When meeting your new landlord for the first time, you will most likely be exchanging personal information, signing a lease and discussing specifics about move dates or building regulations. Make sure you go prepared and come out feeling confident about your interaction, even if it is your first move! Here are some key tips and tricks to follow:
1. Try to visit the apartment with your new landlord
Meeting your landlord at your new apartment provides you with perfect opportunity to ask questions about the location, look at potential repairs that need to be made before moving in and building specifics such as access or storage. Also, when it comes time to sign the lease you will not have any deceptions that can occur if you have never visited the apartment and have only seen pictures.
2. Bring pen, paper and a camera
Pen and paper are always great to take notes so you don’t leave your meeting trying to remember important facts. A camera can come in handy if you and your new landlord discuss any repairs that will need to be done before moving in or pre existing damages (The camera on your iPhone will do just as good a job). Being able to access visual document makes for an easier follow up and protects you from being accused of creating damages during your lease when they were already there to begin with. Don’t worry, if you forget – you can always take a photo of the space the day you move in before bringing your things inside!
3. Bring picture identification with you
Your landlord may ask for a piece of picture identification before signing the lease to prove that you are who you say you are. They may make a scanned copy or photocopy to keep on file.
4. Have a cheque for first month’s rent
Upon officially signing your lease, your landlord may ask you for the first month’s rent as a deposit until you move in. This is simply to make sure that if you back out they are covered for the month of rent and have time to find a new replacement tenant.
5. Read the lease agreement carefully
There is nothing more tempting than signing right on the dotted line without reading the fine print, but there are many important details that you should confirm before putting your signature on paper. The lease will specify what is included with rent, who to contact for emergencies or repairs, the total sum paid for rent, the frequency and much more. You can take a copy of the lease with you and have it reviewed by someone else before you sign it.
In addition to signing your lease agreement, your landlord may ask you to sign by-laws. These are a set of rules created by the landlord to help maintain the upkeep of the apartment you are moving into to which the new tenant must agree. Examples can include shovelling of snow, taking care of exterior plants etc. These rules are usually stipulated for a reason but make sure you feel comfortable with what they imply and your responsibilities before signing off on them.
7. Know what your landlord can ask you
Before having you sign your lease, your landlord has the right to ask you for references or to do a credit check. This can simply mean asking for the contact information of your previous landlord to make sure you made payments on time or there were no serious issues throughout your last lease. If your landlord requests a credit check and you would rather not divulge private or personal information, you can take care of it on your own through a service such as Equifax. (www.equifax.ca)
Your landlord can also request that you have a co-signer on your lease like a parent or older sibling in the case that you have little income or are a student. This process gives them the security of knowing that if you don’t have the cash flow to pay rent one month, you are covered by someone who can.
Your landlord does not have the right to ask you for your social insurance number, detailed bank information, your credit card number, driver’s permit or health insurance card. Your landlord also does not have permission to ask about your sexual orientation, marital status, religious beliefs or any other personal information that is not pertinent to the lease itself.
TIP: Check out the ”Renting in…” articles regarding your province for information of whether a lease is required, deposits, key money, pets, etc.