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Canada Renter Rights Overview

Canada is a beautiful country that has very similar tenant-landlord laws to US statutes. However, there are some key differences that you’ve got to know as a Canadian renter.

As our platform expands to operate worldwide, we’re excited to expand our regular section of tenant rights. Our goal is to become the first place for tenants from all over the world to come for rental law advice, tips, and just help. Today, we’ll start a series of extensive articles reviewing Canadian tenant-landlord laws.

Let’s start with the fundamentals of rental laws in Canada and move from there.

Lease and Rental Agreement in Canada Explained

Canadian laws define two types of rental agreements (also referred to as ‘lease agreements’ or just ‘leases’):

  • Written agreement
  • Oral agreement

While some US states require you to have a written agreement, all the provinces in Canada allow you to choose the oral agreement if you want. Both types define your fundamental rights as a tenant.

However, it’s always a smarter idea to have a written agreement. That’s the most secure way to ensure that all of your conflicts with a landlord will be resolved much faster in court. Unfortunately, it gets too complicated when you have to prove something that’s not stated in the written form, and you just have verbal assurance from your landlord.

Expert Tip: Some provinces require you to provide the document confirming that you started a landlord-tenant relationship with your landlord. Make sure you comply with the local laws of your city and province when you find yourself an apartment for rent in Canada.

Credit & Background Reports in Canada

Credit scores became an essential part of everyday life for the citizens of the free world, and Canada is not an exception. When a landlord wants to gather more information about you, he can run a tenant screening to check your credit score and background check.

This information helps him to make up his mind and decide whether he wants to rent out his place to you.

Credit score gets calculated considering the following information from your financial history:

  • Rent payments and regular bill payments
  • How you use your Credit Card
  • Your employment history
  • Where you live

How Can I Check My Credit Score in Canada?

By mail (for free)

Online

In case you want to have a higher credit score and do not have a credit card, you should consider getting one. Using it and paying your credit on time ensures a good score.

Expert tip: It’s quite easy to damage your credit score by missing your rent payment or not paying your bills on time. However, it takes a lot of time to change it and restore the good number. So make sure you take it seriously and act responsibly.

Security Deposit Laws

The security deposit laws vary depending on the province. In most cases, it’s equal to the last month’s rent payment.

For example, in Quebec, you are not obligated to pay the security deposit at all, so make sure you review the local laws before you rent.

In most cases, landlord is allowed to use the security deposit money to cover the damages that occurred during the lease.

Note that your security deposit should be deposited to the interest-bearing account and your landlord is obligated to pay you the interest after the lease expires.

When your landlord takes the security deposit cheque, he’s obligated to disclose the following information:

  • The cheque amount
  • Rental property address and/or unit
  • Name of your landlord
  • His/Her phone number
  • Name on the cheque (who accepted it)

Rental Payment Laws

You’re obligated to pay your rent on the exact date stated in your lease agreement. Even if you pay a day later, it’s considered a late payment and penalties can apply.

As for the late payment penalties, they vary depending on the province. The usual practices are:

  • Offering a short period to fix it
  • Applying a reasonable money penalty
  • Sending a notice of eviction (it will not be valid after you pay the rent amount you owe)

Laws state that you can send your rent payments by cheque, bank transfer or using cash.

What About Roommates and Pets in Canadian Rentals?

Moving in with a roommate complicates your everyday life, but saves you a lot of money. Make sure you highlight the most important rules and fundamental guidelines with your future roommate before you move in together:

  • Who pays the utility bills?
  • Who is responsible for the rent and utility payments if the second tenant moves out?

You should also discuss some rules regarding parties, friend sleepovers, loud music, and other important issues. We have a detailed guide on what you should know before you move in with a stranger.

Most of the provinces allow landlords to refuse you because of your pet. Unfortunately, it’s always up to them to decide whether they’re ready to welcome your beloved pet in their rental.

Where Can I Get Help as a Renter in Canada?

We have gathered the best-verified sources of Canadian rental laws. Just choose your province and access the official tenant-landlord statutes of your city:

Canada has a healthy regulatory environment that offers protection and comfortable conditions for tenants. Low crime rates, high standards of living, and an inclusive environment make it a great place to settle down. Check out properties in Vancouver, one of the world’s most livable cities, or if you are craving a small-town feel, go apartment-hunting in Victoria and Surrey. In case you want to reside in a town with French charm, take a look at residences in Montreal.

1 Comment

  1. Bruce Pinkney says:

    A handshake , should be the normal way to conduct ourselves.
    The land lord tenant , is a difficult procedure , for my personal experience .
    I’ve just finished getting a tenant out of my house , and he cost me a few thousand dollars and serious damage to my property.

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