Renting a Place?
As a refugee youth, you have the right to equal access, affordable housing and freedom from discrimination when you rent a place in Ontario. The Ontario Human Rights Code lists the prohibited grounds of discrimination in accessing and maintaining your right to housing (Refer to the chapter on ‘Know your Rights’).
If a landlord refuses to rent you a place based on your race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender, family status, disability, age or receipt of social assistance you may file a complaint against the landlord at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Know your rights when you are renting a place
What can housing providers ask you for?
1. Credit references. This can also include asking for your permission to check your credit.
2. Information about where you rented before.
3. Information about your income when they have also asked for credit references and rental history.
4. One month’s rent as a deposit. This must be used to pay rent for the last month of your tenancy. No other deposits – including security
deposits for damages etc. – are allowed.
5. An agreement from another person (parent, friend, etc.) to guarantee that you will pay the rent. That person is called a guarantor and
must pay if you do not pay.
All these requirements must be used in a way that does not discriminate on any of the prohibited grounds. Illegal requests often occur based on age,
gender, citizenship and receipt of public assistance. The landlord requesting information should not assume they can reject you because you have no
history. This could be illegal discrimination.
Housing Providers cannot ask you for the following:
1. Your SIN number (landlords only need your name, address and date of birth for a credit check)
2. Your source of income, unless they also ask about your credit and rental history.
3. Any deposits other than for your last month’s rent.
4. Information, about your age, ethnic background, citizenship or marital status.
5. If you have children or number of children.
6. Post-dated cheques or direct payment from social assistance or any other source.
7. Criminal reference checks – unless they have good reason for asking.
The tenancy agreements should use the new Standard Form Lease. Any illegal clauses in the lease are void.
Minimum Age to Rent
In Ontario, 16 and 17-year olds are entitled to rent if they have left parental control.
At the age of 16 (or older), you can generally decide where you want to live and you do not need a legal guardian. If you are under 16 years old, (or
if you and your parents live in another province where the age for leaving home is 18 years), your parents can contact the police to have you returned
home if you are living in a place that is not safe – for example, a place where you are at risk of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
As a refugee youth, you have the right
to equal access of accessible, affordable
housing and freedom from discrimination
when you rent a place in Ontario.
Tenancy and Eviction
The law that governs tenancy rules and eviction in Ontario is the Residential Tenancies Act. Under this Act, a rental unit can be an apartment, a house, or
a room in a rooming or boarding house. The Act also applies to care homes, retirement homes, and sites in a mobile home park or land lease community.
Some of the rules under this law do not apply to non-profit and public housing, some university and college residences and if you share a kitchen or
bathroom with the landlord.
Unless you agree to leave, a landlord cannot end your tenancy and evict you without an Order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. You can only be
evicted with written notice and for the reasons listed in the Act but you do not have to leave just because the landlord gave a notice. The landlord must
apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for the eviction Order. You are notified of the hearing date you so you can go to the Board and give your side of
the story. The only reasons for eviction are:
• Non-payment of rent: The most common cause of eviction is tenants not paying rent in full (arrears). When there is rent owed, a landlord
can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to request an Order for payment and to evict the tenant but the tenant is given the chance
to pay up and stay;
• Persistent late payment: A landlord may apply to evict a tenant if the rent is “persistently” (repeatedly) unpaid in full by the due date;
• Disturbing other tenants or the landlord – for example, loud parties late at night;
• Causing “undue” damage to the rented property – damage that is more than normal wear and tear and caused deliberately or carelessly;
• Doing something illegal on the property or in the unit – for example, dealing drugs;
• Seriously risking the safety of other people – for example, causing fire hazard;
• Allowing too many people to live in the rental unit (overcrowding);
• If the landlord wants the rental property to live in the unit (or to allow their immediate family or caregiver to live in the unit), sell it to
a person who will live in it, use it for a different purpose or do major repairs, then they can give their tenants a notice to end the tenancy.
There are many rules that the landlord must follow around these “no-fault” evictions. In some cases, the landlord might have to pay the tenant for
giving up the place or the tenant might have the right to move back into the property.
The Landlord and Tenant Board can refuse any request for eviction. This would happen if the landlord could not prove that the reason they gave was
true, if they filled out the forms wrong or if an eviction would create too much hardship for the tenant.
If you receive any notice from the landlord or from the Landlord and Tenant Board that concerns you, take your documents promptly to your local community legal clinic for help. You can find your clinic at www.legalaid.on.ca