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What information should a rental lease contain?

If you have been approved by a landlord to rent an apartment or house, you must read and sign the residential lease.

Residential leases are also called residential tenancy agreements or simply a “lease”, and when you have been approved to rent an apartment, the landlord is often going to ask you to sign for a short fixed term lease (often at least one year), after which you’ll likely go to a month-to-month lease.

Be aware that residential tenancies are regulated by the province or territory and must comply with provincial/territorial law. Even if the landlord has his or her own forms, those forms have to comply with the residential tenancy act of the province or territory.

What information should leases contain?

Regardless of which province you are renting in, leases should include some fundamental information that is usually included in a contract, such as the name of the parties, which are the landlord and the tenant. Information needed to identify the name of the parties and location of the property and the terms of the agreement must be included.

Some important and fundamental terms that should be included are:

  • The names of the landlord and tenant(s);
  • The address of the rental property;
  • The agreed upon monthly rent, with or without utilities, parking, cable;
  • When the rent is due, for example, on the first day of each month;
  • The term of rental period, typically one-year, (month-to-month, or week-to-week);
  • The notice period that the tenant is required to give when terminating a tenancy, such as, 60 days’ notice to terminate;
  • The amount of the (security or damage deposits), if applicable.

What kinds of conditions do leases cover?

Again, every province and territory has their own legislation and conditions within the lease are likely specific to that legislation. Leases usually cover conditions like:

Be aware that some rental buildings don’t allow pets (although it’s debatable on whether such clauses are enforceable) and may prohibit other things as well. Some buildings are also smoke-free. You should read through the rental agreement to see what is and isn’t allowed.

If you are entering into a rental agreement, you may want to have a lawyer review it.

Read more:

The Rental Agreement

Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets