So you're signing a lease

Thursday, February 23, 2006

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Written by Jessica Wiper

That heart-pounding moment has come, you and your housemates have found the house of your dreams, and the landlord has produced a thick novel of paper asking you to sign it. That's right, it's lease signing time! As a previous and current renter, I can understand the pain that comes along with the thought of actually having to read through all of it, so I have outlined some tips -- shoulds and shouldn'ts of leases.

If you are covered by the Tenant Protection Act (TPA) meaning that you do NOT share a kitchen or a bathroom with the landlord or their immediate family, then there are some things that remain constant regardless of what is written in your lease. For example, if you are covered, then you can have pets as long as they are not dangerous or disturbing your neighbours, even if it states something different in your lease. Also, there are set procedures in regards to eviction, maintenance and repairs, and rent increases. To find out more information on the Tenant Protection Act, visit the Neighbourhood Relations website at .

However, if you are not covered by the TPA, that is you DO share a kitchen or bathroom with your landlord or their family, then pay careful attention to your lease, because it is the main set of rules and regulations between you and your landlord.

Leases in general should specify such things as the move in date and move out date (if you have agreed to one in advance), the address of the renting location, responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant (like cutting the grass), and your landlord’s contact information.

So who signs the lease -- just you, or you and all of your housemates, and if so, should you all sign separate leases? Well, we recommend that you do not sign a lease alone if you are living with other people; everyone should sign so that the responsibility is not squarely on your shoulders. If you all sign the same lease copy for a single rent amount, then should one person on that lease move out or stop paying rent, you will likely have to pick up their slack. However, if everyone signs a different lease, then you are only responsible for your part. And remember, you are signing a legal and binding document, please take the time to read through it and know what you are agreeing to, because you will be held to that by law.

If you have questions regarding leases, signing them, or questions and concerns about what is in a lease you have been asked to sign, visit the Neighbourhood Relations website.

Good luck!

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  1. Posted by: luke! on Feb 24, 2006 @ 9:27am

    Wow, I just realized this page was here.

    Just to add to what Jessica wrote, the CSA is part of a partnership that set up a site called Renter's Reviews, where you can rate your landlord and review the ratings other people have given potential landlords.

    It's a great resource because there are some terrible landlords out there that you will definitely want to avoid. Check it out at www.rentersreviews.org

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