Tenant Responsibilities to Yourself

You have a responsibility to protect yourself and your belongings. This includes:

  • Insuring your belongings (Tenant Insurance)
  • Inspecting your new place
  • Selecting the proper roommate
  • Ensuring you are complying with your lease
  • Getting everything in writing!

Tenant Insurance

Tenants can get insurance for their belongings and personal liability at a fairly low cost. Many students will also be covered under their parent's insurance policy. Some form of tenant insurance is required by many landlords. All insurance policies are different so be sure to make yourself aware of the specifics of your policy. It is important to note that people who live in boarding houses (generally 3 or more unrelated individuals living together) cannot purchase tenant insurance. They can, however, be covered under their parent's insurance policy.

How to get Tenant's Insurance

  • Through your parents. Generally a dependant student can have their belongings covered under their parent's home insurance policy for a small fee. Have you parents check to see if you qualify.
  • On your own. Approximate cost $150-250/year. For $20,000 damage, $1,000,000 liability. $500 deductible. With different policies they may have options that cover your living in case of a fire or emergency. (A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of the pocket on a claim before the insurance company will pay anything.)

What does tenant insurance cover?

  • Damage to personal property
  • Liability for damage to the property of others

Inspecting Your New Place

It is important to inspect your place with your landlord before and after your tenancy. The main reason for this is to determine what damage was already there when you moved out and what damage was caused during your tenancy. This will be useful when you move out and have to claim your security deposit. Make sure that you write down every little fault that you find on your initial inspection so that you cannot be held responsible for it at the end of your tenancy. You can also take date stamped photographs with your landlord and have them printed and kept with your inspection form. You can use the Initial Inspection Worksheet from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.


Complying with your Lease

It is important to make sure that you are always in compliance with your lease. Failure to do so could lead to fines or an eviction. A lease is legally binding once it is signed so make sure that you read it carefully BEFORE signing. If you have a problem with any of the terms of the lease you can ask for a written exception or modify the contract. Remember that a lease contract is a negotiation. Any change that is made to it before it is signed by you and the landlord becomes part of the lease agreement. For more information about leases, see Your Lease.

Getting Everything in Writing!

It is important to have a written record of any agreement between you and your landlord in case there is ever a dispute. Anything that you get in writing should be dated and signed by both parties. Things you should have in writing include:

  • Any change to your lease agreement
  • Any repairs that your landlord has agreed to do
  • A receipt of funds for your security deposit (even if your landlord is giving it immediately to the Rentalsman)
  • A copy of your inspection checklist