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…and what are the landlord’s obligations to you

“You know Manoj, I was talking to a colleague at work today, and she said that she and her husband moved into their apartment and were happy until about a month into it and then they started having issues with their landlord. She was quite upset” said Shalini as she prepared dinner.

Ed Frezza housing expertManoj replied “What sorts of issues” as he walked over to the dining room to get a bottle of wine. “We never had any issues that I can recall. Do you?” he asked. “No, you’re right. We didn’t” she agreed. “It seems listening to her that the majority of the issues could have been avoided if they knew exactly what was expected of them as tenants, and what they could realistically expect from the landlord.

“And that is exactly the challenge that both recent immigrants and landlords have. In addition to all the work and preparation in getting to Canada, recent immigrants also have to familiarize themselves with the Canadian customs when renting a place” said Shalini. “I wish there were an easy way to clearly lay out the tenants and landlords obligation: replied Manoj.

Fortunately, this is not a difficult task and common sense covers most of it.

From a landlord’s perspective, he/she is simply looking to find a tenant that will:

  1. pay their rent in full and on time
  2. keep the place in good condition while they are occupying up to and including the day they move out
  3. respect the other building tenant’s rights to enjoyment of their premises

Recent immigrants have to familiarize themselves with the Canadian customs when renting a place.

And there are rules and regulations that outline what constitutes a violation. One need not be overly concerned with learning all these rules other than recognize that they were put in place to be fair and even handed to tenants and landlords alike. Common sense of acting in a manner that is respectful of your fellow tenant and landlord will go a long way in minimizing, if not avoiding any conflict.

From a tenant’s perspective, he/she is simply looking for:

  1. a clean and safe place for him and his family
  2. a caring and responsive landlord that will address any of the tenant’s concerns no matter how small or trivial they may be and respond in a manner that is a reflection of the seriousness of the concern
  3. treat the tenant, especially a recent immigrant, with the same respect and dignity as everyone else

Regrettably, there are stories of landlords that have taken advantage of tenants that are new to this country and not aware of the laws. For example, making postdated cheques mandatory or requiring more than one month’s deposit mandatory and a condition of the rental agreement are not only wrong but are illegal. A recent immigrant tenant may not be aware of this, and given their limited rental options, may succumb to this form of treatment.

It is incumbent on the tenant in understanding their rights in their respective province and making sure that they are being dealt with fairly. If the tenant feels that they are being taken advantage of, a quick call to the landlord and Tenant Self Help line should quickly resolve any question of the appropriateness and legality of the concern. Each Province is different but in Toronto for example, the tenant can call the Landlord and Tenant Board at 416-645-8080 during regular business hours.

Do you have a question for Ed about housing in Canada? Submit your question through the below form or send an email to [email protected] 

Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto.  He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.  His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio.  His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership.  This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.

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