It's a new year and quite possibly your lease is coming to an end, which means that your landlord might be trying to increase your rent.Initially a landlord can set the rent on a vacant unit to whatever they want, and you have a choice to agree and call it your home. But are they allowed to raise the rent after you've moved in?In most of Canada, there is government policy called Rent Control that is designed to protect tenants by restricting increases to rent by the landlords. Each province and territory has different control rules, including frequency limits, increase limits, vacancy decontrol and how much advance notice is required before a rent hike. Rent hikes are not automatic or mandatory, and are at the discretion of the landlord.There are many factors that affect when and to what extent a landlord can raise your rent. Below is some general information, but it certainly doesn't cover all of the possible scenarios of a rental lease. Furthermore, they are guidelines - landlords can still apply to act differently. Most often in cases of dispute, a consultation with a paralegal or a rental tribunal will be required to help determine your rights.British Columbia-Landlords must give tenants at least 3 months notice before any rent increases -Rent increases can only happen once every 12 months and they are tied to the inflation rate (the percentage by which rent can increase changes annually). If a rent increase does not meet this percentage, landlords are not allowed to make up the difference in the future by topping up a rent increase. *As of 2023, BC can increase rents by 2%,Alberta-Landlords cannot increase a tenant's rent until after a year's tenancy has passed -Advance notice is required for periodic tenancies. If it's a week-to-week periodic tenancy, 12 full weeks of notice must be given before a rent increase. For a month-to-month periodic tenancy, this period extends to 3 full months. For other kinds of periodic tenancy, 90 days must be given. Saskatchewan-No rent increases are allowed for fixed-term tenancies, unless both the tenant and landlord agree to a rent increase and if the increase is in effect at the start of the tenancy. Since landlords must let tenants know 2 months ahead of the end of a lease whether they wish to renew or not, they must also only give 2 months notice ahead of a rent increase.-Periodic tenancies require landlords must give at least 1 year of notice ahead of a rent increase unless they are members of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association or the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan. In this case, they must only give 6 months of notice. Landlords must also wait one year between rent increases, but if they are SKLA or NPHPS members, they only have to wait 6 months. While there are rules on when a landlord can increase rent, there is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant's rent. Manitoba- Landlords can increase the rent only once every 12 months. - Before enacting any rent increases, landlords must give tenants at least 3 month's notice.- The maximum percentage by which rent can increase is known as the annual rent increase guideline. This guideline is the average annual change in the Manitoba Consumer Price Index and dictates how much a landlord can increase your rent for that year. If a landlord wants to raise the rent above the annual rent increase guideline, they must receive approval from the Residential Tenancies Branch. Ontario-Rent cannot be increased for 12 months after the last rent increase or until 12 months since tenancy began-Landlords must give tenants at least 90 days advance notice-The percentage that rent can increase is known as the rent increase guideline. This guideline is calculated by determining the average change in the Ontario Consumer Price Index over a 12 month period. Increases above this percentage require the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.*As of 2023, Ontario landlords can increase rents by 2.5%,** If a rental unit was built, or tenanted for the first time after November 2018, then no rent control guidelines apply to the tenancy.Quebec-Landlords can only increase rent once every 12 months -Periodic tenancies must be given 1 to 2 months notice ahead of the rent increase-Fixed term tenancies, they must give 1 to 2 months notice if the lease is less than 12 months, or 3 to 6 months notice if the lease is more than 12 months-Le Tribunal Administratif du Logement has a calculation form for tenants and landlords that lets them come up with a mutually acceptable rent increase, although this form is not legally requiredNewfoundland and Labrador-Landlords cannot increase the rent in the first year of a rental agreement-Week to week tenancy requires landlords to give at least 8 week's notice before a rent increase -Month to month, landlords must give at least 6 months of notice before a rent increase-In terms of how much rent can be increased, there is currently no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant's rentPrince Edward Island-Landlords can only increase rent once per year-Notice of 3 months before increasing rent is required-The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission sets an annual allowable percentage by which rent can be increased. In 2021, this percentage is 1.0%. Any landlord wishing to increase rent by more than the allowable amount must apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property. New Brunswick-Week to week and month to month tenancies require at least 2 months notice-Year to year tenancies require at least 3 months of notice-Mobile home sites require at least 6 months notice-Long term tenancies where premises have been occupied by the same tenant for 5 consecutive years or more, tenants must be given at least 3 months of notice before a rent increase-Landlords must also increase the rent of each unit in the same building by the same percentage of increase the rent to the same amount as comparable units in the area-Tenants have 15 days following the receipt of a Notice Of Rent increase to request assistance from the Residential Tribunal to request a revision of the notice. There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenants rent. *As of 2023, BC can increase rents by 2.3%,Nova Scotia-Landlords can only raise the rent once per year, and they cannot raise it during the first 12 months of your tenancy-Yearly or monthly leases require at least 4 months of notice ahead of a rent increase-For fixed term tenancies, your lease will dictate how much notice is needed ahead of a recent increaseNunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon-Tenants must receive a minimum of 3 months of notice ahead of a rent increase-Landlords cannot increase the rent for a rental property more than once every 12 months-There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase rent
Apartment Inspections: What To KnowRent inspections otherwise known as property inspections or walk-throughs are conducted by landlords or property managers. Most often they occur before and after a tenant moves in/out to verify the condition of the space, however landlords can also inspect their property throughout the year while their unit is occupied. These inspections should always be done with proper notification to the tenant, generally 24 hours notice. Some landlords may give notice weeks in advance. Landlords cannot show up unannounced. They can, however, drive or walk past the property to inspect and ensure the exterior is being maintained. How often a property tends to be inspected throughout the year:Depending on the landlord/property manager, inspections can range from one to three times a year. Some lease agreements will include this information. Anything more would indicate a landlord is likely going beyond a general inspection.What Are Landlords Checking For: Landlords tend to want to check if their property is in the same condition as the moment the tenant moved in. Some items on their list may include:·Holes in the walls·Gouges in the hardwood flooring·Evidence of a pet, if pets were not allowed·Fire and smoke detectors are in working condition·Ensuring all plumbing, electricity and appliances are working·Confirming that the property is being maintained according to the lease terms·Verifying that nothing included with the apartment is missing or damagedMove In/Move Out Inspections:Inspections are also expected upon moving out of a rental property. This walk-through can be with or without the tenant. It is suggested that tenants document or voice any concerns of the unit in to ensure a proper security deposit return. Things to look for may include markings on the wall and broken appliances. It is important for the tenant to inspect the property as closely as the landlord.
So you've found the dream apartment, rental house or condominium and now it's time to finalize the deal. So who prepares the paperwork and what does it look like? In Ontario, the government requires a landlord to use a “standard lease” for most residential tenancy agreements, one that can be found here: https://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&SRCH=&ENV=WWE&NO=047-2229E So what do you need to know about the contract? Here is an explanation to help figure out the Ontario standard lease before you sign on the dotted line.What is Ontario's standard lease agreement?The standard lease is a contract between landlord and tenant. This contract is used by landlords of residential rental units to create an agreement between them and their new renter. *Please note Ontario recently updated their standard lease in December 2020. Any agreements signed on March 1st 2021, or after have to use this new version.In the order that you find them, here are the 17 sections of the residential tenancy agreement in Ontario and what they mean:1. Parties To The AgreementThis section has the names of the landlord(s) and tenant(s) who are agreeing to the tenancy.2. Rental UnitThis is a description of the residential unit including its address and whether it's part of a condominium or not. The number of parking spaces if any and their location is also described in this section.3. Contact InformationThis section has the landlord's email, phone number and address where notices must be sent. If a tenant needs to give a formal notice to the landlord, it should be delivered to this address. This is an important section to make note of since it provides a way for the tenant to contact the landlord in case of emergency or to give formal notice.4. Term Of Tenancy AgreementThis section states the type of tenancy and the start date. The options are fixed-term, month-to-month, or another specified type like daily or weekly. 5. RentThis section states the rent portion of the agreement showing the full amount tenants will pay.Also, details on how and when tenants will pay rent are finalized here. Typically, most leases will say that rent will be paid monthly and on the first day of each month, but the options are left open.6. Services And UtilitiesIn this section, responsibility for paying major expenses (Hydro, heating, water, etc) are outlined. There's lots of flexibility in this section and parties can come up with more arrangements and include them in the document here.7. Rent DiscountsDetails of any discounts offered by the landlord are outlined here. For example, if there is a provision for the first month being free.8. Rent DepositsIn this section, the landlord and tenant agree whether a rent deposit is required, and the amount. The law limits the amount and how it is to be treated. A rent deposit cannot be used as a damage deposit.9. Key DepositsIn this section, the landlord and tenant agree whether a key deposit is required, and the amount. The law limits the amount and how it is to be treated.Note: this is refundable and can't legally be more than the cost of replacing the key.10. Smoking RulesUnder provincial law, smoking is not allowed in any indoor common areas of the building outside of the rental unit. In this section, a landlord and tenant can agree to rules about smoking in the rental unit.If there are special rules about smoking, then they have to follow the provincial laws. Also note that the lease doesn't make a distinction between cannabis or tobacco smoke.11. Tenant InsuranceIn this section, a landlord and tenant can agree whether the tenant must have liability insurance. Tenant insurance isn't mandatory in Ontario, but landlords can require tenants to have insurance in this section of the lease. It is up to the tenant to get contents insurance if they want it. 12. Changes To The Rental UnitIn this section, there is nothing to fill out. It simply explains that the tenant can install decorative items, such as pictures or window coverings, but that they must have the landlord's permission to make other changes to the rental unit.13. Maintenance And RepairsThis section explains that the landlord must maintain the rental unit and property, but the tenant must repair or pay for any undue damage caused by the tenant or their guests.14. Assignment And SublettingThis section explains that the tenant needs the landlord's permission to assign or sublet the unit to someone else, and that the landlord cannot arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent.15. Additional TermsThe landlord and tenant can agree to additional terms that are specific to the tenancy. If agreed to, these additional rules or terms must be attached to the lease agreement. 16. Changes To This AgreementThis section explains that any changes to the agreement must be agreed to in writing. There is nothing to fill out here. 17. SignaturesEveryone named in section one, meaning all landlords and tenants in the agreement, must sign the document. This indicates that they're agreeing to the terms laid out. Also, if both parties agree to it, this document can also be signed electronically. The landlord must give a copy of the agreement to the tenant within 21 days after the tenant signs it.
Have you found a new home to rent and planning on moving?One of the biggest benefits of renting is that it allows you to change properties very quickly, meaning you can explore and experience new areas and cities with ease. Whether it is to a new apartment building, house, or condominium, switching rental accommodation can be stressful, which is why we thought we would outline a few tips to help make the move as smooth as possible!1) Make a list There are a lot of things that you need to remember when moving into a new home, and it can be very easy to lose track of things – especially with the hustle and bustle of normal life. That is why one of the best ways to reduce stress is to sit down and make a list of everything that you need to do. The more comprehensive you are, the easier the move will be. 2) Declutter Another top tip for moving home is to declutter ahead of the move. We all have a habit of accumulating things that we don't really need over time, and these just mean more things to move into your new home. That is why you should spend a few hours going through your belongings and throwing away anything that you do not use or need. 3) Pack smart When it comes to packing your belongings, make sure that you are packing smart. Prepare an “essentials” box for those items that you will need first, such as tools, cleaning supplies, and food close to hand so you can get started immediately. You should also clearly label and colour code your boxes, ensuring you know exactly which room to place them in. 4) Change your address You will also want to make sure that you are updating your postal address and setting up any home services such as phone lines, TV and internet connections ahead of the move so that they are ready when you move in.