Choosing your future apartment

Student Living by

Good Signs

Safety: Windows and doors can be securely closed and locked. Aside from the landlord, only you and your roommates have copies of the key. There is a working smoke alarm.

Tenants: Other students are living in the building.

Superintendant/Landlord: One or both live either in or nearby the apartment building, and are available in case of emergencies.

Laundry: Laundry facilities are inside your unit, or easily accessible at minimal cost.

Signing the lease: It is normal for the landlord to request references for a credit check or a co-signer (e.g. a parent) for students without a steady income.

Rent: Expect your monthly rent to increase every 12 months.

Subletting: Your landlord should enable subleasing. If you are going to be away for the summer, or plan to go on exchange, it’s a good idea to sublet your place.

Maintenance: The landlord plans to repair any problems you have found with the place, and assures you that they will maintain the dwelling throughout your lease. Be forewarned that any repairs needed as a result of the tenant are not under the responsibility of the landlord.

Bad Signs

Safety: The door and windows do not lock properly. Your unit backs onto a dark alley, but the windows are not protected by bars. There is no smoke alarm, or it has not been tested to assure it works.

Tenants: Your landlord is your downstairs neighbour and the baby upstairs screams.

Superintendant/Landlord: Neither lives in or close to the apartment. Your landlord has not provided you with any emergency contact information. You share no common languages, making communication an effort in interpretive sign language and gestures.

Laundry: Facilities are available, but there are not enough machines to meet the demand and they are constantly out of order.

Signing the lease: The landlord asks for a deposit outside of the first month’s rent, a key deposit, postdated cheques, or credit card, passport, bank account, and SIN numbers.

Rent: The landlord raises the rent mid-lease or terminates the lease before it expires (i.e. if she kicks you out, that is a problem).

Subletting: The landlord forbids a tenant to sublease without a valid reason.

Maintenance: Your landlord has made no indication that he/she intends to fix any identified problems with the apartment. Note: holes in walls, funky-smelling gas stove, and frost in the freezer are not good signs.