Know Your Rights
- Never pay cash
- Damage deposits are illegal
- Your rent can only be increased once every 12 months and by no more than 1.6% in 2015
- You need to give your landlord at least 60 days written notice on the 1st of a month to tell them that you are moving out. If your lease ends on April 30, then you need to give written notice (email works) by March 1.
Rental Housing Surplus
- Guelph has a SURPLUS of rental housing geared to students. That means that Guelph has more rentals geared to students (all year long) than students looking for a place.
- Your lease is a legal contract
- You don't have to sign a new lease every year -- your lease continues automatically until you inform your landlord in writing that you are moving out.
- Get your lease reviewed by an Off-Campus Living Peer Helper before signing on the dotted line.
Entering Your Place
- Your landlord has to give you 24 hours notice in writing that they are going to your place between 8am and 8pm. The notice should include the specific time and the reason they are entering. (You don't have to be there.)
- If you have given your landlord written notice that you are moving out, they have to make an effort to tell you they are coming to show the place to new tenants, but 24 hours notice is no longer required.
- Your landlord has to keep the rental property in a good state of repair. If it's broken from everyday wear and tear, then they are responsible for fixing it.
All information provided is based on the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). You are covered as a tenant by the RTA if you do not share a kitchen or bathroom with a landlord or their immediate relative. The RTA protects your rights as a tenant.
The Top Ten Things You Should Know in Signing a Lease and Renting a House Off Campus
1. No Pets Clause
According to section 14 of the RTA, this clause is completely void (2006, c. 17, s. 14). A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you if you have a pet. BUT! There are limitations to this. If there is a severe allergy in the house, the pet interferes with reasonable enjoyment or the species/breed is inherently dangerous.
2. Can my landlord charge a security deposit?
According to section 105 of the RTA, a landlord cannot charge any kind of deposit other than a rent deposit (usually first and last is requested) (2006, c. 17, s. 105 (1)).
3. Don’t sign, unless you want to!
At the end of a yearly or fixed term tenancy, tenants do not need to resign a lease in order to stay in the unit. According to section 38 of the RTA, if a tenant does not give a notice of renewal or termination, the agreement becomes a month-to-month arrangement (2006, c. 17, s. 38 (1)).
4. My landlord says I can’t have guests?!
Your landlord cannot prevent you from having guests over (parties notwithstanding). As long as you abide by the City of Guelph property standards regulations, you are welcome to have people over and for as long as you please.
5. Can my landlord just come into the house whenever they please?
A landlord may enter a unit without written notice if you permit it or if there is an emergency. Otherwise, a landlord must provide 24h written notice. They must be entering the unit for a reasonable purpose (2006, c. 17, s. 27 (1)).
6. What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
As a tenant, you are responsible for
- The ordinary cleanliness of the unit
- Any damage you or one of your guests cause
- Not to harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with the landlord
- Not to change the locks
- To terminate the tenancy in accordance with the RTA (2006, c. 17, s. 33 – 36).
7. Ugh, my landlord/roommates/everyone sucks, how can I get out of my lease?
You are responsible for carrying out the terms of your lease agreement. This being said, if you want to leave your rental unit entirely and never come back you can assign your lease to another tenant. You need your landlord’s approval of the potential assignee (BUT! If they don’t respond within seven days you’re entitled to terminate the lease!)
8. Can my landlord charge extra $$ for late rent?
No. your landlord cannot charge you additional fees for paying rent late (2006, c. 17, s. 134 (1)).
9. Eek! My landlord is threatening to evict me? Can they do that?
Yes, your landlord can evict you, but there are certain constraints. Eviction can only happen for issues such as misrepresentation of income, not paying your rent, illegal acts (this includes drugs), undue damage to the unit (plus a few more). In order to evict you, they must have filed an application with the board. You will know that they’ve gone through with this because they will serve you an eviction on a form from the Landlord and Tenant Board.
10. Something is broken! What do I do?
Your landlord has a responsibility to keep your unit in a good state of repair that complies with health and safety standards. This means that they are responsible for fixing broken appliances or parts of the house. If your landlord refuses to fix something, you can file an application with the board to have them resolve the issue to ensure your rental unit is fixed (2006, c. 17, s. 20 (1)).
The information provided here is legal information only. It is not legal advice and is provided without any warranty of any kind and at the sole risk of the user.