PART 1: QUESTIONS YOU DON’T NEED TO ASK OR ANSWER
With vacancy rates so low in Toronto and across Ontario many tenant applicants are afraid to ask their potential landlords important questions.
Not Being Careful When Choosing A Landlord Can Lead To Problems Later On
While it seems at first something you don’t really need to do, not screening your potential landlord can lead to huge problems down the road.
And these huge problems will occur when you not only least expect them, but when you don’t need need extra stress in your life.
For example, the landlord problems often happen when you have exams, or have important work meetings, or have important relationships visiting you or moving it.
Don’t Listen To The USA Sites!
Many American sites will tell you to ask for things that are already covered under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (meaning the landlord is powerless and must follow the law!)
For example, some American sites will say you need to ask your Landlord the following
-What is your screening policy? Nope!
This is meaningless because Ontario landlords must follow the rules for screening tenants according the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
If they don’t follow these rules you can take them to the Human Rights Commission and get a huge penalty against them.
The rules in Ontario include:
Housing is a human right
International law says that people in Canada should be able to get good housing that they can afford. To help achieve this in Ontario, tenants and landlords (or housing providers) have rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code.
As a tenant, you have the right to equal treatment in housing without discrimination and harassment.
You cannot be refused an apartment, harassed by a housing provider or other tenants, or otherwise treated unfairly because of your:
- race, colour or ethnic background
- religious beliefs or practices
- ancestry, including people of Aboriginal descent
- place of origin
- citizenship, including refugee status
- sex (including pregnancy and gender identity)
- family status
- marital status, including people with a same-sex partner
- sexual orientation
- age, including people who are 16 or 17 years old and no longer living with their parents
- receipt of public assistance.
You are also protected if you face discrimination because you are a friend or relative of someone identified above.
-What is your pet policy? Nope!
In Ontario it is illegal to not allow a tenant to have pets. You can even lie to a corrupt, rule breaking landlord and say you don’t have pets, move in, and then bring in your pets and there is nothing your landlord can do!
-What is your guest policy? Nope!
In Ontario tenants can have guests and it’s none of the landlords damn business.
-What is the lease renewal policy? Nope!
This is meaningless because in Ontario a lease automatically goes to “month by month” at the end of a fixed term lease. A landlord can’t kick you out when your lease ends.
-Who responsible for repairs? Nope!
In Ontario this is meaningless because the landlord is responsible for all repairs.
-How much notice does the landlord have to give to the tenant? Nope!
This is also all covered in the Residential Tenancies Act. A landlord must give at least 24 hours written notice to the tenant and served to the tenant in a legally acceptable way.
-Do you allow early terminations? If so what are the fees? Nope!
If you want to move it’s easy in Ontario and already legally covered. You can assign or sublet your apartment.
An even easier way is to just learn how Ontario tenants can legally break a fixed term lease.
-Can you clarify how much is the damage/security deposit? Nope!
In Ontario any money other than “first and last” is ILLEGAL. If the landlords demand it you can pay it, then move in, and take your landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and get all the money back!
-Do you want to know what is my citizenship or refugee status? Nope!
This is illegal in Ontario.
-Do you want to know what is your source of income? Nope!
This is illegal in Ontario
Tenants Don’t Need To Ask Or Answer These Questions
The rental industry is highly regulated in Ontario. Many of your concerns are already protected under LAW and there are severe penalties you can apply to your potential landlord if they break them.
How Can I File A Human Rights Complaint Against An Illegal Landlord?
Yes, and it’s easy.
And many expert tenants say it’s very easy for tenants to win at the OHRC. Go for it!
If you need human rights legal advice or help filing an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, contact the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre at: 416-597-4900 or 1-866-625-5179 and speak with a Human Rights Advisor.
To file an application directly with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, visit their website and follow the instructions for How to file an application.
We (The Ontario Human Rights Commission) have many progressive human rights policies that may support your application before the Human Rights Tribunal. If you want the Tribunal to consider our policy position, you have to let them know.