Posts in Kijiji Real Estate

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!

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

How New Landlords can Protect Themselves from Problem Tenants

Everyone’s heard the horror stories about bad tenants first hand or through the grapevine, they can cause damage, cost money and sour your experience as a landlord. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid turning these nefarious tales of tainted tenants into reality.

Better safe than sorry: Rental Application Forms – This is the first and most important step in finding a great tenant because it tells you about their rental history, lifestyle, employment, friend and family references and other details that may help characterize the potential renter. Always check the facts and if you don’t get the right information, request more or move on. If information on the application sounds unlikely or fishy, it probably is so don’t reel this one in.

Protecting your interests: Move-In Inspection Report & Tenancy Agreement

A move in report is an essential step to protecting your interests, it’s even required in some provinces prior to move-in. This report should be created during a walkthrough with the tenant prior to move in, details are important to note because this will be the basis for resolving any disputes that arise from damage caused by the tenant. Similarly, a tenancy agreement sets the tone for the relationship between the tenant and landlord. There are many free online agreement templates but to best protect your interests it’s prudent to consult your local landlords organization, they often have great resources available.

Do your research: Short term gains can equal long term pains

Due diligence is your best friend. Before jumping into landlord/tenant relationships learn as much as you can. This is a job, the dwelling is your asset and rental income is a part of your future. You wouldn’t gamble with any of these in your day to day life so don’t roll the dice on this one; hedge your bets and protect your interests.

For more resources in Ontario and across Canada this is a great place to start!

Renting in a Landlord’s Market: Scoring a Great Apartment when Vacancies are Down

Low vacancy rates are great news if you are a landlord, but significantly less so if you find yourself searching for a new apartment. Finding a good apartment at a reasonable price is significantly more difficult when rental units have a low vacancy rate. Not only will the prices for accommodation be higher, but the competition between renters to land a choice apartment can get fierce. What do you need to do to land a great pad when vacancy rates are low?

Finding a Great Apartment When Vacancy Rates are Low

Be realistic. If you are moving out of your parents’ house, moving into a new city, or switching to a more central or expensive neighborhood, you may be in for a shock at the size of apartment your budget gets you, or the sticker price to live somewhere up to your current standard. Spend some time browsing apartments similar to what is within your budget on Kijiji before going to a showing so you have a good idea of what the market is like before you start going for showings – that way, you can identify a good deal when you come across one.

Separate wants from needs. Before seeing any apartments, figure out what you consider absolute must haves, and what you can live without. Is central air conditioning really a must have if you see a great unit that has good airflow? Do you need in unit laundry if there is a Laundromat in the building? Knowing what you will and will not compromise on before your search will help you make decisions on a tighter timeline.

Figure out the prices of all the things you think you need. Maybe you feel you need access to an underground parking spot, but have you looked into what the cost is for street parking in your city? How does the premium of having a reserved spot compare to a monthly parking pass in the area of the building? If parking is easy to come by in the blocks near your apartment, is it really worth shelling out the difference?

Be prepared to act. If you see a great place, assume landlords are telling the truth when they say they have a lot of interest. If you want to move in, be prepared to negotiate and lock down the agreement on the spot. Research what is standard in your province for documents required to sign a lease, and bring it with you to every showing. This may include a copy of your credit report, a letter of employment, bank statements or pay stubs, and the contact information of your current or past landlords. A reference letter from a prior landlord stating that you were a good tenant and paid on time may help you be more competitive as well.

Familiarize yourself with signs of rental fraud and local laws. Scams become more common when the competition for apartments is tight, because fraudsters know people are under pressure to lock down a good deal. Similarly, unscrupulous landlords may demand things that they have no right to, such as cash deposits before any binding agreement is signed. Be wary of any requests for cash or other similarly untraceable transactions. Stick to cheques, credit cards, certified cheques, and other traceable forms of payment, and never send money online for an apartment that you haven’t seen.

No Pets Allowed? What You Need to Know About Pets & Rentals

No Pets Allowed at your Rental?

Finding a pet friendly rental can be difficult. Even landlords that are friendly to animals in their own home may place restrictions on pets such as by type, size, or temperament. Based on where you live, the no pets clause may not be legally binding, or, it may enough to get you evicted if you break it. It’s always a good idea to make sure landlords are on board with pets, especially if you live in close quarters with them or with other tenants, but what if they aren’t? The recourse and laws vary by province:

Alberta Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to someone with pets. Pets could lead to an eviction if there is a no pets clause in the agreement, as this would be considered a breach of contract. Size and number of pets can also be restricted in the agreement. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

British Columbia Rentals: Landlords can bar you from keeping pets, as well as place restrictions on the sizes permitted, what type of pets, and the number of pets you can keep. However, there have been cases where the pets clause was too broad, and found not to be enforceable. If the clause is so vague that even keeping a single fish in a bowl would be a violation, it may not be binding. Source & more information at the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch Website and Fact Sheet.

Manitoba Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to those with pets, and no pets clauses are binding. Landlords must issue a breach of tenancy agreement notice requiring that the pet be re-homed before an eviction notice is sent to a tenant. If a pet is damaging the property or disturbing the other tenants, that is also grounds for eviction. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

New Brunswick Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to people with pets, and if there is a no pets clause, they could be evicted, but infractions are dealt with on a case by case basis. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

Newfoundland Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to people with pets. If pets are permitted by the tenancy agreement, or not mentioned specifically, the apartment is pet friendly. If the rental agreement states that pets are not allowed, the landlord can give the tenant written notice to comply with the agreement, and if they do not, they could be evicted.

Nova Scotia Rentals: Landlords can restrict pets if they are included in the landlord’s rules (which must be reasonable and for the purpose of fairness, safety, comfort, welfare, or protection of property). The rules must apply equally to all tenants, and all must be given a copy of the rules prior to signing the lease. If the landlord wants to introduce restrictions, they must give 4 months notice to existing tenants prior to their signing of a new lease. If these requirements are met, the landlord can seek to terminate the tenancy of the residents if they have pets. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

Ontario Rentals: No pets clauses are not considered legally binding, except in select cases. Even if you have signed a lease with a clause specifying that no pets are allowed, you can only be evicted due to having a pet if your pet is dangerous, or causing allergic reactions or problems for other tenants or the landlord, which requires a written order from the Landlord and Tenant Board to result in action being taken against a tenant. Source & more information at

Prince Edward Island Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to tenants with pets, and may include a “no pets” clause in the lease, which can lead to termination of the rental agreement if breached, but this does not apply to tenants who pre-date the agreement. Only new tenants will be subject to an introduced no pets agreement, not those who have been living there before it was introduced. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

Quebec Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to tenants with pets. If pets are not mentioned in the lease, they are allowed, provided that they are not prohibited by the by-laws of the building or residence in question, as the by-laws are considered part of the lease. If a tenant has a pet in spite of them not being allowed, they can be evicted, if the landlord can demonstrate that they cause a serious injury. The landlord also has the option to apply for a court order requiring the tenant to get rid of the pet. Source & more information at the CMHC website.

Saskatchewan Rentals: Landlords can refuse to rent to a tenant with pets. If pets are permitted in the tenancy agreement or not mentioned, the rental can be considered pet friendly. If a tenant has pets despite not being permitted to as per the terms of the lease, they must be given a fair warning to rehome the pet, but if they do not, they may be evicted. A reasonable pet fee of pet deposit may be charged, but it must be specified in the lease, however, the total security deposit, including a pet deposit, cannot exceed the price of one month’s rent; if it does, any portion of the fee above the mark of one month’s rent is immediately refundable to the tenant, and can be deducted from regular rent payments. Sources & more information at The Government of Saskatchewan Website and the CMHC.