If you are new to Canada, one of the first things you will probably need to do is find a place you and your family can call home.
There are several different types of rental housing available in Canada.
Your choice of House or Condo will probably depend on how much you can afford to pay each month in rent.as a general rule, your entire monthly housing costs should be less than 30 per cent of your household income before taxes.
Before you go to look at a place you might want to rent, prepare a checklist. Some of the points you should consider in your checklist:
While you are there, check to make sure everything is in good working order. Make sure the front door locks properly. Turn on the stove and oven, and open the refrigerator and freezer to make sure they work properly. Turn on the taps and flush the toilet(s). Make sure there is enough closet space. Ask whether the heat works, and if the home will be warm enough in the winter.
In Canada, landlords can ask you for letters of reference (letters from past landlords that recommend you as a good tenant). They can also ask you where you work and what your income is, and conduct a credit check to make sure you can pay the rent.
But landlords are not allowed to ask personal questions such as how long you have been in Canada, what your ethnic background or religion is, whether any relatives will be visiting you, or whether you plan to have children (or have more children). Every province has different laws, so contact your provincial/territorial rental authority to find out the rules.
A rental deposit is usually demanded by the landlord in order to use all or part of the deposit to cover any damages to the property caused by the tenant (not Ontario) or to cover rent should a tenant fail to make a rent payment. The legal limit for deposit and the type of deposit allowed will vary from province to province. A tenant may also be able to get interest on the deposit when the tenancy ends or is terminated. Check with your local Landlord and Tenant Board to get up to date information on your rights.
In Ontario, for example, a landlord can demand a rent deposit equal to one month’s rent, or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less. If the rent payments are made weekly, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent. If the rent payments are monthly, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. However, it is illegal for a landlord in Ontario to demand a security deposit, for potential damages to a rental unit.
The rules regarding these deposits are however different in each province, so be sure to check with your provincial/territorial rental authority to find out more.
On the day you move in, check the house or apartment thoroughly and make note or take a photograph of any damage you find, such as water stains or holes in the carpets or doors. Make sure your landlord signs the list of damages, and keep a copy of it for your records.
Ask your landlord or the superintendent to go over the rules and instructions for getting your mail, using the intercom (apartment building), garbage and recycling, laundry, tenant and visitor parking, and how the appliances work.
Unfortunately, rent increases are a fact of life. The frequency and amount that your landlord can increase your rent is different in each province and territory. In most areas, your landlord must give you 90 days’ notice of a rent increase. In some parts of Canada, your rent can be increased only on the anniversary of the date you first moved in. Usually, landlords can increase your rent only once each year, and only by a certain maximum amount set by your provincial or territorial government. If you have not been given proper notice, you may be able to refuse to pay the rent increase until the landlord gives you the proper notice.
When you first move into a house or apartment, you probably signed a lease for a fixed term, such as for one year. At the end of that year, depending on which province or territory you live in, the terms of your lease may change from one year to “month-to-month.” A month-to-month lease means that, after the first year, your lease is now renewed on a monthly basis. With a month-to-month lease, you are still protected from being illegally evicted. But it is easier for you or your landlord to end your tenancy, provided enough written advance notice is given, and the proper steps are followed.
Eventually, you will want to move out of your rental house or apartment. Perhaps you will buy a home of your own, or maybe you just want to make a change. When you are ready to leave, there are certain things you should do before you move out.
First, before you move out, you have to let your landlord know that you are leaving. This is called "giving notice."
You need to give written notice to your landlord. You can do this by filling out a form from the Landlord and Tenant Board or by writing a letter that includes specific information.
How much time or notice you have to give your landlord depends on your rental agreement:
When you give notice, you have to let your landlord know what day you want to end your tenancy. This must be the last day of the rental period. For example, if you pay rent by the month, the last day of your tenancy must be the last day of the month.
Before moving out, clean your apartment thoroughly and repair any damage. Then, inspect the property with your landlord. Both you and your landlord should sign and keep a copy of this final inspection checklist. If the property passes your landlord's inspection, you are entitled to receive a refund of any damage.
If you are new to Canada and are interested in buying your first home, I can help.
Let's get you started with some basic information.