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Off-Campus Housing Services
Logo: Housing at Western University
Off-Campus Housing COVID-19 Update

Western's Off-Campus Housing Service is here to provide support and information to students living off-campus. Please contact our office if you have additional questions that aren't answered below: https://offcampus.uwo.ca/contactus.cfm

  1. Can I move between off-campus rental units during the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Yes, you can still move between rental units at this time. The Ontario government has not restricted moving between homes or rental units. For up-to-date information from the provincial government about how COVID-19 is impacting renting rules, please visit their website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-changes-during-covid-19

  2. What should I do if my current landlord wants to bring people into my living space to show the house? Can I show my room to potential sub-tenants right now?

    Public Health recommends virtual tours rather than in-person ones for both landlords showing units to prospective tenants, and tenants showing to prospective sub-tenants.
    Landlords are subject to the Human Rights Code and have a duty to accommodate tenants under protected grounds, including people with disabilities. For example, conducting an in-person showing when a tenant has an immune-compromising condition could lead to a complaint under the Code.

  3. How should I work with my landlord and housemates to prepare for a move?

    Communicate with everyone involved in your move, particularly your current and new landlords and housemates.
    Before you move:

    • Talk with your new landlord about their plan to clean and sanitize the unit before your move-in.
    • Discuss the level of physical distancing or self-isolation that you and your new housemates have been practicing to understand if and how you'll keep these up when you move in together.

    It's also good practice to:

    • Sanitize doorknobs, handles and other high-touch surfaces regularly using one of the recommended hard surface disinfectants.
    • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Complete the COVID-19 self-assessment if you aren't feeling well.

  4. How can I maintain physical distancing while moving?

    If you are moving between rental units, follow these recommendations from Public Health:

    • Arrange staggered move-in times to avoid groups congregating.
    • Keep a distance of two metres from your landlord, new housemates and neighbours while moving.
    • Greet your new landlord, housemates and neighbours with a wave, a bow or a nod (do not shake hands).
    • Don't ride elevators with other tenants or neighbours while moving.
    • Move your own items when possible and avoid having your friends or family help.

  5. What if I no longer want to move into the unit that I signed a lease for?

    If you no longer plan to move into a unit that you have already signed a lease for, you have the following options:

    What is the difference between subletting and assigning?

    If you sublet, you remain on the lease. If you assign your lease to someone else, you permanently sign over your position on a lease to another person. When assigning, you are not responsible for future rent payments or the behaviour of the new tenant.

    Subletting is preferable if you intend to move back into the unit. Assignment is preferable if you want to exit the lease agreement.

    Assignment requires the consent of the landlord, but landlords cannot refuse an assignee without a reasonable explanation that is accepted by the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord refuses to allow you to assign your lease without a reasonable explanation, then you have the option to end your tenancy early with 30 days' written notice (if you are on a separate lease or if all tenants on a joint lease terminate). If you are in this situation, contact our office for more information: https://offcampus.uwo.ca/contactus.cfm

  6. Should I sign a lease for September now?

    Some students have expressed concern about signing a year-long lease in case physical distancing recommendations persist into the fall. You still have plenty of time to find a place for the fall without making a decision right now.

    You should not sign a lease if you are unsure you will be able to uphold the contract. A lease is a legally binding contract and can be difficult to terminate.

  7. I'm worried about money. What if I can't pay my rent?

    The Ontario government has stated evictions will not be processed at this time, unless the issue is urgent, such as illegal activity or safety concerns. Landlords are encouraged to work with their tenants to ensure tenants stay in their homes, while deferring rent or making other payment arrangements.

    You may consider negotiating with your landlord:

    • You could ask to pay 50% (or the amount you are able to) while finances are depleted, with an agreement to pay back the rent when your finances are stabilized.
    • You could ask for the lease start date to defer to a later date, subsequently moving back the lease end date as well.

    Make sure you get all negotiated terms in writing and keep a copy for your records.
    There are a few ways you might be able to arrange for financial support during the COVID-19 crisis:

 
 
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