Tenant Rights & Lease Violation: Petition Against The Marq Student Housing
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On Wednesday, March 13th, 2019, The Marq Waterloo sent an email out to their tenants to notify them that they would be enforcing a guest policy for the weekend of March 17th, 2019. They informed the residents that each would be permitted one guest and that this policy would be enforced through security and wristbands. They claim that the policy is necessary due to fire regulations, however, they failed to enforce such policy over homecoming weekend, which would have presented a similar risk. They also failed to give the tenants reasonable notice (which is an average of 30 days).
Many tenants are outraged seeing as this policy is not evident in their leases. Friends who were planning on visiting Laurier for the St. Patrick's Day festivities were also disappointed as many had already spent money on travel accommodations.
After much research, we have discovered that The Marq's decision to enforce their guest policy is a violation of Tenant Rights and their own lease. The legislation found to support this notion is found below.
First, this policy is a violation of Section 22 of the Tenancy Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act of Ontario which states, "A Landlord cannot interfere with reasonable enjoyment".
Second, this policy violates Section 9 of the Schedule in the Residential Tenancy Regulation (which is Ontario legislation) stating a landlord cannot unreasonably restrict guests from entering your rental property. While landlords can prohibit certain guests from entering their building, there must be reasonable cause. This would include if a guest has broken the lease or law, which is not the case for many guests who plan on visiting.
The only way you can regulate guests by law is under social or public housing, which means property owned by the government. Since your building is not a government building, it is illegal to enforce any guest restrictions unless it has been declared it in the lease. I read the lease thoroughly and there is no mention of guest restrictions.
This policy is also a gross violation of the lease. Leases are contracts and cannot be changed without the other side's agreement. The only change a landlord can make to a tenancy agreement without the tenant's consent is an increase the rent. This does not include an added infrequent policy such as the guest policy they are trying to enforce.
Moreover, if the tenant is in a month-to-month lease agreement (which the Marq Residences are), the landlord must provide sufficient notice to the tenant of any change —generally a 30-day notice. Therefore, tenants are legally entitled to reasonable notice. The Marq trying to implement a policy with less than a week's notice is unjust.
We spoke to representatives of The Marq, and they state that a Fire Code bylaw is their motivation behind the policy. However, they failed to present this legislation. Also, based on square footage, the occupant load at the Marq residence is around 50 people per unit. This number means that each resident could host up to 9 guests before the unit is overcrowded and becomes a fire hazard.
Therefore, we suggest that, for safety purposes, The Marq should have security to ensure that anyone entering the premises are guests of residents. They can monitor this by having the resident identify their guests to ensure no strangers enter the building.
Overall, this is a gross violation of their Lease and Tenant rights. Therefore, the one-guest policy is unenforceable by law. The Marq has been taking advantage of tenants just because they are students. They cannot regulate who we let into our homes. Please sign this petition if you support our requests for our rights to be upheld.
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