if the tenant has left property in the unit. The landlord does not have to give the former tenant replacement keys in this case.