8 years ago, Tenant started tenancy in a residence, with a brand new fridge and door handle. But this morning, Tenant discovered the handle on the ground, broken off by itself. See picture below.

Your landlord must repair and maintain things that come with your place, such as appliances like a fridge or stove.

If something no longer works due to normal wear and tear or because it breaks or wears out [emphasis added], the landlord must repair it so that it works properly, or replace it.

Landlord alleges that he isn't liable — because he alleges that Tenant negligently damaged the handle, which isn't wear and tear. Is Landlord liable for replacing the broken handle?

  • Speak to a lawyer or an appropriate public advisory body (tenant's rights organisation, community service body, or similar) who'll advise you how to proceed. The law doesn't set standards for how to judge if a fridge door handle was broken by negligence or wear-and-tear.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 9 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Ontario's Residential Tenancy Act, s. 34 says:

The tenant is responsible for the repair of undue damage to the rental unit or residential complex caused by the wilful or negligent conduct of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the residential complex by the tenant.

The burden is on the landlord to prove on a balance of probabilities that the tenant's wilful or negligent conduct caused undue damage.

For an example of this test in action, see CEL-04732-10 (Re), 2011 CanLII 27385 (ON LTB), where the Board found that the some of the damage was due to the tenant's negligence but that other damage was not proven to be due to the tenant's negligence. That is just one example that happened to be high on the search results. Other examples may be found in CanLii's database of Landlord and Tenant Board decisions.

Whether any particular damage is due to the tenant's wilful or negligent conduct is a question of fact that would be determined by the Board based on the evidence presented to it in a dispute.


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