Important Things to Think About when Renting a Condo

The choice to rent a condo or an apartment is a difficult one with many pros and cons. At Davies Condos, we want you to make the right decision for you. That is why we have put together this comprehensive list of important things to consider. We hope it will help you to make the right choice and then we can help you find the right condo rental.

1. Rental Rates for condominiums vis- a -vis rental buildings?

Condo rentals are more expensive than rental buildings (see chart below).

Number of Bedrooms Expected Square Footage Approx. Monthly Rental Rate
1-bed 500-650 sq feet $1500+ per month + hydro
1+den 700-850 sq feet $1700+
2-bed 850-1200 sq feet $1900-$2900
2+den & penthouses 1,200 + sq feet $3000+

2. What is the basic difference between renting in a condo vs rental building?

CONDO RENTAL BUILDING
LANDLORD Individual investor landlord owns entire bldg.
TENURE can be precarious renewals offered routinely
AMENITIES can be extensive usually limited
FEATURES modern (laundry + A/C) most lack modern features
FINISHES newer and more modern somewhat dated

3. Who pays the condo fee?

The landlord is responsible for paying the condo fees. Tenants are usually responsible for cable, phone and utilities NOT included in the condo fee. For example, if the condo fee includes water then a landlord will be paying for this utility through paying the condo fees. If hydro is NOT included in the condo fees then the tenant will pay.

4. Who do you call if there is a problem in a condo?

Rental buildings usually have a superintendent to handle issues. In a condo, if there is an on-site super, he/she usually works for the condo corporation and NOT the individual owners. Renting a condo is a little “messier”. If you use an agency or are dealing directly with the owner, make sure you ask about contact information in the event that a problem occurs.

5. Security of Tenure? How long can I rent a condo?

You are renting from an individual investor NOT a big company. Your security of tenure extends for the lease term. It is always a possibility that a private landlord may want to sell and or move into the unit themselves when your lease expires. People looking for long term security should consider looking at actual Rental Buildings owned by rental corporations. Alternately, enquire about the long term goals of the condo owner when it comes to renting a condo. You are still protected under the provision of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) for notices including reasons to vacate.

6. What if the owner wants to sell? What are my rights?

Should your landlord want to sell he/she is required to honour your stay until your lease expiry. The landlord can still sell, but the new owner “inherits” you as a tenant if he/she closes during the currency of your lease. According to condo by-laws, a landlord cannot evict you prior to your lease expiry for the purpose of selling. Any landlord is obligated to give you 60 clear days notice from a payment date in advance of your lease expiry. In order for a landlord to serve a tenant with such notice they must have a firm agreement of purchase and sale for the property.

7. What happens at the end of my lease?

At the end of your lease if you have not renewed your lease you will then automatically enter into a month to month tenancy. You will still be considered a tenant and all obligations of yourself and your landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) remain in effect. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17. You will continue to pay your rent on the payment date that was outlined in your lease agreement. For example, if you paid your lease on the 1st of each month then you will continue to pay at this frequency. When in a month to month tenancy you are still required to give 60 clear days notice from a payment date to your landlord to end your tenancy.

8. There is a condo rule of no smoking on the balcony, but I’m not an owner. Do I have to adhere to this rule?

Yes, you, as a resident at the building, in this case a tenant, will have to abide by all the rules and regulations set out by the condominium.

9. Keys, fobs and garage door openers -these belong to the unit owner. If you lose them, you must replace them.

All property keys given to a tenant should be returned when vacating a property. A tenant can be held responsible for any lost items. The loss of keys, fobs and garage door openers can be quite costly. Be sure to fill out a key exchange form to prevent any misunderstanding of items in your possession when your tenancy ends.

10. What about security deposit/rent deposit?

Once you decided to rent a condo, a landlord can legally collect; at most, the equivalent of one month’s rent as deposit. It is illegal for a Landlord to collect a security deposit. Deposits for keys can be taken if refundable and can be no more than expected key replacement cost.

11. What about damages at the end of my tenancy?

Normal wear and tear is expected. If you damage or abuse the premises you will be expected to fix it. Damage or abuse would be larger items such as damaged floors or large holes made in walls to mount a T.V. The obligation for repair would be the responsibility of the tenant to fix and restore to original condition.

12. What if I need to move prior to the end of my Lease? What are my options?

According to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) you do have the right to sublet the unit at your expense. However, the Landlord has the right to approve the new tenant but cannot unreasonably refuse your request to sublet. Many landlords and tenants will negotiate an exit plan that is mutually agreeable. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17

13. Do I have the use of all of the amenities?

Yes, as a resident of the condo building you do have access to all the amenities and are expected to treat the facilities and follow all rules as if you were an owner.

14. What restriction is there on decorating? Can I paint?

Decorative changes are usually stated in a clause in your lease. For example, a tenant can ask for permission to paint a unit but the colour and contractor for service may be restricted. A landlord may have it stated that you use their own preferred contractor and that you only choose from approved standard colour samples.

15. What about pets?

This depends on the buildings pet rules and these are enforceable. There are pet free buildings and/or restrictions on weight class so be sure to check the condo corporations rules on pets before entering into a lease.

16. BBQ’s on balconies?

Most BBQ’s are NOT allowed, except on larger terraces which will allow the BBQ to be placed a sufficient distance from the exterior wall (to meet local code requirements). https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/Barbecuing-on-Balconies.asp. Instead many buildings provide residents with a specific BBQ area as part of the condos common space.

17. The condo we like has one parking spot. Can I park my second car in the visitor’s area?

You cannot park in visitor parking. Often the condo management office may know of a unit owner who has an extra spot that may be willing to rent it out monthly for a fee. If you are dealing with an agency for the rental, they can help you. Often condos have building bulletin boards or notices to unit owners and you can find such a posting for a rental of a parking space in these areas. In some municipalities you can get a monthly Green P Parking permit and park off site in a neighboring parking lot or have street permit parking. Visit https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/resources/Parking/Residential-Parking-Permit-Application.pdf for details.

18. Where do visitors park?

Not all condo buildings have visitor parking. This requirement is exempted for many downtown buildings, the theory being that the municipality provides public parking. On street and/or meter parking is another alternative.

19. Move in requirements such as booking the elevator.

In order to move into a condo you must request a date and time in order to book/reserve a service elevator which usually has access from a loading area at the rear of the building. This is always subject to availability, so advance booking is recommended. There will also be time constraints (usually 3 hour lots). Moving large items from the underground is not appropriate.

20. What about rent increases?

Your landlord has the right to increase your rent annually. Depending on the age of the building, the rental increase can vary as per rent controls. The rental increases http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/faqs/#faq3 are set out by The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. A Landlord can only increase rent once every 12 months and must give a clear 90 days written notice from a payment date before the increase can take effect.

21. Insurance: who insures what?

Condominium corporations carry insurance for the common elements and the building. Individual owners should have insurance for the basic unit + betterments and improvements. A tenant should have a tenant’s insurance package in place for their contents and belongings. Many landlords insist that a tenant carry liability insurance as well and will ask for a valid copy of such insurance before allowing a tenant to occupy.

22. Options for paying rent.

  1. Post-dated cheques (cannot be insisted but usually more convenient for both parties)
  2. Electronic money transfers (becoming more popular for tenants & investor owners)
  3. Delivery of one cheque at a time (not usually recommended)

23. Is there some where I can call with questions I have as a Landlord or Tenant?

A landlord or tenant can contact the Landlord and Tenant Board at: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/contact/

Toll free: 1-888-332-3234

Toronto area: 416-645-8080

TTY: Call the Bell Relay Service at 1-800-855-0511