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I rent an apartment in a high-rise that was probably built in the 1980's. In past years, the sliding closet doors gave off a stronger and stronger musty smell that permeated all the linens and clothes stored therein. It seemed that it was the paneling itself, the back side of which resembled cardboard.

The landlord was kind enough to replace them, but the frame on the new doors outgassed heavily. After about a month, I asked the building staff to store the new doors somewhere warm until the outgassing stopped. I waited for a year before asking for the doors again. The outgassing is a lot less, but acrid fumes build up over time. Ventilation is not an option because of ants that get in through an open window, and it generally isn't an option for the winter either.

I have a HEPA filtered air cleaner with activated carbon. New filters are quite expensive (several hundred dollars), but they are meant to last several years. With the outgassing, however, they will saturate quickly.

I looked online to see whether closet doors are low enough in price for me to replace myself. A pair will also cost several hundred dollars. I don't know if they will have the same problem.

Given that the landlord has already replaced the doors once, is it reasonable to request a re-replacement with doors that don't outgas?

I am in Ontario, Canada.

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Under Ontario law, the landlord has certain duties to the tenant, as specified here starting at §20. The main requirement relevant to you is that

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

So if there are dangerous fumes in the apartment rendering the apartment unfit for habitation, the landlord has an obligation to remedy the situation. However, an unpleasant smell does not pose a clear threat to health. His obligation to repair really hinges on the nature of the substance being given off.

Of course it is reasonable to ask for a fix, especially if the doors continue to emit fumes after a year. Indeed, if you plan to follow a legal remedy under the Residential Tenancies Act (an order to repair under §29), you should describe the problem and ask him to fix it.

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  • I think the difficulty is identifying the fumes. From what I've surfed, it's likely one of those things where it could impact one's health over the long term. So the problem here is its grayness and the unknown. Aug 25, 2022 at 6:42

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