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Below you'll find legal community resources which can be helpful during your time as an Ontarian tenant!

Sleep Decorate School Kitchen Storage/Cleaning Bathroom
  • Mattress & box spring
  • Bed frame
  • Sheets / Blankets
  • Duvet / Duvet cover
  • Pillow(s) / Pillow case(s)
  • Alarm clock
  • Fan / Space heater
  • Dresser
  • Nightstand & Lamp
  • Mirror
  • Couch
  • Chairs
  • Table
  • Desk
  • Blankets
  • Lamps
  • Decorative pillows
  • Plants
  • Photos / Wall Art
  • Curtains
  • Binders / Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Hole punch
  • Stapler & staples
  • Envelopes / Stamps
  • Paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Calculator
    Erasers /
  • White-out
  • Post-it notes
  • Backpack
  • Laptop / Phone & Chargers
  • Plates / Bowls / Cups
  • Eating utensils
  • Toaster
  • Coffee maker
  • Blender
    Ice cube tray / Bottle opener
  • Dish rack
  • Sheet pan / Oven mitts
  • Pots / Frying pans
  • Grater / Cutting board
  • Napkins / Dish towels
  • Spatula / Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Food storage containers
  • Foil / Plastic Wrap / Ziplocs
  • Hangers / Clothing hamper
  • Storage bins / Umbrella
  • Adhesive removal hooks
  • Broom / Dust pan
  • Mop / Swiffer
  • Garbage / Recycling
    Antibacterial wipes
  • Toilet / Mirror cleaner
  • Sponges / Paper towel
  • Detergent / Dryer sheets
  • Drying rack (foldable)
  • Iron / Ironing board
  • Power bar / Extensions
  • Flashlight / Light bulbs
  • Shower curtain
  • Curtain rings
  • In-shower mat / Floor mat
  • Towels/wash cloths
  • Over-the-door towel hooks
  • Soap pump / Soap dish
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Garbage bin
  • Toilet paper
  • Plunger / Toilet brush
  • Toiletries / Make up
  • Hair brush
  • Styling tools
  • First Aid Kit

Once you find a posting on a housing listing service that you are interested in, your next step is to make contact with the landlord to set up a viewing. Most posting will specify the landlord’s preferred method of contact - be sure to follow their instructions for getting in contact.

As landlords will use your communication as a method of pre-screening, make a good first impression by using professional language and proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

Follow our template and tips to present yourself as an ideal potential tenant and to optimize your chances of receiving a response from the landlord.

Sample e-mail:

Hello Miss. Baxter,

My name is Hannah Montana and I am writing in response to your rental posting on the Places4Students listing service for the 2-bedroom unit on Main Street. My current roommate Lily and I are looking for a place to live starting in September 2023. We are both Toronto Metropolitan University students.

We would like to arrange an appointment to view the place in person. Please advise us of your available times by emailing me back or calling me at 416 555-0505.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you for your time,

Hannah Montana and Lily Truscott


  • Greet the landlord by name. If no name is provided in the posting, writing “Hello” is fine.
  • State who you are and why you need a rental. Make sure to give your name.
  • Specify which rental you are interested in. Sometimes landlords will have multiple properties, so it’s best to refer to the specific number of bedrooms and the address listed in the posting.
  • Mention where you found their ad.
  • Ask questions about pertinent facts that may not be included in the ad.
  • DON’T: Show that you haven’t fully read the ad by asking questions already answered.
  • DON’T: Provide too many personal details up front (such as mentioning your age — landlords are not allowed to discriminate based on these factors).

We advise you take a look at each of the properties websites to get their current rates

TIP - Look into student discounts for temporary accommodations!

Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown

111 Lombard St
1km S of Pitman Hall
(416) 367-5555


Chelsea Hotel Toronto

33 Gerrard Street West
493m W of Pitman Hall
(416) 595-1975

Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre

30 Carlton Street
438m NW of Pitman Hall
(416) 977-6655


Pantages Hotel

200 Victoria Street
574m S of Pitman Hall
(416) 362-1777

Living off-campus involves learning new vocabulary! Here are some of the words and phrases that you might hear in your search.

Apartment building: A large building containing residential suites owned by the developer and rented to residents.

  • Apartments and condominiums (condos) are indistinguishable in appearance. The main difference between condominiums and apartments is the form of ownership. Apartments are buildings where the developers retain ownership of the apartment building and rent out individual units – if you rent in an apartment, you are paying rent to the company. In downtown Toronto, condominiums are much more widely available than apartments.

Apartment unit: A self-contained unit with a bedroom, kitchen, and washroom. Apartment units can be found in buildings or houses, and can have a number of bedrooms. 

Assignment: Assigning a unit means that you move out of the unit permanently and transfer your tenancy to another person who fulfils the rest of your lease and pays rent directly to the landlord. All the terms of the original lease remain the same, including the rent amount and included services/utilities until the end of the lease, at which point the new tenant can renegotiate the terms with the landlord. 

  • You must provide your landlord with a written request before you may assign your tenancy. Always keep a copy for your own records.
  • If you wish to move out of the unit for a period of time but return before the end of the lease, consider subletting your apartment. See subletting for more information.

Arrears: Unpaid rent that a tenant owes to the landlord. 

Bachelor / Studio Apartment: An apartment consisting of a single large room serving as bedroom and living room, with a separate bathroom. Aside from the bathroom, there are no dividing walls. 

Billeting: A short-term stay, often with a host.

  • TIP: Toronto Met has partnered with StayBillety to support Toronto Met community members with short-term billets using the referral code “RAMS”.

Condominium (Condo): A building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments that the owner may choose to live in or rent out. 

  • Apartments and condominiums (condos) are indistinguishable in appearance. The main difference between condominiums and apartments is the form of ownership. Condominiums are buildings where the units are sold to independent owners and may be rented out individually – if you rent in a condo, you are paying rent to an individual owner.

Credit Check: Many landlords make an application to a credit bureau to check a potential tenant's record of paying bills. A good credit rating is a positive indication that a tenant will pay the rent on time.

Den: A small room, in addition to the bedroom and living room. Often used as a home office or TV room.

Detached House: A single house that is owned by 1 or more persons. Owners may rent 1 or more rooms or the whole house.

Evict: To force a tenant to move out of a rental home. 

First and Last Month’s Rent: To secure a place, your landlord may ask for “first and last month’s rent”. Legally, your landlord: 

  • Can ask that you pay your first month’s rent upfront.
  • Is only able to ask for a deposit in an amount equivalent to one rental payment (one month if you have a monthly lease, one week if you have a weekly lease, etc.).
  • This can be applied to cover your final period of rent (usually your last month).
  • This amount cannot be used as a security or damage deposit.
  • May ask for a key deposit, which should not exceed the value of replacing the key.
  • TIP:  We recommend that you pay your deposit or rental payments by personal cheque or online transfer, not by cash. Always request a receipt that includes your landlord’s name, phone and signature, and the address of both your landlord and the unit you are renting.

Guarantor / Co-Signer: Someone who signs a lease along with the tenant and agrees to be responsible for paying rent if the tenant does not pay it. A guarantor must have an account or credit history with a Canadian bank, as s/he will be financially liable to cover your rent if you miss rent payments. 

Hydro: Energy-usage in the form of electricity. Using devices that require large amounts of electricity (such as running an air-conditioning unit) will increase your Hydro bill. 

Landlord: A person or company who owns apartments or houses and rents them to people to live in. A landlord can also be called a lessor. 

Lease: A legal contract between a landlord and tenant. A rental contract is also known as a tenancy agreement or a rental agreement. It can be a spoken (verbal) agreement or a written agreement. Landlords generally request an initial 12-month lease agreement. However, landlords may choose to offer 8-month, 4-month, month-to-month, or even week-to-week leases. 

At the end of a set term lease (e.g., 12 months), it automatically converts to a month-to-month lease. A month-to-month lease means that you can leave after giving your landlord 60 days’ notice (unlike an annual lease which means you can only leave after the end date of the lease agreement in addition to giving 60 days’ notice, otherwise you will be “breaking the lease” and could face financial penalty). 

  • TIP: We encourage you to get a copy of your lease in writing. Never sign anything without reading it thoroughly. Understand what you are signing and what your responsibilities will be. If you have questions or concerns, seek advice from the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations. Visit their website for resources or call 416-921-9494.

Legal Aid Clinic / Community Legal Clinic: An agency that provides free legal advice to people with low income. Most cities have at least one legal aid clinic. 

Lessee: See Tenant. 

Lessor: See Landlord.

Month-to-Month: A tenancy where the tenant rents one month at a time. • QUICK TIP: If you are on a month-to-month lease, you are still required to give proper notice of at least 60 days to terminate your lease without financial penalty.

Neighbourhood: A small, somewhat distinct area that is part of a larger city or town. 

Post-dated Cheque: A cheque written with an advance date. This way, the cheque may only be cashed as of the date written on it. 

For example, if you have a 1-year lease starting September 1, 2016, you may choose to provide your landlord with 12 post-dated cheques in the amount of your monthly rent, written with the dates below. The landlord may only cash each cheque on their respective date. 

  • Tip: Landlords are not legally permitted to require you to provide post-dated cheques as a term of your lease, however, you may choose to use this method of payment as it is often easiest. 

Reference: Someone who can tell a landlord that you will be a reliable tenant based on your employment, character or ability to pay rent (similar to how a job interview reference can tell a potential employer you will be a reliable employee). Potential references can include past landlords, employers, and academic officials such as Deans, Registrars, Faculty, etc. 

  • It may be helpful to get a letter from your department or college confirming the duration of your study, including any funding you might be receiving.
  • If you are unable to obtain references or guarantors, you may want to open a bank account and obtain a letter from your bank detailing the date the account was opened and the available funds.

Rent: The payment a tenant makes to the landlord, usually each month, for the right to live in that apartment or house.

Rent Deposit: Money paid to a landlord before the start of a tenancy as a deposit to cover any future arrears. The amount of the deposit cannot be greater than one month's rent (or one week's rent, if you are renting weekly). See First and Last for more information. 

Rental Agreement: See Lease. 

Residential Tenancies Act (RTA): The RTA sets the rules for rent increases, evictions, repairs, and many other issues that affect tenants. 

  • The RTA covers most renters, but if you share a kitchen/bathroom with your landlord, you may not be. CLEO’s online tool at can help you find out if you are covered.
  • Semi-Detached House: A single house that is joined to another house with a common wall.

Social Housing: Government-subsidized, non-profit housing that is managed either by municipalities or community/ religious groups. This is also known as subsidized housing. Some non-profit housing organizations are also co-operatives, which are managed by their residents. 

Subletting: If you want to move out of your unit temporarily and return before the lease ends, you can sublet your place. This involves finding a subtenant to move in and pay the rent for that period. During a sublet, your name remains on the lease, and you remain legally responsible for the rent. In most cases, the subtenant would pay you the rent and you would then pay the landlord. 

  • You are allowed to sublet your unit at any time during the duration of your lease, but you must inform your landlord about your plans. The owner cannot refuse to allow you to sublet the unit, but can refuse a specific subtenant if there is a valid reason (such as a failed credit or background check).

Tenancy Agreement: See Lease. 

Tenancy Period: The period of renting a house or apartment. It is usually specified in a rental contract, lease or tenancy agreement. Most tenancies last for one year at first, although month-to-month tenancies are also common. 

Tenant: A person who lives in a rental apartment or house. A tenant is also known as a lessee.

Tenants’ Insurance: The cost of tenants’ insurance is approximately $300 per year to insure about $20,000 worth of goods and can provide the following protection:

  • Fire, theft, and water damage from plumbing problems.
  • Replacement of personal property such as computers, furniture, clothing, etc.
  • Coverage in the event that you are found liable for loss of property because of personal negligence, or for accidental loss/damage of jewelry or other property outside your home.
  • Temporary stay in a hotel while your unit is being repaired after fire, flood, etc.
  • TIP: Be sure to take photos of valuable items and save them online in a safe place (such as your email or Google Drive) in case of damage or loss. Keep receipts and a list of serial numbers in case you need to make an insurance claim.
  • TIP: Consider insuring items individually if they aren’t covered for their total value under basic plans. Make sure you have the contents of your apartment covered for their replacement cost and not a depreciated value

Townhouse / Row House: A small house joined to a row of other small houses. 

Vacancy Rate: The percentage of rental apartments that are available in a community. 

Utilities / Vital Services: Essential services administered by the municipality or province. These include heat, hot and cold water, electricity (hydro) and fuel (such as natural gas). As a tenant, you will likely be required to set up accounts and pay for some (if not all) utility connections. 


Question Possible Agreements
When do you pay bills?
  • Pay immediately
  • Pay by due date
  • Pay when we get around to them
How should we pay utilities?
  • Split costs evenly
  • Separate utility expenses
    (e.g. One pays for hydro, one pays for internet)
What are your thoughts on sharing and borrowing?
  • Let’s share everything - no need to ask
  • You can probably borrow my stuff - just ask first
  • I won’t say no in an emergency (I prefer to not
  • Sorry, I don’t ever lend my stuff to others
How should we share common-use items?
  • Take turns buying
  • Split costs evenly
  • Buy our own items separately
How should we share common food items?
  • Take turns buying
  • Split costs evenly
  • Buy our own items separately
What else will we share?
  • Toaster/kettle/coffee maker
  • Towels/sheets
  • Dishes/glasses/cutlery/cookware/cooking
  • Furniture/vacuum
How tidy are you?
  • Could eat off the floor
  • Everything is put away
  • A little messy
  • Where’s the floor?
What’s your kitchen like?
  • Always sparkling clean
  • Clean and mostly tidy
  • Good luck finding stuff
  • Salmonella’s best friend
What’s your bathroom like?
  • Spotlessly clean - daily tidy
  • Pretty good - weekly clean
  • Not bad - monthly clean
  • Not sure - no cleaning products
How do you handle dishes?
  • Washed/put away daily
  • Washed/dry overnight
  • Wash in morning after overnight soak
  • Wash only when everything else is dirty
How will we handle cleaning?
  • Rotate cleaning assignment
  • Permanent cleaning assignment
  • Decide when need for cleaning arises
How often will you do your share of cleaning?
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly
  • Once a month
  • When desired
Do you smoke? (Cigarettes, shisha, etc.)
  • Yes
  • Yes, but not in the house
  • No
Do you have pets?
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Other furry critter
  • Fur-less critter
  • None
What’s your internet use like?
  • Bandwidth hog
  • Moderate use
  • Once in a while
  • Almost never
Does smoking bother you?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you mind pets?
  • Dogs are fine
  • Cats are fine
  • Other furry critters are ok
  • Fur-less critters are ok
  • I don’t want pets around
What do you do? (Check all that apply)
  • I’m a student
  • I’m a working professional
  • I have a part-time job
When is noise acceptable?
  • Any time of day or night
  • During the day and evening, but not at night
  • During the daytime only please
  • I need the silence of a library
How often do you have music on?
  • Always!
  • Often
  • Rarely
  • Never
What’s the volume like?
  • Shakes the floor
  • Comfortable listening level
  • Quiet, background level
  • I use headphones
When do you go to bed during the week?
  • Early: between 8pm - 11pm
  • Moderate: between 11pm - 1am
  • Late: between 1am - 4am
  • During daylight hours
Study habits?
  • Must be completely quiet
  • Some distractions are ok
  • Usually study elsewhere
  • Who needs to study?
How often will you be coming and going?
  • I’ll be home 24/7
  • Once or twice per day
  • Constantly
What are you hoping for from me as a roommate?
  • Someone to split the bills and chores
  • Someone friendly, but don’t have to be best friends
  • Someone who wants to hang out and do stuff with
Will anyone else be living with us?
  • No
  • Yes, my partner
  • Yes, my family (w/kids)
What’s your guest policy?
  • The more the merrier! Guests all the time
  • Not a problem, just ask for a heads up
  • One or two guests are okay occasionally
  • On a rare occasion guests are fine
  • I prefer no guests coming over
How do you feel about guests spending the night?
  • Doesn’t bother me
  • Occasionally is fine, but not multiple nights
  • Guests staying over regularly is fine
  • I’m not comfortable with guests staying over
How do you feel about parties?
  • Love them, I’d host every week if I could
  • They’re fine, just provide notice ahead of time
  • An occasional dinner/small gathering is fine
  • I don’t want to have any parties at my home
Will any guests be staying over?
  • I have a guest who will stay over frequently (3+ x/week)
  • I have a guest who will stay over occasionally (<3x)
  • I do not anticipate any guests staying over
Anything about food I should know?
  • I’m vegetarian/vegan & meat can be in the house
  • I’m vegetarian/vegan & meat can’t be in the house
  • I’m Kosher
  • I’m Halal
How often do you cook?
  • All three meals, most days
  • Usually dinners
  • One or two big meals a week
  • Pretty much never
Do you have any food allergies?
  • No
  • Yes, I have food allergies:
How do you feel about alcohol?
  • I’m game for drinks during the week
  • I save it for the weekends
  • I drink a few times a month
  • I don’t drink, but I don’t mind if you do
  • I don’t drink, and I’d like an alcohol-free home

Ask these questions to a prospective landlord to learn more about their rental unit. make sure you also get their Name, email, phone number and unit address.

Topic Possible Questions to Ask
Landlord / Rental Office
  • Who do I contact for routine occurrences?
  • Who do I contact in case of an emergency?
  • What timeframe can I expect a response in?
  • What is the best method of communication?
    Tip: Always confirm conversations in writing
Building and Unit Safety
  • Is any unit maintenance required prior to move-in?
  • Is there any projected maintenance or renovations
    expected in the unit/building this year?
  • If yes, how long will it take?
  • What disturbances should be expected?
  • Are there any unique maintenance processes?
  • Who does apartment maintenance?
  • How is apartment maintenance handled?
  • What is the timeframe for minor repair completion?
  • Will there be lawn/driveway maintenance?
General Care & Upkeep
  • Is any repair required prior to move-in?
  • Are the walls in need of patching/repainting?
  • Are the light fixtures, nails, window hardware, etc.
    painted over? Still functional?
  • Are any surfaces or storage spaces in disrepair?
  • Still functional?
  • Are pre-existing damages documented?
    Tip: Take unit photos before move-in and email to
    landlord as a record
Household Hazards
  • Are there any mold / mildew problems in the unit or
    adjacent units?
  • Has this unit ever had bed bugs? If so, how were
    they treated? How recently?
  • Does the unit have any issues with mice,
    cockroaches, or other pests?
  • Are there pests in other units?
  • What is the plan to resolve pest issues in future?
    Tip: Search Steps To Justice (external link)  “pests” for tenant
Heating & Cooling
  • What type of heating is used in the building? (e.g.
    Electric, gas, etc.)
  • Is there air conditioning?
  • Does the tenant or landlord control the
  • Does the heating/cooling turn off during certain times
    of year, and if so, when?
    Tip: In Ontario, landlords must keep units at 20°C between
    September and June
  • If the unit requires electric heaters or fans to keep
    temperatures reasonable, will the additional expense
    be covered by the landlord?
Front Desk
  • Is there a front desk in the building?
  • What hours are the front desk present?
  • What services do they provide?
  • Who is on-call 24/7 for the building? How do I
    contact them in case of an emergency?
  • How do I let someone into the building?
  • Is there a buzzer? How do I get my number added?
  • If it is a house, is there a working doorbell?
  • Are there any rules about guests?
  • Where does mail get delivered?
  • What is the policy on package deliveries?
Internet & Cable Connections
  • What rooms have a wall connection to connect
    a router?
  • Is wifi included or will you need to secure your own?
  • Does the building have a preferred service provider?
Room and Unit
  • How many bedrooms does the unit contain?
  • What are the specific room dimensions?
  • What is the total unit square footage?\
  • Is there en-suite laundry?
  • If not, is there laundry in the building?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What is the payment method?
  • Are pets allowed in the building?
  • Is there a weight/size/type restriction?
  • Is there a pet fee? If so, how much is it?

Bring to Viewing

  • Phone/camera to take pictures
  • Phone charger to test outlets
  • Tape measure to measure dimensions
  • Pen and paper to draw layout
  • A friend for a second opinion


Included in rent:

  • Water
  • Hydro/electricity
  • Gas
  • Cable TV
  • Wifi/internet

Garbage disposal:

  • Garbage chute
  • Garbage room
  • Curbside pickup

Bins provided:

  • Garbage
  • Recycling
  • Compost

Electrical / service capacity

  • Working outlets in all rooms
    • Grounded (3-prong)
  • General electrical capacity (i.e., Can you turn everything on without tripping a breaker?)
  • Fuse/breaker box
  • No ‘dead zones’ of cell/wifi service


Heating and cooling:

  • Tenant controls cooling
    • Air-conditioning
  • Tenant controls heating
  • Will landlord cover cost for extra heaters/fans?



  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Microwave
  • Dishwasher

Test kitchen sink:

  • Hot and cold water
  • Good water pressure
  • Drains unplugged


  • Washer/dryer in unit
  • Washer/dryer in building
  • Cost per use: $
  • Method of payment:


  • Clean tub
  • Working shower
  • Flushing toilet
  • Mirror
  • Counter space
  • Storage
  • Towel rack(s)
  • No evidence of mold
  • Working outlets
  • Toilet paper holder
  • Working ceiling fan
  • Ceiling in good condition
  • Working ceiling light

Test sink/shower:

  • Hot and cold water
  • Good water pressure
  • Drains unplugged


Furniture/Closets & Storage

  • Unit comes with furniture:
  • # of Closets
  • Other in-unit storage
  • External storage (e.g. basement locker)
  • Fee to use: $



  • Carpet requires steam cleaning prior to move-in
  • Carpet in good condition (no stains, holes, etc).
  • Hardwood/laminate in good condition (no splinters, etc.)
  • Equipment available to maintain floor (vacuum, mop, etc.)
  • Clean tiles in good condition (no cracks, etc.)



  • All keys and locks tested to ensure function
    • Front door external lock
    • Front door internal lock
    • Back door/balcony door lock
    • Bedroom door(s) lock
  • Permission to install additional locks
  • Key deposit required
  • Spare key available
  • Fee for lock-out: $
  • Fee to change locks: $
    Keys can be duplicated unless marked “DO NOT DUPLICATE”. Ask for permission before changing locks.


  • Each room has a functioning light
  • All light switches work
  • Each room has a window that can open (Test the windows as panes may be painted shut.)
  • Windows are lockable
  • Windows are not drafty
  • Windows have blinds or curtains included
  • Landlord will install blinds/curtains prior to move-in (Get all landlord agreements in writing.)
  • Unit gets morning / evening / no direct sunlight
  • Apartment view is unobstructed


  • Spot reserved for unit
  • Parking spot(s) available
  • Visitor parking available
  • Nearby pay-per-use street parking / parking lot
  • Fee for spot: $

General Care/ Upkeep

  • Repairs are necessary prior to move-in: (Get all landlord agreements in writing.)
  • Surfaces or storage space are in disrepair
  • Pre-existing damages documented (Take photos of unit before move-in. Email them to your landlord to confirm you will not be held responsible for pre-existing issues at a later date.)
  • Walls need patching/repainting prior to move-in
  • Unit has mold or mildew
  • Permission to paint walls
    • Requirement to return walls to original state before move-out (repainting, etc.)

Safety & Fire

  • Functioning smoke detector / alarm in unit
  • Carbon monoxide detector in unit
  • Batteries should be replaced annually
  • Fire exits clearly marked
  • Sprinklers in unit
  • Door has peep hole
  • Fire extinguisher provided in unit
  • Building security measures: