When you walk into a rental viewing, some required items are invisible (like heating), and not every lease outlines the major responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.
It’s important to know what is included in your rental, and who to speak with should anything need repair or maintenance.
Above all, the landlord is responsible for providing a hospitable environment that is safe and meets all legal standards.
Legal documents (lease, receipts)
Landlords must provide a written copy of the lease or tenancy agreement if all parties have signed one. Everyone's legal name needs to be included on the document(s) along with their addresses.
Further, if you request rental receipts from your landlord, they must be provided at no extra charge.
All appliances need to be in working order before you move in, and you do not have to pay to replace these appliances unless you damage them. Appliances that may be included in your rental are the refrigerator, stove, and washer/dryer. All appliances included are the responsibility of your landlord, as they are the landlord’s property.
Legal bathrooms include a toilet, sink and bathtub or shower with natural or mechanical ventilation.
The landlord is not responsible for providing brand new appliances, only working ones.
There are minimum temperature requirements your landlord has to meet in the dwelling, varying by municipality. In Toronto, for example, landlords are required to provide an indoor temperature of 21C from September 15 to June 1 every year.
If the landlord has been contacted and the temperature hasn’t improved, you can go to the Building and Inspections department or your city councillor with a complaint.
Vital residential services include access to hot and cold water, electricity, heat and fuel (natural gas). Landlords cannot shut these off, even if the tenant has stopped paying rent.
Electricity, for example, may be included in the cost to rent or billed directly to the tenant based on usage.
The only time these vital services can be shut off is when they need repair or maintenance.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
It’s the law in Ontario to have functioning smoke alarms on every story and outside each sleeping area in a dwelling unit. Landlords are responsible for following the law, installing the alarms, and keeping them in working condition through testing, repairs and replacement.
Landlords are also responsible for providing a carbon monoxide alarm.
A unit in good repair
Above all, tenants require a clean and functioning unit to rest their heads each night. If you're looking at a rental in an older building or complex, you're going to want to have your eyes peeled for any malfunctioning appliances and alarm systems, along with noting how clean and maintained the premises are.
Since shared spaces in condominium buildings fall underneath the condo board's watchful eye, you can expect properly maintained common areas and amenities. When you get into your rental condo unit, however, your point of contact is going to be the condo owner or their property management team.