Landlords charging Toronto immigrants illegal rent deposits


Renting tips for immigrants

According to this article in the Toronto Star, landlords across the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario are forcing immigrants to pay huge rent deposits (between a year to three years’ worth of rent) before they can secure an apartment – even though it’s illegal.

Landlords are only allowed to ask for first and last month’s rent, but many newcomers to Canada don’t know their rights under the Landlord Tenant act.

The main problem is that Ontario has some of the most comprehensive and protective laws when it comes to renting – but they protect tenants, not landlords. Landlords can have a very difficult and expensive task ahead of them if they need to evict someone for not paying their rent. This is why landlords run extensive credit checks on potential tenants – but what if someone, like a new immigrant, doesn’t have a credit history in Canada?

  • Bring someone who rents or knows about Ontario’s landlord tenant rules with you when interviewing with landlords and shopping for an apartment.
  • Provide the landlord with as much information and proof about your finances and employment as possible. Landlords are not supposed to consider “no credit” the same as “bad credit”, but they may anyway. Prove to the landlord you are financially capable.
  • Consider a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who trusts you and essentially vouches for you. If you can’t pay your rent, the co-signer is responsible.
  • Begin building credit by opening an account with a bank and applying for a secured credit card, which is not as big of a risk for the bank. Use the card each month and pay it off each month in full to build credit and avoid being seen as a risk to a landlord.
Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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