Apartments: Leases and Deposits

November 06, 2013

It is very popular, nowadays, to ask the prospective tenant for an up-front fee so that the landlord can check credit history, etc. before leasing an apartment.

Although some landlords prefer oral agreements, most agreements between tenants and landlords take the form of a written lease. Most landlords use a standard lease that is considered fair and straight forward. If the lease is in writing it must contain the legal name and address of the landlord in order for the tenant to send any notices. The lease may also include information about the tenancy state date, rental amount, date when rent is to paid, what services are included, and the rules that the landlord requires the tenant to follow. The tenancy agreement should not include any conditions that are not allowed by the Residential Tenancies Act. If there are any conditions in the agreement they cannot be enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

If a new prospective tenant signs a lease, makes a deposit, and then changes their mind, the tenant most likely will lose their deposit for backing out of the contract. Both parties should also make sure they get a copy of the lease. Before moving in, the tenant should make notes or take pictures of any problems with the apartment, such as worn carpet, etc. This should be done to make sure the tenant is not charged when they move out for damage that is not their fault.

Most landlords require new tenants to put up security deposits to cover any needed repairs when the tenant moves. By law, landlords cannot withhold this deposit without a valid reason. This deposit must not be more than one month’s rent or rent for the rental period, whichever is less. Under the law, the rent deposit must be used for the last month’s rent before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used to pay for damages.

For more information about apartments, please call the Landlord and Tenant Board at (888) 332-3234.