Fake News: Five Urban Myths All Too Often Believed By Renters

With the kind of knowledge we’re about to share, you’ll be able to sign a rental agreement with way more confidence as far as it relates to being aware of, understanding and executing your rights as a tenant, as well as your options.

#1: “Rents and lease terms can’t be negotiated…”

When seeking out a new apartment or rental home, you typically prefer to stay within your price range. But don’t forget the advertised rental price could be negotiable. Sure, this is more often the case when haggling directly with the landlord of an independently owned rental property, nevertheless, don’t hesitate to feel out a property manager or listing agent about whether or not they can offer any concessions. Even if they aren’t able to put up a decreased rent per month, they could be willing to sweeten the deal in other ways, whether it be waiving the application fee, security deposit or parking fee. Or, heck, trying to lure you with a free month if you sign a long-term lease.

#2: “I’m stuck until the end of my lease term after I sign a lease…”

This traditionally varies depending on the lease you’ve signed. Still, there is often a way out of an agreement. Before you sign, inquire about the policy as it relates to breaking the lease. Traditional lease break policies include a flat penalty fee, equivalent of a month’s rent payment to the forfeiture of your security deposit, the entire rent amount owed through the end of your lease term — that sort of thing.

#3: “The landlord is the responsible party for all repairs and all replacements…”

Yes, Ontario’s Residential Tenancy Act essentially requires landlords to maintain premises in a habitable condition. However, it is usually a smart idea to check your individual lease before you sign it to see exactly what’s covered and what’s not. Because it ain’t exactly uncommon for a landlord to expect you to tend to items like broken window blinds. Or, moreover, to deduct this cost from your security deposit upon move out.

#4: “I’ll be getting my security deposit back, in full, once I move out…”

Yes, if you leave your apartment in the identical condition in which you moved in — minus expected wear and tear — then you may get your entire security deposit refunded. Just make sure you’ve thoroughly reviewed your lease and are fully aware of any security deposit and damage addendums which detail what may possibly be deducted from your deposit. What’s more, consider requesting a walkthrough of your unit with your landlord or property manager at the time of occupancy and moving out.

#5: “I can’t do much of anything about my noisy neighbour…”

Wrong. First off, you can notify your landlord or property manager of the issue, preferably in writing, while taking measures to document each incident going forward. Then, If your landlord is unable to solve the problem, you can consider addressing the offending neighbour themselves, being sure to explain why exactly the noise is disruptive. Truth be told, neighbours are often unaware of the level of their disruptiveness. To help avoid being stuck in an this kind of situation to begin with, whenever possible, aim for a top floor apartment. It won’t necessarily eliminate neighbourly noise, but may help reduce any overhead issues. Also, review your lease for any noise clauses that penalize residents for noise violations.