Template Letters

Not all of us are comfortable reaching out to our neighbours or landlord, and some of us find it difficult coming up with the right words to use. For this reason, we’ve included some template letters and correspondences. Feel free to adapt them as you see fit.


Template email to neighbours

 

[Date]

Hi neighbours,

I wanted to check in to see how you are doing during the COVID-19 crisis and how you are feeling about paying rent on the first of the month.

I know that many tenants in our building / neighbourhood have been laid off or had their hours reduced. Some of us won’t be able to pay rent, because we don’t have the money. Others worry that with all the uncertainty, even if we can pay, we might need the money for groceries and medicine. Some tenants whose finances are more secure are concerned for our neighbours and wish to support them.

A growing number of Hamilton tenants will be keeping our rent on the first of the month. We won’t be deferring payments or signing agreements to repay it in installments, but keeping it outright.

This carries very little risk. The provincial government has announced that evictions have been suspended and no new eviction orders can be issued until further notice. The Landlord & Tenant Board has closed and hearings put on hold. The sheriff’s office has been asked not to enforce outstanding evictions and has complied.

We will be better prepared for the landlord’s response if we can work together as tenants to support each other.

[Your name]
[Building]
[Unit #, if you feel comfortable giving it]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

P.S. Join the Keep Your Rent Hamilton Facebook group for organizers. Find more info, FAQs, and organizing resources at www.keepyourrenthamilton.com.

 

Download a copy of this template


 

Template note to leave under neighbours’ doors

 See the Tips for Organizers section for precautions you can take to limit the risks involved in handing notes or flyers to other people in your building. If you decide to do this, please take all necessary steps to help ensure you’re not transmitting COVID-19 to your neighbours.

 

[Date]

Hi neighbour,

I wanted to check in to see how you are doing during the COVID-19 crisis and how you are feeling about paying rent on the first of the month.

I know that many tenants in our building / neighbourhood have been laid off or had their hours reduced. Some of us won’t be able to pay rent, because we don’t have the money. Others worry that with all the uncertainty, even if we can pay, we might need the money for groceries and medicine. Some tenants whose finances are more secure are concerned for our neighbours and wish to support them.

A growing number of Hamilton tenants will be keeping our rent on the first of the month. We won’t be deferring a payment or signing agreements to repay it in installments – we will be keeping it outright.

This carries very little risk. The provincial government has announced that evictions have been suspended and no new eviction orders can be issued until further notice. The Landlord & Tenant Board has closed and hearings put on hold. The sheriff’s office has been asked not to enforce outstanding evictions and has complied. Keep Your Rent Hamilton is a group providing support and has posted answers to common questions on keepyourrenthamilton.com.

We will be better prepared for the landlord’s response if we can work together as tenants to support each other. Please [call, text, or send me an email] so we can connect.

[Your name]
[Building]
[Unit #, if you feel comfortable giving it]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

 

Download a copy of this template


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Notice of decision to withhold rent

 

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [insert address or neighbourhood] have discovered that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, many of our neighbours are unable to pay rent. In the last few weeks, many of us have had our hours cut or have been laid off and are unable to afford to pay rent, bills, and the increasing cost of food and household essentials. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead or how long this crisis will last.

To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Currently payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. Those who receive these funds should not have to choose between using their money for food and medicine or rent. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:
1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;
2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;
3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee

[Names of members of tenant committee]

Download a copy of this template

 


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Response to Rent Reminder Notice

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [Address], have received your rent reminder notice.

We want to reiterate that due to the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis, we have made the collective decision to keep our rent. We are doing this alongside thousands of other tenants across Ontario.

We do not know how long this pandemic will last, though current projections suggest 18 to 24 months at a minimum. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead. We realize we need to save the little money we do have so that we can prepare. The cost of food and other household essentials is increasing, due to COVID-19 related production shortages. We need to save our money so that we can provide food and health essentials for our families and vulnerable community members.

Many of us have had our hours cut at work or been laid off. Many of us are unable to work due to childcare obligations with schools being closed, or the need to care for family members who are sick. To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:
1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;
2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;
3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee
[Names of members of tenant committee]

Download a copy of this template

 

 


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Response to N4 notice

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [Address], have received your N4 notices (To Terminate for Non-Payment of Rent). We have made the collective decision that under no circumstances will any of us pay rent when we are being threatened with N4s. It is cruel to threaten tenants with eviction in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis when many of us are struggling financially and worried about contracting a virus that could kill us and our loved ones.

We want to remind you that evictions have been suspended during the COVID-19 crisis, the Landlord & Tenant Board is not scheduling eviction hearings or issuing eviction orders, and the Sheriff’s office is closed and no longer enforcing eviction orders.

We want to reiterate that due to the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis, we have made the collective decision to keep our rent. We are doing this alongside thousands of other tenants across Ontario.

We do not know how long this pandemic will last, though current projections suggest 18 to 24 months at a minimum. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead. We realize we need to save the little money we do have so that we can prepare. The cost of food and other household essentials is increasing, due to COVID-19 related production shortages. We need to save our money so that we can provide food and health essentials for our families and vulnerable community members.

Many of us have had our hours cut at work or been laid off. Many of us are unable to work due to childcare obligations with schools being closed, or the need to care for family members who are sick. To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:
1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;
2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;
3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee
[Names of members of tenant committee]

 

Download a copy of this template

 


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Response to repayment plan proposal

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [Address], have received your letter asking tenants to enter into rent arrears repayment plans. We have made the collective decision that we will not be entering into any rent deferral payment agreements or rent installment payment agreements.

We do not know how long the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis will last. We do not feel that it would be prudent to make written commitments to pay rent in full or in part as we may not have the money to do so in the coming months. We also will not commit to defer rent payments until a certain date. If we can’t afford to pay now, how will we come up with the money later on? Along with thousands of tenants across Ontario, we are calling for rent to be cancelled altogether for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

We want to reiterate that due to the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis, we have made the collective decision to keep our rent. We are doing this alongside thousands of other tenants across Ontario.

We do not know how long this pandemic will last, though current projections suggest 18 to 24 months at a minimum. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead. We realize we need to save the little money we do have so that we can prepare. The cost of food and other household essentials is increasing, due to COVID-19 related production shortages. We need to save our money so that we can provide food and health essentials for our families and vulnerable community members.

Many of us have had our hours cut at work or been laid off. Many of us are unable to work due to childcare obligations with schools being closed, or the need to care for family members who are sick. To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:

1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;

2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;

3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee

[Names of members of tenant committee]

 

Download a copy of this template

 


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Response to request for tenant financial information

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [Address], have received your letter asking tenants to provide information about our financial situations and whether or not we have applied for government income support. This is personal financial information that we do not feel comfortable sharing and have no obligation to disclose. This information should be strictly between individual tenants and our employers, banks, and the government. Many tenants — whether employed or unemployed, whether receiving government income support or not — are struggling financially and deserve rent relief during the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis. We will not be manipulated into sharing our financial information in order for landlord staff to draft rent repayment agreements. We will not commit to hand over the little money we do have (through wages or income support payments) to landlords during this uncertain time.

We want to reiterate that due to the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis, we have made the collective decision to keep our rent. We are doing this alongside thousands of other tenants across Ontario.

We do not know how long this pandemic will last, though current projections suggest 18 to 24 months at a minimum. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead. We realize we need to save the little money we do have so that we can prepare. The cost of food and other household essentials is increasing, due to COVID-19 related production shortages. We need to save our money so that we can provide food and health essentials for our families and vulnerable community members.

Many of us have had our hours cut at work or been laid off. Many of us are unable to work due to childcare obligations with schools being closed, or the need to care for family members who are sick. To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:

1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;

2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;

3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee

[Names of members of tenant committee]

 

Download a copy of this template

 


 

Template letter to landlord from tenant committee: Response to landlord notice of entry to inquire about unpaid rent

 

[Date]

To [Landlord Name]:

We, the residents of [Address], have received your letter notifying tenants that landlord staff wish to enter units to discuss unpaid rent. As per sections 26 and 27 of the Residential Tenancies Act (2006), this does not constitute a valid reason for a landlord to enter a tenant’s unit.

Relevant section from the RTA:

1. Entry with no notice

Section 26 provides that a landlord may enter the rental unit without notice:

  • in cases of emergency;
  • If the tenant consents to the landlord entering the unit at the time the landlord enters;
  • where the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean the rental unit at regular intervals, the landlord may enter at the times specified in the agreement, or, if no times are specified, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and
  • if the landlord and the tenant have agreed the tenancy will be terminated or one of them has given notice of termination to the other, the landlord may enter the unit to show it to prospective tenants between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and, before entering, the landlord informs or makes a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the landlord’s intention to enter. A landlord must make reasonable efforts, depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case, to give the tenant advance notice in order to permit the tenant to be prepared for entry into the unit by the landlord to show the unit to prospective tenants.

2. Entry with notice

Section 27 provides that a landlord may enter a rental unit in accordance with written notice given to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry in the following circumstances:

  • to carry out a repair or replacement or to do work in the unit;
  • to allow a potential mortgagee or insurer of the residential complex to view the rental unit;
  • to allow a person who holds a certificate of authorization within the meaning of the Professional Engineers Act or a certificate of practice within the meaning of the Architects Act or another qualified person to make a physical inspection of the rental unit to satisfy a requirement imposed under subsection 9 (4) of the Condominium Act, 1998;
  • to carry out an inspection of the rental unit, if,
    • the inspection is for the purpose of determining whether or not or not the rental unit is in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards, consistent with the landlord’s obligations under subsection 20(1) or section 161 of the RTA; and
    • it is reasonable to carry out the inspection.
  • for any other reasonable reason for entry set out in the tenancy agreement.

In any case where at least 24 hours written notice has been given to the tenant, the written notice must set out:

  • the reason for entry;
  • the date the landlord will enter; and
  • the time of entry between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Tenants are within their rights to refuse entry to landlord staff for this reason, and we plan to do so.

By sending your staff to our apartments to enter into our homes, you are putting tenants at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19. This is irresponsible, and in our opinion, constitutes harassment. Furthermore, we wish to restate that we do not want to communicate one-on-one with the landlord but instead as a tenant committee through our tenant delegate.

We want to reiterate, that due to the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis, we have made the collective decision to keep our rent. We are doing this alongside thousands of other tenants across Ontario.

We do not know how long this pandemic will last, though current projections suggest 18 to 24 months at a minimum. The uncertainty of the situation makes it difficult to know what other troubles lie ahead. We realize we need to save the little money we do have so that we can prepare. The cost of food and other household essentials is increasing, due to COVID-19 related production shortages. We need to save our money so that we can provide food and health essentials for our families and vulnerable community members.

Many of us have had our hours cut at work or been laid off. Many of us are unable to work due to childcare obligations with schools being closed, or the need to care for family members who are sick. To reiterate, payment of rent is not an option for many due to lost income. Payments through CERB, EI, OW, and ODSP are insufficient to cover the average cost of living. There are also millions of people who do not qualify for CERB or EI, and they deserve housing. This is essential so that they can stay home during this global pandemic and avoid posing a health threat to themselves and their community.

In this context, prioritizing rent over our basic needs would endanger not just us but the wider public. It would be reckless and socially irresponsible. We therefore support all tenants who have decided not to pay rent in the midst of this unprecedented public health emergency.

We call on all landlords to:

1. Forego collecting any rent that is unpaid because of the COVID-19 crisis;

2. Forego pursuing evictions for non-payment of rent, including when the eviction moratorium is lifted;

3. Deal collectively with tenants on any issues that arise.

We ask that the legitimacy of these demands be respected and their necessity be recognized by owners in this extraordinary time.

Any future correspondence can be sent to the delegate representative elected by our tenant committee: [Name, Phone number, Email address]. We will only be responding as a tenant committee, not on an individual basis. Please do not try and contact us individually about this matter.

Sincerely,

[Address] tenant committee

[Names of members of tenant committee]

 

Download a copy of this template