Many landlords require tenants to sign a one-year written agreement called a lease. The lease sets out the terms of the rental agreement, including the amount of rent, when it comes due, and any services included in the rent, such as parking, heat, and electricity. It's important to read the lease carefully before signing and to keep a copy.
Some landlords agree to rent their premises on a month-to-month basis. In such cases, a lease is not required.
First and Last Month's Rent & Security Deposits
It's common for landlords to ask tenants for a deposit or lump sum of money to cover the last month of rent. The deposit can't be used to pay for repairs or damage to the unit. The landlord must pay the tenant interest on the deposit every year.
Tenants may also be asked for a security or damage deposit to cover any repairs that may have to be made after they move out. If no repairs are needed, the landlord must return the full amount of the deposit to the tenant with interest.
If you live in rented accommodation, you should have renter's insurance to protect you against possible loss. Renter's insurance will help you cover your costs if your unit is vandalized, robbed or damaged by fire. Tenant's belongings generally aren't covered by a landlord's insurance policy. Check the Yellow Pages of the phone book under "Insurance" for a list of insurance companies.
Some apartments and rental accommodations are equipped with washing machines and clothes dryers for tenants to use. Laundry facilities are generally located apart from living units and require coins to operate. If a building does not have laundry facilities, tenants may need to use a self-service laundry (also called a coin laundry, laundromat, or commercial laundry). Check the Yellow Pages of the phone book under "Laundries — Self-Service" for a list of self-service laundries in Kingston.
Tenants are responsible for paying utility costs such as heat, gas and electricity if they are not included in the monthly rent (See also Utilities.)
Tenants in Ontario are protected under two pieces of legislation: The Human Rights Code and the Residential Tenancies Act.
- The Human Rights Code protects tenants from discrimination based on their colour, sex, age, ethnic background or disability.
- The Residential Tenancies Act protects both landlords and tenants. For example, a landlord is not allowed to suddenly increase the rent, shut off the electricity or enter a unit without permission.
Landlords and tenants who are unable to resolve their disputes can take them to the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board.
For More Information
An Introduction to Renting in Canada
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) guide to renting in Canada, with a special section for renters with information on looking for a place to rent, rental agreements, moving, paying rent, landlord and tenant responsibilities.
Finding a Place to Live
Information for newcomers about renting in Canada, tenant rights, utilities, furnishings, and arranging for telephone service.
Guide to the RTA [Residential Tenancies Act] in Multiple Languages
A guide to the Residential Tenancies Act with information about tenancy agreements, rent, maintenance and repairs, entering a rental unit and ending a tenancy. Available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi (Persian), Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese.
Help for Tenants
Information to help tenants when they receive illegal rent increases or other charges, their landlord illegally enters their unit or harasses them, or reduces a service.
An overview of rental accommodation in Kingston with links to renting listings and rental management firms.
How can I look for rental housing?
A list of ways to find apartments or houses to rent in Ontario. Includes links to a number of online listings and child-friendly neighbourhoods.
How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Ontario?
An online tool to compare current rental rates and vacancy rates for 16 Ontario cities, including Kingston. Includes average rents for bachelor, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments (Source: CMHC). Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.
What are my rights as a tenant?
The Human Rights Code and Residential Tenancies Act protect renters from discrimination based on their race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, and disability. A list of tenants’ right to heat, hot and cold water, electricity, fuel, privacy, a safe home and other rights is included.
Landlord and Tenant
An online list of booklets from Community and Legal Education (CLEO) that can be downloaded. Topics include: Can your landlord take your stuff? Fighting an eviction, Moving Out and What tenants need to know about the law.
Housing Guides in Many Languages
Guides for newcomers about renting and buying a home in Canada provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Also available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Filipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.
Your Legal Rights
A large resource of general legal information for Ontarians, compiled from hundreds of organizations across Ontario. While the site itself is only available in English, materials are available in multiple languages
, including French
. Managed by Community Legal Education Ontario.