We have recently been getting calls from tenants who share a kitchen and/or a bathroom with the owner of the property (who could be the landlord). Most often, this occurs when tenants rent a room in a rooming house.
Most landlord-tenant relationships (in Ontario) are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (the RTA). The Act provides a wide set of rights and protections for both tenants and landlords. However, there are certain situations where the RTA does not apply such as when a tenant shares a kitchen and/or a bathroom with the live-in owner (or certain members of the owner’s family). But that does not mean the tenant has no rights or protections. This tenancy will be governed by the Commercial Tenancies Act (which is an awful act to read – you may want to contact a legal representative for help with this). But beyond the CTA, there are other tenant rights such as:
Firstly, the tenant has a right to privacy. What that means is that the owner (or any other person) may not enter the tenant’s room without permission. If an owner has entered the tenant’s room without permission this could be considered trespassing under the Trespass to Property Act (s. 2.1).
Second, all people are always protected by the criminal code. If anyone believes that their personal property has been vandalised or stolen they should contact the police. And, in cases where a person feels they are being harassed, bullied or in way abused and/or threatened, that person should also immediately contact the police and file a complaint against the aggressor.
Finally, no landlord has the right to unilaterally and without due process request a tenant to leave or to request their eviction. If you are a tenant, and you have paid your rent, (and unless you are engaged in an illegal activity) you have a right to be in your room/unit. There have been situations where the police have been called to escort a tenant from the property, upon a request from a landlord. Let’s be clear, unless there is an alleged criminal code violation or without proper paperwork from the Superior Court, the police do not have jurisdiction to request a tenant to leave the property. If this has happened to you, you should contact a legal representative. You may have been unjustly treated and there may be grounds to sue the property owner and the police.
If you are landlord and are seeking eviction of a tenant from a rooming house, you should also call a legal representative to properly understand the requirements to give notice and how to obtain a Writ of Possession from the Superior Court (if required).
Even in the absence of the RTA, both owner and tenant always enjoy a package of rights and protections even when sharing a kitchen and/or a bathroom.
 Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17
 Trespass to Property Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.21
 Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
 Carr v. Ottawa Police Services Board, 2017 ONSC 4331