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Common renting practices that you might not realize are illegal

by Rico

Security deposit, key deposit or whatever rhymes with deposit

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I once thought that I found the *perfect* place. The room was fully furnished, had fast Wi-Fi, and the best part was that the housemates were awesome… until I started talking to the landlord and they asked for a $500 security deposit on top of the rent. PRO TIP: the only legal “security” deposit a landlord can ask for is last month’s rent.

The “Google Lease”

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This is less of a problem now that there are standard lease agreements, but in the past I found that a lot of my landlords would simply google “lease template” and got select one from a different part of the world that would barely be legal in the US, and definitely not legal in Canada.

Fire! Fire! Fire!

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Many rental units, especially basement apartments, don’t have smoke detectors. This is either because the landlord is too lazy to install one, or they just don’t care enough.

Wait, how many other people live here?

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By law, you can’t have more than 4 tenants in one house. In practice, there are lots of places that try to squeeze as many people as possible into them by having 16 rooms in the basement, 10 on the main level, and another 27 upstairs. 

Oh don't worry, this place has a permit

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All residential rental properties surrounding the university have to be licensed under the Residential Rental Housing Licensing By-law. I have only ever encountered this once, but my landlord flat out admitted that they did not have a rental license. Landlords make more money when they ignore this law – there’s a good chance if they are not abiding by this by-law, there are many other by-laws they are also breaking.

Door keys

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We all love to have our privacy. Having a lock on our door when our significant other is over seems like a blessing – but it’s actually illegal. According to law, rental units are not allowed to have locks on bedroom doors.

No Dogs, No Cats, No Service

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Landlords can say no pets in your lease and you can ignore it without any legal consequences. So, if your landlord is the one thing stopping you from adopting a furry friend start planning your trip to the humane society.