What to Look for When Signing a Lease

Before you sign a lease, here are some "Do's and Don'ts" to consider:


Read it. Understand the lease before you sign and make sure it states the following information:

Names and addresses

  • your name (and those of your roommates, if you have them, with a place for each of you to sign)
  • the name, address and telephone number of the landlord or building manager
  • a description of the unit, house (or portion of the house) and a description of access to any adjoining areas (a balcony, porch or yard, for example)

Rent and lease terms

  • the monthly rent and its due date
  • the dates the lease begins and ends
  • lease renewal rules
  • subletting rules (this is important if you must sign a 12-month lease and want to sublet after the school year ends)
  • rules for raising the rent (you can confirm these with your provincial rental board, tribunal or agency)

Deposit details

  • what deposits are being made
  • when, and under what conditions, a deposit will be returned and how much interest you will be paid
  • (do your homework - confirm with your provincial rental board, tribunal or agency)

What the rent covers

  • what utilities are included in the rent
  • what appliances are included in the rent
  • what specific parking space is included with the rent (ask to see it beforehand)
  • the cost of parking if it isn't included in the rent

Maintenance and repairs

  • your responsibilities for maintenance and conduct
  • dates for promised repairs and improvements
  • how and when you can terminate the lease and how much notice is required
  • when the landlord or manager can enter your apartment (for repairs, for example) and with how much notice
  • landlord's responsibility for maintenance and pest control

Other considerations

  • whether you can add locks (especially if the locks are not deadbolts) if keys are provided to the landlord
  • permission for any pets
  • conditions for painting, hanging pictures and other decoration.
  • Finally, be sure to keep a copy of your lease.

Get started