Living with your Landlord: what to include in the contract

 

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Are you considering living with your landlord? Before you sign any papers, make sure you read over the contract carefully and ensure that the following information is included:

Make sure these two facts are clear:

a. The term "landlord" is the owner of the home and the owner's parent/spouse/son/daughter

b. If you are sharing a bathroom and/or kitchen with the "landlord", you are not considered a tenant. Therefore you are not protected by the Residential Tenancies Act. You are considered a boarder and agreements made between you and your landlord can only be applied under contractual law.

Other items to ensure are listed in the contract:

1. The basic information:

  • Names of landlord(s) and renter(s)
  • Address of rented property
  • Rental amount, when and how often rent will be collected
  • Duration of contract
  • Signatures of both parties with the date of signing

2. Some clauses you might want to include:

a. Expectations and responsibilities in regards to:

  • Quiet hours and noise level
  • Privacy and rights of entry into rooms
  • Laundry facilities
  • House guests
  • Parking access
  • Entry into the home (back door, side door, front door)
  • Any curfews or rules on timing of coming and going from the property
  • Laundry access
  • Food and cooking
  • Cleaning and chores
  • Pets

b. Which utilities will be included in the rent or how it will be divided (cable, phone, utilities, internet)

c. Which furniture will be included (take photos of the condition of the furniture, in case there is damage later on)

d. How much notice the renter needs to give if they want to end the agreement early

e. Is there first and last month's rent and/or a damage deposit (Check what is appropriate in your province)

f. How much notice does the renter receive should the owner decide to sell, move, need extra space, etc. Under what conditions can they break the rental agreement

Here is a great reference to what an agreement should look like and items it should include: http://www.freeottawainfo.com/ResidentialLease.pdf