Sublet and lease transfer Канада

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Frequently Asked Questions

Airport and transfers

Once you clear customs and inmigrations, walk to the main exit door. you will probably be approached by time share vendors, they offer assistance with tours and transfers, do not listen to them and just keep walking, please look for our staff in airport arrivals area they will be holding a canadatransfers sign.

The charge is per vehicle , not per person . If there is 1 to 3 people on the vehicle you will pay one rate, if there is 4 to 7 people on the vehicle you will pay a different rate.

Lease Renewal, Termination and Subletting

Find out how to renew a rental contract, how to terminate one, and whether you may sublet in Canada.

At the end of the lease agreement — generally a year — the lease can be renewed on a monthly basis. However, this will depend on the province or territory. If the lease is renewed on a monthly basis, the lease termination notice is one month.

  • To check lease statutory renewal terms, see the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation factsheets for the individual province or territory: Click here

Terminating a Lease

Generally, rental agreements can be terminated by the tenant with no penalties, provided that a minimum of 60 days notice is given to the landlord. Specific notice periods can be found in the province or territory’s Residential Tenancies Act or with local Rental Authorities.

  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has renting fact sheets for each province or territory detailing these notice periods: Click here

It is generally very difficult for landlords to evict tenants before the end of the lease agreement. The landlord must have solid reasons to terminate the agreement, for example non-payment of rent or damage to the property. In order for eviction to occur, they need to obtain a court order, as well as a notice of termination.


Subletting is permitted and legal, but the landlord’s permission should be sought in advance. If the tenant chooses to sublet, the original tenant still holds responsibility for the property, including any damage and ensuring the rent is paid on time.

Should I sublet, transfer or break my lease?

If you don’t want to pay rent for your apartment anymore then you should choose between subletting, assigning or breaking your lease. Each option has its own pros and cons.

This is the question you’re probably asking yourself if you’ve decided to leave your apartment and don’t want to be stuck paying rent for two places at once. The difference between these three options has the most to do with how much time they take to make happen and how much you’ll be required to pay in fees to your landlord.

Defining Each Term


A sublet is a separate rental agreement between the leaseholder and a new renter. The subtenant pays rent to you and you continue paying rent to your landlord as you have been.

Benefits: Landlords rarely charge extra fees and the approval process is usually very quick and easy. If they ask to see anything at all it will likely be some combination of your proposed sublet agreement and the identity, background and employment information of your subtenant.

Downsides: You won’t get your security deposit back until the end of the master lease.

Lease transfer

A lease transfer is also known as a lease takeover or lease assignment. This is when a new renter signs an agreement that assigns your interest in the lease over to them. They’ll be in a more formal relationship with your landlord and will pay them the rent for the remaining months left on your lease.

Provided that your landlord signs a lease release agreement, your relationship with the landlord ends and you are no longer responsible for paying the rent. Landlords often charge between $100 and $1000 for a lease assignment, and your approval process is exactly the same as when a renter applies for a new lease at your building.

A lease break is a complete termination of your lease. Any new renter who wants your apartment will sign a new, traditional lease directly with the landlord.

How to Choose

If you’re making a decision based on time:

Your quickest option is a lease break. If they let you do it, it can happen immediately. The second-quickest option is a sublet. Getting approved is faster and easier and there are rarely extra fees.

The slowest option is an assignment. You will need to prepare a full application on your proposed assignee and work closely with your landlord to close the deal.

If you’re making a decision based on risk:

The most risk-free option is a lease break. The lease contract will be voided, so there’s no way you will still bear any responsibility. Subletting and assigning are often equally risky in that you may still responsible for anything going wrong, depending on what is in your sublet agreement or assignment agreement.

If you’re making a decision based on money:

The cheapest option is to sublet. Your rent will be covered and there are no extra fees. The second-cheapest option is to assign, since your landlord might charge some kind of assignment fee. The most expensive option is a lease break.

Make sense? Now that you know the difference between these three arrangements, here’s the best news. You don’t need to choose an arrangement yet. Instead, find a qualified renter or two and work with them (and your landlord) to decide which of these three options you want to go with.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

Lease Transfer in Canada: The Step by Step Guide

On the following article, I will talk about my personal experience doing an actual lease transfer in Canada. I will go to every single detail, step and overview of how the process was executed. While I will just mention small details of how did I did it in my city, you can do the same anywhere else in Canada. Now, before doing anything else, post it right now so you start making it visible to everyone:

As a small disclaimer: every step I mention in this article should be used as a reference and not as a direct «way» or method to finalize an actual lease transfer.

Step #0: Start by Planning Everything

I will assume that if you decided to do a lease transfer, then you are entirely sure that you need to take over this step. The fact that someone takes your contract means that you won’t have to pay for it anymore, but you will be literally without a car. This will result in additional costs (although the monthly car payment, insurance, and fuel costs will go away) that you didn’t expect before as you were driving on top of a solid solution.

So, the first thing you need to do is very simple: plan everything. This will be your next little project, you will evaluate costs, time and how will affect your daily life the fact that you won’t have your car anymore. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I be out of town on the next couple of weeks?
  • If someone calls me right away, will I be able to go to speed things up?
  • Will I really need the car for any special event in the next few days?
  • How much I’m willing to pay to someone for taking my lease?
  • How much I’m going to save, even paying, by transferring my lease?

It is highly important to do the math and include all variables, otherwise, you’ll be running a lot of risks.

Step #1: Check Your Credit Score

Avoid surprises. The only way things work the way you wanted, is by having all known variables under your control. I don’t mean directly influencing on these, but knowing, at least, the range of each specific one. If you are decided to go ahead, ensure that you will accomplish the required minimums for incentives, rates, loans and acceptance criteria. You can get a FREE Equifax Credit Score in only 2 minutes.

Your credit score is crucial as it will give you the confirmation of «how clear» all your estimations are. It is completely useless that you project to «lease» a new vehicle at a specific rate and later have only the chance of paying way above or making a downpayment you didn’t expect to. If somehow it is low, evaluate Borrowell Canada Credit Rebuild Tips to improve it and keep everything under your control.

Step #2: Evaluate Your Next and Temporary Solution

If you are transferring your lease, it is mainly because of 2 reasons:

  • You don’t need your car anymore.
  • You need another car.

If we go with the first one, as soon as the car goes away, that’s it. You’ll be done with it. You’ll have your own plans for maybe taking the subway, using the public transportation or even using your spouse vehicle from now on as it will be enough.

But, on the other hand, how about if you are actually in the middle of a transition and you are transferring your vehicle because you need, let’s say, a bigger one? Then you’ll have to carefully evaluate your next steps to come up with affordable alternatives that fit your actual interest and budget.

Let’s suppose you have someone to take over your lease. The person says «he will take the car» and then you go running up to a dealership to sign your next vehicle. If somehow, something goes wrong, you will end up paying 2 vehicles at the same time, while being only able to drive one.

On these scenarios, it is extremely important that you know the risks of signing 2 vehicles at the same time. My suggestion: start looking around, and start negotiating your next vehicle, but let the dealer know that you will be signing soon. This way you will save time, you’ll be already familiarized with the dealer and you will have a more clear idea of the availability of what you are looking for and where.

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Dealers use to take 2 — 7 days to deliver a vehicle that they have in stock, so won’t hurt you at all to rent a car during those days. Or even find an alternative way of solving your problems during that small period of time. So, doing a recap:

  1. Start negotiating your next car while you look for someone to take yours.
  2. Sign off your current lease.
  3. Run to your dealer to sign the new one.
  4. Rent a vehicle (you can get up to 25CAD/day at Alamo, Enterprise. downtown Montreal)
  5. Pick up your new Car.

Using this approach, you will have a lower risk and the additional costs will only depend on how many days you’ll be renting. Still, if somehow you expect the new vehicle to last way more time, then evaluate the chance of having both cars at the same time, but still, it will be a risky way of doing so.

Step #3 Gain Visibility

Start by asking everyone among your friend that you identify may be interested. I’ve talked about this in previous articles. The fact that you need to transfer your lease, maybe a fantastic opportunity to someone close to you who may have credit problems, don’t like to negotiate with dealers or perhaps would love to have a car for the remaining months of the term. Feel free just to comment it out without many details, only in case. If someone among your friends was just a little bit interested, you would regret it later when they knew you pass it to someone else.

And, of course, post it on our Lease Takeover Marketplace, every minute counts. Do it ASAP so we can promote your listing, and this way will be where you will get the faster results you are expecting: your potential «clients.»

#4 Show the Vehicle to Your Potential «Clients.»

Although you’ll be acting as a dealer, as you are trying to «sell» your contract to someone else, you need to prepare yourself for earning the trust of your «potential clients.» The following checklist resulted very useful for my clients and also for me, to ensure a smooth transition, communication and build a bright relationship:

  • Go to a car wash. Prepare it both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
  • Make copies of all documents: Lease Contract, Maintenance Oil Change Receipts, Tire Changes and Insurance Proof. If you deliver all these to the potential buyer and explain them each specific detail of their interest, you’ll be building a trust on top of transparent relationship.
  • Bring the car to them. You are the main interested person on this deal, so you can speed things up.

Step #5 Call The Dealer and Ask for All Details about the Lease Transfer

They will specify every single step and paperwork they will need. Have in hand, the following:

  • A Copy of your Drivers Licence.
  • A Copy of the Vehicle registration. (with the VIN of the vehicle)

If somehow you managed to follow the steps I described in #3, there is a high chance your «buyer» is so interested that he will call himself to speed things up. You could deliver all these during the vehicle show if you feel confident enough to do so.

Step #6 Setup the Transfer Meeting

And this is the final step. It may sometimes take up to 2 hours, but then, your car will have a new «owner» and everything will be done. As you see, the longest part of the process is actually finding someone to get the lease transfer done. The rest, the better you plan it, the better it will go through.

Assigning a Lease or Subletting

If you’re a tenant and want to move before the end of the lease, there are two ways you can avoid paying rent until the end of the lease.

What is the difference between subletting and assigning a lease?

You can assign your lease if you decide to leave your rental unit permanently during the course of the lease. You transfer your lease to someone else and have no further responsibilities as a tenant under the lease.

Subletting, on the other hand, can be a temporary arrangement. When you sublet your apartment, you have the right to return when the sub-lease comes to an end. But when you sublet, you’re still responsible for the lease and have other responsibilities toward the sub-tenant.

What does an assignment or sublet mean for the people involved?

When you assign your lease, the person taking over the lease assumes all the rights and responsibilities you had as a tenant toward the landlord. You no longer have any rights under the lease or responsibilities toward the landlord.

In a sublet, the person to whom you sublet – the subtenant – becomes the temporary tenant under the lease and has all the rights of a tenant, except the right of “occupancy”. This means that as the original tenant, you can return at the end of the sublease.

If you are the person subletting to a subtenant, you are still responsible for the lease. If the subtenant does not pay the rent, you are responsible for paying it. Also, when you sublet, you assume the responsibilities of a landlord toward the subtenant. You must leave the apartment in good, clean and habitable condition. If repairs are needed and the landlord doesn’t do them, the sub-tenant can ask you to do the repairs. You also have to make sure the sub-tenant can live in the apartment peacefully.

Can I assign my lease or sublet at any time?

No. The law says that there are three situations in which you cannot assign your lease or sublet:

  • You are a student renting housing in an educational institution.
  • You are a tenant in low-rent housing.
  • Your rental unit is declared as the main residence of your family (the place where your family carries on its daily activities) and your spouse or partner refuses to sublet or assign the lease.

What steps do I have to take to assign my lease or sublet?

If you are in a situation that lets you assign your lease or sublet you must send your landlord a notice of assignment or sublet, once you have found a potential tenant.

This notice must include the name and address of the potential tenant and the projected date for the assignment or sublet. You must send this notice to the landlord’s address as it appears on your lease and it must be written in the same language (French, English, etc.) as the lease.

You can get a model notice on the Régie du logement website or by visiting their offices.

The landlord must reply within 15 of getting your notice. The landlord cannot refuse the assignment or sublet unless there is a good reason, such as the proposed tenant’s inability to pay the rent or problematic behavior of this tenant. This is the case no matter what your lease or the building rules say. If the landlord does not respond to your notice within the 15-day period, the law considers that your landlord accepts your request to assign or sublet.

What can I do if my landlord refuses to let me sublet or assign the lease?

You can ask the Régie du logement (rental board) to force your landlord to accept the assignment or sublet if he has no good reason for refusing.

For more information on requests to the Régie du logement, see our article The Régie du logement.

Can a landlord cancel a sublet?

Yes. A landlord can ask to cancel a sublet if the subtenant causes serious inconvenience to the landlord or the other occupants of the building. This could be the case, for example, if the subtenant pays the rent late or causes so much noise that other tenants complain.

A landlord in this situation can request not only the cancellation of the lease, but also compensation (money) for the harm caused.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.

Land Transfer Tax

Land transfer tax (LTT) is often overlooked when considering the total cost of purchasing a home. All provinces have a land transfer tax, except Alberta and Saskatchewan, who instead levy a much smaller transfer fee. In most provinces the tax is calculated as a percentage of property value, using asking price as a close estimate. Homebuyers in Toronto, however, also incur an additional municipal tax.

To help offset the unwelcome cost, Ontario, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and the City of Toronto offer land transfer tax rebates for first-time homebuyers.

Land Transfer Tax

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How to calculate land transfer tax

Land transfer taxes are calculated based on the purchase price of your property. Each province sets its own land transfer tax rates, and there are also special rules when buying real estate in Toronto and Montreal. Use the calculator above to find the land transfer tax based on your location, or keep reading to find out how land transfer tax is calculated where you live.

Ontario land transfer tax 1

Purchase Price of Home Marginal Tax Rate
First $55,000 0.5%
$55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0%
$250,000.01 to $400,000.00 1.5%
$400,000.01 to $2,000,000.00 2.0%
Over $2,000,000 2.5%

To see how land transfer tax is calculated on a home purchased in Ontario, watch the video below.

Ontario first-time homebuyer land transfer tax refund 2

The Ontario land transfer tax refund is equal to the full value of the land transfer tax up to a maximum of $4,000


  • The buyer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • The buyer must be older than 18 years
  • The buyer must occupy the home within nine months of purchase
  • The buyer cannot have owned a home anywhere in the world
  • The buyer’s spouse cannot have owned a home while being your spouse

Based on Ontario land transfer tax rates, the refund will cover the fully taxed amount on houses up to $368,333. For houses over $368,333, homebuyers will receive the maximum $4,000 refund and have to pay the remaining LTT balance. To obtain this refund, you need to apply within 18 months after the purchase of the home.

Toronto land transfer tax 3

If purchasing a home in Toronto, there is an additional municipal land transfer tax. Toronto’s land transfer tax applies within the following boundaries: Steeles Avenue as the North border, Etobicoke as the West border, Scarborough as the East border and Lake Ontario as the South border.

Purchase Price of Home Marginal Tax Rate
First $55,000 0.5%
$55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0%
$250,000.01 to $400,000.00 1.5%
$400,000.01 to $2,000,000.00 2.0%
Over $2,000,000 2.5%

Toronto first-time homebuyer land transfer tax rebate 4

First-time homebuyers in Toronto of new and resale homes are eligible to receive a rebate up to a maximum of $4,475.


  • The buyer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada

  • The buyer must be older than 18 years
  • The buyer must occupy the home within nine months of purchase
  • The buyer cannot have owned a home anywhere in the world
  • The buyer’s spouse cannot have owned a home while being your spouse

British Columbia land transfer tax 5

Purchase Price of Home Marginal Tax Rate
First $200,000 1.0%
On $200,001 to $2,000,000 2.0%
Over $2,000,000 3.0%

British Columbia first-time homebuyer land transfer tax rebate 6

First-time homebuyers are eligible to receive a full land transfer tax refund on homes purchased for up to $475,000. On homes purchased for between $476,001 — $499,999, the first-time homebuyer will be eligible for a partial refund equal to [ ($500K — fair market value) / $25K ] * LTT amount.


You can qualify for the first-time homebuyer land transfer tax rebate if:

  • You are Canadian citizens or permanent residents as determined by Immigration Canada
  • You have lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months prior to the date the property is registered or have filed 2 income taxes in British Columbia in the 6 years before the property is registered
  • You have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at anytime
  • You have never received a first-time homebuyers’ exemption or refund

Your property qualifies for the first-time homebuyer land transfer tax rebate if:

  • The fair market value of the property is less than $475,000
  • The land is (0.5) hectares or smaller
  • The property will only be used as your primary residence

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia website.

Alberta land title transfer fees 7

Alberta does not have a land transfer tax, however, it does charge a title registration fee AND a mortgage registration fee.

Title Registration Fee: There is a base fee of $50 plus an additional $1 charge for every $5,000 of the fair market value of the property (rounded up to the nearest $5,000).

  • You are Canadian citizens or permanent residents as determined by Immigration Canada

Title Registration Fee: There is a base fee of $50 plus an additional $1 charge for every $5,000 of the fair market value of the property (rounded up to the nearest $5,000).

  • $50 + $1 for every $5,000 of the mortgage loan

Saskatchewan land title transfer fees 8

Though Saskatchewan does not have a land transfer tax, they do have a land title fee. This fee is often paid by your lawyer when they are filling out the land title form on your behalf.

Purchase Price of Home Title transfer fee
$1 — $500 $0
$501 — $8,400 $25
Over $8,401 0.30% of property value

Manitoba land transfer tax 9

In Manitoba, there is always a $70 registration fee.

Property value Marginal Tax rate
On the first $30,000 No tax
The next $60,000 0.5%
The next $60,000 1.0%
The next $60,000 1.5%
On the remaining amount 2.0%

Quebec land transfer tax 10

Land transfer tax in Quebec (taxe de bienvenue) is different outside of Montreal. The tax is collected and calculated at the municipal level. The base amount (i.e. the value of the property) used in the calculation is first determined to be the greater of:

  • The purchase price of the property
  • The amount listed on the Deed of Sale
  • The market value of the property determined by a municipal assessment roll increased by a comparative factor

Once the base amount is determined, land transfer tax in Quebec is then governed by the following scale:

Value of property Marginal Tax Rate
The first $50,000 ($0 to $50,000) 0.5%
On the next $200,000 ($50,001 to $250,000) 1.0%
On the amount over $250,000 1.5%

Montreal land transfer tax 11

The calculation for land transfer tax in Montreal is a little different than the rest of Quebec. The base amount (i.e. the value of the property) that is used in the calculation is determined to be the greater of:

  • The purchase price of the property
  • The amount listed on the Deed of Sale
  • The market value of the property determined by the Montreal assessment roll increased by a comparative factor*

*This is the comparative factor used in the assessment roll

Year of Registration Comparative Factor
2012 1.08
2011 1.00
2010 1.19
2009 1.11
2008 1.06

Calculating the land transfer tax in Montreal, once the value of the property has been determined, is then governed by the following scale:

Value of property Marginal Tax Rate
The first $50,000 ($0 to $50,000) 0.5%
On the next $200,000 ($50,001 to $250,000) 1.0%
On the next $250,000 ($250,001 to $500,000) 1.5%
On the next $500,000 ($500,001 to $999,999) 2.0%
On the amount over $1,000,000 2.5%

New Brunswick Real Property Transfer Tax Act 12

In New Brunswick, the land transfer tax is currently 1.0% of the assessed value of the property. For example, on a purchase of a house assessed to be worth $100,000, the tax payable is $1,000.

Prince Edward Island land transfer tax 13

In Prince Edward Island (PEI), land transfer tax (otherswise referred to as Real Property Transfer Tax) is calculated as follows:

  • 1% of the greater of purchase price or property value
  • In cases where the property value is less than $30,000, no transfer tax is charged

Prince Edward Island first-time homebuyer land transfer tax rebate 14

First-time homebuyers who are purchasing in PEI are exempt from paying land transfer tax under the following circumstances:

  • Property value and purchase prices are below $200,000
  • Individuals are occupying home as primary residence

Also, if there is more than one purchaser, both purchasers must qualify as a first-time homebuyer.

Nova Scotia land transfer tax 15

Each municipality in Nova Scotia sets their own land transfer tax (also known as Deed Transfer Tax), which can vary from 0.5% to 1.5% of the purchase price. For homes in the Halifax area, the land transfer tax is 1.5%.

For land transfer tax rates outside of the Halifax area, please see the Nova Scotia land transfer tax tables

Northwest Territories land transfer tax 16

In the North West Territories, land transfer tax is calculated as a percentage of the property value and mortgage amount as follows:

  • $1.50 for every $1,000 or part therof of property value (subject to a minimum charge of $100)
  • $1 for every $1,000 or part therof of property value (for part of property value greater than $1,000,000)
  • $1 for every $5,000 or part therof of mortgage amount (subject to a minimum charge of $80)

Newfoundland Registration of Deeds Act 17

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Registration of Deeds Act, also known as the land transfer tax, is levied on the property value or the mortgage amount as follows:

  • For properties or mortgages under $500, only a flat fee of $100 is charged
  • For properties exceeding $500, a flat fee of $100 is charged plus $0.40 for every hundred dollars over $500

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Renting your first apartment

Costs of living on your own

Before you move out of your parents’ home, consider all the costs of living on your own. Wherever you live, your basic expenses will be more than just the cost of campus housing or rent. Knowing the costs of living on your own ahead of time will help you prepare a realistic budget that you can live with.

Upfront costs of moving

Before you move, you may have to pay for some things upfront, including first and last month’s rent and utilities.

Security deposits, first and last month’s rent

Your landlord may ask you to pay a security deposit before you rent an apartment. These deposits are typically used to cover potential damage to the rental unit. You’ll usually get your deposit back if you leave the rental unit in the same condition as when you moved in.

Generally, the security deposit can’t be higher than the cost of one month’s rent. In Quebec, landlords must not ask for last month’s rent or any other money aside from the first month’s rent.

Your landlord may ask you to pay the first and last month’s rent at the same time. Some landlords may let you pay the last month’s rent when you complete the rental application and then pay the first month’s rent when you’re ready to move in.

Generally, landlords use last month’s rent to pay for the last month you live in your apartment. For example, in Ontario, landlords must not use last month’s rent to repair damages to the rental property.

Utilities and telecommunications

You may need to pay a fee to set up a new account with a utility, cable, Internet or telephone company. You may also need to pay security deposits on these accounts.

Security deposits vary depending on the company you’re dealing with.

The amount you pay for a security deposit may be based on:

  • estimated usage
  • your credit history
  • a flat rate determined by the utility company

You can ask the company to waive the security deposit if you have a good credit history.

You can usually get your deposits back if you pay your bills on time and don’t owe the company any money. The refund will usually appear as a credit on your bill when you close your account or when you show a good payment history. The company may have to to pay you interest on your security deposit. Check with your utility company.

Moving expenses

You may need to add these upfront moving costs to your budget:

  • truck rental
  • movers
  • moving boxes and other supplies
  • time off work

Renter’s insurance

If you live in an apartment or rent a home, it’s a good idea to get tenant’s, or renter’s, insurance.

Consider getting enough insurance to cover the value of:

  • damage to, or loss of, your possessions
  • personal property stolen from your car
  • accidental damage you cause to any part of the rental property
  • injury caused to visitors

Outfitting your place

If you’re moving out for the first time, you may need to buy:

  • furniture
  • dishes
  • kitchen utensils
  • small appliances
  • bedding
  • towels
  • cleaning supplies

Ongoing costs of living on your own

Depending on what your rental agreement or lease covers, you may also need to pay for:

  • parking
  • utilities such as hydro and heat
  • telecommunications including cellphone, Internet, cable, telephone
  • laundry
  • snow removal
  • lawn maintenance

Living with a roommate

To reduce your overall living expenses, you may want to consider sharing the cost of rent, utilities and other household expenses with one or more roommates.

If you decide to live with someone else, discuss your living arrangements and shared financial responsibilities.

For example, figure out the following:

  • How you’ll divide rent
  • How you’ll divide the security deposits
  • Will you share bills and expenses or pay for them separately
  • What each of you’ll buy for the apartment

Make sure you understand what you’re responsible for.

Usually, when you sign a rental agreement or lease with a landlord, you’re legally responsible for:

  • any damages to the property
  • paying the rent on time

If two or more tenants sign the same rental agreement, each is equally responsible for payments and damages. If each of you sign separate rental agreements, you’re only responsible for what is in your own written agreement.

If your name alone is on the utility bills, you must pay them on time. Missing a payment for your rent or utilities could hurt your credit score.

Tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities vary across the country.

Check your credit report before you consider moving

Your credit report and credit score may affect your options when you decide to move out on your own. Some landlords may run a credit check on you to be sure you’ll pay the rent on time.

If you don’t have a credit history yet, or have had credit trouble in the past, a landlord may ask you for a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a parent or guardian with a good credit history. The guarantor agrees to pay for you if you’re unable to pay your rent.

Some landlords will ask you for your social insurance number to run a credit check. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing this, you don’t have to provide it. The landlord can still get your credit history using other forms of identification.

Take the time to understand your credit report and credit score, including how your credit report works and why your credit history matters.

Move out within your budget

Spending too much on rent may make it difficult to cover your other expenses or save for future plans.

In general, your rent payment and household-related expenses should not be higher than 30% of your gross household income. Your gross household income is all income you receive before taxes and deductions. For example, if your gross pay is $4,000 a month, try to limit your housing costs to $1,200 a month or less.

Review your budget

Before you move, prepare a realistic budget that reflects your needs and wants.

Need: something essential that you must have, such as shelter, basic clothing, food or renter’s insurance.

Want: something non-essential that you want but don’t need, such as cable TV, designer clothing or eating out every week.

It’s also important to think about things like housing location and access to public transportation.

To help you prioritize and decide what to include in your monthly budget, list non-essential features in order of their importance to you.

For example, figure out what it would cost for a place that offers you:

  • walking distance to school or work
  • public transportation close by
  • businesses and conveniences close by
  • 24-hour security
  • laundry facilities
  • air conditioning
  • family or friends close by
  • gym or exercise room
  • hardwood floors
  • on-site storage

Set financial goals before you move

Whether you’re planning to move out next month or next year, think about your financial goals. Then make a plan to be sure you have enough money to meet them. Make room in your monthly budget to begin saving for these goals.

For example, think about:

  • How much you need to save for first and last month’s rent
  • How much you need to save for deposits
  • What furniture you may need to buy
  • What other items you may need to buy

Make room in your monthly budget to begin saving for these goals.

Budget for your move

While you get ready to move, stay organized, stay on track and stay on budget.

Build an emergency fund

Make saving part of your monthly budget.

You’ll have unplanned expenses. For example, your car breaks down or you lose your cell phone.

Start saving so that you don’t have to use a credit card or line of credit to pay for unplanned expenses. Begin by transferring 5% to 10% from each paycheque into a high-interest savings account, a TFSA or investment account. You should be able to access your money quickly, and at low cost, in case of an emergency.

Most employers will deposit your pay directly into your chequing or savings account. You may find it easier to reach your saving goals if you set up automatic transfers to a savings or investment account each pay cheque.

Plan for debt repayment

As part of your overall budget, you need to plan for debt repayment. This is especially important when you’re considering your monthly housing costs. If you have debts to repay, some properties may be unaffordable. Or you might need to consider getting a roommate to share expenses.

Try out your monthly budget

Before you move, make sure that you have enough money to cover your monthly living expenses and the costs of moving.

If you don’t have enough money to cover your expenses, review your budget to see where you can cut back. Focus on reducing non-essential expenses such as spending on entertainment or eating out. Avoid cutting essentials such as rent or food. You may also want to consider delaying your move until you can save enough money to cover the upfront costs.

Once you have the right balance of income and expenses, try following this new budget for a few months. Make sure you can live the way you want to within the spending limits you’ve set for yourself. If you’re struggling, go back to your budget and rework the numbers. Or find more money to cover the shortfall.

What to consider before you rent

Instead of renting, you may be considering buying a home. Deciding whether to rent or buy a home depends on your needs and financial circumstances.

If you choose to rent, you may not have to pay for:

  • real estate agent fees
  • property taxes
  • home maintenance costs
  • utilities such as water if they’re included in the rent

Some other advantages to renting are that:

  • there is no long-term commitment
  • if something breaks, a superintendent or landlord will usually arrange to have it repaired or replaced, unless you were responsible for the problem
  • renting may be cheaper than buying a house

If you’re thinking that owning a home is for you, consider the costs of buying a home and maintaining a home.

What you should know about rental agreements

A rental agreement, or lease, is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. The landlord grants the tenant the right to occupy a rental unit. In return the tenant commits to paying rent. The contract may also include other terms or rules. When you sign a rental agreement, you’re agreeing to respect those terms or rules.

A written rental agreement is an official record of what you and the landlord have agreed to. If there’s a dispute later, the rental agreement may help to settle it.

If this is your first time renting, your landlord may ask for a guarantor. This is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you can’t. If you need a guarantor, the landlord will have them sign an agreement that describes their responsibilities.

What your rental agreement includes

  • The landlord’s and tenant’s names, addresses and contact information
  • The rental term, the length of time you agree to stay in the apartment before ending your rental agreement
  • The monthly rent amount
  • The date you must pay rent
  • Services, such as electricity or parking
  • Any separate charges
  • The conditions for the termination of a rental agreement
  • When the landlord can increase the rent and by how much
  • The deposit amount and any conditions
  • The rules that the landlord requires all tenants to follow

Inspect your apartment first

Before you move in, inspect the apartment. In some provinces, you’re required to do an inspection. This will ensure you’re not held responsible for damage that may already exist.

The inspection should be done with your landlord. Document and photograph any visible property damage.

Subletting your apartment

If you need to move before your rental agreement expires, you may choose to sublet your apartment. To sublet your apartment, you’ll need to find someone who will live in your place, pay rent and follow the requirements set out in your rental agreement.

If the person you’re subletting to does not pay the rent or causes damage to your apartment, you’re responsible.

Before you sublet, you need permission from your landlord.

Learn more about common rental requirements in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s guides I want to Rent and I am Renting.

Questions to ask before you sign the rental agreement

  • Which repairs are your responsibility
  • How much notice you must give if you want to end your rental agreement–usually 60 days
  • Subletting rules
  • When and why your landlord can enter the rental unit
  • How to resolve disputes in case of late payments, damages or eviction notices

Protect yourself from rental frauds and scams

Watch out for rental scams. In general, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Warning signs of rental scams include:

  • the monthly rent is much less than the current market rate
  • you’re asked to leave a deposit without any formal rental agreement or lease in place
  • you’re asked to send a security deposit to a landlord outside the country
  • you’re offered a unit but no one does a background check on you
  • when you ask about the apartment, you get an email that sends you to a website asking for personal or financial information
  • ads that show pictures of the outside of the property only, or pictures that don’t match the actual property

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Am I legally entitled to sublet my rent stabilized apartment?

You are entitled to request permission to sublet from the owner, and the owner may not unreasonably refuse such permission. However, you must inform the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, no less than 30 days prior to the proposed subletting. Your request must contain the following:

  • the term of the sublease
  • the name of the proposed sublessee
  • the business and permanent home address of the proposed sublessee
  • the reason for the sublet request
  • your address for the term of the sublease
  • written consent from any co-tenant or guarantor on the lease
  • a copy of the proposed sublease (along with a copy of your lease, if available) acknowledged by the tenant and subtenant as a true copy of the sublease

The landlord has ten days to ask for additional information which you must provide so long as the request is not unduly burdensome. If the landlord fails to respond to the sublet request within 30 days, then a failure to respond is deemed consent. If the landlord unreasonably withholds consent the tenant may proceed with the sublet. If the owner commences a legal action challenging the sublet and the tenant prevails in demonstrating that the withholding of approval was unreasonable or that the landlord acted in bad faith, the tenant may recover his or her attorney’s fees.

The owner is also entitled to charge you a sublet allowance (10% in recent years, but check current guidelines) that are effective with the commencement of the sublet, and which is rescinded once the subtenancy ends and the prime tenant returns. You may pass this sublet allowance along to the subtenant plus up to an additional 10% (at the prime tenant’s discretion) if the unit is furnished.

Be sure to follow all of the rules in subletting. For detailed information, read HCR Fact Sheet #7: Sublets, Assignments, and Illusory Tenancies.

I am subletting — Can I take over the lease?

Under state law, the owner must provide written consent before the primary tenant can «assign» (transfer) the lease to you. The owner does not need to give you a reason if he or she does not consent to the assignment. For detailed information, check out HCR Fact Sheet #7: Sublets, Assignments, and Illusory Tenancies.

I just signed a lease renewal for my rent stabilized apartment but I may also buy a new residence — If I need to, how do I sublet my apartment?

As a rent stabilized tenant, you have the right to sublet your apartment under certain circumstances (visit the 1st question above) but you must always maintain that apartment as your primary residence. For example, if you wish to sublet while you take a temporary job assignment, or you are in the military service or college, or you expect to spend four months wintering in Florida, you may still be considered a primary resident. You may not sublet if you have another primary residence. If you do, the landlord may successfully terminate your tenancy in court. This could be expensive. If your lease has an attorney’s fees clause and you lose, you may have to pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees.

For more information on subletting a rent stabilized apartment see HCR Fact Sheet #7: Sublets, Assignments, and Illusory Tenancies.

My landlord denied my request to sublet without reasonable grounds — What is the next step?

Under the law a landlord cannot unreasonably withhold the right to sublet. However, the landlord can refuse to sublet with good reason. For instance, if the proposed tenant has a poor credit history, is unemployed, etc. the landlord could refuse to sublet. If you proceed with a sublet after it has been reasonably rejected by the landlord, you may face eviction. Such breaches of the lease are «curable» however. If you lose the case you may keep the apartment by having the subtenant promptly move out (usually within ten days of judgment). Even if you cure, you may still have to pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees if your lease has an attorney’s fees clause.

On the other hand, if the landlord refused to sublet simply because of the tenant’s race, ethnicity, religion, etc. this would not be a proper reason. Or, if the landlord did not provide a reason or provided a reason that is clearly spurious, you could proceed with the sublet.

If a proposed subtenant has been unreasonably refused, you may proceed with the sublet and defend any challenge brought by the landlord. If the court agrees with you, you can recover your attorney’s fees. For more information on housing court in New York City, see our resources on housing court on our Legal Assistance page.

I’m subletting and I found out I’m being overcharged — What can I do?

If your apartment is rent-stabilized, you can contact NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the state agency which administers the rent laws.

According to the rent stabilization laws, the prime tenant may not demand «key money» or overcharge the subtenant (you). If the prime tenant overcharges, you may file a «Tenant’s Complaint of Rent and/or Other Specific Overcharges in a Rent Stabilized Apartment” (Form RA-89). If HCR finds that the prime tenant has deliberately overcharged you, then s/he may be required to refund to you three times the overcharge. Also read HCR Fact Sheet #7: Sublets, Assignments, and Illusory Tenancies.

If your apartment is not rent-stabilized, the following organizations may be able to assist you:

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