the story thus far: during the recent federal election, my landlords noticed that my roommates and i had a sign for the centre-left NDP on our balcony. this apparently enraged them, and they demanded that we take the sign down. then our neighbour, who received a similar threat about his own NDP sign, went and did some reading at the local library and rebutted with a photocopy of some sections of the Canada Elections Act which prohibit landlords from refusing their tenants permission to post a sign. our landlords were irate, but told us they would consult with their lawyers and get back to us. the election was over soon after that, so we stopped worrying about it – until we received the following in the mail:
August 21, 2004
To Whom It May Concern
As you know, we have at no time given you permission to place a sign on the outside of your balcony. Please note s. 24 of Schedule A of the Tenancy Agreement:
S.24: "Signs, advertisements or notices will not be posted or inscribed on any part of the building. "
The balcony is part of the building.
I refer you as well to s. 332(1) & (2) Elections Canada, and particularly s. 332(2).
s. 322 (2) ... a landlord... may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit the display of election, advertising posters in common areas of the building in which the premises are found.
Furthermore, Elections Canada has confirmed that a landlord may prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas of the building inside and out. The outside of the balcony is part of the building and not part of your unit. The outside walls including the outside of the balcony are part of the building.
We expect that you will adhere to the above and will govern your actions in the future accordingly. Thank you.
now, the relevant sections of the Canada Elections Act seem pretty clear to me:
322. (1) No landlord or person acting on their behalf may prohibit a tenant from displaying election advertising posters on the premises to which the lease relates and no condominium corporation or any of its agents may prohibit the owner of a condominium unit from displaying election advertising posters on the premises of his or her unit.
(2) Despite subsection (1), a landlord, person, condominium corporation or agent referred to in that subsection may set reasonable conditions relating to the size or type of election advertising posters that may be displayed on the premises and may prohibit the display of election advertising posters in common areas of the building in which the premises are found.
495. (2) Every person is guilty of an offence who, (a) being a landlord or a condominium corporation, wilfully contravenes section 322 (prohibition of election advertising posters on residential premises); or
(b) contravenes section 325 (removal of election advertising).
500. (2) Every person who is guilty of an offence under any of subsections 485(1), 487(1), 488(1), 489(2) and 491(2), section 493 and subsection 495(2) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three months, or to both.
so, i think our landlord is bluffing. the next step is to try to get some (free) legal advice, or possibly lodge a complain with the Canadian Electoral Commissioner. further bulletins as events warrant, and wish us luck.