When signing your first contract, it’s tempting to skim over the words and assume that everything on that sheet of paper is good to go. However, it is SO important to make sure you don’t miss anything that may cause you issues in the future. A leasing contract is legally binding and works to clarify many potential misunderstandings that could occur between a resident and a landlord.
Here are some general recommendations in regards to rental contracts.
Always make sure there is a tenancy agreement to sign
Having a record of the agreement allows for the protection of all parties involved. We highly recommend not getting involved in a rental situation where your future property manager does not provide a contract.
Read the entire contract
If you do not feel comfortable with reading it, or feel that you do not have the legal knowledge to thoroughly understand the contract, do not sign it. Either return with someone you trust that can overlook the agreement for you, or ask for a copy to read over on your own time prior to signing.
Make note of the following aspects of the contract prior to signing:
- The amount and due date of monthly rent.
- The format in which rent is accepted (may not necessarily be on the contract however it should be looked into.)
- Services included: Utilities, Parking, etc.
- Any potential fees the landlord may charge you, and reasons for these fees.
- Maintenance responsibilities of residents.
- Guidelines for subletting, evictions, and conduct.
- Agreement of Apartment Condition: This is very important; contracts will often include an agreement claiming that the apartment is in pristine condition. However, if you saw the apartment and there are maintenance issues that need to be addressed, do not just accept the landlord’s word that it will be done. Make sure to note all possible problems. If you do not, then there is a possibility that you may in the future incur the blame or that you just may never receive the maintenance needed.
These are just some of the many things that contracts can include, and for that reason, we once again stress the importance of reading the contract thoroughly!
Ensure Validity of the Agreement
As of 2018, it is mandatory for residential landlords and property management companies to use the Ontario Standardized Lease Agreement. The document spells out everyone’s rights and obligations, and who is paying for what. This ensures that landlords cannot add portions that are not required by law or remove entire portions that are. To ensure the validity of the agreement and to avoid falling for a rental scam, it’s important that you check that the lease handed to you is the Ontario Standardized Lease Agreement. The rental agreement should include the landlord’s name, address and contact information. If the information on the agreement is void or even different than the person who is renting it to you, you’ll want to find out why. It’s crucial that you identify the owner of the property to avoid succumbing to a rental scam.
Review Termination Clauses
It’s important to know what is expected of you if you wish to end your lease agreement early or once it has expired. An early termination fee may be required, or a sublet arrangement may be allowed. It’s also wise to understand the specific situations in which a landlord can evict you (for personal use, renovations or bad faith evictions) and your rights.
Our team at CLV Group and InterRent REIT has ample experience executing leasing agreements. If you have any questions, one of our Community Leasing Agents will be happy to help you out. Get in touch with us today.