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When you first move to Canada, it is very likely that you will have a rental house or apartment before you buy a home. Renting a house has many benefits over owning one, especially for newcomers. Not only is renting a home cheaper but it also gives you the flexibility to move to another area. Renting your first home in Canada will also allow you to find the best locations in the city before buying a house.

Even if you don’t own the home, treat a rental like it’s your home to create a happy and pleasant oasis. These maintenance tips will help you keep your rental in top condition. And your landlord plays a key role. A great landlord will ensure that you get any repair or maintenance jobs done quickly. Understanding who is responsible for specific maintenance activities can help you to work together and avoid conflict.

Work with Your Landlord to Keep Your Rental House in Good Condition

While you are renting, it’s important to keep your home in a liveable condition. While you may not own the rental, you want to make it a pleasant environment. So it’s important to work together with your landlord to keep your rental house in a safe, clean, and liveable condition. Remember, the landlord cares about your rental home as much as you do. So it’s in the best interest of both you and the landlord to maintain it well. This will also serve to build a good relationship with your landlord! And a glowing reference from a landlord about how well you take care of their property can be helpful if you move to another rental house in the future.

Take an Active Role in Maintaining Your Rental House

Keeping your rental house or apartment in good shape requires the full involvement of both you and your landlord. Your landlord is responsible for keeping your rental home in good shape but they cannot do that without your help. For example, if you notice a leak in the ceiling or the washing machine stops working, it is a good idea to contact the landlord right away. Your landlord will come within a few days at an agreed time to fix the issue. Small repairs can become very expensive problems if not resolved quickly. So your landlord will appreciate you reporting issues early!

There is a good chance your landlord knows the rental home better than you do. They might have renovated it or even lived in it in the past. Because of this, it is a good idea to allow the landlord to come for regular home inspections. Your landlord might see a major fault that you missed such as poor drainage that could cause your walls to rot. These faults can easily be avoided ahead of time if spotted and there is a high chance your landlord will spot one of these faults during an inspection.

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What Maintenance is Your Landlord Responsible For?

It is also important to know the responsibilities of your landlord. Knowing this will make sure that the relationship between you and your landlord remains equal and cannot be exploited. Your landlord is responsible for maintaining your rental home and making sure it remains in a good, liveable condition. This includes making sure that the rental meets municipal standards and has no faults such as plumbing leaks or appliance breakdowns. Your landlord is responsible for completing maintenance jobs as soon as they arise.

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Another responsibility your landlord has is repairing or replacing any appliances that came with the rental home. However, you may have to pay for the cost of repairing any appliances if you or your guests caused the damage. Or if you rent a furnished home or apartment you are responsible for any damage to the contents. For example, if you break a table that came with the rental home, you will be responsible for fixing or replacing it. However, if the repairs are due to normal wear and tear, the landlord will cover them.

The landlord is also responsible for any heating, plumbing or electricity repairs in your rental home. Utilities, such as water, electricity, and internet may or may not be covered by your landlord. This is something that you will discuss with your landlord before you move into your rental home. These details will also be outlined in your rental house lease agreement.

Keep in mind that most municipalities have by-laws that set minimum standards that landlords must meet related to utilities. So be sure to visit your municipality’s website to learn more.

Your landlord may ask to enter your rental home or apartment from time to time to inspect its condition or do repair jobs. And as long as they inform you ahead of time, you must legally allow your landlord to enter. However, they must tell you ahead of time, when and why they will be coming. If the timing doesn’t work for you, you can ask to arrange another time. 

Deal with Emergencies in Your Rental House

If you experience an emergency, for example, water starts leaking through your ceiling or roof, or your furnace breaks down in the winter, contact your landlord immediately. Leave a message and note the date and time of your call if you’re unable to reach your landlord. However, if repairs must be performed immediately to protect your health and safety or to prevent property damage, you may be able to authorize the repair work yourself. In this case, be sure to keep all documentation related to the repair and ask the repair company to bill your landlord directly. Or, if you pay any bills, keep track of your expenses so that your landlord can reimburse you.

Why Should You Permit Entry to Your Landlord?

There are laws concerning tenant rights and giving tenants the freedom to enjoy their rental house without the landlord interfering. However, your landlord does have the right to enter your rental to inspect or do repairs. Each province has its own slightly different laws but the idea is the same. As long as your landlord gives you a 24-hour notice before coming, they can enter your rental.

And really, even if the law didn’t support it, there is no reason to deny entry to your landlord as long as they have a valid reason. Your landlord wouldn’t want to harm your home. After all, even if your landlord isn’t living in your rental home, they still legally own it.

Learn more about your rights as a new renter. For more helpful information about rental housing, be sure to check out Rentals for Newcomers.

When Will the Landlord Need Access to Your Rental House?

There are times when your landlord may need to access your rental house. Here are two common reasons and what it means for you, the renter.

1. Conduct Regular Inspections

A conscientious landlord will conduct home inspections once or twice a year. There could be major faults in your rental house that you do not identify. There is a good chance that your landlord will find one of these faults and arrange a time with you to come fix it.

2. Complete General Repairs and Maintenance

The most common reason your landlord will want to enter your rental home is for general repairs and maintenance. This could be anything from replacing an outdated appliance to fixing a clogged drain. As mentioned above, the landlord will complete most maintenance jobs. However, some maintenance responsibilities may fall to you as the tenant. To learn more about how maintenance responsibilities are shared in Ontario, click here. Keep in mind that each province has its own rules and regulations regarding laws on maintenance responsibilities. However, most provinces have many common tenant/ landlord laws.

There are laws concerning tenant rights and giving tenants the freedom to enjoy their rental house without the landlord interfering. However, your landlord does have the right to enter your rental to inspect or do repairs. Each province has its own slightly different laws but the idea is the same. As long as your landlord gives you a 24-hour notice before coming, they can enter your rental.

And really, even if the law didn’t support it, there is no reason to deny entry to your landlord as long as they have a valid reason. Your landlord wouldn’t want to harm your home. After all, even if your landlord isn’t living in your rental home, they still legally own it.

Learn more about your rights as a new renter.

Keep Your House in Safe Condition with these Smart Tips

  • Get familiar with the security and safety features of your rental house or apartment building. Make sure the doors have good quality locks and that the windows fully close and lock.
  • Always be careful who you let into your home or building.
  • Clean your home often and well to avoid attracting pests. Never leave open food or garbage out, and get rid of or donate anything you don’t need.
  • Use bathroom and kitchen fans to control humidity, and buy a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • Report mold issues to your landlord immediately. Mold presents a serious health risk, especially if your or other family members suffer from asthma, allergies or other respiratory ailments. Mold appears fuzzy, powdery, and can be light green, brown or black.

Fire Prevention Tips

  • Avoid overcrowding outlets with too many appliances and make sure outlet strips are not covered.
  • Follow no smoking rules that your landlord may have.
  • Keep curtains and other flammable materials away from lights and candles.
  • Never leave food unattended on stoves or in microwaves.
  • Clean grease from pans, cooktops, fans, and nearby surfaces regularly.
  • Make sure there are functioning smoke detectors in the rental and test them monthly.
  • Invest in a carbon monoxide detector, as the gas is odorless and extremely dangerous.

Keeping your rental in top living condition will ensure that you are safe, secure, and comfortable. And working with your landlord to achieve this goal will provide benefits for both you and your landlord!

For more information, tools, and free webinars about rental housing in Canada, be sure to visit Rentals for Newcomers.