Congrats on Your First Rental Home!
After you rent your first home in Canada (congratulations!), you’ll need to maintain it.
Landlords are responsible for emergency repairs as well as for maintaining or repairing appliances, such as the fridge or stove that came with the rental. If something in your home breaks, contact the landlord or superintendent immediately to report the problem and request that it be fixed.
If the landlord ignores your request or fails to make the repairs, apply to the rental authority in your province or territory to require the landlord to fix the problem. You can find your provincial/territorial rental authority online.
It is illegal to deduct repair costs from your rent (never do this!) without the approval of your landlord. If you withhold rent to pay for non-emergency repairs, your landlord can apply to have you evicted.
Keeping your home in good and safe condition
Keeping your first rental home in Canada in good condition benefits you and the landlord (and remember, you’ll want to develop a good relationship with your landlord, right? Makes sense).
• Familiarize yourself with the security and safety features of your rental home or building. Make sure the doors have good quality locks (here’s five good ones) and that the windows fully close and lock. Always be careful who you let into your rental home or building.
• Clean your home often and well to avoid attracting pests. Never leave open food or garbage out, and get rid of or donate anything you don’t need. Use bathroom and kitchen fans to control humidity, and buy a dehumidifier if necessary.
• Prevent fires (and here’s some fire prevention tips for landlords). Avoid overcrowding outlets with too many appliances and make sure outlet strips are not covered. If you smoke, use proper ashtrays and never smoke in bed. Keep curtains and other flammable materials away from lights and candles. Never leave food unattended on stoves or in microwaves. Clean grease from pans, cooktops, fans, and nearby surfaces regularly.
Smoke alarms expire after 10 years. When did you last replace yours? #HonestyDay @ChiefPeggTFS @tfsCFI1 @TFSJessop @debbiejhiggins pic.twitter.com/9Bo1gkct1c— Toronto Fire Service (@Toronto_Fire) April 30, 2021
Make sure there are functioning smoke detectors in the rental and test them monthly. You should also invest in a carbon monoxide detector (Canada’s Top 10), as the gas is odorless and extremely dangerous.
• Mold (yuck!) presents a serious health risk, especially if your or other family members suffer from asthma, allergies or other respiratory ailments. Mold appears fuzzy, powdery, and can be light green, brown or black. If you believe you have mold in your rental, contact your landlord or superintendent immediately.
Let's say you experience an emergency (water starts leaking through your ceiling or roof, or your furnace breaks down in the winter, etc.), contact your landlord immediately. If you cannot reach them, leave a message and note the date and time of your call. When repairs must be performed immediately to protect your health and safety or to prevent property damage, you may be able to authorize the repair work yourself. Remember, if this is the case, keep all documentation related to the repair and ask the repair worker to bill your landlord directly.
When repairs must be paid for immediately, keep track of expenses, notify the landlord and ask for reimbursement.
Here's some additional handy tips and checklists for first-time renters in Canada.
- with files from Prepare for Canada