Housing

Emergency Repair Program

COVID-19: Tenants and Property Owners

The information below outlines some of the changes, options and supports available to you during these challenging times.   

If you cannot pay your rent because of layoffs or mandatory self-isolation caused by COVID-19, pay what you can and speak with your landlord to work out a payment plan. Your landlord will expect some documentation of your inability to pay. You will have to pay this rent when your income improves, or when the COVID-19 crisis is over. Apply for any financial support programs you may qualify for. See the Financial Supports for Individuals section, as well as Financial Assistance for Tenants (Housing Help Centre).

Before you agree to a repayment plan, you should consider getting legal advice. You should not agree to a repayment plan that you cannot afford. Tenants can contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic for free legal advice.

Landlords should discuss individual situations with tenants, including programs offered by other levels of government, and whenever possible be flexible in making specific arrangements for payment of rent during this challenging time. Landlords who have trouble paying their expenses because of reduced rental revenues or COVID-19 related costs may qualify for relief programs to support businesses and property owners.

A reminder that rent strikes are illegal and put tenants at risk of eviction. It is important that everyone work together during this time of crisis.

Helpful Links:

The Ontario government suspension of new evictions through the COVID-19 crisis has ended as of August 1. Refer to the Landlord and Tenant Board website for details. It is critical that tenants and landlords have a written rent repayment agreement in place with payments that the tenant is able to make in their current financial situation. Tenants should not agree to repayment amounts they are not able to pay. Tenants should speak to their landlord about a repayment agreement even if they have received an eviction notice. Learn more about the financial supports that may be available.

Eviction orders issued before the mid-March Emergency Order are now being enforced. Eviction hearings are now being scheduled. Where landlords have given tenants eviction notices (N notices) during the eviction suspension, landlords must follow the processes in the Residential Tenancies Act to evict a tenant. These eviction processes were recently revised and the changes are retroactive to the March Emergency Order. Landlords and tenants can learn more about these changes to rental and eviction law from the Government of Ontario.

CERB applications are now being reviewed. Individuals who received CERB payments but were ineligible will be required to repay the amounts received. The CRA is asking individuals to repay those amounts by December 31, 2020. If a person repays the CERB before this time, the government says that they won't be fined or get any type of penalty. Review the CERB repayment details. For questions about your individual circumstance, please contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

Tenant questions should be directed to Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. Landlord questions should be directed to Tribunals Ontario. Check this site regularly for additional updates and helpful links. 

Helpful Links:

The Residential Tenancy Act, 2006 (RTA) establishes a framework for the regulation of residential rents and balances the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. It provides protection for residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions, and includes processes to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Learn more about landlord rights and responsibilities

Helpful Links:

There are many types of financial support available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Virtual Assistant is available online to help you find more information on what financial supports are there for you from the Government of Canada.

Learn more about federal and provincial financial supports for individuals

Helpful Links:

The Property Tax Assistance program outlines several financial measures to Hamilton property taxpayers and ratepayers dealing with the possible financial hardship caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  

Learn more about Support for Property Tax Payers 


Helpful Links:

Landlords are urged to adopt enhanced health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.

Property owners/tenants are encouraged to check in on vulnerable residents/neighbours, connecting them to appropriate local agencies and supports if necessary.

Helpful Links:

To date, the City of Hamilton has allocated over $700,000 toward supporting vulnerable residents during this difficult time by assisting with food and basic needs, keeping shelters open and working with agencies to provide access to washrooms/showers. Isolation Centres have also been set up to provide food and shelter to any individuals in the shelter system that test positive for COVID-19.

A temporary emergency shelter based out of FirstOntario Centre will offer additional support to individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homeless, accommodating overflow from the shelter system to help ensure physical distancing.

Staff are also exploring ways to provide online supports for older adults, offering property owners some form of tax relief and setting up a network to deliver essentials like food and medication to those who are self-isolating but have little support.

List of emergency shelters for men, women, youth and families

 

The Emergency Repair Program (ERP) is open to Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) homeowners to fund serious and urgent repairs that would jeopardize the condition of the home to the point that it would adversely affect the household’s health and safety.

The Emergency Repair Program is provided in the form of a grant up to the amount of $5,000.

Funding for the program is limited and applications will be reviewed on a “first come, first serve basis” until funding is exhausted.  Incomplete applications will not be considered for program funding. 

Eligibility

  • You must be current recipients of Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • You must own a home in Hamilton that is their sole and principal residence with a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Tax Assessment valued at or below $330,000
  • You must have confirmation of home insurance and be able to prove they have exhausted all insurance(s) and funding sources as a remedy for the emergency prior to applying to this program
  • Your property must be registered in your name(s) and mortgage, property taxes, and utilities must be up-to-date 

Eligible repairs include:

  • heating systems that are no longer working or that have been deemed too dangerous to operate (by a licensed gas-fitter or other similarly authorized professional
  • patching a roof
  • electrical systems
  • plumbing systems
  • owned water heater repairs
  • damage which compromises the security of the home/inhabitants
  • foundation repairs
  • chimney repairs
  • accessibility (repairs to existing accessibility modifications only)

Ineligible repairs include, but are not limited to:

  • renovations to increase energy efficiency
  • accessibility modifications
  • renovations for aesthetic purposes only
  • additions or creation of secondary suites
  • preventative maintenance
  • the cost of a new home foundation
  • work done before program approval is given
  • the cost of a new furnace except where the City is satisfied that the existing furnace is unsafe
  • additions or upgrades to a home not considered emergency repairs
  • the cost of materials for insulation
  • the portion of costs exceeding $5000

All repairs must be carried out by a contractor licensed by the City of Hamilton.

  1. Contact at least two licensed and unrelated repair contractors to provide a written detailed quote for your repair.
     
  2. Complete and return the application form (PDF, 203 KB) and your supporting material and documentation to:
    City of Hamilton - Housing Services Division
    350 King Street East, Suite 110
    Hamilton, ON L8N 3Y3
    ATTENTION: Marjorie Walker
     
  3. If you are found eligible for the program, you will be requested to meet with the program administrator where you will be issued:
    1. A promissory/eligibility letter
    2. A liability waiver releasing the City of any responsibility of the transactions and services between the program participant and the contractor
    3. A Letter of Work Satisfaction Sign-off
  4. After the meeting, you can contact the contractor to arrange for the repairs to be completed.
     
  5. Once the repairs are complete, sign and return the Letter of Satisfaction and a detailed invoice from the Contractor within three business days of having the work completed to receive payment.

Contact us

For more information, contact:
Housing Loans Officer
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2758
Email: [email protected]