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Does a Tenant have to cut the lawn?

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

"The only thing worse than cutting your lawn, is having to cut someone else's lawn"


No week would be complete without someone asking this question. I like to make my answer simple:

It is the Landlord's job.

With that out of the way, and for those of you who would like a more thorough explanation, there are two sections of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act that matter most here, first is at s20(1)

A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.

Second is s4(1), which says,

Subject to subsection 12.1 (11) and section 194, a provision in a tenancy agreement that is inconsistent with this Act or the regulations is void.

In the leading case on point, Montgomery v Van, 2009 ONCA 808 the Ontario Court of Appeal found that any valid agreement to provide maintenance between the landlord and tenant must be a "severable" agreement. This means, if you include it as a term of the lease, it will fail because that term will contradict the Residential Tenancies Act. The agreement to maintain the property must be able to stand alone, as its own enforceable contract, separate from the lease.

An example of a successful agreement would be if the tenant signed a 12 month lease, and in a second agreement, the landlord and tenant agree that for $100/month, the tenant will care for the outdoor maintenance of the property for the next 12 months. This would then create two separate payment obligations, where the tenant will owe the full value of the rent, and the landlord will have to pay the tenant for performing the maintenance.

As always, remember that this blog should not be taken as legal advice and is no substitute for a consult about your specific facts. Do you have questions? Click here to contact Jon today.


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