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Renting your first home in Canada

 

Make sure you ask the landlord or superintendent when viewing a rental

 

    • Are utilities such as electricity, heat and water, and appliances such as the fridge, stove and washer/dryer, included in the rent?
    • If not, how much do they cost each month?
    • Is the rental furnished or unfurnished?
    • Can you upgrade the rental, such as painting or decorating?
    • Are pets and smokers permitted? Different provinces have different laws regarding pets.
    • Check the provincial/territorial fact sheets online at http://www.cmhc.ca for more information.
    • Is parking for your car available, and if so, is there an additional cost?
    • What are the other tenants like? Are they single people or families?
    • What is the neighborhood like? Is it safe?
    • Who maintains the property?
    • Can someone enter my apartment without my knowledge?
    • If you are considering an apartment, is there a storage locker or bicycle storage? Is it included in the rent and how secure is it?
    • What security systems are in place? What kinds of locks are used and have they been changed recently? How many sets of keys are there?
    • When do you need me to notify you of my move-out date?

 


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What to do when you enter the property

Once in the property, check to make sure everything works properly. Turn on the stove and oven; open the fridge and freezer. Run taps and flush the toilets.

Check closet space and look for any signs of water damage, holes in the carpet, mold or other problematic issues. Turn on heating and/or air conditioning to make sure they work.

In Canada, landlords can request the contact information for references, such as an employer or previous landlord who can confirm that you will be a good tenant. They can also ask about your job and income, as well as run a check on your credit history to ensure you can afford to pay the rent.

Landlords are not allowed to ask personal questions such as your ethnic background or religion, how long you have been in Canada, whether any relatives will be visiting, or whether you plan to have children or have more children.

 

Resources:

Ontario – What kind of questions can a landlord ask?

British Columbia – Starting a Tenancy

Alberta – Moving in, Residential tenancy agreements


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*¹ – The Scotiabank StartRight Program, created for Canadian Permanent residents from 0-3 years in Canada, International Students and Foreign Workers.