The following information is provided by Neighbourhood Legal Services.
Can I get money back from the Landlord for hotel rooms, meals, or other out of pocket expenses? Can I get some of my rent money returned?
Many tenants of 260 Wellesley have been asking about whether the Landlord will compensate them for costs of hotel rooms, meals, spoiled food, insurance deductibles, or other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the flood and power outage in your building. You have also asked about getting some of your rent returned for the lost enjoyment of your units. The Landlord has refused to guarantee any compensation to tenants for their expenses or the inconvenience of being without power for at least two days.
A rent abatement is a temporary reduction in your rent to compensate you for the lost enjoyment of your unit.
Out-of-pocket expenses are the things you have to pay for – like hotel rooms and food – as a result of this incident.
Legally, to get an order requiring the Landlord to pay tenants for out-of-pocket expenses or for a rent abatement, the tenants generally have to show that the Landlord did something unreasonable – for example, if they did not inspect or maintain the water pipes or electrical system, or if they did not respond to the problem quickly enough. The order would come either from the Landlord and Tenant Board or, in some cases, from a Court.
We do not yet have enough information to give an opinion about whether a lawsuit would be successful. For this reason, it is important that you keep working with your City Councillor and the Mayor to push for answers about why this happened, including getting an inspection report from a qualified inspector, such as the Electrical Safety Authority. It is important that you keep all of your receipts and bills, and take pictures of property which is damaged, to support your claim.
Remember that the legal system is only one way of seeking justice. Tenant organizing and public pressure have also been effective ways of tenants asserting their rights. Talk to your neighbours, other community members, and politicians to send the Landlord the message: We will not back down!
We do not recommend withholding rent. It could lead to you being evicted.
Neighbourhood Legal Services will continue to be in touch with community members and will provide more information as it is needed.
Neighbourhood Legal Services is a Community Legal Clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario.