A Students Guide to Renting Part 3
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Rights and responsibilities:
You have your lease, you are paying rent. Now, what are your rights and responsibilities?
Your rights and responsibilities and those of your landlord are two faces of the same coin. Your landlord is obliged to provide an apartment that is sanitary and structurally sound. At the same time the renter is expected to keep their apartment sanitary and in good repair. Remember that sanitary and in good repair does not mean nice! Your apartment being ugly and drafty does not count as unsafe or unsanitary. However, mold in the apartment, structural problems with the building or other serious problems must be repaired by your landlord. Unless the problem was caused by you; you can’t leave a pile of garbage rotting through the floor for months and then complain.
Cleaning: The tenant is responsible for keeping their apartment clean and sanitary. You must regularly clean your apartment removing all garbage and food waste to ensure that rodents and other pests are not attracted to your apartment. Likewise, you must ensure that your garden space or balconies are cleared of snow and garbage. If you let your home become infested with pests some of them will certainly come with you to your next place when you move and the cycle will begin again!
At the end of any lease you are expected to repair any minor damages. and return the apartment to as close to its original state as possible. That usually just means removing your things, repainting and patching holes from picture frames and posters.
Roommates: Many people will have roommates to help spread living expenses or just for company. If you choose to live with roommates there are two different scenarios: Solitary or Joint responsibility.
Most leases signed by more than one person are joint responsibility. That means each person is responsibly for their share of the rent only. Your landlord may ask only for what you owe individually. Please note that your landlord does not have to accept partial payments even if you have your entire share of the rent. With solitary responsibility your landlord can ask each renter to pay the full amount individually, though obviously they can not demand the rent be paid twice.
If you have a roommate who has not signed the lease they are considered an occupant and are your responsibility. Your landlord is not responsible for dealing with them. If they fail to pay rent or damage the apartment it is the responsibility of the tenant to deal with their roommate independently and any cover any costs.
Use of Space and Respecting your Neighbors: Probably the most important responsibility, the one that will keep you and your neighbors friendly, is not disturbing anyone. Having a loud neighbor can be one of the worst things for happy living. Yelling and screaming at all hours, blasting TVs or a constantly barking dog can ruin anyone’s day.
Likewise, if your new neighbor decided that his spare room would make a good practice space for local bands, or decided to run a catering business our of his kitchen with people coming and going all day with deliveries, can make living unbearable. If you sign a lease for a place to live you can not turn it into a place of business or otherwise misuse your home. You can request a change of lease to run a small business out of your apartment with your landlord’s permission.
We have one more in this series one the way. And remember this is all publicly available information, it is just that most people don’t inform themselves. If you ever have any serious problems or questions you can always contact the Regie du Logement Quebec.