Here are some helpful tips to make your renting experience in Durham Region go smoothly.

Rental applications and fees

Before moving into a rental unit, you may have to complete an application. This application may ask for your employment and income information, and government ID. Your landlord will then ask you to sign a lease. The lease outlines the terms of your stay. If you have any questions about the lease, ask your landlord or contact the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Ask your landlord to agree to the terms of your lease in writing. Always keep copies of documents and terms that you sign with your landlord. If you pay rent in cash, ask for a rent receipt.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers more information on rental fees and leases.

Rights and responsibilities

As a tenant in Ontario, you have legal rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act that you should know about.

The Act includes details about:

  • Rent increases.
  • Subletting.
  • Rent deposits.
  • Terminating a lease.
  • Paying rent on-time.
  • Keeping your home clean.

You may need to pay a last month's deposit upon signing your lease, usually called a security deposit.

Your landlord can only raise the rent once every 12 months, with at least 90 days' written notice. The Annual Guideline Increase, set by the provincial government, is 1.5 per cent for 2017.

The Landlord and Tenant Board provides information on the rights and responsibilities of tenants. The Durham Community Legal Clinic has information on your rights and how to file an application to the Board if you need to.

Pets

A landlord cannot evict you for owning a pet. A "no pets" clause in a lease is not enforceable.

You do not have to get rid of your pet(s) unless you are given a written order to do so by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The Board might tell you to get rid of your pet if:

  • Your pet is dangerous.
  • Your pet causes allergic reactions.
  • Your pet causes problems for other tenants or the landlord.
  • You are renting in a no pet building or your pet exceeds size, type or breed limitations, or you have more pets than is allowed (as set out in the Condominium Documents, for example).

For more information on number of pets allowed in any home or for other questions about pets, contact your local Animal Services department. Visit Durham Region's by-law office for a listing of local municipalities.

Repairs and maintenance

If repairs are needed, talk to your landlord about the issues. If the landlord refuses to do the repairs or takes too long, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board. It is the landlord's responsibility to keep the unit in working order.

You are responsible for keeping the unit clean as a tenant. You are also responsible for repairing or paying for damage done to the unit that is caused by you or your guests.

Vital services

You must have access to heat, water, electricity and fuel. Your landlord may pay for these services or ask you to pay them separate of your regular rent payment.

Your landlord cannot shut off these services, even if you haven't paid rent.

Rental help and emergency housing

There are a number of resources available to help you find rental housing. The Community Development Council Durham's Housing Help program provides a listing of rental options in the area, and the John Howard Society and North House help those who are homeless in the region.

Rental websites

If you aren't sure where to start, these websites can help. Always know your rights and try to recognize the signs of rental scams. Never pay money before you have seen a unit and been offered something in writing.

As with all websites, do not give out any password, financial or personal information online.

Rental websites:

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