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Your Tenancy

What you need to know while
renting with us

Questions? Comments?

Here you will find links to information about your tenancy, including your rights and obligations as a tenant and information that will help you make your home a great place to live.



Maintenance of your home is a shared responsibility between you and OCH. OCH looks after the on-going maintenance of its buildings due to normal wear and tear to the premises and upkeep for your safety and enjoyment. Maintaining your personal space is your responsibility. Please advise us of any needed repairs as soon as they happen to help keep your home in the best condition possible.

For all maintenance/repair requests, please call the OCH Call Centre Maintenance line at 613-731-1182. Check the Service Standards for more information about what service OCH provides and types of requests.



OCH has defined service response targets to provide a sense of timelines to anticipate services being performed to address maintenance and repair issues based on their urgency. We can’t always guarantee these standards, but we always try to meet them.


If you call us with an urgent maintenance request we’ll try to respond within 24 hours. We will send someone to investigate as soon as possible for emergencies like:

  • Failure of essential services Loss of heat or water, a broken elevator, or if your only toilet is blocked.
  • Security or structural risks such as broken locks, doors that won’t close, flooding or a fire alarm.


Problems like a leaky tap are considered a maintenance priority and we will try to deal with them quickly. Expect a response and repairs within 1 to 3 days.


Maintenance requests that are not emergency or urgent may have to wait longer for service. We try to fix all regular maintenance issues within 5 business days. Examples of regular maintenance requests are dripping taps, ripped screens, cracked windows, etc.

Since the start of 2022, OCH has responded to 99.48% of all regular maintenance requests within 5 business days.


On occasion a unit is scheduled for refurbishments or larger replacements, such as, replacing the kitchen floor or replacing a bathtub. This falls under planned maintenance. These requests may take up to 60 days to complete.



OCH charges tenants for costs that are the tenant’s responsibility including:

1. Repairs/maintenance due to willful or negligent damage by the tenant, members of the tenant household or guests, or failure to maintain tenancy conditions; either during tenancy or upon vacating the premises.

2. Costs associated with third party charges, e.g. non-sufficient funds (NSF). Damages caused by “normal wear and tear” (e.g. carpet wearing thin through traffic over time) will not be charged to the tenant as they constitute regular maintenance and will be covered by OCH.



OCH removes the snow from

main entrances and primary walkways
Main driving portion of parking lots, and when 2 or more consecutive parking spaces are empty at the time of the clearing.
Tenants are responsible for snow removal

from their front/back doors to the common walkways for the carport/garage if they have one
for their rented parking space.
For all inquiries, contact the OCH Call Centre Maintenance at 613-731-1182.




You must request permission before installing an air conditioner in your home. Contact your Property Manager requesting permission to install your air conditioner. You will receive a guide on how to properly install the air conditioner for your home. Shortly after, we will visit your home to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely and will not damage the home or property. You can also refer to the OCH Unit Modification Standards- Air Conditioners (A/C) for more information.


Your Property Manager must approve any changes to the property or your home before they are done.


  • Tenants have access to paint coupons every four years.
  • The coupons cover the cost of paint up to a certain amount. (you need the coupon prior to purchasing the paint)
  • Please contact the OCH 24/7 Call Centre: 613-731-1182. 


  • This voucher does not include paint brushes, rollers, or other supplies.
  • This voucher expires 60 days from the date of issuance.
  • This voucher only applies to light colours of paint, which are the three lightest samples on a paint swatch.
  • Dark colours are not permitted.  Walls will have to be repainted at the tenants’ expense.
  • As per fire safety legislation, fire safety devices within your home and building common areas CANNOT be painted or disconnected for any reason.


A room looks wonderful with a fresh coat of paint. Here are some great tips.

  • Start right: Organize a tool station in the middle of the area you will be working in. Lay down a drop cloth sufficient to handle the items you will need. Gather together your paint, brushes, rollers, hammer, screwdrivers, rags, paint can opener and place them on the drop cloth.
  • Use the day before painting day to move your furniture into the center of the room, tape around doors and windows, cover wall and ceiling fixtures. Cover furniture with drop cloths.
  • Simple clean-up for latex paint: When you’re done painting, take time to soak your latex paintbrushes and rollers in a solution of water and laundry fabric softener for about ten minutes. Gently swish them around in the water, remove them and rinse with clear water. Wipe or roll off excess moisture; then air dry the brushes and rollers before putting them away.


Ottawa Community Housing accommodates tenants with physical disabilities through upgrades to their home (e.g., installing grab bars, smoke detector with strobe light alarm, etc.) OCH may need information from your doctor or Occupational Therapist before making changes. In some cases, moving to a more suitable home can also be an option. 

To learn more about how to get this help, talk to your Property Manager or Tenant Support Worker. They can assist you in completing the necessary paperwork to request accessibility accommodation.


OCH may approve minor modifications for your basement. You are responsible for any damage to people or property caused by the modification, its installation or removal. These are the conditions that must be met and maintained if OCH approves the basement modification in your home. You can also refer to the OCH Unit Modification Standards – Basement for more information.


You must have written permission from OCH. To get written permission from OCH, you must:

  • Have and maintain third party liability insurance
  • Agree to return OCH property to its original condition if OCH asks you to and when you move out
  • Agree to pay all costs for changes, installations and repairs; and for damages to any person or property resulting from the modification
  • Give plans or drawings to your Property Manager


A basement modification may not:

  • Change, alter or impair the structure of the home/building
  • Connect to or alter the wiring or electrical system
  • Connect to or alter the plumbing system or any part of the Heating,Ventilation Air or Cooling (HVAC) systems within the home or complex.

In addition:

  • Flooring may not be affixed to the floor (i.e. only floating floor or area rugs are allowed)
  • Flooring may not cover drains, sewer cleanouts or other supply lines
  • Install suspended ceilings only
  • Walls, ceiling or flooring may not cover or hide fixtures, furnace, appliances, water supply lines, sewer clean-out, and hot water tank
  • A modified basement may never be used as a bedroom or sleeping quarters
  • A modification must be removed if OCH requires it, or if OCH needs to do repairs
  • Use only materials and finishes approved by Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Use flooring materials that are water and mould resistant (i.e.: free draining sub-floor)


The modifications must be removed and the unit returned to its original condition at your expense.



OCH may approve minor modifications regarding the installation of sheds and storage units. You are responsible for any damage to people or property caused by the modification, its installation or removal. These are the conditions that must be met and maintained if OCH approves the installation of a shed or storage unit. You can also refer to the OCH Unit Modification Standards – Sheds and Storage Units for more information.


You must have written permission from OCH.

To get written permission from OCH, you must:

  • Give plans or drawings to your Property Manager
  • Have and maintain third party liability insurance, which is usually provided when you purchase tenant insurance
  • Comply with these standards
  • Agree to return OCH property (unit) to its original condition if OCH asks you to or when you move out
  • Agree to pay all costs for changes, installations and repairs; and for damages to any person or property resulting from the modification


  • One per home in private rear yards only
  • Temporary structure
  • Maximum 100 square feet or less
  • Maximum 8 feet in height
  • Minimum 4 feet from building and overhang
  • Installed at grade level
  • Use for storage only – not for sleeping

Exterior materials may be made of:

  • PVC
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Rubber
  • Glass/Plexi-glass


The modifications must be removed and the unit returned to its original condition at your expense.



OCH must approve minor modifications for the installation of a satellite dish or antenna. You are responsible for any damage to people or property caused by the modification, its installation or removal. These are the conditions that must be met and maintained if OCH approves the installation of a satellite dish, antenna or receiver. You can also refer to the OCH Unit Modification Standards – Satellite Dishes, Antennas or Receivers for more information.


You must have written permission from OCH.

To get written permission from OCH, you must:

  • Have and maintain third party liability insurance
  • Agree to return OCH property to its original condition if OCH asks you to and when you move out
  • Agree to pay all costs for changes, installations and repairs; and for damages to any person or property resulting from the modification


All satellite dishes must:

  • Be installed in a designated area if one exists
  • Be 36” in diameter or less
  • Be professionally installed, by the satellite dish manufacturer’s authorized contractor
  • Be installed in a way that minimizes the damage to OCH’s building
  • Be installed firmly and securely with all the specified fasteners and hardware
  • Be as unnoticeable as possible
  • Be installed in a way that wiring:
    – does not go through window or door frames
    – does not pose a tripping hazard
    – is as short as possible
    – runs horizontally and / or vertically at a 90°angle
    – is secured, connected and concealed as much as possible
  • Installed drilling as few holes as possible into the building
  • Installed using holes that are
    – as small in diameter as possible
    – sealed by high quality exterior non-water based caulking

All satellite dishes must NOT be attached or installed on:

  • Any part of the roof or exterior walls
  • Windows, window frames, doors, door frames, eave troughs or canopies.
  • Balcony railings
  • Overhang another tenant’s home.

Apartments without a balcony:

  • May only be installed in designated areas

Apartment with a balcony:

  • Be placed on the apartment balcony where one exists

Row, single and town houses:

  • Must be installed in rear yards where possible


All satellite dishes, hardware, and wiring must be removed and unit returned to the original condition at your expense.




You are allowed to move between 8 am and 10 pm. During loading and unloading of your belongings, vehicles should be parked in the laneways and/or parking areas only. Remember to dispose of your garbage in the appropriate area and containers.


To reserve an elevator, call the OCH Call Centre at 613-731-1182 on the day of your move, and we will send someone to place the elevator on service within 15 minutes. We can only accept your request if at least two elevators are working. Otherwise, different arrangements will need to be made ahead the move.


You will receive a move-in inspection form to be completed upon move-in. This is where you can provide OCH with a list of repairs that may have been overlooked when we were preparing the home for your arrival.


When you want to move out of your OCH home, you must give at least 60-day written notice to end the tenancy.  The 60 days must end on the last day of a calendar month. You will need to deliver all keys and fobs to your nearest OCH office by that last day of your tenancy and leave us with a forwarding address. 

At the end of your tenancy, OCH expects you to: 

  • leave the home clean 
  • restore it to its original condition 
  • remove all personal possessions and garbage 

If you don’t, you will have to pay the costs of removing any garbage, repairing any damage and storing any personal possessions you leave behind. 


Subletting your home is when you move out and let someone else live in your home for a limited period. You cannot sublet or assign your home or any part of it to another person. 



As a tenant, you and anyone living with you must comply with the responsibilities of your lease.

This includes the following responsibilities:

  • Giving proper written notice to Ottawa Community Housing when you move out unless the Landlord & Tenant Board ends the tenancy for breaking rules of the Residential Tenancies Act.
  • Allowing entry into your home when the reasons for entry comply with the Residential Tenancies Act or your lease.
  • Paying your rent on time.
  • Keeping your home clean and in good condition.
  • Calling OCH 24/7 Call Centre to tell us about any repairs which may be needed in your home.
  • Being responsible for your actions and actions of the other members of your household, your visitors, your guests, their pets and your pets.
  • Respecting your neighbours by not making too much noise.
  • Keeping common areas clean by using the garbage bins provided.
  • Ensuring that the utilities (such as gas and hydro) are paid on time.
  • Getting household insurance for your belongings – usually called contents or renters’ insurance.
  • Reporting change in your income or household within 30 days of the change.
  • Not subletting or assigning your home.
  • Getting written permission from OCH before making any changes or alterations to your home or property.

The Residential Tenancies Act. 


As your Landlord, Ottawa Community Housing must:

  • Follow the obligations as Landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act and Housing Services Act.
  • Provide services as set out in your lease.
  • Keep your rental property well maintained and respond to repair requests.
  • Provide 24 hours’ notice before entering your home unless you give permission to enter or there is an emergency (flood fire, life-threatening event) in which case, staff can enter your home.
  • Provide proof of payment when requested.
  • Process your annual rent review, if you pay rent-geared-to-income.
  • Will respect the confidentiality of your personal information.


Tenants have the right to have and enjoy pets as long as they are following the City of Ottawa By-laws.

All cats and dogs must be registered with the City of Ottawa. For more information or to report a by-law violation committed by a pet owner on LCO property, call the City at 3-1-1.

All tenants also have the right to a clean and safe environment. Owners must ensure that their animals do not disturb the peace and quiet of neighboring apartments or houses. Pets must not be allowed to run loose in OCH corridors or communities. Pets should be kept indoors or supervised when outdoors.

Pet owners must pick up all pet droppings from OCH property. Use a shovel or a bag to pick up the waste and take it home for disposal. You can get rid of waste by emptying it from the bag and flushing it down the toilet, or by wrapping it in absorbent paper, sealing it in a garbage bag and putting it in the regular garbage.

You can contact your local OCH office during office hours to lodge a complaint or call OCH Community Safety Services at 613-731-1182 for assistance.



If you are receiving a rent subsidy, your rent is based on your income.  In order to keep your subsidy, every year you must provide updated information about your household and your income. 

Every year, you will receive a ‘Household Review Form’ to complete and return to your nearest OCH office with proof of income for everyone in your household that has income.  When OCH receives your updated information, your rent will be recalculated for the coming year. 

If you do not provide the requested proof of income, your household may no longer qualify for a subsidy and you will have to pay the market rent for your home. 


If you feel that you have a good reason to question a decision about changes in your rent, reduction or loss of your subsidy, denial for transfer, etc., contact your Tenant and Community Worker.  He or she will guide you through the process of completing an Internal Review Hearing Form and requesting a meeting to review your  



Your home has at least one smoke detector and may also have a carbon monoxide detector. Please do not disconnect them – it is against the law. Check regularly (for example, at the beginning of every month) to see that the batteries are working by pressing the button. If any of your detectors do not work, call OCH Call Centre immediately at 613-731-1182.


  • OCH conducts annual inspections of your home where all smoke and carbon
    monoxide detectors are checked.
  • OCH replaces smoke alarms every 9 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 6 years.
  • Since 2006, Ottawa Fire Services has responded to an average of 21 major OCH home fires every year; the average annual cost is $1.3 million.
  • It is against the law to disable a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.
  • It is against the law to fail to notify the landlord if the smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is disconnected, impaired, or not working. You can also be fined $295.
  • When OCH does annual inspections, they must have access to your home. Do not change your locks without informing OCH.
  • Automatic door closers stop the spread of fire and smoke.
  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • You could be charged for all damages caused to your home or any other part of OCH property.


  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month by pressing the TESTbutton 
  • When you hear your smoke alarm, get out, stay out, and call 911 
  • When you hear your carbon monoxide alarm, get out, stay out, and call 911 
  • If you have a furnace or hot water tank, make sure there is nothing within 12 inches (30 cm) of the exhaust vent on your outside wall 
  • Keep an area of about  3 feet (1 meter) clear and clean all around the
    furnace/hot water tank and electrical panel 
  • Avoid careless smoking. Use ashtrays and never smoke in bed 
  • If you use candles, be sure to use proper candleholders. Never leave lit candles unattended 
  • Have a fire escape plan: Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room. If possible, plan the main exit route and an alternative exit route from each room. Practice your fire escape plan with everyone in your home twice a year. 


  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn off the stove. 
  • Do not store flammable liquids in your home or attached garage 
  • Never store or use propane cylinders in your home, balcony, or attached garage 
  • Store your propane cylinder outdoors in a well-ventilated area when not in use 
  • If you have a fire in your microwave or stove, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed 
  • If you have a cooking fire, keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. 
  • Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food
    packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop 


  • A cord or plug that becomes hot to the touch is an indication of a
    dangerously overloaded circuit 
  • Check cords for damage such as fraying or nicks that may result in a potential shock or fire hazard 
  • Avoid running cords under rugs or furniture, which can damage the cord and cause a fire 
  • Check that all electrical appliances have recognized approval marks to make sure they meet the electrical safety requirements for Ontario. 


  1. Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room.
  2. Where possible, plan the main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room.
  3. Establish a safe meeting place outside your home where everyone can meet.
  4. Make certain everyone understands if they hear the smoke alarm or someone shouting, “fire” they should immediately evacuate the home.
  5. Discuss your escape plan and practise fire drills with your family. This is the best way to prevent panic, especially among children. Be sure every family member knows what to do.
  6. Stay Safe! 


Do you live in an apartment building? Would you need some help to leave your home in case of a fire? Please contact your OCH Office to make sure you are on the OCH Fire Assisted List. This list helps the firefighters find those who need their help. 


Tenant insurance protects you in case of fire or other unexpected events. It covers the replacement of your belongings and can even cover the cost of temporary housing if your home becomes unlivable. Tenant insurance is an affordable way to protect yourself and your belongings. It can give you peace of mind in case of an emergency. If you have signed a new Lease Agreement after March 2014, you must maintain a Tenant Insurance Policy.

Ask your OCH Office for Tenant Insurance information, or click here. 

Click to download this Fire Safety brochure developed by the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Fire Services. 



  • OCH cuts the grass of the common grounds, but tenants are responsible for maintaining their own yards.
  • You must get written permission from your Property Manager before you install an A/C unit.
  • Please do not BBQ or store a propane tank on your balcony or in your home.


  • Be cautious on streets and sidewalks and look out for black ice.
  • Always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly when walking up/down steps.
  • Keep windows and balcony doors closed during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles-use the vehicle for
  • Remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can when you get inside. Floors and stairs may be slippery
  • Turn down the heat when you leave home, but never turn it off completely over the winter
  • Turn off the water to the outside tap
  • Keep walkways clear of ice and snow
  • Change your furnace filter
  • Clear away anything blocking the heating vents




Please follow these rules so that all tenants can enjoy their balconies:

  • Make sure that items at risk of flying away are secured.
  • Place all unwanted items directly in the garbage.
  • Do not throw cigarette butts or any other items off your balcony.
  • Keep your balcony free and clear of debris and clutter.
  • When cleaning your balcony, use a damp mop rather than dumping water off the balcony.
  • Do not barbecue or store a propane tank/BBQ on your balcony (or in your home).
  • Be conscious of noise levels because sound carries.


Community pride is a shared responsibility. OCH cuts the grass in the common areas of its communities. Tenants are responsible for the maintenance of your private yards. If you want to make alterations to your yard, contact your Property Manager before doing any work.

During the winter, take extra care to keep your walkways clear of ice and snow. If you have an outside tap, do not forget to remove the hose and turn off the water inside and out before the cold weather arrives.



Your toilet is not a green bin or a garbage can. Flushing certain items can result in a back-up of the sewer line into your home or can create problems at the City’s wastewater treatment plant.

Only flush the three Ps – pee, poo and toilet paper! These are the only items that belong in your toilet. 

The following items should never be flushed down the toilet:

  • Personal care wipes/baby wipes
  • Diapers
  • Cotton swabs
  • Hair
  • Dental floss
  • Tampons
  • Sanitary products
  • Condoms
  • Old medicines
  • Grease/fat from food

How can I dispose of these items?
Visit the Waste Explorer to find out how to dispose of these items.

Why shouldn’t “flushable” wipes be flushed down the toilet?
While products may be advertised as “flushable,” in reality items such as baby wipes, makeup remover cloths, and disinfectant wipes do not decompose in the sanitary sewer system. Flushing this material causes damage to the sewer system and may cause sewer backups in your home. Flushable should be disposed of in the garbage.

Source: City of Ottawa



Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that are durable and heat resistant. We have lived with it for thousands of years because it can be found naturally
in the outdoor environment.

It was used in most schools, hospitals, government buildings, homes, and apartments built before 1985.

Nowadays, the use and management of asbestos are legislated to protect us from over-exposure.


  • Ottawa Community Housing has an Asbestos Control Program to deal with the ongoing handling of materials suspected to contain asbestos
  • OCH follows legislated regulations that protect both workers and tenants
  • Trained workers do all asbestos-related work
  • Asbestos is not dangerous when in good condition and if it is left undisturbed
  • It is not necessary to remove material suspected to contain asbestos if it is in good condition
  • You cannot see asbestos in material containing the fibre. Samples are taken and sent to a laboratory to confirm if it is present.


If building materials within your building have been sampled and confirmed to contain asbestos prior to you moving in, OCH will notify you at the lease signing.

If found during repairs and other maintenance activities, OCH will send you a notice to confirm the presence of asbestos in your home.

OCH manages and controls the risks associated with the asbestos present in its buildings through its Asbestos Management Plan. The plan provides details of the location and condition of the asbestos if it is found in your building.


Follow these simple instructions, if you have been advised that your building contains or may contain asbestos:


  • hang picture frames with hand tools using nails or screws
  • paint the walls if desired

Call the 24h/7 days OCH Call Centre at 613-731-1182 (option 2) if the material suspected to contain asbestos is damaged in your home.


  • Asbestos is not hazardous if it is not damaged
  • DO NOT disturb or damage material containing asbestos
  • DO NOT saw, sand, scrape or drill holes in materials containing asbestos such as in walls and ceilings
  • DO NOT remove or cut vinyl flooring
  • DO NOT apply adhesive-backed floor tiles to the existing floor
  • DO NOT open any access panels or hatches in the walls or ceilings of your home
  • DO NOT perform repairs to materials containing asbestos.
  • DO NOT dust, sweep or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos – notify the OCH Call Centre immediately.


Health Canada

Canadian Centre For Occupational Health And Safety



Your rent matters.  Rent is needed for OCH to pay mortgages, taxes, maintenance and other costs of maintaining your home.


Your rent is due on or before the 1st day of every month. Any payment received by OCH after the first day of the month is late. Late payments mean you have a record of rent arrears.

There are four ways to pay rent: 

1. Pre-authorized Payment (PAP) 
Your rent is taken from your bank account automatically on the 1st day of each month.
Changes to the amount of your rent are made automatically.

2. Cheque or Money Order 
Cheques and Money Orders are payable at your Tenant Service Centre or at the OCH Head Office on 39 Auriga Drive. If you pay by mail, please include on your cheque or money order your:

  • name
  • tenant ID #
  • address
  • Phone #

3. Interac 
Available at your nearest OCH office (excluding the Auriga office).

4. Electronic Payment 
Electronic payments can be done by phone, ATM (bank machine) or the internet. You can ask the bank to set it up for you.
If you already pay bills through electronic banking, you can set up the rent payment just like your other bills.
Your account # is your 6-digit tenant ID #.

Cash is not accepted at any OCH office.


You are strongly encouraged to contact your OCH Rent Collection Coordinator (list of numbers below) immediately if you fall behind in rent payments. Our goal is to preserve tenancies where possible.

OCH will work with you to find a solution to the debt. OCH works with tenants in financial difficulties by:

  • making payment arrangements where appropriate
  • providing information about community resources which may be able to provide tenants with advice

Call OCH Call Centre at 613-731-1182.

OCH will use a collection agency to collect what is owed and will evict tenants who fall into arrears or who are continually late in paying rent. If you are in arrears you may also have to pay one or more charges to OCH for:

  • NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds)
  • Tribunal/Board fees
  • Enforcement fees

You may not be eligible for a transfer within OCH if there are outstanding rent arrears, or if rent was paid late during the past 6 months. If you leave OCH with money owing, you will not be able to get other social housing in Ontario and you will not be able to get credit because you will have a bad credit record.


Your rent is geared to total household income. This means your rent will be adjusted if another income earner moves in. The adjustment will take effect 30 days from the date your household income increases.  A new household member must be eligible for Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) for the entire household to continue to be  eligible for RGI. 

You cannot assign or sublet your unit to a new household member who has moved in with you.  If you move out, the new person may also have to move out. 

You will be responsible for any debt to OCH that a new household member causes, including the higher rent.  You will also be responsible for the new household member’s actions. You will not be able to have OCH remove the new household member from your home.




The Housing Services Act has been updated – read more to find out how this affects tenants.

See Updates

Do you have questions about pest management in your home?

Pest Management

Are you an OCH tenant who wants to get involved?

Get Involved