Moving out and tenant rights

Understand your rights under the Landlord & Tenant Act.

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Moving away from home for the first time can be both exhilarating and downright scary. If you’re thinking, “Gotta get out, gotta get out,” you may be tempted to grab whatever you can get. If you’re thinking, “OMG how am I ever going to do this?” you’re hesitation could let some good opportunities slip by.

Renting is the first choice for most of the newly independent. Make sure you understand the Landlord and Tenant Act so you know your rights. My daughter was surprised to find that a “security deposit” isn’t legal in Ontario. She was asked for, and gave, one. But now she knows she can apply to have her landlord refund it.

After cost–you know what you can comfortably afford, right?–location is the number one criteria for how you’ll choose where to live. Will you want to be near to work? Will you need to be close to transit? If you have a car, what will it cost to park? Where’s the closest grocery store?

Once you’ve narrowed down your location choices, make sure you know what to expect. Visit the location a couple of times at different times of the day so you can hear how noisy it is when you’re trying to sleep. Trains, planes and automobiles mean not opening your windows in the spring, summer and fall when you’d love the fresh air and cool breezes.

Safety has to be top of your list. Will you feel safe coming home at night? If not, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to work “taxi” into your budget.

Don’t be so quick to jump at a great location and what appears to be a terrific apartment that you don’t look hard for the flaws. Do all the appliances work? Turn on the taps, look at the drains, look under the cupboards at the plumbing; do you see any signs of leaks? Are there laundry facilities or are you going to have to haul your skivvies out for a date? Where’s the closest laundromat? Do you see any signs of pests, like mousetraps in cupboards? My daughter’s first rental came with bats. She got bitten and had to take several very painful shots to ensure she didn’t end up with rabies.

Ultimately, you’ll want to get the best bang for your buck. If utilities aren’t included in the rent, you’ll need to get an estimate of what they are, and you’ll need to budget for the hook-up costs of establishing a new account.

Don’t forget tenant’s insurance, which is relatively inexpensive, and will cover you for theft, fire and liability, should you ever be held responsible for damage to someone else’s property or for injury.

Walk around the building and smell the air. Walk around the neighbourhood and see what you like and what makes your Spidey-senses tingle. Know what you need and what you want. If having lots of light is a must-have for your sanity, don’t go looking at dark and dingy basement apartments no matter how great the price or location. Moving costs money, so find a place you can live in for more than a minute.

6 comments on “Moving out and tenant rights

  1. Good and useful advice! Yes, I agree – rental houisng must be a posibility for the young, as well as for all others who might like to opt for the flexibility of being a renter. But whoever rents his/her accommodation, security of tenure must be assured.
    /M. Hammar International Union of Tenants, Stockholm Sweden

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  2. In Ontario, tenants have more rights then landlords so I would agree that you should be fully aware of what they are. I came very close to investing in real estate and becoming a landlord but killed the idea when I started doing due diligence. While the upside can be great if you have good tenants, the downside can be far greater (financially and emotionally). One bad tenant can wipe you out if you are a small landlord. I think this has led to many landlords becoming militant with demands before letting people into their properties. I agree with the things to look for in a rental that the article mentions. But also get a feel for the landlord. After looking at the property talk to the landlord. What is his or her behaviour, do they enjoy what they do and have pride in their property? In the end most landlords are good hard working people who only want you to take good care of your apartment and pay the rent on time.

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  3. Some of us have been looking at renting as an option for the retired or condos,I have a kid that will cut the grass and shovel my snow for 200.00 a season. I think its costing me $400.00 a month(land taxes,heating,hydro)fully renovated,was talking to a friend he's paying 500. condo fees.I've been in my house since 87,I've known tradesman all my life,paid $15,000. in renos so far,I'm not moving.

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  4. why don't you give tips to landloards to get rid of bad tenants

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  5. This article is named "Moving Out and Tenants Rights". I did not read anything on the moving out part and waht are our responsiblilities at that time. For example in Ontario how many days notice do I have to give my landlord. If I am on a month to month basis now, how many days do I have to notify my landlord or are they the same amount of time. What are my responsibilities to the property on moving day? I know that I am supposed to leave the floors clean, the place should be as clean as the day we moved in. Right? In most cases leaving it clean and tidy is the best anyone can do. However in the 5 years we have been here we have done a few things to make it warmer, like insulating the garage area. We had permission from the landlord to do this. We have some big concerns with this house. We don't want the next tenant to go through what is potencially a hazard in this house (electrical).
    The building code of Ontario states that for wiring purposes you are only allowed 12 appliances per ciircuit. We have counted up to 18 on one circuit. They tried to blame it on my microwave being to old.
    There are other concerns with this property as well. Any advice on this would be appreciated.
    Thanks.

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  6. Nice information! Yes before stepping in the home where you want to live. Check the rules and regulations because if not It will leave you alosser at the end. You must make sure of everything before you decide to live in the arae. Thanks for this..

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