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Things Canadian newcomers should know as renters or first- time home buyers

Devoting an ever-larger portion of their income to pay for shelter, Canadian renters are overstretched financially to keep a roof over their heads.

In fact, 40 per cent are spending over 30 per cent of pre-tax income on rent, and close to 20 per cent spend over half.

Where required, security deposits further increase the pressure on tenants who, no matter the income level, find having money tied up for the duration of the lease to be burdensome. This doubles when changing homes, with the need to pay another security deposit upon signing a new lease while having to wait for the end of an existing lease to recover the previous deposit. There’s also the issue of unscrupulous landlords refusing to give security deposits back for unfounded reasons.

Here are tips on how to protect yourself as a tenant and lessen the financial burden:

Get a lease guarantee. A new way to secure your ideal dwelling without tying up your savings, a lease guarantee can replace security deposits.

For the cost of a modest annual fee, Locnest can act as your guarantor, leaving you with more money in your pocket. Proof that your credit has been vetted, a lease guarantee will give you a competitive edge over other prospective tenants vying for the same apartment as you. You are also guaranteed that the money will only be paid to a landlord in the event of an enforceable judgment from your provincial authority.

Record the condition of the premises. Ask your landlord to walk through the space together at the beginning and end of your lease. This will allow you to document the condition of the property before your possession and take note of any existing damage. Take photos, ideally with a camera or phone that has a time-stamp feature to confirm when the images were recorded. This will protect you in case your landlord tries to attribute some existing damage to you. 

Pay attention to claims. If your landlord wants to keep part of your security deposit, ask for an itemized list of deductions and look at it closely. Taking money off for general wear and tear such as fading paint and gently worn carpets, or falsely claiming that apartment features were broken to withhold your deposit is illegal.

More at locnest.com.

5 questions to ask when house hunting. When you are ready to buy your first home, finding the right one can be daunting.

But you can make the experience smoother and less stressful by doing your research and knowing which questions to ask.

Here are some key questions renters and buyers alike can benefit from asking:

How long will I live here? Maybe you’re moving because you got a promotion, or are planning on starting or growing your family in the near future. Make a list of the features you’ll need now and down the road for as long as you plan to be there.

What kind of neighbourhood do I want? Things to consider include commute times, languages spoken and the age of kids and people in the area. You can find this kind of information and more about your prospective neighbourhood on the Statistics Canada website.

Are there any renovation restrictions? If you’re in a condo, you might be limited to what kinds of upgrades you can make to your flooring or balcony. And even in a house, things like conservation rules or other municipal by-laws can restrict any makeover plans you might have.

How affordable is it? Of course it’s important to make sure the monthly rent or mortgage payments are within your budget, but do some digging beyond these numbers to get a better picture of your future financial situation. How much would it cost to raise a family? Or send your kids to college or university? You can look at Statistics Canada survey data to find these kinds of useful insights.

Which way does the property face? It might seem insignificant now, but the direction of sunlight can really affect your day-to-day lifestyle.

If you like gardening, a south-facing garden may be important for you.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy basking in the early morning and early evening sun, an east- or west-facing home may be best for you.

Read about other topics of interest and find out how responding to StatCan surveys can benefit you at statcan.gc.ca/mycommunity.

                                                                                                                                                                – News Canada 

Posted: Nov 4, 2019

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

© CanadaBound Immigrant 2016