Landlord's Guide: Investment Property Rental Tips


1. Long-term leases

Long-term leases are usually for more than one year. The landlord chooses a real estate broker to represent his or her interests and enters it into a listing agreement with him or her. The broker's commission for a listing agreement is usually one month's rent: half to the listing agent representing the landlord and half to the tenant agent. Once the listing agreement is signed, the landlord provides information about the property and the listing agent posts the property on the Toronto Real Estate Board's central database (each city has its own Real Estate Board and MLS), the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and officially lists the property for rent. At the same time, the listing agent can use their own marketing methods and channels to promote the property in order to attract more potential tenants. When a tenant submits a rental application through their broker, the landlord has to select the most suitable tenant with the assistance of the listing broker and accept their rental application.

2. Short-term leases

Leases of less than one year are considered short-term leases. Landlords who rent short-term usually do not need to hire an agent and can find, receive and screen tenants on their own. Examples of the most common platforms for short-term leases posting are Airbnb,, Chinese website, York Forum, as well as self-publishing and social groups. Since there is no help from professional real estate agents, short term rental landlords must be more careful in selecting tenants.

In addition, short-term lease landlords should pay special attention to the following two points.

  1. Make sure that the rental procedures are complete. For example, before 分租, check whether the municipality planning (Zoning) allows 分租, how many households to 分租 to, and what other specific regulations are in place. The consequences of illegal renting can be quite serious, for example, in case of an accident, the insurance company can refuse to pay compensation because of the improper way of using the house.
  2. Landlords should be careful to include the cost of each lease and the window period in their costs.

3. Lease term and rent control for long term leases

1. If the tenant pays the rent on time, the tenancy can be converted to a month-to-month lease at the end of the term and continue for a long time

In Canada, if the tenant does not renew the lease with the landlord for the next year after the end of the one-year lease, but the tenant continues to pay the rent on time, according to the law, the lease can automatically be converted to a monthly lease and continue. The landlord cannot evict the tenant without cause as long as the tenant is paying the rent regularly.

2. Justifiable reasons for the landlord to end the tenancy

If the tenant is paying the rent on time and the landlord needs to end the lease, the landlord or a member of the landlord's immediate family must move into the property, otherwise the landlord cannot evict the tenant without cause. Thus, the landlord or immediate family member must live in the property for at least a year, not just temporarily.

3. The relationship between the landlord selling the property and the tenant

If the landlord sells the property and the new buyer uses it not as an owner-occupant but as an investment, and rents the property, the original tenant may have priority over other new tenants who choose to rent the property. This means that the new buyer or new landlord is not free to evict the previous owner's tenant and recruit a new tenant and increase the rent by doing so.

4. There are restrictions on rent increases by landlords

Ontario regulations state that the landlord of a property that was first occupied before November 15, 2018, may not raise the rent at will. Each rent increase needs to be strictly in accordance with the government's published rate of rent increase for the year, which is often linked to the CPI rate of increase. If the property was first occupied after November 15, 2018, the landlord can adjust the rent at its own discretion, but must notify the tenant at least 90 days' advance in writing.

4. Auditing Tenants

For many landlords, the biggest worry is encountering a rent bully, or a bad tenant, who could cause them to lose money and waste energy. How to avoid the rent bully and select a good tenant is one of the most important concerns for landlords. Especially for short term rental landlords, lacking the help of a professional real estate agent, the challenge of picking a tenant will have to be dealt by themselves. It is crucial to review the tenant's credit history and income level to be successful on this task.

1、If the tenant is a Canadian resident

For a local resident who has worked and lived in the area for some time, the landlord can assess his credit history and check if his income level is sufficient to ensure regular monthly rent payments.

  1. The tenant's credit score should preferably be at least 700.
  2. Have the tenant show a letter from their employer with proof of wages, bank water statements, etc.
  3. It is more ideal that the tenant can provide a reference letter from the previous landlord.
  4. Be especially careful from the tenant from handing over false information, it is recommended to get an experienced real estate agent to check and gatekeep the forgery. 


2、If the tenant is a non-resident of Canada

New immigrants and international students who have just landed in Canada may only have a very short credit history, or even not having one at all. They do not even have a job or a salary yet. However, landlords do not have to refuse to consider this group of people outright. They will be good choices if they fit the following criteria.

  1. New immigrant or international student guests with high bank deposits and high net worth.
  2. International student tenants presenting proof of enrollment and tuition payment. It is a confirmation of student status and also a proof of financial resources.
  3. The tenant offers to make a one-time prepayment for six months or even a full year. However, note that the landlord may not request this from the other party, only the tenant can voluntarily offer it to make up for the defects of the other assessment items.


3、How to audit the tenant more carefully to avoid the rent bully

  1. Review tenant information carefully and call at least 1~2 witnesses if possible. It is important to call the tenant's employer to confirm the applicant's employment status and salary level. Ask the former landlord about the previous tenancy, the punctuality of rent payment, etc. to determine if the applicant is a good tenant.

  2. Check the tenant's social accounts, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to determine if the tenant is acting normally or well.

  3. If the tenant is a Canadian resident but has no income, the landlord can classify the tenant's family and friends as tenants who do not actually live in the property and assume tenant responsibility if the tenant's family and friends can provide proof of assets, employment and a good credit report. The law states that all tenants on the lease are responsible for paying 100% of the rent in full, rather than being apportioned on a per capita basis and only responsible for a portion of the rent. This is the importance of the need for friends and relatives of tenants with no income to be on the lease.


4、Different Types of Tenants - International Students vs. Professionals

A large portion of the tenant population is made up of international students as well as professionals. Whether international students or professionals are more likely to be good tenants is a question that cannot be generalized. After auditing a tenant through the several perspectives described above, there are several other factors that landlords can consider.

1. Extent of use of the rental property

Landlords can consider the amount of indoor activity each of these two groups does, how well they care for the property, and whether the interior cleaning will be done properly.

2. The amount of noise

The landlord should consider how often they are likely to make noise and nuisance to the surrounding neighbors. For example, will this tenant often have parties and disturb people late at night.

3. Characteristic

The landlord can meet with the tenant to get a visual understanding of their personality and see if they are reasonable and easy to communicate with. If it is not convenient to meet, you can also talk on the phone or video chat. An easy to communicate tenant can save the landlord a lot of trouble, after all, once a dispute occurs, a lot of time and energy will be wasted.

4. The length of the residence period

If the landlord is renting out a property that was first occupied before November 2018, then it must wait until the tenant leaves and re-solicits the lease to adjust the rent at will. In this case, the landlord needs to consider the extent to which the length of the tenant's tenancy will affect his or her rent increase. In this regard, international students and professionals usually have different lengths of residence. After all, an international student may move out after graduation, and the landlord can roughly guess when his or her exit from the lease will be. For a professional, on the other hand, his tenancy period is not so easy to guess and there is a high probability that it will be much longer than the tenancy period of an international student.

5.   Paying attention to legality when picking tenants

Landlords can audit tenants in the above areas to protect their interests, but pay special attention to the fact that some reasons for rejecting tenants or evicting tenants are not legal.

1. Reasons with discriminatory overtones cannot be used to reject a tenant. For example, factors such as race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. cannot be used as a reason for rejecting a tenant.

2. In Ontario, the "no pets" clause in the lease is not legal. However, a landlord may ask a tenant if he or she has any pets when accepting an application. Also, a landlord can refuse a tenant who has a pet. However, after moving in, even if there is a "no pets" clause in the lease agreement, a landlord cannot evict a tenant simply for having pets if the tenant starts keeping pets. Unless the By-law of the apartment building has a no-pet rule or the landlord obtains evidence that the tenant's pet is interfering with the normal life of others.


5. Responsibilities of both landlord and tenant

1、Landlords must fulfill their duties, even if the tenant does not pay the rent.

Canadian laws and regulations require that landlords must fulfill their responsibilities, even if the tenant does not pay the rent, and cannot evict the tenant for insufficient reasons. If a landlord believes that the conflict between the landlord and the tenant can no longer be resolved privately, the landlord can go to the LTB (Landlord and Tenant Board) for arbitration. If the Board determines that the tenant is at fault, the tenant will be removed by law enforcement and the landlord may not change the locks on his or her own.

  1. Daily damage and depreciation of the rental property is borne by the landlord.
  2. The landlord is responsible for the repair of electrical failures that are not caused by human damage.
  3. Removal of pests and rodents is the responsibility of the landlord.
  4. When it is necessary to enter the rented property for a reasonable reason, the landlord shall notify the tenant 24 hours in advance. 

2、Tenants should pay rent on time, even if the landlord fails to fulfill his duties

It is the tenant's responsibility to pay the rent on time. If you feel that the landlord is not fulfilling his responsibilities, you can also seek help from LTB, instead of fighting against it by defaulting on rent.

  1. Keeping the residence tidy and not disturbing the neighbors and landlord
  2. Cooperate with the landlord and related staff to enter the property for reasonable reasons, such as maintenance, viewing, etc.
  3. Regardless of how many tenants there are, any tenant on the lease is fully responsible for paying 100% of the rent, not just his or her portion of the rent after the headcount. For example, international students A and B are renting the same apartment together and each pays $1200 per month in rent. After graduation, International Student B returns home with one month's rent unpaid while the lease has not ended. If the landlord cannot contact International Student B, then International Student A is not responsible for paying only his portion of the $1,200, but for paying the entire $2,400 rent.