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First-time renters, know the rules

With many students living away from their parents for the first time, the province is reminding new tenants to review what rights and responsibilities they have under the Residential Tenancies Act.

With many students living away from their parents for the first time, the province is reminding new tenants to review what rights and responsibilities they have under the Residential Tenancies Act.

The textbooks have been purchased, the bus routes set and, for many post-secondary students, the keys to the first home away from home are in hand. However, many do not know the rights they have as tenants.

Under the province’s Residential Tenancies Act, obligations for both landlords and tenants are laid out, and include what the rules are for lease terminations, when rent can be increased, repairs to units, rent receipts, subletting, pet policies, lock changes and more.

“Searching for housing off-campus can be daunting for students, especially those who are renting for the first time,” states Chris Ballard, the province’s housing minister, in a news release.

“Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant can make the process easier, protect you from rental disputes, and allow you to keep focused on what matters most – growing your talents and skills through postsecondary education.”

The province is advising first-time renters to brush up on the Residential Tenancies Act so that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities. Renters are also advised to keep lines of communication open with the landlord in order to minimize disagreements, ask the landlord to agree to rental terms in writing and to keep copies of any documents provided to the landlord.

Renters are also reminded that if they are unable to resolves issues with the landlord, they can contact the Landlord and Tenant Board for more information, or, in the face of more immediate and serious issues such as an illegal eviction or the disconnection of vital services, they can contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit.

For more information on the Landlord and Tenant Board, visit ltb.gov.on.ca, and for more on the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit, visit mah.gov.on.ca/Page142.aspx.