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Renting your first home in Canada

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 and feel at ease.”

 

Your rights as a renter

 

Each province 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 that came into effect January 1st, 2007. This legislation is much more favourable to tenants than it is in Alberta.  Much of this has to do with the fact that Toronto, Ontario’s and Canada’s most populous city, has had a very low vacancy rate and the government created legislation to protect tenants. In Alberta by comparison, the vacancy level was never so low that similar legislation was necessary. The vacancy rates for the 6 largest Canadian cities are all currently under 2 per cent.

 

To learn more about different types of housing and how to search for rentals in Canada, join our webinar.

Renting your first home in Canada

 

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 which is a tremendous help. The site is a wonderful source of free and accurate information.

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 pertains to notices. 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.

Ed Frezza

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

Ontario: Landlord and Tenant Board

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 (TDSB) for the last 4 years.