Ontario Landlord – Rental Deposits

September 9th, 2010 · 388 Comments · Landlord & Tenant Board, Property Management, Rental Property

I gave a speech yesterday about Rent Deposits – Risks & Benefits and now I’m going to write down a summary of what I said. I did manage to record the whole speech but it’s an hour long.

I’m really grateful for the invitation from Durham REI I had never been there and did not know what to expect but it was more of an informal group which was nice, friendly, no one selling stuff. If I were to describe it I would describe it more as a learning class for landlords; specialists were invited to speak and people asked questions.

Reasons To Take Rental Deposits

The primary reason to take rental deposits is to get a commitment from the potential tenant during the application process. I have learned that tenants can be very complimentary and tell you what you want to hear, until that crucial moment when you ask them to put their money down. So by asking for a deposit you immediately discover if they want the apartment seriously or not.

The secondary reason you take rental deposits with an application is so you don’t waste your time and money processing an application and then the tenant has found some other apartment. Tenants stop shopping once they give a deposit but not always when they give an application. In fact the tenant who has filled out just an application may shop around even more “to make sure they made the right choice”

The tertiary reason to take a deposit is to mitigate your losses should the tenant change their mind. If your policy was to only accept first and last upon the lease signing and the tenant came early in the month and you stopped renting the place then changed their mind, you would lose a month’s rent because you mistakenly assumed you had a tenant and you would be unable to find a new tenant a few days before the end of the month.

Partial Deposits – Why you should take them

The best tenants are conscientious and careful. Tenants who value their housing want to get their housing as early in the process as possible. Some tenants will even want to find a place before they give their notice. They don’t want to take a chance that they won’t be able to find a place. Such tenants are generally superior than last minute tenants. The worst of the worst of these potential tenants being the people who come with cash in hand on moving day.

The problem for these tenants is that even though they want to get a a place as soon as possible, they are still paying rent at their old location. They may have the entire first and last available or they might not. They may need to wait for their next paycheck before making a commitment to your place. This is time that they will be looking at other places and possibly renting them instead of you getting a great tenant. I will take a partial deposit with the application, the amount is not as important as the psychological commitment. Then I’ll get more money from them as they have it, when their pay comes in.

The Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy agreement begins when there is acceptance on both the landlord & tenant’s side that the tenant will move in. An oral agreement is enough, a lease does not have to be signed and possession does not have to be given or turned over. Once agreement is reached by both sides, a future tenancy is created.

Accepting the Application Quickly

I try to process applications as quickly as possible generally within 24 hours because it is only once the application is accepted that the future and binding tenancy is created. Once you have approved the application and accepted that tenant if they change their mind, you get to keep the deposit. You are only allowed to keep the deposit once this agreement is in place.

Keeping The Rental Deposit

If the tenant changes their mind once the agreement is place, the landlord gets to keep the deposit. It’s that simple.

Divisional Court Law

The Landlord & Tenant Board is a quasi judicial tribunal, what this means is that the adjudicator has broad powers to interpret the Residential Tenancies Act. Except where…Divisional Court has made rulings. In this case it the adjudicator has no leeway and must adhere to what the higher court has ruled.

Opara v Cook

In this case the tenant decided after he had given the deposit and his application had been accepted that he did not like area. His friends had told him the area was not secure. The judge ruled that the landlord got to keep the deposit and that the future tenancy had been created. The rent was applied to the first month of the tenancy even thought the tenant had never taken possession.

Benedetto V Dineen

In this case the prospective tenants were students, the landlord took their deposit and application then told them they needed a guarantor. They did not have a guarantor and the landlord kept their deposit. In this case the judge ruled that no future tenancy agreement was created and so their deposit was ordered to be returned.

Honesty During Application Deposit Process

I am a big believer in honest, straightforward, clear instructions. I tell prospective tenants that I will not return their deposit if they change their mind but that the deposit is fully refundable if their application is not accepted. On my part I no longer show the apartment until their application is either accepted or denied. There is commitment for both parties until the application in front of me is dealt with. I no longer keep shopping for a better tenant while keeping the tenant from shopping and delaying acceptance of the tenancy. That’s dishonest in my opinion, it’s not fair and I don’t do business that way.

So far, I have never been sued for keeping a deposit and I enacted this policy in a 400 unit building. Every month there were a few lost deposits. I get some now too, less because I don’t have this number of units to rent, however, people understand before they give the deposit that if they cancel they don’t get their deposit back. I am very clear about it and they understand the terms when they give me the deposit.

Most people, including prospective tenants, do get very upset if they feel that they have been taken advantage of or have been urged into a situation that they didn’t understand. It is pretty common practice by many major corporations to have service agreements that are incomprehensible, written in 9 point type by lawyers and dozens of pages long. Personally I think that people should understand their leases and important documents without have to obtain independent legal advice before getting a cell phone or buying software. I can’t do anything about their actions but I can control mine so I explain the terms as clearly as I can.

I urge all landlords to consider taking deposits for all the important reasons listed above, it’s just good business.

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388 Comments so far ↓

  • James

    I have been living in my 2 bedroom apartment for and had a room mate at the time and he and I were on the lease. He moved out about 2 years ago and I found someone else to rent the room. This person was not put under my Lease by the Landlord and Landlord made out a separate Lease agreement with him and charged him more !!!. He moved out at beginning of March and now the Landlord is telling me I have to pay full amount but have been told by 3 separate sources that because Landlord made out separate Lease Agreement now the Landlord must find a person to rent that room. It this correct.

    • Rachelle

      I agree the landlord should find the new person.

    • Scott

      Rachelle, this is just an amazing wealth of knowledge! Ive shown a basement apartment to a prospective tenant. I said I would rent her and she has given me a 500.00 deposit. She is NOT currently living in another apartment that she needs to vacate, but living with her mother. We met with her yesterday to collect the 500 CASH and she seems completely different than when we showed the place to her. Along the way I have had my reservations about her, but we need someone in there. Ive been a little hasty. Bottom line is that we do NOT want to rent to her now. There is nothing signed. Thank you!

  • Janice

    Hi, I’m going to be a first-time landlord and have found a great potential renter who attends high school boarding school, whose parents live over seas, and is looking to rent from Sept 2015-Jul 2015. I would like this potential renter to ensure their commitment by signing a rental agreement and providing a deposit. Few questions:
    – is there a standard renters agreement?
    – is requesting first and last month’s rent legal as I read this is normal practice but collecting more than one month’s rent (ie. Last month) in advance is illegal in Ontario
    – how far in advance does the rental agreement need to be signed?
    – how far in advance can I collect the payment for first and last month
    – what is the best means for receiving this ie. Cash, chq, interact e-transfer, etc.
    – what is the best practice for cashing/using/holding onto/disbursing money received for first and last month
    – are there age restrictions on who can rent as the potential tenant is a boarding school student (high school Gr. 11)

    • Rachelle

      There is no standard rental agreement, you can only collect first & last, you can collect first & last as far ahead as you like, I like etransfer, cash it as soon as it’s dated, no you can decide who you want to rent to.

  • Kayla

    I have a verbal contract with my current landlord that goes from January to September, and I gave first and last in cash. I found out last month that he is renting illegally and doesn’t have a renters license. He has applied for an exemption, but is unlikely to get it. If I move out, can I get my deposit for my last month back? And if he denies my request, what can I do? The bylaws in my area say that the landlord cannot legally collect rent if they do not have a license and he never indicated that he didn’t, no one in the house knew he didn’t have one until the fines came through. What can I do? He doesn’t want me to move out until September even if he doesn’t get the exemption, and he refuses to get a license under any circumstance.

  • viel

    hi! i just got a mail from my landlord about terminating my lease because i need to pay him or repair the wood counter top that got water damage. im thinking, because may is my last month, what if i just move out before may? can i still get my last month’s deposit from him? then i will use it to give him the money for the damages. will that work? please help me i only have 7 days since i got his mail

    • Rachelle

      He wants you to pay for the damage. Just pay the man what you owe. It’s not his fault the Landlord & Tenant Board calls all forms eviction forms.

      • dylan

        Shes trying to pay what she owes why don’t you actually read the question and answer it

  • Lee

    Hello!

    I signed a lease with two of my friends and we given in our deposit. Something emergent came up and one of my friends couldn’t move in. We haven’t moved in yet and don’t mind losing our deposit. Are we able to break our lease? Or do we have to continue to pay for the rest of the year? We live in Ontario. Thank you for your time!

  • thepinch

    My question has to do with advertising for apartments.

    I try to be fair and impartial, but lately the Government has been cracking down on what can be said. Two issues.

    I am getting apps from OW people where the rent would be 100 % of their income, but I am not allowed to say “professionals, please”.

    I am also getting apps from ODSP people. I don’t have wide doorways, ramps, etc. Also, I myself have a triple disability and some of the flavours I have encountered have been very upsetting.

    Is there a civil way of dealing with this:?

    thankyou!

  • Paul

    Hi, I have rented out a room to a tenant for about 6 months. He has recently met a girlfriend and wants to move out and break the lease. He only has 30 days left on his lease and has not given me the proper 60 days written notice. Do I need to give him back his last months rent?

  • james

    Hey there, my girlfriend and I have been looking online for a place, we took a look last week and are supposed to signed a lease and move in the following week. the renters online add stated that a parking spot was included. We submitted our application and was informed the rent was going up 50 dollars per month for parking and she forgot to mention it in the ad. My girlfriend sent a deposit without consulting me and we no longer want the place. The owner has 1 week to rent the place. What do we do? Can we get our deposit back?

    Thanks for the reply!

  • sebastian

    Hi there, on April 29th I payed 1st and last and moved in on a place that I had just seen, it didn’t look like the best, yet livable. but i was desperate since May was almost there. the landlord never gave me a lease to sign, so we never did… As time passed the place started showing its true being: horrible smells al over, no ventilation in my room (windows can’t open), and by May 27 I realice I there are bedbugs in my room… that same day I told my landlord I will not live in that place anymore and need my last month deposit back (June) I told him I will move out by Saturday and need the money. He said he will take care of the bed bugs but refused to give me the deposit back (he said legally I have to tell him 30days in advanced).. but I haven’t lived there for 3days. what can I do here?

    • Rachelle

      It’s actually 60 days for proper notice in Ontario and you do have to give the landlord the opportunity to rectify a situation before moving out.

  • Carolyn

    Hello. Great website!
    I couldn’t find the exact answer to my question though.
    Tenants signed lease, paid last month’s rent and gave me postdated cheques. Day of move-in changed their mind. Am I entitled to cash the next month’s rent if I have not rented it by then? And even the following month if not rented? Thank you.

    • Rachelle

      No and no, if they don’t move in one month’s rent. Not that they won’t cancel those checks faster than I can say “You won’t get a dime out of them, rent it to someone else fast and cut your losses”

  • Jet miran

    I found an apartment and spoke to the proprty manager. He told me that i can move in the next 2 months after some application process, along with paperworks i obtained from the current apartmenr (i have a good payment history-no late payments or bounced checks) I gave my deposit and have me signed a contract which i wasnt given a copy bec it has to be processed by the head office he said. After 2 days he called me just to say that i wasnt approved by the head office. I was surprised and felt my blood running up my head. I made an arrangment already with my current landlord that i am moving out. What is my right with this kind of treatment? Pls help.

  • lola

    I’m curious as today I applied for an apartment. the superintendent took a 500 deposit for the application. Why do they take a deposit before I’m approved?

    • Rachelle

      1-They don’t want you applying for 25 places and then getting them all and just taking one.
      2-If you get approved and fail to follow through on the lease, they get to keep the money
      3-No one want’s to do a bunch of work if you are not serious about the place.

  • Yat Leung

    Rachelle
    I am a landlord and the leased has expired and the tenant is now month to month lease. Can i still request the tenant to pay deposit for this month to month arrangement?

    • Rachelle

      The tenant’s last month’s rent goes to the last month of the tenancy not the last month of the lease. So the last month’s rent deposit continues to carry over.

  • Jen

    Hello, I recently applied for an apartment and my application was accepted, the same day I said I would not be signing the lease because the building had a history of bedbugs and poor management practices. They are now keeping my last month’s rent and are not sending me my application to look at. The claim that my reasons for not signing the lease aren’t valid. The fact that they are keeping last month’s rent and not giving my back my application further affirms my decision not to sign the lease. What are the conditions for getting your a deposit back?

    • Rachelle

      Nothing, you give a deposit, you’re approved, you back out, you lose your deposit. Unless of course they can’t give you the apartment or they find someone else to move in.

  • Serene

    One of friend had put deposit for first and last month and they have a receipt but last minute landlord said tend was supposed to be $200 more than originally discussed . They was no written lease or agreement only verbal . What can we do , they can’t afford to pay more than originally discussed . Please advice

  • Christopher

    Hello,
    Can a landlord cash the key deposit cheque without us losing the key?

    • Rachelle

      Yes, that’s the point of the key deposit check, to pay the landlord for the key he had to pay for. When you give the key back you get the money back.

  • Laurie

    Hi,
    I was going to moveto an apt.I sighned a lease giving first and last months rent.In the lease it does state you lose your money if you don’t move in.Is this legal.I live in Ontario.
    Thanks

    • Rachelle

      Not quite, if the apartment is not rerented by the time you agreed to move in, you lose only your last month’s rent. If you have any problems go file a tenant’s rights application at the Landlord & Tenant Board

  • Victoria

    Hello,

    I am currently on a month-to-month with this apartment, I recently found another apartment which is under the same building management. Do I still need to give my 60 day notice if I am just asking for a transfer?

    Thank you

  • Rhonda

    Can a landlord deny an application if a perspective tenant is currently not employed due to disability? As well force a tenant to provide tenants insurance prior to moving in? Thanks in advance!

    • Rachelle

      No you cannot deny a tenant because of lack of employment. I suggest you do a credit check. Tenants Insurance absolutely. Do not give the keys until the insurance proof is there. The vast majority of tenant never need tenant insurance but when they do, if it wasn’t the insurance company paying, they would be suing you “The Rich Landlord” for damages and likely getting it.

  • DJ

    Hi Rachelle,

    I am moving into a condo on August 1st. I received my keys this past weekend and went to let cleaners in this past weekend. I started to notice all the things you see when someone else s furniture is in there.

    The unit was left pretty dirty and I find some issues. like someone using screws and wall plugs in the wall and leaving them behind that sort of thing. Are these issues the owner should be fixing before I move in? I feel as If I am asking them for a lot lately as she also only had one set of keys and 1 fob when she knew there was two of us moving in. I had to pa for both out of pocket.

    These holes will have to be filled and the walls painted in order to hide them. They are a huge eyes soar. Is this something I am allowed to ask for?

  • thuan

    I just rent a room with out sign in contact and just stay about 5 days i nkow the house having begbug,i told my landlord to fix and they did it but it still have a beg bug if i move out should get full the money back?

  • Dino

    Hi,

    I had to find a new apartment because of problems with second-hand smoke from the apartment above. I gave notice and could not find another apartment so I redacted it. I found an apartment unexpectedly and told my landlord I would be moving out September 1st. My landlord said that as long as I find someone before September 1st to take over my lease, everything would be fine and I would get my last month’s rent deposit.
    The apartment is in high demand because of its proximity to the schools and I had several interested people.However, she told me she had found someone for me. Now she is saying she cannot approve the prospective tenant because her manager is on vacation and there is a problem with my last month rent being returned to me.
    What do I do in this case?

    Thank you

  • col

    If we gave one check for first and last month and Marital Status has changed and we no longer need the apartment , but gave the landlord more the 30 days notice with only a verbal agreement , can they still cash the check ?

  • Paul

    I love this website. Thank you so much the info is very help full. I had problems with bad tenant in the past. I was reading through your site and learned that renting to a disabled person can require special provisions/work orders and modifications in order to accommodate them.

  • Paul

    The rental Tribunal is set up for tenants not the landlord, All the tenant has to do is go down to rent tribunal and whine/complain and the Tribunal will hold there hand a place they have a shoulder to lean on or cry on. They say its a court but nobody is under oath to swear & tell the truth in the Rental Tribunal.

    • Rachelle

      Not landlords or tenants. I’m not sure what the problem is, it’s just a fact. As House MD says everybody lies. 🙂

  • Paul

    I discovered your website recently i was looking for info as I had a potential new tenant for Sept 1st, 2015 they paid a deposit I was reviewing the application & after seeing the credit report I approved them but 3 days after on Aug 24/15 they say they no longer want the apartment. I clearly see on your site they lose their deposit. I appreciate the info provided on your website

  • Kevin

    Hi,
    The lease contract signed between us with 1 month rent deposit and 12 posted checks ( lease one year). The deposit will be refunded to the tenant by the end of contract. Is that OK?

  • Diane

    I am in the position where a verbal tenancy agreement is made. First and last month rent is to be paid, in this case 1 month is already paid. The tenant has not come with the remaining rent and to sign lease and pick up key. I have tried contacting this tenant, nothing.

    How long do I have to wait before I can put this unit back up for rental?

  • Hanish

    Hello,

    I cancelled my banking information. But the caretaker mistook with someone else. Application says my name but banking info is of different person. I got charged for the rent; because of insufficient fund I got charged for NSF fee. Now the manager says get me the rent and then they will give Nsf fees back.
    Is that right to do by manager to ask me to collect rent because of caretaker mistake and hold my fees charged till that time?

    Thank you in advance

  • Maria

    If you have verbally agreed to sign a lease and pay deposits etc…. but have not yet done so…..Landlord still has unit on the market on their own and through realtor until signing…..Are you obligated to sign????? Also have texts from landlord meant for someone else about putting future tenants into a bidding war??????

  • Christina wehring

    My future landlord signed a lease with us and took 1460 for last and first and told us we could get the keys the next day she then demanded we pay 300 for a pet deposit and 300 rest of rent . And that day she did not answer neither myself common law spouse and the police and she will not take the 300 and will not give us our keys and we signed the lease is this legal?

  • ravs

    Hi Rachelle,
    I have come to Canada last month only. i paid last month rent in one society and my application got approved. but i did not sign the lease as after 2-3 days of giving the deposit i felt that rent was on higher side as i do not have job yet to sustain it for long. Is there any chance of getting advance back.
    Thanks in Advance

    • Rachelle

      No you will not get your deposit back probably. The landlord is not under any obligation to give you your money back because you changed your mind.

  • Tori

    Hi,

    Recently single, looked at an apartment and signed a renter’s application. Gave a bank draft to the leasing company. Unsure if I want to live in the building because it’s far from my work and I don’t know if I can get a job as good as mine near here.

    Would I have to give 60 days to terminate the lease? Do they keep my bank draft?

    Thank you

    • Rachelle

      Tori, seriously this is just not smart. you can only give 60 days notice at the end of the lease. if you back out they have every right to keep your money.

  • John

    My daughter signed a lease and gave first and last month’s rent. When she arrived to move in the building was still in its construction state and still is not complete. Her apartment itself was so incomplete they put her up in hotel for three days. She is having medical issues(Asthma flareups) due to excessive dust and poor ventilation in the building. She plans on moving elsewhere nov. 1/15. She spoke with the landlord and they had no sympathy and told her she was responsible for lease and has to sublet her room in the apartment. She was 17 when she sighned the lease to attend University out of town. Is there a reasonable way out of this lease?

  • John

    My daughter signed a lease and gave first and last month’s rent. When she arrived to move in the building was still in its construction state and still is not complete. Her apartment itself was so incomplete they put her up in hotel for three days. She is having medical issues(Asthma flareups) due to excessive dust and poor ventilation in the building. She plans on moving elsewhere nov. 1/15. She spoke with the landlord and they had no sympathy and told her she was responsible for lease and has to sublet her room in the apartment. She was 17 when she signed the lease to attend University out of town. Is there a reasonable way out of this lease?

  • Tapiwa

    Hi Rachelle,

    I submitted a rental application and deposit and was told it will take couple days to process. However, couple hours after I left she called and told me it’s going to take longer. I asked how long she didn’t know. I agreed to wait. After five days I called and was told she still waiting to hear from her manager. I called again after four days. Thats when she told me she just found out her manager was out of the country. I was upset and I told her she was not treating me fair. She said I can come and get my money. I didn’t not go right away I was not feeling well. She called and said she received a fax and I was denied the apartment. I asked the reason and she said no reason was given. The following day I went and got my money. I asked for my application back and the fax she got. She refused to give me the fax stating she was busy. I have her on the record saying she was busy. I have a strong feeling my application was not processed at all They didn’t contact my work, current landlord and I don’t know if credit check was done. I can find out. Are they allowed to do what they did to me? Thank you

  • Dee

    Hi Rachelle,

    Signed an application, gave last month deposit on Wednesday for Oct 2015. Current tenant not moving out til end of Nov 2015. I’d be scheduled to move in Jan 1st, 2016. I wasn’t informed if I was approved for a few days yet, but my employer and landlord received calls on the weekend, decided i found a better suitable place elsewhere, can I get back my last month deposit? I’m basing on current tenant still living there til end of Nov 2015, and I won’t be scheduled to move in til Jan 2016 anyways…Thoughts?

  • czo

    Hi i am a first time owner and my tenant is ending her one year lease ahead of time but i collected first and last month rent initially. She called to give her 60 days notice and i was wondering if i am supposed to return her last months rent when she moves out?

  • Anonymous

    Hi there,

    If I am in a lease and my landlord says he wants to sell my condo, will I get my deposit back if I move out prior to my lease ending?

  • Amanda

    I looked at a place with no formal application and was told I had the place. I then have my deposit of $1000.00 but got a call from rent geared to income after being on a waiting list for 6 years and want to take the place. I would like my deposit back as I had every intention on moving into this unit but to loose housing as a single mom who was taking a smaller place to make due would not be practical.

    • Rachelle

      Ok but you are the one who agree to rent the place, then you are the one who gave the deposit, then you are the one who changed their mind.

      You are also the one who had a child and that is your responsibility.

      I understand your situation and that this would be better for you, but… the landlord doesn’t owe you anything back because you are the one reneging on a deal. There are consequences and choices and you are choosing what seems to be a better situation for your family and that may mean some short term loss of $1000.

  • Chris

    Hi Rachelle,
    I rent out a office for a year, with 3 months deposits. One day the manager gave me a letter saying to leave the unit until september 22nd, because the building was sold and the new owner wants to empty this space. It was valid notice so, I moved out on the date. But the management doesn’t return my deposit back. They told me they will give it back to me once their bookkeeper is coming from vacation. but it has been 2 months now and they are not getting my phone call. Do you have any idea how to get my money back?

    • Chris

      Sorry, not ‘rent out’. I rent an office from a building on yonge st. since Feb 2015.

      • Rachelle

        Get a paralegal or write them letters. Don’t call and give them a deadline. Then file at Small Claims. Go against the new and old owners as parties to the application.

  • Lara

    We have an apartment that we are renting out. We picked a couple with some kids. They seemed really great. They haven’t signed an agreement or given us any money. Yes there was a verbal agreement about them getting the place. But now all of a sudden when I am asking when they are going to come by and give the first month’s rent deposit they stopped answering me. She would respond almost right away or within a few hours. Email is their only way of communication. It has been almost 1 week since I last heard from them. I did give them a time limit saying that if I didn’t hear from them then I will repost the ad. But I don’t want to do something that I will get in trouble for. Since they haven’t returned any messages for almost 1 week am I able to repost the ad and find someone else. Again no money has been exchanged at all.

  • Nikki

    Hi,
    I am currently leaving in a 1 bedroom and wanted to move into a 2 bedroom from the same building. Landord gave me an application form that requires me to pay another last month rent.

    Is it legal to pay another last month rent if you are moving into a different unit from the same building though, I have given them my last month payment upon moving in when I applied last year?

    Thanks!

  • jennifer

    I found a tenant for a room in a house I own for Jan 1st. The home is in a student rental area and most either rent in Sept or Jan. The tenant gave me first and last months rent. On Dec 15 He changed his mind because he found a different place he wanted to move into. Do I have to give him back any money?

  • Jen

    Hi! I am trying to end a contract which started April 1 2015, ending April 30 2016, (which is in fact 13 months). The contract that I signed states that it is ‘not subject to Tenant Protection Act’, given that it is a roomer/landlord agreement form. The form states that ‘the contract applies if a roomer is living with a homeowner, or a member of the homeowner’s immediate family, and sharing a kitchen and/or bathroom with the homeowner.’ The homeowner was in transition and within the first few weeks (April 2015) the homeowner (landlord) moved. (Effectively, there have been multiple changes in renters, but the homeowner has not been taking residence throughout this entire duration of rent). Additionally, there have been two instances where I have received a text telling me that someone would be coming by to check the place out (potential renter) with less than 24 hours notice.

    A second piece of information… I originally signed an agreement for a room different from what I am currently living in (for an additional agreed upon fee each month, which I submitted postdated cheques for). (Effectively, this is not reflected on the original agreement, either…not sure if this weighs in on the discussion, so I thought I would include this.)

    Throughout my stay, the landlord has been about 50/50 with repairs needing to be done. Most recently, on 2015.11.23 I came home to a laundry room (in the basement) that had partially flooded because of a cracked ‘elbow’ joint…water had not been draining properly. I When I documented the leak, I send to my landlord who stated that ‘maybe (another tenant who would be moving in)’s boyfriend can take a look at it.’ It is now 15.12.26 and the duct tape (which I fixed, notifying the landlord, and she agreed to it being a temporary fix) still remains. No leak, but no permanent fix.

    A few frustrations (thank you for entertaining them), but I am wondering solely based on my written agreement (which does not technically apply at this time).

    I have a few questions about this situation:

    1. I have given 60 days notice (my landlord has indicated this is ‘not necessary’, as I originally agreed to a year’s rent)…my landlord did, however, state that anything less than 60 days and I would need to find someone to take over my lease…this seems contradictory.

    2. My landlord has agreed to return one post dated rent cheque (March 2016)…am I also legally entitled to another month’s rent, given that I have given (unnecessarily, it seems) 60 days? Or can she legally keep ‘first and last month’, meaning April 2015 and April 2016? If I find another tenant, is it reasonable to ask for last month’s back?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    ~Wondering

  • Jen

    Additionally, I will add that the clause at the start of the contract stipulates that the agreed upon terms (under the statement that my contract applies if the homeowner or member of homeowner’s family physically lives at the property) causes the agreement to be a ‘license, not a lease.’ What is the difference?

  • Samantha

    Hi Rachelle,

    I read your article and it answered most of my questions, but there is something I’m still unclear on. I had a tenant sign a lease agreement and she was supposed to move in on Jan 1, 2016. She informed me today that she will not be moving. I understand that I do not have to return her deposit, but what about the cheque she gave me for first month’s rent? I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

    Thanks!

  • First time owner

    Hello!
    I would be renting my home as of Jan 1 2016 to a tenant who has already Gave me a deposit and signed contract. Her and her family came to my house and stole things from me. I questioned her and she admitted her daughter took the things. She told my mother she wouldn’t bring the house key back until we give her the money back. I now want to terminate the contract and not refund the money. A police report was filed and I also had to have my locks changed. I just received notice in the mail where she is sueing me for the deposit! She has now stated she hasn’t taken anything although I have in text from her where she said her daughter did. Am I able to go to keep deposit? Do I need a lawyer for court?

    • Rachelle

      If you’re turning down an application you need to refund the money. It doesn’t matter what her daughter stole. You do need a paralegal

  • Samantha

    Hi Rachelle,

    I read your article and found it very helpful, I just have something I need clarified. I had a tenant sign a lease agreement for one year starting Jan 1st 2016. She have me first and last. Yesterday she informed me that she will not be needing to rent my house. I understand that I do not have to give the deposit back, but what about her first month’s rent? I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing?

  • Suney

    Hi Rachelle
    I rented a house,deposit first and last month’s rent signed the agreement. I was supposed to move in on Jan 1st and at the last moment landlord told me he wanted to keep car garages to himself. It was not disclose before in the agreement. He sed he forget to mention before. Can i still get my deposit back since its a breach of contract