Rental properties: Our top FAQs

Answers to questions from landlords and tenants

Answers to our top questions from landlords and tenants

If you’ve been following us on Instagram lately, you know that we’ve been posting answers to some of the most common questions we get about rental homes from our landlords and tenants. Here, we’ve compiled the most recent ones.

“I know my lease doesn’t start until the first of the month, but the former tenant is already moved out. Can I get the keys earlier and start moving my stuff?”

This seems like a simple ‘favour’ to ask from a landlord, and a simple kindness that a landlord can provide to a new tenant. However, early move-in can present liability issues for both parties: Long-distance/internet phone service may not yet be transferred; tenants’ insurance may not be in effect; and the previous tenant may assume they can return to collect stuff they forgot. Early access to a rental property can be risky.

“It’s not a pet. It’s a chinchilla. It doesn’t count.”

Yes, this an actual quote from a tenant. If it’s a living creature, and it’s not a human being, it’s a pet – and having it in the unit is a contravention of the rules in buildings that are deemed to be pet-free.

“My landlord has a set of keys to my unit, but I’m concerned about privacy. Can I insist s/he gives me their set until I move out?”

No. Landlords and property owners/managers need to have access to the property in order to effectively manage the rental for things like repairs or inspections. However, it’s important to note that they must give you 24 hours advance notice to enter your property – they can’t just turn up randomly and go through your place when you aren’t there. (And it’s worth noting that almost everyone, sometime, locks themselves out of their place – it’s kind of nice to know that you can call someone who’s got a set of keys.)

“My tenant always pays their rent more than a week late. And now it’s affecting my ability to make my mortgage payments. What can I do?”

Landlords in Ontario have a number of options when a tenant persistently pays their rent late: They can serve a notice to end a tenancy early for non-payment of rent (this can be served if rent is even a single day late, but most property management companies wait 14 days); they can report the tenant to a credit reporting agency; or they can serve the tenant with a Notice to End a Tenancy at the End of the Term (which is essentially a 60-day notice).

Of course, evicting a stubborn tenant can be tricky: Even if they haven’t paid their rent on time, or at all, it can be months before a Landlord and Tenant tribunal can render a judgement.

How to avoid the problem in the first place? A property management company can ensure that proper background checks and references are done before a tenant moves in, which reduces the risk significantly.

“I think my tenant has been subletting their unit without authorization – and they may be putting it on Airbnb.”

Most standard rental agreements have clauses prohibiting subletting of the apartment without express authorization from the landlord. Additionally, almost all condos in Toronto have strict rules about the length of tenancies, which means that offering short-term stays on sites like Airbnb are prohibited.

If your tenant is subletting their unit, or if you find it listed on home-sharing sites like Airbnb, you can take steps to end the tenancy and have everyone evicted immediately.

Have more questions?
Let us know.