Once you have chosen a place that meets your needs and has passed your inspection, contact the landlord or owner to apply. Good places don’t stay unrented for long. In many cases, you should fill out the application on the spot or get it back to the landlord within a day.
When you apply, you will likely be asked to:
- Agree to a credit check. To make sure you can afford the rent and will pay on time, your potential landlord will check your credit report. You build a credit file when you borrow money and pay it back. This includes things like loans and credit cards. To assure that you have a good credit rating always: - make loan and bill payments on time - make at least the minimum credit card payment each month and pay on time. Learn more now
- Pay a rent deposit. This deposit cannot be more than the rent for one rental period or one month’s rent, whichever is less. As well, the deposit can only be used as rent for the last period of your stay. It cannot be used pay for damages that occur while you are renting.
- Provide some financial information. You will likely be asked about your work situation. You may also be asked about how much money you have saved or any loans you have.
- Provide two or more references. Landlords check references to help them decide if they can trust you to pay your rent on time and take good care of the property. If you are leaving home for the first time or have just started your first job, try to provide references from people in respected positions. This can include university professors or your boss from a prior job. It will also be helpful to have your parents co-sign the lease.
Once the landlord accepts your application, you will receive a copy of the lease. This is a legal agreement between you and your landlord.
What will my lease cover?
General information about the rental, including:
- names of the landlord and tenant(s) and contact information
- address of the rental property
- monthly rent you agreed to pay, with or without utilities, parking, cable
- date when your rent is due each month
- term of rental period – usually one year
- amount and terms of any deposit required
- allowable rent increases
- specific restrictions, such as no boarders, pets, smoking, waterbeds.
What happens if something goes wrong or you decide to leave, including:
- which repairs you must take care of
- the notice period that you must give when you plan to leave – usually 60 days
- rules for subletting your apartment to someone else
- when and how a landlord can enter your place
- the conditions where a landlord can terminate a lease or evict you
- ways to resolve disputes – for example, over late payments, damages and repairs, eviction notices.
Remember: Before you sign, read your lease over carefully.
Make sure you understand exactly what you and your landlord are agreeing to. This is where knowing your rights will come in handy. It will also help you in during any potential problems that may come up during your rental.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.