Do You Know Your Rights as a Renter

By: Joshua Campbell

Do You Know Your Rights as a Renter

Tags: renting, tenant, landlord, lease, legal, real estate

3 minute read.

After weeks of searching, you’ve finally done it – you’ve found the rental of your dreams. It has impressive windows that let in plenty of light, provides fantastic amenities, and is centrally located – making getting to work or school an absolute breeze thanks to its proximity to local transit.

Understandably, you’re eager to sign the lease agreement so you don’t risk losing it to anyone else. You’re so anxious to sign the lease, that you almost disregard the landlord’s laundry list of inappropriate questions.

This eagerness can cost you if you’re not careful. You may feel obliged to answer their queries, not wanting to leave the fate of your rental property in limbo; but did you know that the Ontario Human Rights Code and the new Standardized Residential Lease Agreement (effective April 30/2018) prevents landlords from asking certain questions?

According to the OHRC and the new SRLA, questions, topics of discussion, and inclusions in rental/lease agreements that violate these laws include:

·      Your race, or ethnic background.
·      Religious beliefs and/or practices
·      Ancestry
·      Place of Origin
·      Sex (including gender identity or pregnancy)
·      Marital status, including individuals with a partner of the same-sex
·      Disability
·      Sexual orientation
·      Age
·      Receipt of public assistance
·      Guest attendance and duration of stay
·      Making property or unit maintenance part of the tenancy
·      Requirements for damage deposits
·      Charging interest on missed or late rental/lease payments
·      Demanding more than one month’s rent in advance of occupancy

Now that you know what a landlord can’t ask you, let’s look at what questions they can ask you without infringing on your rights:

What is your income?
Landlords can ask you questions about your income, and they can also request supplementary proof to support your income – including if you work, where and how much you earn. In the circumstance of student tenants who may not have a steady income, landlords may ask you for a guarantor.

How many people will you be living with?
Some properties are not equipped to house a certain number of people and landlords can be held accountable and have them facing substantial penalties.

Who are your references?
References will serve to aid you in establishing your character and assist property-owners to recognize squatters from responsible tenants. Choose your references wisely; you don’t want to compromise your eligibility for a property because of a horrible reference.

In conclusion, when you’re looking for a rental, you should work closely with a professional and knowledgeable Realtor. Know your rights and come prepared with questions.
Need some help finding and securing the perfect rental? Give us a shout!

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JOSHUA CAMPBELL (@knowledgebrkr)
Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Centre, Brokerage
249 Avenue Road • Newmarket, ON L3Y 1N8




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