Starting Your Search: Advice and Cautions
Starting Your Search: Advice and Cautions
Please refer to our wonderful resource sheet for more information:
*Disclaimer: Carleton University does not inspect nor affiliate with any off-campus property. Please visit the Landlord Tenant Board for more information regarding your rights as a tenant.
Do you require Legal Advice? Contact the Carleton University Legal Clinic at either 613-520-2600 ext. 8205 or contact their Ottawa U location at either 613-562-5600; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saving Tips: Click here for 10 Tips To Help You Save At University.
What to Watch Out for / Ask About Before You Sign:
- Rent – how much? When is it due? Are utilities (water, heat, hydro), parking extra? Get it in writing!!
- Call utility companies to get an exact cost.
- Can a landlord charge a person a deposit or a fee to rent a unit? Yes, a landlord can collect a rent deposit if it is requested on or before the day that the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement. The rent deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less. For example, if rent payments are made weekly, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent; if rent payments are made monthly or bi-monthly, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages.
- Can the landlord ask for a deposit for keys? Yes, but only if: the deposit is refundable and, the amount of the deposit is not more than the expected cost of replacing the key(s) if they are not returned to the landlord. The landlord must give the deposit back when the tenant turns in their key(s) at the end of their tenancy.
- Always request a receipt for any cash transaction. If a landlord agrees to repairs, paying utilities/parking, have him/her put it in writing.
- What are the rules regarding subletting? (This is especially important for students who may signing twelve month leases, but returning to another address for the summer months.)
- What are you and the landlord responsible for? A landlord is responsible for keeping the dwelling in good repair and physically fit for living while complying with all health, safety and housing standards as set by law. A tenant is responsible for ordinary cleanliness and for repairing any damage that s/he or one of his/her guests caused either wilfully or negligently.
- If possible speak to present or previous tenants.
What to expect as a first time renter:
- There is a possibility to provide a co-signer.
- To have to sign a lease.
- Provide references and/or police check.
- To have to pay monthly rent, on time, as per the rental agreement.
- Ensure you receive a copy of the rules and regulations in addition to a copy of the lease.
- Ensure you view the actual unit for rent.
- To move into a unit in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.
- Proximity to campus – can you walk or cycle – or must you rely on public transportation? If public transport, check the peak vs. off peak hours, frequency, etc. Look at the proximity of the bus stop to your home and number of transfers required to get to the university campus.
- Is the dwelling close to grocery stores, laundromats and other facilities?
- Is the street/neighbourhood well lit?
- Property Standards:
- Are all locks (doors and windows) in good working order? Who has access to the keys?
- Are there proper exits in case of fire, and are they clearly marked? Is there a smoke detector(s) in the dwelling? (Fire extinguisher?)
- Are there enough electrical outlets, and are they in working order? Do you have access to a fuse box/circuit breakers, if necessary? Have there been problems with the electricity? If there is a fuse box, are the outlets 2 or 3 prong?
- Is water pressure and hot water sufficient – try all faucets including shower, toilets etc. (Check size of hot water tank)
- Is there proper lighting and ventilation? Are there ceiling fixtures, or do you have to provide lamps?
- What type of heating is used? The standard for the city is that the heating system must be capable of reaching a temperature of 20 degrees Celcius five feet from the floor and three feet from the exterior walls. Interior floors and ceiling must be kept free from dampness.
- Are there storm windows? Do windows open and close properly? (If paying for heating, poor insulation can make heating costly).
- Where is the temperature control? Is it accessible?
- Where do you put the garbage and when? Is recycling part of the garbage removal system? The greater Ottawa area includes black box (paper materials) and blue box (glass and metal materials) removal on alternate garbage days. Find out which week is which.
- Is the dwelling clean? Pest free? Is the landlord cleaning/painting the dwelling before you move in? Will you be permitted to paint and will you be compensated for any expense?
- Do all of the appliances work? Try them!
- Seasonal factors – Who is responsible for exterior maintenance – i.e., cutting grass, shovelling snow, raking leaves?
- Parking – is it available? Does it cost extra?
- Are furnishings included? If so, inspect the condition of all furniture and report, in writing, any items which need repair before moving in.
- Is it sound proof? Check for loud music, audible traffic flow, etc. (studying can be made difficult)
- Is there enough storage space/closets?
- If you are sharing facilities (bath or kitchen), try to meet the other tenants.
- If possible, visit neighbourhood/building at night. Is is safe and quiet?
- If you are in an apartment building, check with other tenants on things like elevator maintenance. Have there been problems? You don’t want to have to climb up 10 flights of stairs with a load of groceries if the elevator isn’t working.
- Kitchen/laundry privileges – what are the rules?
- Visitor restrictions?
- Is there enough privacy? A lock on your door? Who has access to keys? Is it possible/necessary to install an additional phone line or cable line?
- Finally… look the place over. Is it a place you would like to call home for the next 8-12 months?
Off Campus Meal Plans:
Off campus meal plans are available through the Campus Card office. For more information, please visit the following website, http://carleton.ca/campuscard/plans/.