Rights As a Tenant in Ontario

Hunting for an apartment is tough, and it can feel like the landlords are holding all the cards. In Canada, there is a lot of protections for tenants, from being discriminated against when finding an apartment or a house to rent, to ensuring you don’t get taken advantage of when living at a rental or moving out. These vary from region to region, and even between cities there are some variations in what protections are extended. Here are the specific rights that you have as a tenant living in Ontario.

When looking for an apartment, while landlords can check that you have enough money to pay the rent, they are not allowed to discriminate based on how you get your money (for instance, employment insurance or social assistance). They can ask about your job, but cannot require that applicants have a job or work full time. Your S.I.N. number should not be requested, as some of the information on a S.I.N. could be used to discriminate, and it is not needed for renting housing.

Tenant Rights & Responsibilities

The human rights code prohibits discrimination on the following grounds:
• Race, colour, or ancestry
• Religion
• Place of origin, ethnicity, or citizenship
• Sex (including whether or not you are pregnant, gender identity), sexual orientation
• Age
• Marital status or family status
• Disability, or receiving public assistance

Rent deposits are legal, but only if they are requested on or before the day that the tenant moves in, and the amount can not be more than one month’s rent if renting per month (if renting by the week, it cannot exceed a week). The rent deposit can only be used as the last month’s rent, not as a damage deposit. Key deposits are legal only if they are refunded when the keys are returned, and the cost of a key deposit cannot exceed the price of replacing a key. If you damage your unit, the landlord can seek reimbursement for the costs to fix it, but only after damage has been done.

It is legal for the landlord to request information such as your current residence, rental history, employment history (and a letter of employment), personal references, or income information. Once you have moved in, if your apartment has cockroaches, bedbugs, mice, or any other pets, it is up to the landlord to get rid of them and to make repairs to stop more from coming in. Your landlord cannot revoke or interfere what is dubbed “vital services”, which includes access to water, electricity, and heat, even if your rent is overdue.

If a landlord needs to enter your unit, they need to give 24 hours written notice, citing the reason they need to enter (except in case of emergency or if you agree to let them in without notice). Tenants cannot change the locks without the landlords approval, or add additional locks that could stop the landlord from entering in the case of an emergency. Landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months, and must give 90 days notice before doing so.

Have something that needs fixing or another issue that requires their attention? First of all, you need to talk to your landlord about the issue. Keep a log of when you speak to them about issues, and what the issues are. Snapping some photos on your smart phone may come in handy as well if they are reluctant to make fixes. If your landlord is refusing to take action, don’t stop paying your rent; this could be grounds for eviction. If it is an issue that may impact other tenants, talk to your neighbors. If after repeated conversations the landlord still refuses, investigate wither the issue is violating local property standards or rental by laws. It is common for municipalities to have inspectors capable of ordering a landlord to make repairs or do clean up. If where you live does not have any inspectors, you have the option of bringing it to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. You can also bring your case before the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is effectively a specialized court designed to settle disputes between landlords and tenants. If you decide to bring it before the board, treat it like a court case, and bring lots of evidence. Any witnesses, photographs, recordings, reports, work orders, letters, agreements in writing, or any other evidence that will help make your case should be brought along. Prepare notes in advance with everything you want to bring up so you don’t omit certain details. The board could order your landlord to do repairs, return some rent, reimburse tenants for costs incurred to do the work themselves, pay to fix or replace property of the tenant that was damaged due to any issues, or pay expenses incurred due to the issue (for example, meals in restaurants due to issues with a fridge or stove).

If your rent cheque bounces, your landlord is within their rights to have you reimburse them for the charge the receive from the bank, as well as an additional admin fee of up to $20 (as well as the original rent which was not paid).

If you want to move out, you need to give at least 60 days of written notice if you are renting monthly or on a lease (on a lease you have to stay until at least the last day of the lease). A tenant and landlord can together decide to end a tenancy early, but if you do this, you should write a written agreement.

Sources & more information:
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
Community Legal Education Ontario
Landlord and Tenant Board
Ontario Human Rights Commission

Categories:Kijiji Real Estate

10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

There are many factors to consider when buying a used car. We want to make this decision a little bit easier to make, so we’ve come up with a simple infographic below that lists 10 important questions you should ask when shopping for a used car. Make sure you get as much of this information from the seller as possible to avoid any surprises.

kijiji used car infographic

Categories:Kijiji Autos

Tips for Savvy Garage and Yard Sale Shopping

If you’re a fan of shows like Storage Wars or Auction Hunters, you’ll understand the thrill of finding valuable treasure within heaps of what seem like useless goods and trash. Watching them sift through piles of old, sometimes unclassifiable junk only to uncover a rare collectible from the 70’s or a discontinued style of jeans that’s now worth a few hundred dollars makes us think of all the untapped potential that’s awaiting us in stranger’s homes in our own city or community.

Right now is prime garage or estate sale season! (For those who may not know, the simple difference between a garage sale and an estate sale is that an estate sale is where almost everything you see on the property is on sale, whereas a garage sale is more so a display of what the seller has decided to get rid of after carefully going through everything in the house.) As this season of garage and estate sales goes into full swing, here are ways to make sure you get the best deals and maybe even find your own Storage Wars-worthy treasure!

Tips on Getting the Most out of Garage Sales

1. Do your homework and get there early.

You may be out of school or enjoying a day off, but when it comes to scoring good deals at garage and estate sales, you have to be in the know and you should be there before everyone else. Sellers almost always go through media to advertise their sale, whether through Kijiji or through advertisements in the newspaper. People also post flyers on bulletin boards in local coffee shops and grocery stores. Once you’ve scouted out the sales you want to attend, you should get there early so you can beat out like-minded deal hunters and get first dibs on whatever it is you’re looking for.

2. Zero in on neighborhoods with the “vibe” you seek.

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover (and normally that’s good advice) but when it comes to garage and estate sales, this may be a tip you don’t have to follow to a T. While not 100% true all the time, the more upscale areas in your neighbourhood or city are probably more likely to have a larger amount of “high-end” treasure. Logically, this just makes sense. Now, this rule depends a lot on what it is you’re looking for. If you’re on a specific hunt for furniture, valuable jewelry, or larger ticket items, you’ll want to go to areas that you think will have the type of look or style you’re going for. On the other hand, if you’re just up for an adventure to find what you can find, then you can loosen the reins a bit and explore all neighborhoods.

3. Don’t be shy.

A lot of us cringe at the idea of haggling because it just seems rude to try and negotiate prices down. However, what you should know is that most sellers (especially at garage and estate sales) will ticket items higher in anticipation of negotiations from customers, so really, you’re just fulfilling your duties. Just remember, keep your negotiations polite, try to make conversation with the seller, ask questions about the item and maybe even the history of it, and if you’re not happy with the final price, just walk away and continue your search elsewhere! Don’t underestimate the power of walking away- playing a little hard to get can sometimes motivate the seller if they’re really looking to get rid of the item.

4. Be thorough.

The art of skimming is not your friend at garage and estate sales. Get your hands dirty and really dig through bins, baskets, and piles. Then, if you haven’t found much from your first walk around, take a second walk and carefully go over the items on sale again. The first time you go through a garage or estate sale, your eyes are still processing what you’re seeing, so walking through a second time gives you the chance to take in new things you probably missed the first time.

5. Make life easier for everyone.

This tip is short and sweet, and while it may seem like common sense, it’s worth mentioning: BRING CASH. The reality is a lot of us have gotten used to just carrying plastic around but that’s not going to work at a garage or estate sale since the average household doesn’t have a debit or credit card machine set up for your convenience. (Don’t forget, estate sales generally have higher-priced items, and while SOME may be set up to take credit card, it’s better to work under the assumption that they don’t, so bring cash accordingly.)

Ready to start treasure hunting? Find garage, yard, and estate sales all over Canada on Kijiji!

Categories:Community, Kijiji Tips

Local Heroes Inside Story: Lost And Found From 2000 Km Away

The power of community is something we celebrate each and every day here at Kijiji.

This week’s Inside Story is another tale of one family’s experience using Kijiji and the power of a connected community. While on vacation in Florida, the Cornelius family of London, Ontario left their neighbour Laura in charge of their family dog Dezy. Adopted from a shelter in Toronto when she was two, Dezy had become an important member of the clan, showing a strong affinity for children –especially after the Cornelius’ daughter was born.

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One evening Laura called Jaime Cornelius on her trip, to explain that Dezy had escaped the yard without her collar on. While this had happened before (Dezy returned home almost immediately) – Laura was unable to locate her this time. Sick with worry and unable to travel back immediately, the family posted an ad on Kijiji from Florida with the hope that someone with information might see it.

As it happened, a community member in London was passing through a park near the Cornelius’ house when she spotted Dezy and took her home. Figuring she was someone’s pet, the woman posted a found dog ad on Kijiji.

While Jaime and her husband didn’t see the found post, and the woman didn’t see the family’s lost dog post – it took a third Kijiji userthat evening to connect the dots after seeing both ads. After notifying the Cornelius family by replying to their ad and providing the found listing; the Cornelius’ graciously thanked the woman and arranged to have Laura pick Dezy up the next morning.

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As Jaime recalls, “Unexpected to both of us, my husband teared up when saying thank you [to the rescuers]. How can you express the importance of family dog? I’m sure every family thinks that their dog is the best in the world; but if we had lost Dezy, especially while being away, we would have been devastated.”

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That evening, more than one Local Hero was making a difference in London. It’s a great reminder that helping your community doesn’t mean you have to be a caped crusader; all it takes is a little caring and the willingness to be a good neighbour. Dezy (and Kijiji) salute you for it.

Has someone helped return something special you’ve lost? Submit their Local Hero story today!

Funny Ad Hall of Fame

A well written classified ad can make you see a product in a new light. After the snow blower ad that garnered national attention in 2011, we’ve seen tonnes of hilarious attempts to sell items. We post many of them on the official Kijiji Canada Facebook page as we find them. Here are just a few of our favorite funny ads from the past few years.

funny-PBJ

funny-treadmill

funny-nailer

funny-bieber-fever

funny_used_big_mac

funny_trailer

funny_time_travel

funny_sask

funny_roll_up

funny_ring_enchanted

funny_fartcan

funny_dumpster

funny_dragon_slayer

funny_boyfriendboat

funny_ashtray_car

funny_ark

funny_ants

funny_maple_moose

funny_garbadge

What was your all time favorite Kijiji ad? Let us know in the comments!

Categories:Hall of Fame