The City of Cornwall is committed to ensuring that all residents have access to safe housing. The Mayor's Task Force on Housing is working on improving the availability and quality of housing stock, as per the strategic plan. Use this page to learn about tenants and landlords' rights and responsibilities. 

If you're looking to rent in Cornwall, consider checking websites like Kijiji or Facebook, or working with a real estate agent. Beware of rental property scams. You may also qualify for social housing.

 Tenant Rights: Moving in, Moving Out

Here's a quick overview of the rights tenants have, specifically when you're moving in and out:

  • to have a copy of your written tenancy agreement
  • to live in your rental unit until...
    • you give your landlord proper notice that you plan to move out,
    • you and your landlord agree that you can move, or
    • your landlord gives you a notice to end your tenancy for a reason allowed by the Residential Tenancies Act.
  • if your landlord gives you a notice to end your tenancy, you do not have to move out if you do not agree. Your landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board to get an order to evict you. You have the right to a hearing and explain why your tenancy should not end
  • annual rent increases must follow rent control guidelines


 Tenant Rights: Inside your Home

Once you've moved in...

  • your landlord can enter the rental unit for reasons allowed by the Residential Tenancies Act
  • typically, your landlord needs to give you 24 hours written notice before entering your home. If there is an emergency, or if you agree, the landlord can enter without 24 hours notice
  • the Ontario Human Rights Code protects you from discrimination and harassment based on:
    • race
    • ancestry
    • place of origin
    • ethnic origin
    • colour
    • citizenship
    • religious beliefs
    • political beliefs
    • sex
    • sexual orientation
    • age
    • marital status
    • family status
    • physical disability
    • mental disability
    • receipt of social assistance
 Tenant Rights: When there is an Issue

Here's what you can do if there's an issue in, near, or around your home:

  • if someone is disturbing you with excessive noise, call City of Cornwall by-law at 613-930-2787 ext. 2310
  • if the person making the noise is a tenant in your building, notify your landlord. Take note of dates and times of the noise disturbances
  • when something in your unit is broken, if there is mould or a pest issue, or when your health and safety is in danger because of the condition of your unit, tell your landlord. Make the report in writing and keep a copy
  • if the landlord doesn't fix the issue, call City of Cornwall by-law at 613-930-2787 ext. 2310
 Safe community: How you can help

All tenants are responsible for creating a safe, secure home and community. Here are some things you can do to keep you, your family, and your neighbourhood safe:

  • don't let someone into your building if you don't know them. Use the peephole or window when someone knocks on your door.
  • close the main entrance door after you enter or exit the building.
  • keep the doors to your home locked, even when you go to the laundry room. Don't forget to lock the balcony doors.
  • look inside the elevator before you enter. If another passenger makes you uncomfortable, wait for the next elevator.
  • report illegal or threatening behaviour to your landlord. Call 911 in case of emergencies.
 Protecting the environment: What you can do

We can all work together to protect the environment. Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • change your light bulbs when the current ones burn out. Use compact fluorescent bulbs - they use less energy and cost less money
  • don't block heating vents with curtains or furniture
  • on cold days, open blinds and curtains to let the sun in to warm your home - then close them at night to trap the heat
  • on hot days, keep blinds and curtains closed to prevent the sun from warming your home.
  • sort your garbage and recycling. Use leaf and yard waste collection. The City doesn't collect food waste yet, but it will soon
  • ask your landlord to fix leaking taps to avoid wasting water.
 Tenant Responsibilities

As a tenant, you must...

  • pay your rent on time (usually the first day of every month)
  • keep your unit clean
  • repair any damage you or your guests cause
  • get tenant insurance for your belongings
  • provide proper notice in writing if you want to move out. Usually, give 60 days notice. End of the lease should be on the last day of a period of tenancy
  • pay the rent and utilities (if they are not included in the rent) for the full notice period, even if you move out early
  • do not smoke in public areas like halls, lobbies, office, and common rooms
  • clean up after your pet, repair any damage it causes, make sure it does not harm or disturb other tenants
  • respect your neighbours and keep noise at a reasonable level at all times
  • you may be responsible for mowing the lawn or shovelling snow, depending on the contract with your landlord.
 Property Standards

The City of Cornwall enforces the Property Standards By-Law.

Every property owner must comply with the Property Standards By-Law by:

  • keeping grass and weeds at a height of less than 6 inches,
  • maintaining buildings in good condition, including roofs, windows, doors, and eaves troughs,
  • maintaining sheds and garages,
  • keeping the property free of garbage, refuse, and debris,
  • providing working plumbing, heating, and electrical services.

If your home is in need of repair, write to your landlord and keep a copy of your notice. If your landlord does not make repairs, let the City of Cornwall's By-Law Services know at 613-930-2787 ext. 2310 or

When the By-Law Enforcement Officer investigates your complaint...

  • they will contact the tenant and/or landlord/property owner,
  • inspect the location, and
  • issue a verbal or written order.
 Fire Safety

Many Cornwall fires are started by careless smoking and cooking practices. Keep your family safe by learning more about fire prevention:

  • the Ontario Fire Code provides for rules around alarms - alarms that could save your life
  • your landlord must install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • you must never disable, tamper with, or uninstall an alarm
  • you must let your landlord know if a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm is disconnected, not operating, or impaired. you should also let your landlord know when...
    • the low battery signal on your alarm is on,
    • or when the end of life signal on your alarm is on
  • your landlord must provide a copy of the alarm manufacturer's maintenance instructions to the occupant in each rental unit
  • your landlord must test and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • if you are away for more than seven days, ask a friend to test your alarms

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