Apartment Renting and You, The Resident : Legal Information

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Renting for the first time can be a complicated process. When looking for your first apartment you, as the renter, have a multitude of things you have to think about before signing a lease:

  1. Do you want an apartment or a house?
  2. Do you want a studio, one bedroom or two bedroom apartment?
  3. In a major city like Ottawa or Toronto, keep in mind the traffic situations.
  4. How much can you afford for an apartment?
  5. Are utilities included in the rent?
  6. Is the landlord trustworthy and professional?
  7. Are pets allowed?
  8. Smoking?
  9. How about Amenities?
  10. Throw in the confusing legal aspects of rental contracts and it can get overwhelming.
  11. Can you feel the headache coming on?

 Today, rather than bombarding you with a bunch of complicated legal information, we are going to offer you some general knowledge that should come in handy when you’re going to sign for your first apartment.

As a renter, you should know your rights

All residents have rights. Never sign a lease that ignores them. As a renter: 

  • The landlord can ask for two things upon signing a lease: a deposit, and the last month’s rent. 
    • The deposit does not count as a security deposit.
    • The deposit cannot exceed the amount of rent.
    • There is no such thing as a “key deposit.”
    • A security deposit is not mandatory in Ontario.
  • Tenancy terminations can be re-negotiated.
    • The landlord cannot terminate the lease because the fixed term of the lease has come to an end.
    • The landlord must have valid reasons to terminate the lease.
    • The renter can’t terminate the lease before the last day of the fixed term.
  • Residents can dispute the landlord’s denial of their request to sublet.
    • In this case, tenants must go to the Landlord and Tenant Board and file an A2 Application form found by following the Navigation Tribunals Ontario link.
  • Residents must be fairly compensated by landlords if they are evicted for the following reasons:
    • Renovations
    • Repairs
    • Demolishings
    • If a resident is evicted for any of the above reasons, they have the right of first refusal for the unit when it is livable. If the landlord fails to provide the right of first refusal, the tenant has two years to file a complaint with the Landlord and Tenant Board.

One of the most important things you need to know is that:

When renting, you the resident have rights and obligations

Here in Ontario, there is a Landlord and Tenant Board that enforces the Residential Tenancies Act. This board has been created to function as mediation between landlords and tenants while also regulating rent increases, and educating individuals about the Residential Tenancies Act.

This Board provides renters a great deal of information online, so rather than regurgitate information here, we’ll just recommend that you check out this portion of their website:

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111232.html

The site goes into greater detail regarding the Residential Tenancies Act, your rights and responsibilities, and ending a tenancy.

Good luck and happy hunting!

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