What you need to know when renting from a landlord
Renters have many of the same concerns as owners when it comes to protecting their property and dealing with liability claims from third parties. As a renter you may want to consider how to best protect your interests.
The landlord, as the owner of the building, may have insurance that covers any loss or damage to the building, but that insurance does not extend to your belongings as a renter or your liability as the occupier of the rented property. You may want to consider your own insurance to protect your own interests.
There are many different kinds of insurance available. For example, there is insurance that can help you replace belongings that are lost or damaged due to fire, flood, theft, or vandalism, and insurance that can provide compensation if you have to relocate, temporarily or otherwise. There is also insurance that helps protect you as the occupier of rented property from liability for injuries suffered by third parties visiting your rented property (for example if your guest slips and falls in your rental property, you may be liable for your guest’s injuries).
A landlord can require you to have insurance coverage, but they cannot tell you which insurance company to buy from.
If you decide to get insurance, discuss your insurance needs with a licensed insurance agent. Before you buy a policy, make sure to read it carefully and know exactly what it does and does not cover.
Make sure you read and understand the terms of your rental agreement or lease
When renting a place, it is important you understand exactly what the terms of the rental agreement or lease are before you sign it. All tenancy agreements must include the Standard Conditions. Some include a fixed term that requires you to continue paying rent for the property until the agreement expires. Make sure you carefully consider how long you plan on living in that location before you sign anything.
Other important details to look for in your rental agreement or lease include: • Your landlord’s name, address, phone number and emergency contact info; • The Standard Conditions; • The amount of the security deposit (not more than one month’s rent); • Whether you or the landlord is responsible for each of the various utilities; • If there are fees for late rent payments; • The rules about guests; and • If pets are allowed.
Know the rights of landlords and tenants
Under Saskatchewan legislation, landlords and renters both have specific rights concerning issues such as security deposits, rent increases, property repairs and tenancy disputes. Rent increases in particular are subject to specific rules.
Thoroughly inspect the property before signing anything
You should only agree to rent a property after you’ve taken a good look at it. When inspecting a property look out for any pre-existing damage. Pointing this damage out to your landlord and taking pictures of it could save you money on your damage deposit when it comes time to move out.
If you notice any potential safety hazards or wiring or plumbing problems in the property, point them out to the landlord and ask for confirmation that they will be repaired before you move in. If you’re not sure what to look for when inspecting a property, the Office of Residential Tenancies provides a checklist.