Here are a few things to consider before moving in with a roommate or deciding to share your accommodation.

  1. Do you communicate well? You’ll want to establish guidelines for:
    • Household chores
    • Personal property
    • Keys
    • Privacy
    • Paying rent and bills
    • Handling shared expenses
    • Additional roommates
    • Overnight guests
    • Smoking
    • Food
    • Quiet time
    • Drug and alcohol use
    • Who gets the larger bedroom or better view, and if that person will be charged extra for the privilege
  2. Which roommate will assume legal obligations in the case of:
    • Property damages
    • Paying rent on time
    • Having bills in their name

Rights and responsibilities vary somewhat across the country, as defined in the provincial and territorial laws. Please consult with your local provincial/territorial office if you have any questions.

You’ll want to know these before signing the lease.

Rules about pets and smoking

The exact rules for pets and smoking depend on the legislation of each province and territory.

Generally, landlords can refuse to rent to a pet owner if they are:

  • Located in most provinces and territories in Canada.
  • In Nunavut and have a private landlord.

Public housing landlords cannot refuse to rent to tenants with pets.

If you choose to violate a “no pets” clause in your lease, your landlord can evict you unless you are located in Ontario. However, breaches are treated differently by province and territory with some giving warnings before issuing a final written notice.

“No smoking” clauses in a lease are treated differently by province or territory. In some cases, it is up to the landlord to decide how they want to enforce it. However, all landlords must follow the same legal eviction procedures outlined in the province or territory’s legislation.

Tips for tenants…

Keep your credit rating intact. Make sure you collect your roommate’s portion of the bills on time if your name is on the phone bill, utility bill or lease. If the account is in your name, you are responsible for any late or missing payments.

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Date Published: March 31, 2018