Newcomer's Renting/Leasing Guide

November 13, 2023

Renting a home can be an exciting and liberating experience, but it can also be overwhelming if you're not prepared. Whether it's your first time renting or you're a seasoned renter, there are always new things to learn and ways to improve your experience. In this article, we'll provide you with some valuable tips for renting that will help you navigate the process with ease and confidence. From finding the right rental property to negotiating lease terms and understanding your rights as a tenant, we've got you covered. So, if you're ready to make your next rental experience a success, read on for our top tips for renting.

  • Research the market: Before starting your rental search, research the market to get an idea of average rental prices in the area you are interested in. This will help you avoid overpaying for rent.
  • Set a budget: Determine your budget for rent, utilities, and other expenses related to renting. This will help you narrow down your search to apartments that are within your budget.
  • Check your credit score: Many landlords will check your credit score before approving your application. They might ask for proof of income such as tax documents or pay stubs.  This is done to ensure your rent paying capacity. Make sure your credit score is in good standing before applying for a rental. If your application is found lacking, you might be asked to provide a guarantor also.
  • Consider hiring a realtor: A realtor can help you find the right apartment that meets your needs and budget. Having a realtor will also give you legitimacy as a renter and this is especially relevant as a new comer to Canada because it protects you from unscrupulous landlords and illegal listings. They can also help you negotiate the terms of your lease.
  • Visit potential apartments: Schedule appointments to visit potential apartments. This will give you an opportunity to see the space in person and ask questions. A few things to look out for could be the location of the windows, the laundry arrangement and parking.
  • Read the lease carefully: Before signing a lease, read it carefully and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. A lot of times, there might be clauses in the rental agreement which are not legally enforceable E.g. a no pets policy
  • Know your rights as a tenant: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a tenant in Ontario. This will help you advocate for yourself if any issues arise. (link to the govt. website on landlord and tenant)
  • Get renter's insurance: Renter's insurance can protect your belongings in case of theft or damage. Many apartment buildings and landlords mandate compulsory renter’s insurance.
  • Pay rent on time: Always pay your rent on time to avoid any late fees or potential eviction.
  • Maintain good communication with your landlord: Maintain good communication with your landlord to ensure a positive renting experience. If any issues arise, address them promptly with them.
  • Subleasing and Roommate/Shared accommodation agreements: If you hold the lease with multiple people and they move out, you might want to look at subletting your apartment and finding new roommates. The first step would be to identify your boundaries in terms of the type of roommate you want, whether they can have pets and what area of your home is accessible to them. The next would be to list the space on local forums. Once you have found your new roommates, it is crucial to have a written agreement with them, often called a “Roommate Agreement”

In conclusion, renting in Ontario can be a challenging process, but by doing your research, setting a budget, and hiring a realtor, you can find the perfect rental for your needs. Remember to read your lease carefully, know your rights, and maintain good communication with your landlord for a positive renting experience.