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Guide for Tenants


So you’re looking for a place to rent but don’t know where to start? Should you check the paper or use the free online sites and what are your rights as a tenant? This guide will hopefully answer some of these questions. However, did you know you could also use my services to find you a place to rent? And it’s free? Well read on and then decide whether or not you want to go it alone or use me as your Realtor.

Types of Units Available

There are many types of units available for rent in the city of Toronto and the GTA. From condos to homes to basement apartments. Whatever you end up choosing you’ll want to make sure it will fill your needs and suit your lifestyle. Does it need to be close to transportation? Who pays the maintenance fees and the utilities? Do you need a furnished unit? Is parking included? All these and many more questions must be answered in order to find the place that is right for you.

When and Where Should You Start Looking?

You’ll want to start your rental search within two months of needing a place. Too far ahead or too soon and you’ll have less units to choose from.

There are several online sites such as Kijiji and Craiglist that you can use to find a rental property but be warned. Many of these units have not been vetted so you won’t be sure what you’re getting into until you visit the place and speak with the landlord. Never give a deposit without viewing the unit first. Even if there is pressure from the landlord to “rent it fast before it’s gone”.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph you can also use the services of a Realtor for free as the commission paid to us is typically paid by the landlord. Having negotiated many leases for clients I can sometimes negotiate a better monthly rent than the advertised price and include favourable terms in the lease that you may not be aware of. Without cost to you of course.

What’s in a Lease?

A lease is a document that outlines how much rent you will pay, how long you are obligated to stay in the unit, and the rules and conditions under which you agree to occupy the property including smoking, pets, decorating, responsibilities, and so on. Leases are typically signed for one year or more in length and you will switch to “month to month” once it is completed, unless a new lease is then agreed upon. If no lease is in place you are required to give the landlord 60 days notice before moving out.

Can I do Something to Guarantee Acceptance as a Tenant?

You can’t do anything to “guarantee” acceptance as a tenant but there are certainly things you can do to make the landlord’s decision easier.

– Have a current job letter available indicating employment.
– Have references available and let them know that someone may be calling.
– Have a list of previous addresses available for the rental application.
– Have a current credit check. If there are errors (a common occurence) be sure to contact the credit company to have it corrected.
– Submit post-dated cheques if possible.
– Have first and last month’s rent in the form of a bank draft or certified cheque.

When it comes to pets you can be refused a rental but you cannot evicted for having a pet. Condo rules will supersede the Act.


Both you and the landlord have obligations to follow when it comes to renting property.

The landlord cannot evict you if you are under lease if the reason is to to sell the unit or to move into the unit themselves. If selling the unit the new owner must continue to honor the lease as agreed to. However, if you are on a month to month lease they may give you 60 days notice informing you that they are selling the unit or are moving into the unit. They may not ask you to leave to simply to rent to someone else.

The landlord has the right to enter the unit for repairs or maintenance provided 24 hours notice is given. Same applies to showing the unit to prospective buyers or renters.

In terms of rent increases, there is a misconception out there that rent increases can only occur once per year up to Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is only true if the building was built prior to November 1st 1991. If built afterwards, the landlord can increase the rent to whatever they like provided the proper 90 day notice is given and there is no lease in place.

If you need someone to represent you in finding a rental unit that suits your needs contact me. Remember, there is no cost to you, the tenant.