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Tenants - Off-Campus Living

Leases, safety, bylaws, privacy, rent changes and rules for moving



  • Check out the lease tips on the side button, but for a quick skim of it, here it is!

  • Lease Agreements can be written(best way), verbal or implied and can only be terminated with the RTA. 

  • A lease must include the legal names and address of the landlord, and tenant is entitled to receive a copy within 21 days. If there are any changes within the lease, both tenant and landlord must initial changes.

  • Write a checklist/ question page to ask the landlord or come into the Off-Campus Resource Center for an Accommodation Checklist for a list of things to look for while inspecting the house.

  • The Off-Campus Resource Center has a Rental Unit Inspection Report which can be used as a document to inspect and ensure the condition of the rental unit before and after moving. 

  • Security/damage deposits are not allowed in Ontario and only one month’s worth of rent deposit can be used but then must pay back the amount with interest to the tenant. 



Types of Leases

  • There are two different types of leases, same and separate

  • If you and your housemates are under the same lease everyone is responsible for one full rent and each housemate is responsible for their share of the rent. Eviction may be possible if the whole rent is not paid in full. 

  • Separate leases are for each individual.



Fire Safety

  • It is the students, parents, property owners and Hamilton Emergency Services who have the responsibility to ensure that homes are in compliance with fire safety regulation. 

  • There must be working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms within the home, on each floor, and outside all sleeping areas. Landlords are responsible to ensure that they are working. It is the tenant's responsibility to contact the landlord if they stop working or become a nuisance.

  • It is illegal for tenants to tamper with alarms in any way. 

  • If there is a fire extinguisher, ensure proper use and maintenance (once per month as visual inspection by qualified personnel) 

  • Never leave food cooking on the stove stop unattended, and extinguish a grease fire with baking soda or a fire extinguisher.  



Health and Personal Safety

  • Inspect to see that there are working door locks in the unit as well as locking windows for safety.

  • Always ensure that mould is properly removed for it can lead to serious health problems. 

  • Contact the landlord when mould is spotted before contacting a specialist. If the tenant plans on hiring an indoor air quality inspector it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay the investigator.

  • Bed bugs can happen to anyone. It cannot be solved by throwing out your bed. More steps must be taken to control bed bugs such as vacuuming, sealing, and repairing, bed frames, furniture, walls, baseboards and more. A trained professional should be retained by the landlord.

  • Cockroaches, mice and other pests must be notified to the landlord and steps must be taken to get rid of them.

  • Food Safety (...the greatest danger is the invisible bacteria that lurks!) 




  • Tenants and landlords are responsible may be charged for a violation of the Noise By-law.

  • Tenants or the landlord can be issued a charge if the yard has long grass or weed exceeding 20 cm. Waste items can be put at the curb only after 7 pm the evening prior to the waste collection day. 

  • Sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall. 

  • Property Standards states that the property owner must maintain and repair the interior and exterior of the property. A property standards complaint can be made through in which the property owner will be able to appeal or comply with the Order.

  • Most trees on front lawns are on City property and cannot be trimmed, cut, or have any fastening on the tree and are a violation of the Street Tree By-Law. Shrubs and bushes do not follow this by-law and it is the landlord and tenants responsibility of proper trimming and upkeep. 


Privacy, Harassment, Discrimination

Living in your home

  • Tenants have the rights to privacy in their home free from harassment and discrimination by their landlord, those who work for the landlord, and other tenants. If there is harassment between tenants, the landlord must take action. 

  • Make a complaint to the Investigation Enforcement unit; they encourage landlords and tenants to obey rental housing laws. 

  • Apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board within one year of when the harassment happened; they settle disputes between landlord and tenants.

  • Visit Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario for more information. 



  • The landlord may enter your home without telling you ahead of time when: there is an emergency, the rental agreement says that the landlord provides you with a cleaning service. The landlord can enter your home between 8 am and 8 pm to show it to a new tenant only if the tenant and the landlord have given notice and agreed that the tenant will move out. Otherwise, there must be 24 hours written notice with certain reasons in which entry will only happen between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm.

  • The landlord must give 24 hours written a notice in order to enter rental unit premises which includes reason and time (between 8am-8pm)  for entry.


Rent increases can only happen due to: 

  • Guideline increases that the Landlord and Tenant Board allows above the guideline, also known as the above-guideline increase or AGI. These increases must wait at least 12 months after you move in with a 90 days’ notice of rent increase by the Landlord and Tenant Board form). 

  • Increase due to a new service or improvement that was agreed on by both the tenant and landlord.

  • If you paid an illegal rent increase or extra charge, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to get your money back and contact the provincial governments Investigation and Enforcement Unit. 

  • If you were recently affected by rent increase come to the Off-Campus Resource Center to find out if your rent increase was illegal.



Maintenance and repairs

  • The landlord is responsible for general maintenance and repairs of your home; tenants are responsible for the day-to-day cleanliness and any damage that they willfully or negligently cause.

  • To get things fixed follow these steps tell your landlord and give him/her time to respond; follow up with a letter if no action is taken.

  • If still no response, come speak with someone at the Off-Campus Resource Centre to explore next steps.



Moving out

  • Proper notice of moving out should occur by filling out the Tenants Notice to terminate the Tenancy (Form N9) and giving it to the landlord. You do not need to state the reason why you are moving. 

  • Even if you have an end date on your lease, you must give a minimum 60 days notice before the termination date to tell the landlord if you are moving out. If you pay your rent by the month or year.

  • If you wish to stay past this termination date you are legally able to do so by living as a month to month renter or if you re-sign a lease. 

  • If you pay rent by the day or week, you have 28 days notice before your termination date.

  • You might owe rent for the time until your tenancy does end if you choose to move out without proper notice. 

  • If you move out it is best to take pictures of your place before you leave for proof of room condition. 



Moving out early

  • Sign an Agreement to Terminate a Tenancy (Form N11) from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

  • If you do not move on the date that the landlord and you agreed on the landlord can apply for eviction through the Landlord and Tenant Board.

  • You might be able to move out early by assigning your place to a new tenant where they will take over the lease. You do not have the right to move back in and are not responsible for the new tenant. Use form N9 in the Tenants Notice to Terminate the Tenancy Form.

  • You might be able to move out early without proper notice on the grounds of safety or harassment concerns, but you would have to make an application to the Landlord and Tenant (LTB) Board and let them decide if the situation warrants you moving out early. Without permission from the LTB, you will owe rent for the time until your tenancy does end if you choose to move out without proper notice. 




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