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Renting Property Advice for New Arrivals in Canada – Renting Property

It is not any different in Canada, and knowing what to expect and to look out for when making reaching a rental agreement with an agent or property owner is an unmissable part of the process. You might have rented property in South Africa and while it may be a very similar process expats are encouraged to make sure that they truly understand the stipulations of their lease agreement and to rule out all ambiguity before signing on the proverbial dotted line.

Renting Property Advice For New Arrivals In Canada – Renting Property

In Canada you can expect to mostly deal directly with the property owner, but in some cases a management company, rather than a traditional real estate agency company, could be responsible for the day to day issues pertaining to the unit.

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Start looking for a property well in advance

It is a good idea to start searching for a property long in advance and securing it as soon as you can. Demand for rental property in some cities can be very high. If you are looking for property in one of the large cities you could spend as much as four months looking before finding what you need.

How much will I pay?

Rental fees vary by city, size of property, property location, property age, amenities, and demand. In some cities rent is negotiable. However, in high-demand areas you have to compete with other renters, and may end up paying more than the listed rental fee to secure a property.

What does my rent include?

Some rental fees include utilities, such as electricity, heat, water, gas, Internet, TV, and landline telephone. Some rental fees include extra amenities, such as security, cleaning, fitness facilities, pool facilities, and the use of common areas. Check with prospective landlords as to what is included in your rent. In some cases you may be able to negotiate the inclusion of some or all amenities and utilities, especially if you are renting for an extended term.

How do I pay?

Most rent payments in Canada are made by post-dated cheque or bank transfer. You may also be able to pay by cash or credit card. In most provinces, late payment fees can be charged.

Security deposits, held against damage, are normally half a month’s rent, and are returned to the tenant at the end of the lease agreement, or applied against the last month’s rent.

Things to keep in mind

Pets and smoking are allowed based on the landlord’s preferences. Unless you move into a unit in either Ontario or Quebec – where are allowed in all units - it is best to check this before moving Fido in.

Some properties or buildings have restrictions as to when and how you may move in. Inquire with your landlord or property manager for more information – you wouldn’t want to start off on a bad foot with your new neighbours.

Some provinces require that property inspection reports and inventories be completed at the beginning and end of tenancies. If this is not required in your province, it is highly recommended to draft one anyway to protect both the landlord and tenant. The contents of the property, the condition of the property, and pre-existing damage should be noted.

In most provinces, permission and approval is required from the landlord before subletting or transferring the lease of a property. Just like in South Africa one to three months’ notice should be given before breaking a rental agreement.
In Canada landlords must provide at least 24 hours written notice before entering the premises, and may only enter the premises between 8am and 9pm.

Renewing a lease

In most provinces, leases renew automatically or automatically convert to monthly leases at the end of the lease term, unless otherwise negotiated between landlord and tenant.

What are the landlord’s responsibilities?

In almost all cases it is the landlords’ responsibility to effect maintenance and repairs to the property, unless otherwise stated in your rental agreement. Landlords are also responsible for pest control. Responsibilities for snow removal, lawn and garden care, and parking areas vary – so once again make sure you understand what is expected of you in this regard.

You need insurance

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Very important to note is that in Canada in almost all provinces it is the responsibility of the tenant to purchase tenant’s insurance, which covers against damage and liability for floods, fires, leaks, etc. Make sure to make provision for this expense when compiling your monthly expense budget.

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