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5 Things you should know about renting during COVID-19

Posted August 24, 2020

By Samantha Lizardo

Toronto city skyline
Photo by Burst from pexels.com

The University of Toronto is planning for a safe and gradual return to campus with most classes offered online and some in-person.

Renting and finding a place to live in Toronto will look very different this year, but many of the same regulations still apply.

If you’re currently renting or searching for housing off-campus, here are 5 things you should know:

Breaking a lease

Even during COVID-19, you cannot break your lease unless your landlord agrees to it. If you’re a new renter, keep this in mind and only sign a lease when you’re certain!

60 days in advance

If you are planning to move out at the end of your lease, you are required to give your landlord 60 days written notice under the RTA (Residential Tenancy Act). If you’re searching for housing, it is recommended to start 44-60 days in advance. In light of the pandemic, many properties on the rental market are not being leased as quickly as usual so this may be good news for prospective renters.

Showings during COVID-19

Your landlord can still show your place to potential tenants ensuring that they follow showing regulations. Landlords are also encouraged to have virtual viewings. If you’re a prospective renter, ask for a live video tour (not a recording) as a precaution against scams.

Maintaining a clean and safe unit

You have a right to move into a safe, clean unit and your landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs within it. They are also responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of shared spaces such as hallways, driveways, yards, etc.

Communicate with your roommates

If you’re living with roommates or planning to live with others, chat with them about limitations during COVID-19 such as physical distancing, having people over, working and studying at home. It’s important that you’re all on the same page and understand each other’s boundaries and concerns. But if you are faced with conflict, get support from Housing conflict coaching.

To learn more about your housing rights in Ontario, check out Steps to Justice.

For more tips and resources on renting off-campus, check out the Housing Resource Library.