Signing a Lease
A lease is a legally binding contract that you sign with the landlord of the property. It is important that you know what you are agreeing to whether the lease is written or a verbal agreement as you are required to fulfill your commitments.
Before you sign:
Make sure the accommodation is suitable for you. Keep in mind the following:
- Distance to the college
- Length of lease
- Furnished or unfurnished
- Use of facilities - laundry, kitchen, internet connection
- Type of heating
Ask questions about these things before you sign or agree to rent from a landlord. Be sure to communicate any concerns that you may have before your agreement begins including:
- Restrictions/house rules
- Use of kitchen facilities
- Overnight guests
- Who pays utilities
- Rent payments - monthly, weekly
Be prepared to:
- Pay first and last months rent in advance - the last month you are in accommodation is then prepaid
- Come to an agreement with the landlord on any house rules and terms of tenancy. It is recommended that you have your agreement in writing, signed by each of you.
- Give written notice to your landlord 60 days before you want to end your tenancy with your landlord. You will only be able to leave sooner if the Rental Housing Tribunal finds that your landlord has violated the Tenant Protection Act.
Landlords must keep dwellings in good repair and fit for living in, regardless of the condition when the tenant moves in. They must also comply with all health, safety and housing standards set by law.
You, as a tenant, must keep the dwellings clean, unless the tenancy agreement makes it the landlord's responsibility. You must also repair any damage you or your guests cause, whether it was deliberate or by accident.
The amount of a security deposit made before you move in (to hold a room) is limited to the rent for one rental period. If you pay rent on a monthly basis the security deposit may only equal one month's rent and no more. This is covered by the Tenant Protection Act, and is law. The landlord can suggest post-dated cheques but you cannot be denied a rental unit for refusing to provide them.
Privacy & Access
Under the Tenant Protection Act, you, as a tenant have the right to privacy in the accommodation that you are renting.
Generally, the landlord needs your consent before entering the rented dwelling. Only in the case of an emergency (eg. fire, burst water main) or if there is a written clause in the tenancy agreement that allows the landlord to enter, may he/she do so.
The landlord must also provide you with:
- 24 hour written notice
- a specific time he/she plans to enter the dwelling
- enter only during daylight hours