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Landlord Not Permitted to Rely on Waiver Clause in Residential Lease

The decision in Lewis v. 3414493 Canada Inc., 2022 ONSC 2769, involves a slip and fall accident in the parking lot of an apartment building. The plaintiff is a tenant of the building.

The defendant landlords relied on a waiver clause in the tenancy agreement. The waiver indicated that the landlord shall not be liable in any way for personal injury or death.

Under s. 20(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, a landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.

Section 3(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 states that the Act applies to all residential complexes, despite any other Act and despite any agreement or waiver to the contrary.

Justice Perell indicated that “…the long established law is that landlords cannot escape by waiver, disclaimer, or exculpatory provision in a residential lease their statutory duties to maintain the repair and safety of the residential premises”.

As a result, the plaintiff was successful in striking a paragraph from the Statement of Defence, which pled the waiver clause.