You can obtain rental applications as well as the rental agreement forms online. However due to legislative changes, a standardized lease agreement will be released in the near future, which landlords will be required to use. If you live in Toronto you can also drop in to our office and obtain these forms here, there is a charge of $3.00 for the two forms. To conduct a credit check we usually suggest hiring an agency that provides this service for landlords, the following are two organizations that do this, Rent Check Credit Bureau at 416-365-7060 or toll-free at 1-800-661-7312, www.rentcheckcorp.com or www.tenchek.com.
All businesses operating in Canada are affecting and restricted by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). As stated in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Privacy Commissioner’s Website, “Once an organization or landlord has collected any personal information, it takes on new risks and responsibilities under PIPEDA. PIPEDA requires any private organization that collects your personal information to also protect it against unauthorized loss, theft or disclosure. Because credit bureaus—which are used by many landlords—collect, use and disclose personal information through their consumer credit reports, they are also governed by provincial and federal privacy laws. ” Disclosing information about a current or prior tenant to others requires that person’s written consent. Here is a link to a Privacy Commissioner’s report regarding a complaint about an organization that maintained a bad tenant list and distributed information to others, without their consent. http://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-actions-and-decisions/investigations/investigations-into-businesses/2016/pipeda-2016-002/. There may also be provincial statues that also impact on the concept of “Bad Tenant” lists, but overall we usually ask that landlords focus their attention on dealing directly with other landlords who understand and use up to date and PIPEDA-safe rental applications and leases, in order to avoid allegations of privacy abuse by would-be tenants. Sharing information about tenants in the context of screening after proper consent has been obtained is the most effective way to approach this issue.
Every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation. You CANNOT discriminate on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, handicap or the receipt of public assistance.
What are my rights to screen the current tenants, have them sign leases, evict tenants, etc. when purchasing a property with sitting tenants?
When purchasing a property with existing tenants you are assuming the tenants and the agreements they have with the current landlord whether it’s written or verbal. The fact that they don’t have a lease will not make much of a difference at this point since they are already established as tenants. As the purchaser you cannot ask them to sign a lease with you unless they agree to it. If your plans are to renovate the building, there are certain conditions to do this and to terminate the tenancies. I’ve included below a link to the Residential Tenancies Act, take a look at the sections pertaining to this issue which are sections 50 to 54. http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17
Is there a database of tenant names who were involved in a court or Landlord and Tenant Board case?
Tenant screening and credit businesses may still have information about Housing Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board or Court decisions, but it is unlikely to be up to date. A few years ago, the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario instructed the (then) Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal to stop releasing so much personal information in their final orders. As a result, names are now routinely removed from the orders, and unless you know the names of the parties, the particular rental address and file number already, you will probably not be able to find anything about a person’s history in such matters.
It is not a mandatory requirement for a new tenant to provide the landlord their SIN, landlords can ask but they are not obligated to provide it. It could also be considered a form of discrimination, the text below is part of the Policy on Human Rights and Rental Housing which explains the reason why landlords are discouraged from asking for a SIN from prospective tenants, 4.2.5 Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.) information Some landlords require that applicants provide their Social Insurance Numbers (e.g.on rental application forms) usually to conduct a credit check. A person’s Social Insurance Number may potentially reveal information about that person that is not relevant to securing a rental premise, for example, that the applicant is a refugee. Since the disclosure of such information may expose a person and their household to potential discrimination, it is the OHRC’s position that housing providers should use means other than Social Insurance Numbers to conduct credit checks. Service Canada, a part of the federal government, specifically discourages private sector organizations, including landlords negotiating leases, from asking for a Social Insurance Number.
If you do not have a standard rental application form, you should obtain one online or you can visit our office and get it here or online in the members’ area. A typical rental application will ask information such as references, employment info, previous landlords, etc. It also includes a clause that authorizes you to do a credit check. We recommend asking each prospective tenant to complete a Rental Application to ensure that you are collecting the same information from all (whether the information you request is provided or not another issue). You are allowed to ask for a deposit with their application or you can just accept the application and obtain the deposit once you decide to rent to them.
In order to access credit related information about your prospective tenant you must have their authorization to do so. Most rental applications contain a standard clause authorizing this. The step is accessing information contained in their credit record, you can try a realtor or credit check agencies. The following are three agencies that provide credit check services for landlords: Rent Check Credit Bureau, www.rentcheckcorp.com 1-800-6617312; GateMaster Inc, www.tenchek.com 1-877-823-0220; and Tenant Verification Services, http://www.tenantverification.ca 1-877-974-9328.
There are two main aspects to screening a prospective tenant: 1. Checking the credit worthiness of the applicant; and 2. Checking the rental history of the applicant. An up to date rental application will allow you to gather information from the applicant(s). It should contain a clause that allows you to obtain a credit report, to contact employers or income providers, current and (most importantly) previous landlords and other references. The application should also assure the applicant that the information collected will not be disclosed to third parties. Rental applications from Self Counsel Press are very good, and are usually available from Staples stores. Our own rental application is available only from our office for $1. We do not sell them electronically on-line. Our members can access the application for free, however, from the member’s page on our web site. Membership is for our quarterly newsletter, and is $25.00 per year or $150.00 for lifetime membership. Unless you can get your bank or real estate agent to do a credit check for you, we recommend you use a service to get you a credit report on the applicant.
Landlords should use a rental application and have ALL prospective tenants complete it as this ensures that the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. Typically, a rental application requires information related to employment, current and previous landlords, banking information and, most importantly, a clause authorizing the landlord to conduct a credit check. The landlord is not be permitted to access the tenant’s confidential credit information unless the prospective tenant provides written consent agreeing to permit a credit check. There are limited circumstances under which access to an individual’s credit information may be gained; one of them is for the purpose of approving an application for rental accommodation. If a prospective tenant refuses to provide all the requested information (rental history and credit references) the landlord can then proceed to use the income information to determine eligibility. IMPORTANT: Landlords may only request income information if rental history, credit references and authorization to perform a credit check is also requested. Income information cannot be used as the sole reason to decline an application.
Landlords may use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantors and other similar business practices to screen tenants as prescribed in the regulations made under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Landlords are encouraged to use a rental application. This ensures that the same information is collected from all prospective tenants. Typically, a rental application requires the prospective tenant to provide information related to employment, their current and previous landlords, banking information and, most importantly, to sign a clause authorizing the landlord to conduct a credit check. The landlord is not be permitted to access the tenant’s confidential credit information unless the prospective tenant provides written consent agreeing to permit a credit check. There are limited circumstances under which access to an individual’s credit information may be gained; one of them is for the purpose of approving an application for rental accommodation. If a prospective tenant refuses to provide all the requested information (rental history and credit references) the landlord can then proceed to use the income information to determine eligibility. Landlords may request income information only IF rental history, credit references and authorization to perform a credit check is also requested. Income information cannot be used as the sole reason to decline an application.
When selecting tenants, the Residential Tenancies Act gives landlords the rights to use income information, credit checks, credit references, rental history, guarantees, or other similar business practices as prescribed in the regulations made under the Human Rights Code. Use a pre-printed rental applications to ensure you are collecting the same information from all prospective tenants.
You are permitted to advertise for a non-smoking tenant and you should also include a no smoking clause in your tenancy agreement. If the tenant does not comply then you’ll have to issue a notice, which asks them to stop this activity within a specified time period. If the problem is not corrected then you could file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board seeking termination of tenancy.