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


Service at a Glance

Tenant Information

Once you have rented a place to live, you become a tenant. You have rights and responsibilities and so does your landlord. These rights are explained in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). You must follow the laws in this act and the terms in your lease. 

Homelessness Prevention

Homelessness Prevention funds and monitors programs that assist households to prevent homelessness or obtain housing.

These programs include:

Landlord Information

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. 

Social Housing Administration

Social Housing Administration funds, monitors and supports all social housing providers that own and operate social housing (including CityHousing Hamilton). In addition, this section funds and monitors Access to Housing which maintains a central waiting list for subsidized housing units across the City. Tenants/ members of social housing are supported through the Social Housing Review Panel and Eviction Prevention programs.

Investment in Affordable Housing

Investment in Affordable Housing encourages the creation of new affordable housing in the City of Hamilton. This portfolio includes the Rent Supplement Program, the Home Ownership Down Payment Assistance Program for low to moderate-income residents who rent in Hamilton, and want to buy a home and the Ontario Renovates Program.

Domiciliary Hostel Program & Emergency Shelters

The Domiciliary Hostel Program provides funding for the operation of safe and affordable supported housing in a communal setting (Residential Care Facility) for people who require assistance with the daily activities of life. In addition, they also provide funding to agencies that provide Emergency Shelter Services or a temporary place to stay for people who are homeless.

Tenant Defence Fund Pilot Program

The Tenant Defence Fund Pilot Program helps tenant groups facing above guideline rent increases by providing support with education, securing meeting rooms,  printing and photocopying relating to the grant application and covering the cost of hiring a paralegal or lawyer to represent them at the Landlord Tenant Board.

Emergency Repair Program

The Emergency Repair Program is open to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program homeowners to fund serious and urgent repairs (up to $5,000) that would jeopardize the condition of the home.