Tenant Tips key

What to Look For When Viewing an Apartment

Property Standards:

  • Number of exits
  • Locks on doors, is there a deadbolt? Is there a peephole?
  • Are there screens on the windows? Locks?
  • Are there smoke detectors on each floor?
  • Is there a window in every room?
  • Are there any cracks or holes in the walls?


  • Clarify with the landlord what the rules are, such as guests, parking, etc.

Other Issues:

  • Are there laundry facilities in the building? If not, where is the closest Laundromat?
  • Are appliances provided?
  • Is last month’s rent required?
  • Do they want you to sign a lease?
  • Is there an application form? You may be asked to fill one out. The Tribunal does not regulate application forms.
  • A landlord cannot violate the Human Rights Code by asking you certain questions regarding your gender, race, religion, etc.

What You Need to Know About a Lease

A lease outlines specific rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant.

A lease is commonly called a Tenancy Agreement. It can be oral or written but it is better to have a written agreement in case a future dispute arises. If the agreement is written, a record exists of what was agreed upon by both parties.

  • What is contained in a lease? A lease must contain:
  • The landlord’s legal name and address
  • The date the tenancy will begin
  • The amount of rent and the day it is to be paid on
  • What is included in the rent:
    • Parking?
    • Snow removal?
    • Garbage disposal?
    • Lawn care?
    • Utilities?
    • Who controls the thermostat?

Rent Deposits

You may be asked to pay a rent deposit. The potential landlord cannot ask for more than one month’s rent or one week or one day. If you are renting on a monthly basis than only one month’s deposit can be asked for. If you are renting on a weekly basis, only one week’s rent can be asked for.

If the landlord decides that they do not wish to rent to you, they should return the deposit. If they do not return the money, you can apply to the Tribunal.

What happens if you pay the deposit and then later decide to withdraw your rental application? The landlord may not be required to return your deposit if the potential landlord had chosen to rent to you and refused others.

Giving Proper Notice

It is best to use the Notice to Terminate Tenancy (N9) to notify your landlord in writing that you plan to move out.

If you choose to write it yourself, without using the form, be sure to include:

  • The full address of the unit you are moving out of
  • The date you are planning on moving
  • Date the letter
  • Sign the letter

Make sure that you keep a copy for yourself. You do not have to tell the landlord what your reason is for wanting to move or where you plan to move.

How Much Notice to Give

If you rent by the day or week then you need to give 28 days notice. If you rent by the month or year, or if you are in a fixed tenancy, you must give 60 days notice.

How to Give Notice

  • By mail – be sure to allow enough time for it to get there.
  • By fax
  • In person
  • Or, give it to an agent/superintendent or property manager

Ending a Tenancy

Notice to Terminate Tenancy (N9)
Reasons a tenant can apply to end a tenancy early:

  • Landlord refused to assign the unit
  • Poor maintenance and/or health standards
  • The landlord unlawfully entered the unit
  • The landlord altered the locking system
  • The landlord withheld vital services or deliberately interfered with the supply of vital services
  • The landlord interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the unit
  • The landlord harassed, coerced, obstructed or threatened the tenant

If the landlord agrees to let you move out early, have him/her sign an N11.

Facing Eviction

You cannot be evicted unless your landlord applies to the Tribunal and gets an order to evict you.

Reasons you can be evicted:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Persistently paying rent late
  • You or your guest has committed an illegal act on the property
  • You or your guest has caused damage to the property
  • Your landlord or a member of their family wants to move in
  • Your pet has caused harm or problems to others in the building

If you do not agree with the reason your landlord wants to evict you, you have the right to dispute the eviction. Once you receive an Application to Terminate Tenancy from your landlord, you only have 5 days to dispute it.

You should receive a blank copy of a dispute form when you receive your copy of the eviction application and notice of hearing.

What Happens at a Hearing?

  • Be early
  • The Tribunal hears both sides
  • You can address the Tribunal or you can have someone represent you
  • Your landlord may bring people as witnesses and/or documents and photos
  • You can ask questions of your landlord and any witnesses

A Decision

A decision is put in writing and is called an Order. It may contain conditions. You are then sent a copy of the order. If you choose not to follow the order and remain in the unit, the landlord can involve the Sheriff.