MBA Canada

Contracts for rent

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Rental contracts are designed to defend your interests as well as those of the landlord. As it is particularly the landlord or agent who gives the contract, it is important that you completely understand its implications.

Areas to look out for include:

  • Duration of contract: In general most leases last 12 months, during that time the owner cannot increase the rent. It is also essential to appreciate the notice periods that either you or the owner have to give in order to terminate the agreement.
  • Responsibility for household: Some utility services will be considered in the rent as water service; while you may be responsible of paying for other services such as: gas, electricity service.
  • Forfeiture: If you do not fulfill the contract you can be evicted of the property. Be sure you understand the rulers included in the contract.
  • Deposit: In every rental contract in Canada, the owner will demand the first and last month's rent to be paid in advance. The deposit is used to cover any damages you may cause, along with any outstanding debts you may have at the end of your tenancy.
It is often advisable to request the owner to check the property, draw up an inventory with you on the first day of your tenancy and take some pictures if it's possible. This decreases the possibility of being charged for damages not caused by you.

Where to obtain legal help or legal advice: If you are dubious about the terms of your agreement then it is highly prudent to seek for legal assistance. One reliable free source is the provincial rental housing tribunal such as the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (ORHT). This service provides independent and confidential advice face-to-face or by phone.

For more information see: Landlord and Tenant Board.

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