I am a landlord with one rental dwelling, currently occupied by tenants who will be departing in a few months' time. The current tenants are uncooperative and refuse to clean the house.

This is problematic because, during our viewing, the house is dirty with cat and dog fur, and it is a waste of time to show prospective tenants. The house is in Ontario. Is there something we could do to make them clean the place up, by law?

2 Answers 2


What you can do is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, esp. part 3. The tenant is not totally free of responsibilities: "The tenant is responsible for ordinary cleanliness of the rental unit, except to the extent that the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean it". The act enumerates allowed terminations of a lease for cause, and while damaging a unit is a cause, violating the requirement to keep things clean is not, that is, it does not say that you can evict them for having a dirty place (assuming it is not an actual health or safety hazard). There is a form (N-5) which you would fill out to officially give notice to the tenant, indicating an intent to evict, but "the place is dirty" is not in the list of causes, and you are required to explain in detail the "damage" caused by the tenant. It is not prohibited to cite section 33 of the law (the cleanliness clause). A tenant may avoid eviction by complying with the request within 7 days.

You are allowed to enter the unit to show it to prospective tenants, with 24 hour notice, and you are allowed to under under the same notice rule "to carry out a repair or replacement or do work in the rental unit", where cleaning the place is doing work in the unit.

  • 1
    I read Section 33, but I don't know if any of this is actually enforceable by law. It would really suck to miss out on a month of rent because of the unwillingness of the current tenants to cooperate
    – Astronomer
    Jan 7, 2018 at 23:16

Well, Canada is working on becoming a liberal totalitarian state as fast as it can, but has not quite reached the point yet where landlords can enslave their tenants as maids.

If the unit is unshowable, then you will have to wait for them to move out and clean it up.

  • 1
    I mean, they are asked to clean their homes, not ours so your comment is not really accurate... Yes, but then we will lose out on a month of rent, which is a lot in this case.
    – Astronomer
    Jan 7, 2018 at 23:18
  • Your (simplistic and irrelevant) political opinion aside, this does nothing to answer the question, let alone with reference to Canadian tenancy law.
    – user4657
    Jan 8, 2018 at 1:53

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