Housing Search Tips
With rental housing at a real premium in our communities it is important to keep the following tips in mind to get and keep your housing:
When phoning landlords about an ad:
- Plan what you are going to say and what questions you want to ask before you call
- Remember to always be polite.
- Try to avoid giving a lot of personal information over the phone
- Do not call after 9 at night or before 9 in the morning.
- If a landlord says that the unit is rented you might ask if he has any others coming up soon.
- Remember to thank them for their time even if they were not able to offer you any help this time.
When going to see a unit or fill in an application for a unit:
- Remember to put your best foot forward. Just as it is with a job interview first appearances are important. So remember to be neat and clean in your appearance.
- Have your landlord references (usually at least two) at hand complete with name, address and telephone numbers.
- Have the details of your rental history, income source and amounts.
- If you do not have landlord references be sure that you have a good explanation but it is best not to go into detail about previous bad landlord/tenant relations even if you have had an experience with a bad landlord. Offer personal references as an alternative if you have no landlord references.
- Do not put information on an application that is not true. It may cause you to not get the unit you are trying to rent.
When finalizing the arrangements to rent a unit:
- If there are repairs that need to be completed prior to move in it is advisable to have a written agreement that describes what repairs will be completed prior to move in. If that is not possible be sure that you have a clear agreement with the landlord. You may consider making an arrangement with the landlord that you will do some of these things if he supplies the materials.
Lastly. Once you have found a place that is good for you be sure that you don't lose it!
- Be sure that you pay your rent on time. If something does happen that there is going to be a slight delay in paying contact your landlord immediately to explain and do not make a habit of doing this. Persistent late payment of your rent is grounds for eviction.
- Keep your unit clean and do not damage the unit. If you have children or pets do not allow them to damage the unit. If something does get damaged, repair it as quickly as possible. Even if you plan to move again remember that it is important to have references from previous landlords. If you cause damage you will not have those references and some landlords take action in small claims court to recover the cost of repairs. If you do not pay it is permanently on your credit rating and will affect you in the future.
- You are responsible for your actions and that of your guests. If you have parties and there are damages or noise complaints from neighbours you are responsible and it may be grounds for eviction.
- If there are repairs that are needed you cannot withhold your rent in order to force the landlord to make the repairs no matter how bad the situation is. You should contact the Landlord Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234 or call the Community Legal Clinic at 1-800-461-8953 for advice.