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Rental Season Part 2: You’ve Moved In

April 28, 2021
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In our last article, we went over the best questions to ask before you sign a residential lease, and how to avoid being scammed. Today, we’ll go over what happens when you’ve done your due diligence, found the perfect place, and now you want to know your rights. Here are some common situations for renters and how to solve them.

You Want Your Deposit Back

It can be extremely frustrating to find a new place and be stuck fighting with your last place. The rules on landlords asking for and returning various deposits – for rent, security, keys/access cards, pets, etc. – are complicated, and as always, depending on where you live. Some provinces forbid deposits altogether (Quebec), while others like Ontario, don’t allow security deposits but rent deposits and key deposits are OK. Most important is that you ask for a receipt for each deposit – and get in touch with us so we can help you sort it all out.

You’ve received a renoviction notice

This term has been used a lot in the past few years. It is a combination of “renovation” and “eviction” and it means you’ve been asked to leave your apartment because the landlord has major renovations to undertake. Sometimes, renters receive a knock at the door or a letter asking them to leave almost immediately. Sadly, because many tenants don’t know their rights, they leave, despite having a valid lease and rental regulations to rely on.

What can you do?

A landlord cannot evict you just like that. There are rules to follow. And although they vary from province to province, in general, you should be given proper advanced written notice and the option to stay while the renovations are undertaken. And if the reno is too big or noisy to live with, the landlord should compensate you for leaving. Plus, you should be given right of first refusal (first dibs) on the unit once the work is complete. In BC, for example, the landlord is required to give you four months’ notice to end the tenancy and you can dispute it by responding within 30 days, among other formalities. 

Because the rules vary from place to place and there are a number of processes involved (notices, forms, deadlines, etc.), count on us to guide you through the process. 

You’re Surrounded By Smoke

You love everything about your new place except you can smell your neighbour’s smoke. Or maybe you’re the one smoking and someone has complained. Again, the rules will vary from province to province, but landlords often have the right to make their properties entirely smoke-free, including inside your unit and on the balcony.

 Here is where it can get a bit tricky. In BC and Ontario, for example, all new leases can contain a no-smoking clause, but existing tenants, with their older leases, can be exempt from the no-smoking rule, unless they agree to sign a new agreement. The good news is, if you can show that you are being negatively affected by second-hand smoke, the landlord may have to remedy the situation. Additional regulations like the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, make it illegal to smoke or vape any substance in public spaces, including the common areas of condos and apartments (laundry rooms, hallways, etc.). Please do get in touch with us, if you need advice.

You want a pet.

What about a pet? This is a very popular rental question, especially during the confinement of Covid-19. Provinces set their own rules regarding pets and renting. In Quebec, a landlord has the right to prohibit pets, with a few exceptions. In Ontario, it’s trickier. A landlord cannot put a “no pet” clause into your lease but they can refuse to rent to you if you have a pet. And if you adopt a dog or cat once you’ve moved in, a landlord can’t start the process of eviction unless the pet makes noise or otherwise causes problems. In Alberta, the landlord can decide if you can have a pet and how many. And they can ask for a pet deposit, which is not the case in Ontario. As you can see, the rules vary quite a bit across Canada, so make sure you know the rules where you live to avoid heartache for you, your family, and the pet.

The take-away

These are just a few of the situations you may find yourself in as a tenant. There are many others you may face, such as subletting/subleasing or assigning the lease, how many guests you can have, Airbnb questions, what to do about noisy neighbours, and so on. We have a team of lawyers, located in your community, who can advise you on all these topics and more. Know your rights as a renter. LegalShield Canada is here for you.

Articles on the LegalShield.ca website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or opinion in any manner. Laws mentioned in the articles vary from province to province. Any links to third-party sites in our articles are for general information purposes only and LegalShield is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, the content of linked sites. It is always advisable to seek legal counsel - and LegalShield can help.

 

Connect With A Legalshield Lawyer Today To Discuss Your New Lease.