April 18, 2024


Interior Of The Road

6 Things Every Tenant Should Know

6 things every tenant should know - CAA South Central Ontario

You have just found the perfect rental home and are excited to move in with your loved ones. You’re looking forward to making beautiful memories in your new home. Never mind if it’s only a rental; you’re determined to make it your own, to decorate it with stuff you bought from your favorite shop. You’re about to start your tenancy, but you’re already planning weekend hangouts with family and friends.


Before you get all too excited, though, you have to ensure you are aware of what you are getting into. For example, did you and your prospective landlord talk about a tenancy agreement? Did they mention how they will protect your deposit? There are several things that you, as a tenant, need to know before settling into your rented home, especially if you want a safe, problem-free tenancy.


What you need to know


Tenancy disputes, deposit issues, disrepair, rogue landlords . . . these are just some of the problems that tenants often find themselves involved in. Knowing the basic details about renting a home (or being a tenant) will help protect you from such situations.


  1. Ensure your landlord provides you with a tenancy agreement.


A tenancy agreement is typically written and serves as a contract between you and your landlord. It contains all the necessary information and details that the two of you have agreed on, including the start and end of your tenancy, rent rate and payment schedules, rights and responsibilities (both yours and your landlord’s), and contact details, among others.


Not all landlords have written tenancy agreements, but it is always better and safer to have one. 


  1. If your landlord took a deposit from you, they should also protect it.


One of the most common tenancy problems involves deposit disputes. Deposits are a form of security for landlords, something they can use to spend for costs in case you leave the property in a state of serious disrepair. Throughout your tenancy, this money should not be in the hands of your landlord. It should be registered into one of the government-authorised deposit protection schemes within 30 days after you handed them the money. 


Typically, you will be provided with prescribed information, which contains details about the deposit and protection scheme it is under. If you do not receive one, your deposit may not be protected.


If your landlord has not protected your tenancy, you can file for a deposit compensation claim.    


  1. Before moving in, ensure the rental property you chose is habitable.


One of the tenant rights indicated in the tenancy agreement is the right to live in a habitable home. This means your chosen rental home should be safe, secure, has good plumbing, running water, heating and ventilation are working, no rodents or pests, damp and mould-free, and free of anything that is detrimental to your health and safety.


Habitable home terms are typically indicated in tenancy agreement terms.


  1. A Section 21 or eviction notice does not mean the end of your tenancy.


More than anything else, a Section 21 is a notice that you need to vacate your rented home. It does not necessarily mean you are automatically evicted. These notices have expiration dates, which mean you can go back to the property and live there once the Section 21 against you has expired. You should know, though, that during this phase, your landlord is entitled to apply for an eviction with the courts. 


Section 21 precedes eviction proceedings. Your landlord does not have the right to end your tenancy; only the courts have that responsibility.


  1. Talk to your landlord about house or building rules.


Aside from the indications in your tenancy agreement, your landlord may also have their own house rules. If you want to establish a good relationship with your landlord, you should find time to learn about these rules. 


Some landlords allow pets inside their properties while others do not. Some are quite strict when it comes to smoking, while other landlords provide a smoking area somewhere in the building. Other details you might want to discuss with your landlord include a parking area, where the rubbish  bins are or if there is a recycling system in place, and where you can park your bike.


  1. Your landlord is required to return your deposit at the end of your tenancy.


If you stayed true to the terms in your tenancy agreement and you left the property in good condition, almost like how it was when you moved in, your landlord is required by law to return your deposit to you. If they do not return it to you in 10 days, you can file a complaint against them. Find a team of solicitors who can help you with tenancy deposit claims.


Making a claim


At the end of your tenancy, if your landlord does not return your deposit despite having no property damage or violations of the tenancy agreement, you can file a deposit protection compensation claim. As mentioned above, it is ideal to work with an experienced team of solicitors with expertise in tenancy deposits.


The solicitors at Tenancy Deposit Claims should be your first and only choice because they are not only experienced and experts, they are also authorised and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority. You and your claim will be in good hands.