Before we delve into tips and steps for a smooth residential tenant moving out process, let’s cover some key points around landlord and tenants rights, obligations and tenancy agreements.
Compliance with Provincials laws
Residential landlords renting in Ontario are mandated to utilize the Residential Tenancy Agreement (Standard Form of Lease) form, ensuring compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The lease terms must align with the Act, and any inconsistent terms will not be enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The RTA delineates specific rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants, establishes rules for rent increases and eviction processes, and institutes the LTB for dispute resolution.
Basic Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants
Landlords are accountable for ensuring that rental units are in a state of good repair, suitable for habitation, and comply with health, safety, housing, and maintenance standards. Furthermore, landlords are accountable for fixing any breakdowns in appliances, furnaces, heating, and cooling equipment. They are also responsible for replacing smoke detectors that have expired.
Tenants have a legal obligation to pay rent promptly and keep their units at a standard considered ordinary or normally clean. This may include replacing day-to-day items like fused light bulbs, batteries in smoke detectors, furnace and microwave filters etc. Additionally, they should address any damage caused by them or their guests.
It can be a good idea for landlords to enter into annual maintenance contracts with reputable companies for appliances, heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing. This can ensure trouble-free operations and facilitates easy property management.
Landlords and tenants can review the Landlord Tenant Board’s Maintenance and Repairs brochure for any clarification.
Efficient Onboarding for New Tenants
To ensure a seamless tenancy, landlords should provide information on city by-laws, condominium by-laws, and the property management office (in the case of condos). Contacting the property management office is essential for booking elevators during both moving in and moving out processes, especially in high-rise condos.
Additionally, landlords should introduce tenants to essential features of the home or condo, like:
- the electrical panel and breakers
- how to turn off the main breaker
- how to turn off water main shut-off valve in case of any water leaks
- show individual area water shut-off valves (kitchen, bathroom and washer/ dryer area)
- show basic appliance functions and provide appliance manuals
- show how to replace furnace filters and microwave filters
All these actions contribute to a positive living experience!
Landlords should also provide emergency contact numbers for quick communication in case of unforeseen events. By adhering to these legal and practical guidelines, both landlords and tenants contribute to a respectful and well-maintained living environment.
Capture the condition of the unit through photographs before the tenant moves in
Capturing images of the unit and sharing them with the tenant is a prudent practice. These photographs serve as a documented record, offering a valuable resource in the event of any concerns arising during the tenants’ departure.
As a proactive measure, tenants may consider creating a checklist within the initial 2-3 days of moving in, highlighting any areas requiring attention, and presenting it to the landlord.
Wear and tear
In instances where tenants are moving into an older condos or homes, the acknowledgment of normal wear and tear is typically understood, and landlords generally do not raise concerns about such issues when tenants eventually move out. Examples of this can include: worn out carpets, minor scratches on the floors, marks on walls, scratches on doors or inside cabinets, worn out cabinetry etc.
Maintaining a record of these items by both the landlord and tenant would be a good housekeeping measure.
Seamless Tenant Move-out process
Importance of pre-listing or pre-move-out inspection
By law, a tenant is required to give a 60-day notice to vacate on a typical one-year lease. This is the time for the landlord to go and re-inspect the property!
This stage is crucial for three main reasons:
- To ensure that the tenant hands back the property in good shape
- To enable a smooth moving out process for tenant
- To allow a smooth showing process for the next prospective tenants
It is crucial for the landlord to conduct a thorough physical inspection of the property to ensure its optimal condition for the next occupant. While minor wear and tear are acceptable, any damages caused by the tenant should be rectified by them before vacating.
It is important for the tenant to bear in mind that the landlord had originally provided the property to them in a clean and the best possible condition. By the same token, the tenant is expected to reciprocate when moving out.
This stage is a good time for the landlord to remind the tenant to book the elevators for moving (if applicable) and return all home keys, FOBs, mailbox keys to the landlord at the time of final moving out.
While tenants are urged to promptly report any maintenance issues during their tenancy, it is imperative for them to report any issues that they are aware of before the move-out date, such as leaky faucets, flickering lights, fused light bulbs etc. Landlords should also inspect the plumbing by operating taps and flushing, checking caulking in the bathroom and kitchen areas, during the pre-listing inspection.
Landlords must detail essential steps to ensure a smooth transition. The Residential Tenancy Agreement contains a clause specifying that tenants are responsible for maintaining the ordinary cleanliness of the rental unit. Nevertheless, in numerous leases, landlords typically arrange for a professional deep cleaning at their expense before a tenant moves in and anticipate that tenants will reciprocate when moving out.
Checklists for cleaning may include tasks such as:
- Clean countertops, backsplash, sinks, and fixtures
- Wipe inside and outside of cabinets and drawers
- Clean the exterior of large appliances
- Clean the inside of the microwave, refrigerator, and oven
- Move and clean behind the stove and refrigerator
- Dust interior surfaces, including glass, blinds, ledges, and baseboards
- Clean showers, bathtubs, and toilets
- Clean all mirrors
- Dust light fixtures and ceiling fans
- Clean light switches and outlet covers
- Wipe baseboards, doors, and door frames (including balcony doors)
- Clean intake/air return vents
- Sweep and mop hard surface floors, and shampoo the carpets (if applicable)
- Empty the dryer’s lint and lint deposits in the ceiling lint chamber
- Clean patio area
- Many renters use expandable brackets to secure large items like television sets to the walls, but these can leave sizable holes upon removal. If this is the case, tenants must ensure they fix any damage and paint the walls in the same colour before they leave.
Storage areas and Parking Checklist:
- Empty the Locker cage and Check the Parking spot or driveway for any oil leaks.
As a landlord or a tenant, you can find answers to some of the other questions you may have about renting in Mississauga and the GTA.
Landlord’s Handyman in Action
After the previous tenant has vacated, the landlord’s handyman can attend to tasks identified during the pre-listing inspection and post tenant move-out (if not already addressed). These may include replacing fused light bulbs, installing new batteries in smoke detectors (or replacing expired ones), addressing any toilet, plumbing issues, re-caulking in bathrooms or kitchen etc. In the case of a condominium unit, if specific repairs are the responsibility of the condominium’s maintenance, the landlord needs to coordinate with them to resolve these issues.
Remember, a well-maintained and clean property, appropriately priced, tends to attract quality tenants and leases quickly.
If you are a landlord looking to lease their property or a tenant looking to rent, find answers to some of the frequently asked landlord and renter questions compiled by us.
Other Rules About Property Left Behind by Tenants and Collecting Money from a Former Tenant
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) encompasses several guidelines regarding the handling of a tenant’s belongings left behind upon vacating a rental unit. Additionally, distinct regulations are in place to facilitate the collection of money owed by a former tenant.
This may include outstanding rent, compensation charges associated with NSF cheques, unpaid utility bills (covering heat, electricity, and water), costs related to damages to the rental unit, and expenses incurred by the landlord due to substantial interference by the former tenant or any individual visiting or residing in the rental unit with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment or lawful rights, privileges, or interests.