Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region

Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
February 23, 2009, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Rentals | Tags: , , ,

Knowing your rights and responsibilities is very important if you are a property owner of a tenanted building. You should also know what the expectations of the tenant will be.
Here is a list of useful websites and services for rental property owners in the Kitchener-Waterloo region:

You are required by the Landlord and Tenant Board as rental property owners to provide your tenant with the following brochure:

What to do with problem tenants, which forms to file (and copies of the forms), when to file them and how to file them with the Landlord Tenant Board:

Landlord and Tenant Board
Telephone Number: 1-888-332-3234

Filing rental income taxes with Canada Revenue Agency:

Centre for Equality Rights Accommodation (CERA)
Provides information and advice on housing discrimination and on evictions. Has helpful for advice on how to prevent human rights abuse in housing and rental units.
Phone number: 1.800.263.1139

Landlord self-help Centre
Phone number: 1-800-730-3218

Waterloo Region
Community Legal Services
170 Victoria Street South,
Kitchener, Ont. N2G 2B9
Tel: 519-743-0254
Fax: 519-743-1588

Rent Bank/Eviction Prevention Program
Program to secure housing for persons in danger of being evicted or in need of help with a rental loan in a case where a tenant doesn’t have funds (for whatever reason) and cannot secure them otherwise. Also can help with last month’s rent deposits. If a tenant tells you they do not have the money for rent– you can try sending them here.
165 King Street East
Kitchener, Ontario
N2G 2K8
Tel: Kristine Dearlove – 519-743-2246 x 225

By-Law Enforcement Kitchener: (519) 741-2330
By-Law Enforcement Waterloo: (519) 747-8557
Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal: 1-888-332-3234

Information package to give to your tenants (if you so choose): What tenants need to know about the law. May be helpful to you to see what they can do and what they can’t.

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).
Tenant information booklets on:
Can your landlord take your stuff?
Fighting an eviction
Maintenance and repairs
Moving Out
Rent Increases
Web tools for renters with roommates: Sharing rental Housing

If you need more information, please feel free to contact me.

Thinking of becoming a landlord?
February 17, 2009, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Rentals | Tags: , ,

Rental properties can be great investments, but they can also be huge headaches. A rental unit can help you bring in extra income that can go towards paying down your mortgage. The rental income amount can actually even help you qualify for an increased mortgage amount. They are great investments if you get good tenants who pay on time and keep the place well maintained.

How can you protect yourself from the headaches of being a landlord? Your most important job happens BEFORE you take on a tenant. As a landlord, you have the right to check the potential tenant’s credit rating, and rental history. Your relationship is a financial one, and so you should know if they are not paying their bills on time.

Take pictures of your apartment BEFORE you rent it out showing the exact condition of the place. This will help you if damages do occur upon tenancy and help you recoup the damages in court.

Your full rights and responsibilities are outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act (available at Make sure you know what you are legally liable for and get proper insurance to cover you.

Here are some highlights for you:

– You must keep the property in good repair and up to health, fire and safety standards. – You have the right to inspect the property, but you must give 24 hour written notice to the tenant to do so.

 – The tenant cannot change the locks or bar your entry and there are legal avenues for you to take if they do.

– You cannot ask for anything other than the rent for the last week or month. You are not permitted to ask for a damage deposit.

 – It is a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Code to prohibit children in a rental unit. A “no pets” clause is also unenforcable under the Residential Tenancies Act.

– You are required as a landlord to provide an information package detailing basic landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities to your new tenants. It is available at

– You cannot require a tenant to provide postdated cheques to you.

– You can only increase the rent by 1.8% per year (in 2009) with written notice 3 months in advance. You cannot increase the rent until the tenant has been living in the unit for more than one year. If the tenant moves out, you are allowed to set a new rent before the new tenant moves in.

It can be very difficult to remove a problem tenant, so the best advice is to pre-screen them before they move in. There are legal channels to help you, but they can take time, and require that you pay up front and sue for damages later.

There are many useful resources available, and organizations to help you. Check out ; Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ( and the Landlord and Tenant Board for more information. I also have a rental guide for potential landlords. Please ask me for a copy!