So you're living in your own place or sharing with roommates or a partner and it's going pretty well.
You're hopefully mostly enjoying it and the landlord is pretty decent too.
But what if an issue pops up with your landlord that you need to solve and you're not sure how to go about fixing it?
Well we got a couple questions from readers and came up with a few of our own and found an expert to answer them - David Beattie, a property expert and author of The Expert Landlord.
*Please remember to look at your lease agreement and consult with a legal expert before taking any next steps.*
A: I don’t think the landlord can charge the penalty because the cost of the water is being covered by the landlord. The landlord would be able to pass on penalties to the tenant if the tenant uses water excessively but the landlord would need to be able to prove that the tenant has been using excess water recklessly.
In this case, where there are no meters for individual units, the landlord would find it difficult to prove that the excessive water usage is coming from their unit.
A: Yes, the landlord should be covering this liability. Our law states that the property owner is liable for all utilities usage at the property. The new tenant cannot be held liable for the debts of the previous tenant.
A: This depends on the lease agreement you have signed. If your lease agreement states that you are not allowed to withhold rent for any reason, then the tenant is not allowed to withhold rent. But according to the Rental Housing Act Unfair Practices Regulations the landlord must maintain their property in accordance with health, safety and other regulations, and also must effect repairs according to what the lease says.
I recommend that the tenant gives formal written notice to the landlord of the repairs to be made. If these are not effected in the specified time, then I recommend that the tenant lay a complaint at their Rental Housing Tribunal.
A: No. As per the Rental Housing Act the landlord may only enter their property after giving reasonable notice (the tenant must give access provided it is at a reasonable time), to inspect their property, make repairs or show a prospective tenant/ buyer/ agent, or a pre-move out inspection.
A: A landlord cannot just take their tenant’s possessions and sell them to recover damages. However, the landlord has what is known as a ‘tacit hypothec’ – a security right – over the movable goods of the tenant where such goods are on the rented premises.
The landlord has a right to attached the tenant’s goods that are on the rented property, to have the sheriff sell those goods at public auction and to apply the proceeds of the sale to the outstanding rental. The tacit hypothec is required to be ‘perfected’, meaning that the landlord will need to institute legal proceedings to obtain an order for attachment of the goods while they remain on the property.
In order to enforce this right the landlord will engage the services of an attorney to issue a rent interdict summons. The court issues this document and then the sheriff goes to the property and writes up a list of movable belongings. Once they are written up, they have been ‘attached’ by the court and may not be removed from the property.
When the court makes an order on the summons, to the effect that the tenant owes the landlord money, the court also makes an order that the goods that the goods that have been attached be sold to pay the landlord the outstanding rental.
At this stage the sheriff comes to take the attached goods into his custody and store them until the public auction is held. It is unlawful for the landlord to simply remove the tenant’s goods without an attachment order having been granted by the court.
A: An expired lease continues as a ‘periodic lease’ if the tenant continues to occupy the property after the expiry date. A periodic lease then can be cancelled on a calendar month's notice.
A: Your landlord must return you deposit in accordance with the Rental Housing Act and can only withhold it if there are damages on the property agreed to at your joint move out inspection.
The damages must be attended to at a reasonable cost and the cost of these repairs deducted from the deposit. The remainder of the deposit must be returned to you.