When you arrive in Canada, renting suitable housing will be a top priority, and knowing your rights as a renter will be helpful.
Manoj just got off the phone with a friend who already lives in Canada and who was sharing his experience as a renter. Sensing the end of the call Shalini asked, “So how do they like renting?” Manoj casually replied, “Well, they’ve had a good experience. Their landlord is nice and if they have any questions about their legal rights, there is a handy hotline number they can call for free advice.”
Know your rights as a renter
Each province and territory has Landlord and Tenant legislation and the rules and regulations vary by province. For example, in Ontario, Canada’s largest province, there is legislation called the Residential Tenancies Act.
Ontario’s legislation is more favourable to tenants than it is in Alberta. Much of this has to do with the fact that Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has had a very low vacancy rate. So the provincial government created legislation to protect tenants. But in comparison, the vacancy level was never so low that similar legislation was necessary. The vacancy rates for the six largest Canadian cities are all currently under 2 per cent.
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The Landlord and Tenant Board (Ontario) was created to provide information about the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. In this way, the tenant has a say and can be heard. And this is an important benefit to renters. The site provides free and accurate information for renters.
Of particular help is a full listing of various forms that landlords and tenants use for things such as:
- rent rebates
- maintenance issues
- subletting or assigning, or
- giving a landlord notice that you as tenant are going to terminate the tenancy and vacate.
There are specific guidelines when it comes to giving notice. For example, a tenant has to give their landlord formal written notice via a Form N9 of their intention to terminate a tenancy and vacate and this minimum notice period is 60 days in Ontario. It might seem confusing, so it may be helpful to spend some time to get familiar with the laws related to residential tenancy issues. When you know your rights as a renter, this will protect you from being taken advantage of by landlords.
…spending a minimal amount of time will enable a newcomer to quickly familiarize oneself with the laws pertaining to residential tenancy issues.
To start, look up the legislation for the province you wish to locate to and visit their web site. They have been very well written and laid out to make them very user friendly.
When Manoj visited the site, he quickly realized that it wouldn’t take too long to understand the legal and business customs of renting a place to live.
Landlord Tenant Boards in Canada:
Alberta: Residential Tenancies Act
British Columbia: Residential Tenancies
Manitoba: Residential Tenancies Branch
New Brunswick: Landlord and Tenant Services
Newfoundland: Landlord & Tenant
Nova Scotia: Residential Tenancies Program
Prince Edward Island: Landlord and Tenant Act
Quebec: Régie du logement
Saskatchewan: Landlords and Tenants
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.