Finding the perfect rental property in Toronto can be a challenging task, and once you’ve secured a place, dealing with a landlord can present its own set of challenges. As a tenant, it’s essential to be aware of your rights and know what your landlord can and cannot request from you. In this blog post, we will shed light on four illegal landlord requests that every tenant should be aware of to protect themselves and make informed decisions in the rental market.
- Deposit Restrictions
One common illegal practice among some landlords is requesting excessive deposits from tenants. However, according to the law, landlords are only allowed to request a key deposit. This deposit is meant to cover the cost of replacing keys if they are lost, damaged, or not returned at the end of the lease. On the other hand, landlords cannot demand a damage deposit or a cleaning deposit. So, if you encounter a landlord asking for anything beyond a key deposit, be aware that it is against the law, and you have the right to refuse.
- No Pets Policy
Many tenants in Toronto face the dilemma of finding a rental property that allows pets. However, it’s essential to know that landlords can’t outright say “no pets” unless the property is subject to condo restrictions. The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act prohibits blanket no-pets policies, allowing tenants to have pets unless specific condo regulations or bylaws state otherwise. As a responsible pet owner, understanding your rights in this matter can give you the confidence to discuss pet arrangements with your landlord.
- Excessive Upfront Payments
Landlords are permitted to request the first and last month’s rent as an upfront payment before you move in. However, they cannot demand additional months’ rent beyond this. Be cautious of any landlord who insists on receiving more than the first and last month’s rent upfront. If you are comfortable offering a few extra months’ rent voluntarily to strengthen your rental application, that’s your choice, but remember that it should not be a mandatory requirement imposed by the landlord.
- Roommates and Additional Occupants
As a tenant, you have the right to have roommates or family members move in with you at any point during the tenancy. Your landlord cannot prohibit you from adding a roommate or having your spouse or partner move in with you. However, it’s essential to understand that you will be held responsible for their behaviour while they reside on the property. If your roommate or partner violates any terms of the lease agreement, you could be held accountable, leading to potential complications with your tenancy.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to navigating the rental market in Toronto. As a tenant, understanding your rights and being aware of illegal landlord requests can protect you from potential exploitation and ensure a smooth and fair rental experience. Remember, landlords are obligated to follow the rules set forth in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, which aims to safeguard the rights of both tenants and landlords.
If you encounter any of the illegal landlord requests mentioned in this article, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice or report the issue to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. By being informed and assertive, you can help maintain a balanced and respectful landlord-tenant relationship and ensure your rights are protected throughout your tenancy. Happy renting!