If you are new to Canada, chances are your initial residence will be a rented house or apartment. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant to ensure that your new rental home provides a safe environment as you adjust to life in Canada. The responsibilities of both landlords and tenants may vary depending on the province or territory, and these laws are overseen by government departments or ministries.
Tenant responsibilities typically include:
Timely and full payment of rent.
Maintaining cleanliness and proper upkeep of the home.
Contacting the landlord for any necessary repairs or servicing.
Allowing the landlord or manager to enter the premises for repairs or to show the property to potential tenants, with prior notice.
Moving out of the property at the end of the lease.
Tenants are generally not permitted to:
Withhold rent due to negligence in repairs.
Make renovations without the landlord’s permission.
Change locks without the landlord’s consent.
Sublet or assign the lease to someone else without the landlord’s permission.
A landlord is the owner of the house or building you rent, and for larger buildings, they may employ a property manager or superintendent for management and rent collection. The general responsibilities of landlords include:
Ensuring the safety and proper maintenance of the building/home.
Providing necessary items included in the rent, such as appliances.
Handling and covering the costs of repairs.
Providing utilities like electricity and water (costs may or may not be included in the rent).
Allowing tenants to use and enjoy the property reasonably.
Not seizing any tenant’s property without a legal order.
When signing a lease, which is a written rental agreement, it is essential to thoroughly understand its contents before affixing your signature. Typically, leases include details such as:
Contact information of both parties (tenant and landlord).
Address of the rented property.
Monthly rent amount and any potential rent increases.
Lease duration (e.g., one year or month-to-month).
Conditions for terminating or canceling the lease.
Tenant responsibilities for repairs and maintenance.
Restrictions like smoking or pet ownership.
Guidelines for landlord entry into the property.
Procedures for modifying the lease or resolving disputes.
Landlords have the right to ask tenants about their income, the number of occupants, pets, and permission to conduct a credit check. However, they are not allowed to inquire about ethnic background, religion, sexual preferences, Social Insurance Number (SIN), marital status, plans for having children, or family visits.
Rent increases typically occur when renewing a lease, with the frequency and amount regulated by provincial or territorial governments. Landlords usually need to provide 90 days’ notice for rent increases. There are maximum limits set by each region, such as a 2% increase in British Columbia and a 2.5% increase in Ontario without needing approval from the landlord and tenant board.
Evictions and complaints involve rights for both tenants and landlords. Landlords can only evict tenants for lease violations and must follow specific procedures outlined by the province or territory. Immediate eviction is not allowed. Violations that could lead to eviction include non-payment of rent, excessive noise, unsanitary living conditions, and exceeding the agreed-upon number of occur
If you encounter any issues while renting a home, it is important to inform your landlord and the appropriate rental authorities by following the necessary steps and procedures.