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Off-Campus Housing Services
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Renting in London Booklet

You are about to embark on the difficult task of finding the perfect accommodation that will suit your many needs. It is extremely important to be an informed consumer; not only for your needs, wants and rights, but also for what your responsibilities or obligations entail.

Note: Most of the questions and answers in this booklet refer to scenarios covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). But what does this imply? There are exceptions of which to be aware when renting.

The most common exception under the RTA is when you share a bathroom and/or kitchen with the owner or owner's immediate family. The Act is very specific about this and thus, just because someone rents in a house where the owner lives in the building, it does not necessarily preclude them from being covered by the RTA.

When you are not covered by the RTA, it is basically a contract situation whereby two or more individuals enter into an agreement.

It is important to assess your income to avoid any problems down the road.

  • Consider how much rent you can afford, but also when your income will become available, such as summer income, OSAP or part-time income throughout the year.
  • Calculate additional costs when renting, such as utilities, water heater rental, internet and phone, and furniture.
  • You also need to be prepared to pay a rent deposit up front when signing the lease.

Q: What is a security deposit and can the landlord demand one?

A: According to Ontario rental law, landlords are permitted to request prepayment of an amount equivalent to one month's rent, but this deposit must be applied to the last month's rent. The landlord may not ask for such things as damage or security deposits when Ontario rental law applies.

Q: What is a guarantor?

A: A guarantor is someone who has the financial ability to guarantee rent and damages will be paid. This is a common requirement landlords have when renting to student tenants. A landlord has the right to require a guarantor be provided. If you are on a joint lease with your roommates, the guarantor(s) are liable for any tenant, not just the student they are guaranteeing.

In order to avoid future difficulties, it is important to discuss several issues with your roommate(s). Whether you want to prepare a written agreement (recommended) or not, you should be able to sit down and discuss all rental aspects, such as rent payments, bill payments, chores, personal property, privacy, etc. Sometimes friends don’t make the best roommates!

Q: My roommate and I are on the same lease. If they leave, do I have to cover their rent?

A: Yes. When you are on the same lease with your roommate, you are liable for their debts to the landlord. Your options are to seek restitution either through either mediation or legal options.

Q: What happens if my roommate leaves before the lease ends?

A: Under most tenancy agreements, if two or more of you are tenants and on the same lease, you are each responsible to the landlord for the whole rent regardless of the arrangement made among you to share the rent. If one of the tenants leaves, that share of the rent will have to be covered by the remaining tenants

Q: We have extra rooms in our house that are empty, can we rent them out?

A: The RTA does not prohibit a tenant from taking a “roommate”, so long as the number of persons continuously occupying the premise does not violate housing, safety or health standards (100 sq. ft./occupancy), or any other by-law. This “roommate” would become a sub- tenant if they are not on the original lease. The main tenant(s) are liable for the actions of the sub-tenant.

Once you know what you can afford and whether or not you are going to have roommates, you can begin looking for a suitable place. There are various ways to locate a place to live, but some of the best ways include:

  1. Western Off-Campus Housing Service: https://offcampus.uwo.ca/listings/
  2. Word of Mouth: Sometimes the best places are found when you talk with other students.
  3. Visit the Area: If you know where in the city you want to live, then sometimes the easiest thing to do is walk around the area and look for "For Rent" signs.

Q: As a tenant, what are my obligations concerning the condition of the rented premises?

A: You are responsible for ordinary cleanliness (i.e. good housekeeping) and for any damage caused either deliberately or negligently by you, your family or your guests.

Q: What do I do if my rental needs repairs/maintenance?

A: For your maintenance requests, you can submit a written letter outlining your maintenance requests and a deadline for completion (10 business days). You can send this to your landlord via ExpressPost or registered mail, as this requires a signature upon receipt, thus proving the letter was received. You should also keep a copy for your own records. You can also hand deliver this letter to your landlord, but be sure to bring a witness.

It is highly recommended that any tenancy agreements be in writing. Landlords are required to use the Ontario Standard Form of Lease when Ontario rental law applies. If something in the lease is contrary to Ontario rental law, then the Residential Tenancies Act overrides that clause in the lease. If the landlord has made verbal promises to you about the rental, then get these written into the lease with a deadline for completion.

Q: What does covered under RTA mean?

A: The RTA is the Residential Tenancies Act, which is Ontario rental law. You are covered by the RTA if you do not share a kitchen and/or bathroom with the owner or a member of their immediate family. You have tenant rights when protected by the RTA.

Q: What does it mean if I share a kitchen and/or bathroom with the owner or a member of their immediate family?

A: This means that tenant rights and responsibilities according to Ontario rental law do not apply to your tenancy. The landlord can create their own rules in the lease and during the tenancy.

Q: If I sign an offer to lease or an application to lease, is this binding?

A: If accepted by the landlord, then you may be bound to a tenancy agreement. Many applications are legally binding. It is best to only sign a rental application if you are certain you want to live in this rental if accepted by the landlord.

Q: What is the difference between a joint and separate lease?

A: On a separate lease, you are responsible for only yourself, whereas on a joint lease you are responsible for yourself and all tenants named on the lease.

Q: Do you offer a service to review my lease before I sign it?

A: Yes, Western Off-Campus Housing Service provides free lease reviews for Western and Fanshawe students. This service helps tenants understand parts of the lease before committing to the rental. Please click the link to book a lease review appointment: https://offcampus.uwo.ca/appointment.cfm

The City of London is a wonderful place to live, work, study and play. As residents, we can be proud of the character and beauty of the city, including the pleasant and attractive neighbourhoods. We are all entitled to the continued enjoyment of our neighbourhoods, but we also have responsibilities and obligations

Q: What are the common bylaws in London that I should know about?

Residential Rental Licensing Bylaw

Many rental accommodations in London are required to have a license. To find out if your rental has a rental license you can go to this City site: https://bdp.london.ca/citizenportal/app/public-search

Occupancy Standards

The City of London requires 100 square feet of living space per person.

Five Bedroom Bylaw

The City of London requires properties built after 2005 to have five bedrooms or less.

Rooming House Bylaw

Rental accommodations that aren’t zoned as Rooming Houses cannot rent to more than three individuals on separate leases.

Noise Bylaw

The noise bylaw (in effect 24 hours a day) is designed to reduce and control unnecessary noise, which can be a nuisance and disturb the peacefulness of the neighbourhood.

Parking

You should note that in the City, it is illegal to park a vehicle in any of the following locations:

  • Between the curb and the sidewalk;
  • Over the sidewalk;
  • Between the sidewalk and the street line (i.e. street allowance);
  • On the street between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. most days;
  • On the front lawn.

Property Upkeep

Grass must be kept short, junk and litter must be cleaned off lawns, and outside furniture must be minimal and not an eyesore.

Q: What do I do with my garbage and recycling?

A: Download the Recycle Coach app for a notification the night before collection day. More information about garbage and recycling rules can be found online: https://london.ca/living-london/garbage-recycling/collection-calendar.

 
 
Roommate Agreement
 
Sample Sublet Agreement
 
Residential Tenancies Act

Residential Tenancies Act : Provincial legislation governing relations between landlords and tenants. Please note this legislation will not apply if you share a bathroom and/or kitchen with the landlord (owner) or their immediate family.

Landlord and Tenant Board : Provincial body that resolves disputes between landlords and tenants through a tribunal process.

Western & Neighbourhood Relations
Things you should know about Western & Neighbourhood Relations.
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