Posts in Kijiji Real Estate

Our Favorite Fall Vacation Rental Locations on Kijiji

Fall is a beautiful time to get away from the daily grind, and for some, it can be easier to get time off during the cool days of autumn than during the hot summer or winter. Though you may need some sweaters, there are many places to plan a beautiful and memorable getaway during the fall.

Cottage Vacation Rentals in Canada

Ontario. Get away to Lake Eerie & Pelee Island or Niagara region and enjoy a romantic wine tour, or travel to Muskoka and have a cozy time around the camp fire and canoeing before cottages are shut down for the season. Though you may not be able to work on your sun tan as during the summer months, the gorgeous fall foliage and cozy evening around the fire will more than make up for it.

British Columbia. Go for a walk along the ocean shoreline on Vancouver Island and enjoy the comparatively warm weather to the rest of the country, or fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and go hiking and fishing in the Kootenay Rockies.

The Maritimes. Eat fresh lobster by the seaside staying in a cottage on the Acadian Coast in New Brunswick, or hike in rugged Newfoundland and Labrador. Explore picturesque Lunenburg in Nova Scotia, or wiggle your toes in red sand and check out friendly Prince Edward Island.

Quebec. Get away from everything by renting a chalet in Mont Tremblant and going skiing, or party it up with friends in Montreal. Dreaming of a vacation in France? Quebec City has plenty of charm, no need to go overseas or update your passport.

Saskatchewan. Love to hunt or fish? Find a cabin in the land of the living skies to get away from the daily grind and reconnect with nature.

What is your favorite Canadian destination in the fall? Let us know in the comments!

The rights and responsibilities of a landlord in Ontario

Being a landlord can be an attractive investment, but it can also be a lot of work. With the role comes a lot of responsibilities and potential risks, which can vary from province to province across Canada. It’s important to do your research and know your rights before delving into the venture. In Ontario, landlords should be knowledgeable with the Residential Tenancies Act, which outlines lease agreements, landlords and tenants responsibilities, and other rights, rules and responsibilities relating to rental properties. Some of the responsibilities include providing a rental unit that complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards as well as keeping the home in good repair and providing access to vital services like hot and cold water, electricity, heat and fuel (e.g. natural gas). Taking ownership and pride in your investment will only help you reap the rewards and attract the right tenants. You must also provide your tenant with an information package outlining the basic rights and responsibilities.

Before becoming a landlord, you should also check to make sure your unit is legal. Some municipalities don’t issue permits for secondary suites like, for instance, basement apartments. If you build one anyhow and it is discovered, you could be forced to pay fines and take down the rental property. If you want to rent out a space that doesn’t meet the legal requirements, you will not have the same protections that a legally rented suite will have. If you want to rent out a space that does not meet safety code restrictions, do your renovations before renting to save yourself the potential liability nightmare.


Finding the right tenant

It’s no secret every landlord wants someone who will pay the rent on time and respect the rental property and a good way to achieve this is to create a screening process that will allow you to weed out the bad apples that may have a history of not paying the bills. A rental application is often used to ensure the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. It allows landlords to make direct comparisons between applications and also verify the information that was given to them.

Landlords have the right to use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, employment history, personal references and other similar business practices to help them make their decision on which tenant would be best suited for the rental property. They cannot however, select or refuse tenants based on race, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status (e.g. children) or disability. Familiarizing yourself with the Ontario Human Rights Code to learn about your own rights and that of a prospective tenant when it comes to choosing the right person to rent to will go a long way in helping you become a successful landlord.

Sealing the deal

Although landlords and tenants don’t necessarily need to have a written tenancy agreement or lease (a verbal agreement could be made), it’s in the best interest of both the landlord and tenant if there is one because it will act as a record should there be any kind of dispute later on that needs to be settled. You can also collect a rent deposit that is no more than one month’s rent. It must be requested on or before the day the tenant moves in and is solely used for last month’s rent before the lease ends.

Landlords also have the right to collect rent in full on the day it is due and increase the rent once during a 12-month period. If you need to complete maintenance or repairs or show the unit to a potential tenant you must let your tenant know 24 hours before you enter and send a note as to why you want to enter. It must also be between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. If there is an emergency however, you can enter the unit without necessarily needing permission (but it’s always a good idea to let the tenant know as soon as possible for good relations).

Other rights

One of the most difficult parts about being a landlord is exercising your right to evict a tenant. It’s never easy, but it’s sometimes necessary, especially if you have a tenant who isn’t paying their bills or has damaged your property. In most situations you have to issue a termination notice before taking other measures to get the tenant out of your rental suite. If you want to rent your unit to another person (or even a relative) or have decided to use the unit yourself, you need to give the tenant a notice of termination outlining the reason why. If you have a problem tenant however, the process can take a little longer. The termination notice you issue must state the number of days the tenant has to correct the perceived problem. You must then wait the set number of days to see if the issue has been resolved. If it hasn’t you can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is responsible for settling landlord and tenant problems. A hearing will be held for the application where a member of the Board will make a decision based on the evidence presented by the landlord and tenant. Landlords and tenants also have the option of having a mediator from the Board step in to help them reach their own agreement.

If a tenant refused to move out even with an eviction order issued, you can contact the Court Enforcement Office to carry out the eviction.

Things to consider
As a tenant, it might seem like landlords have an easy job, but there is a lot more to being a good landlord than collecting cheques every month. Not every property owner makes money on their rental apartments. Even with a good location and properly vetted tenants, many landlords have gaps between tenants, which makes making money difficult. If you are thinking of buying an investment property, make sure you can afford to carry it even if you aren’t able to keep the unit full at all times. Remember, appliances, decks, and roofs need servicing and replacing every so often. If you aren’t able to make fixes on the fly, consider hiring a property manager or keeping a trusted handy man (or woman) on speed dial. Issues with maintenance and long lags between a complaint and a fix can easily drive away the tenants you took so long to vet.

Sources and more information:
Landlord and Tenant Board
Human Rights Code
Landlord’s Self-Help Centre

Categories:Kijiji Real Estate

Back to School Scams to Watch Out For

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, students are facing many transitions. Many will be looking for a part time job that will be flexible enough to hold through the rigors of exam writing, and many post-secondary students are seeking affordable housing close to campus. The urgency of the situation can make you an easy target for those looking to victimize. Here are some tips from our resident fraud experts on how to avoid falling for fraud when you are heading back to school.

Avoiding back to school scams

Securing a Back to School Job
For most students in college or university (or who aspire to go), securing an income source is a big part of what will enable the budget to balance. Finding a job close to campus with flexible hours is a popular way to add some cash flow during the year. Working in retail, finding work in hospitality, babysitting on the side, or cleaning houses for money are all options that can supplement incomes part time that work with student schedules. Here is how to stay safe while looking for work:

Guard your personal information until you know who you are dealing with. Sending a resume to a legitimate company is no problem, but avoid sending out a resume with all your contact details and address to every ad you see. When dealing with anonymous ads, have a version of your resume that doesn’t give too much about yourself away. Wait until you get a reply from someone with a company name (if applicable) before sharing your contact details. Never share your social insurance number online.

Know the average wages for the field. Job scams generally will advertise a wage that is much higher than average for positions that don’t require much (if at all) in the way of specialized skills or training. Drivers, assistants, data entry, and secret shoppers are especially popular targets for fraud. Frequently, scam artists will post ads for positions at much higher pay than average, and will be in a rush to hire without an interview.

Never pay for a job. If the “job” involves start up costs, refunding “over paid” cheques, wiring money, or anything else that involves you sending or spending money, stay away! A real job will pay you, and won’t make you foot the bill for your own training or pay up front for a uniform or kit.

Check out more job ad red flags, or learn how students can improve their resume for more information on getting a part time position.

Finding Student Accommodations
With over 2 million unique monthly visitors, the Real Estate category on Kijiji has become an immensely popular destination for those seeking short-term or long-term rentals. It can be very difficult to secure accommodations in a new city, but don’t let panic get the best of you and allow yourself to be victimized by a fraudulent landlord. Here are some tips to ensure that moving day doesn’t end in tears:

Only deal with local landlords. The majority of scam artists operate out of foreign countries. The poster behind the ad might say they’re out of the country indefinitely, or that they won’t return until after you would need to agree to the rental (and pay up).

Never wire funds. As a prospective tenant, you should never be expected to send money in advance without having met the landlord or seen the rental unit. It’s crucial to physically visit any place you’re considering renting, rather than relying on scanned photos or website links – even if the apartment is real, there can be major shortcomings that are not clear without checking out the space.

Be skeptical of especially low rental prices. Check rental rates in the same area. Often, fraudsters will try to entice their victims with low prices. If the apartment you are looking at seems to have no flaws but is considerably under the median asking price for apartments of a similar size nearby, be on the alert, as it could be fraud.

Never share personal financial information. Some may be tricked by deceptive offers into sharing social insurance information, credit card and bank account numbers. Personal information can then be used by scam artists to open new bank or credit card accounts in your name. Legitimate landlords don’t need any of this information to do a credit check.

Trust your instincts. If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable or strange, the circumstances are more than likely too good to be true. Go with your gut and steer clear.

Check out more tips on identifying real estate rental fraud, how to land an apartment when vacancies are low, and how to budget for your first apartment for more information on student housing.

Finding Great Roommates That Fit Your Lifestyle

Whether you are starting a new school year, moving to a new apartment, or embarking on a new adventure across the country, finding roommates that fit your personality and lifestyle can be a tall order. How can you find a set of people to share your house with that you will remain compatible with?

Think long term. If you find yourself at the end of your lease with nowhere to go, its easy to work yourself into a panic, overlook red flags and move in without thinking it through. This could turn out fine – or, it could result in a disaster. If possible, start looking for a roommate about 2 months before you will actually need one. This should give you time to meet up with several possibilities, and think through the options carefully. If you have to find a new place on very short notice, consider subletting a place or a room until you have found a living arrangement that you feel comfortable with in the long term rather than signing a lease with someone less than ideal.

Know your own habits, and what you will put up with. As nice as it would be to live with someone who will clean up after you, if your room mate is a clean freak and you are a slob, it is not going to work out for either of you. Try to find someone with a lifestyle and preferences that match yours. If you prefer to stay at home, have alone time, and like the quiet, a party animal room mate or someone who is always entertaining is likely not going to be a good match.

Don’t overlook red flags. If all you want is a quiet place to read when you get home, and they keep talking about loving to jam on their drum kit, or watch tv all evening, you probably won’t be a good fit. If they have a history of unpaid debts don’t just assume they will pay you the rent on time. Don’t panic that you won’t find someone and settle for someone you will have friction with later.

Finding a Roommate that Fits Your Lifestyle

Be honest. Are you a very light sleeper? Are you always coming and going late at night? Does having meat in your fridge offend you? Do you love having parties at home? Be up front with your lifestyle so that both of you can make an informed decision on whether the fit is right.

Do a background check. Verify that their job is what they say it is, talk to former roommates, and do a credit check. Add them on social media if you can. People might display very different parts of their personality in an interview setting than they do on social media.

Make sure the space works for the arrangement. As cool as lofts are, a loft without defined bedrooms might not work so well when sharing with roommates, especially if they are loud. If you end up with the tiny bedroom and no space of your own, will that work with how you like to spend your time? Who should get that better bedroom, anyway? Will they pay increased rent?

Have you ever had a roommate that was not a good fit? Share your stories in the comments, or, find a new roommate on Kijiji!

Apartment Rentals Toronto

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