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Tenant Responsibilities: Payments, Vacating, and Maintenance

Tenant Responsibilities
Educating tenants on their rights and obligations outlined in their lease.

Understanding rights and responsibilities is crucial for both landlords and tenants. This blog post educates tenants on three key areas of tenant responsibilities: monthly rent payments, notice to vacate, and ongoing maintenance and care.

Tenant Payment and Rent Obligations:

Tenants are responsible for paying their rent in full and on time, just as a property owner is responsible for paying their mortgage in full and on time. The most common mistake tenants make is neglecting to inform landlords or property management companies when cheques or automated payments will bounce due to insufficient funds. This results in tenants paying bank NSF fees and landlord or property management company administrative fees, often adding an extra $50 to $75 to that month’s rent.

We have two tips: First, inform your property management company or landlord as soon as you know you won’t have enough funds in your account. You can ask if they’re open to accommodating an adjustment, perhaps withdrawing the funds later in the day, or the following day, or arranging for you to pay through another method.

Note that this is not a requirement of the landlord or property management company. In fact, many will not, rightfully, as they often rely on that money to pay their mortgage. If they oblige, ensure you take action to ensure it doesn’t become the norm or you may find an eviction notice around the corner.

Our second tip for tenants is to enroll in overdraft protection for enough money to cover your rent based on a zero balance. This ensure that even if you don’t have the funds, the overdraft protection kicks in, covering the rent payment and avoiding costly fees. The cost of this service is usually less than the fees you’ll incur if it happens one time.

Tenant Obligations for Maintenance and Property Care:

Be sure to familiarize yourself with what you’re responsible for in your house. Generally speaking, tenants are responsible for things that wear quickly based on their use, this includes light bulbs, water and air filters, among other things.

You’re also responsible for maintaining the house in a way that doesn’t cause issues. For example, neglecting to prevent an excessive amount of hair from going into the shower drain could result in you picking up the tab for a clogged drain. Or, failing to clean up crumbs and food waste that results in pest or insect issues could fall upon you to pay repairs for.

Tenant Renewal and Termination Procedures:

It’s important to understand your obligations when informing your landlord or property management company if you’d like to vacate the property. They are required to inform you if they want to move in or evict you for other permitted purposes.

Generally speaking, tenants are required to provide 60 days from the date the notice is provided, and it must also be the last day of a tenancy period. For example, if you pay your rent on the first of the month and you submit this notice on June 3rd, 2024, your notice must state that your last day of tenancy will be August 31, 2024, which is the first end of a tenancy period following the 60 days of notice.

Remember that these discussions are based on our knowledge of the Residential Tenancy Act in Ontario, Canada when writing this blog. Tenants and Landlords would be well advised to familiarize themselves with the Act and hire legal counsel. If you’re a tenant looking for a property or a Landlord requiring property management services, contact us today.

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This report provides a reference for future inspections, assists in litigation, and minimizes future repair costs.

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