Who is in Charge of Shoveling Snow at a Rental? And Other Outdoor Maintenance Questions

Who is in Charge of Shoveling Snow at a Rental? And Other Outdoor Maintenance Questions

It’s here. The time for snow angels, hot chocolate, and snowmen has come! With the cold weather also comes a number of outdoor maintenance requirements. You need to ensure your rental is ready for the snow and is being maintained! The issue is that many tenants are often unsure who is responsible for which duties. It is necessary that both tenants and landlords are aware of who is liable to avoid potential problems (and even fines)!

In order to answer the following questions, you will need to consider two things.

  1. What type of property do you live in?
  2. What does your lease state?

Here is your answer to “Who is in charge of shoveling snow at a rental?” and other outdoor maintenance questions.


Who is in charge of shoveling snow at a rental?

Depending on what type of property the rental is (house, condo, apartment, etc.), this will determine whether or not the tenant or landlord is responsible for shoveling the walks.

In a house (whether it be stand alone or a duplex), it is commonly understood that the tenant is responsible for shoveling the snow. Of course, there may be exceptions that will be specified in the rental agreement and lease, in which case it is important to know if the tenant or landlord is responsible. It is a bylaw in most cities that sidewalks must be properly shoveled within 24 hours of a snowfall, so if the tenant is leaving for vacation, they must be in touch with the landlord to ensure the walks are shoveled throughout the duration of their absence.

On the other hand, if the property is a multi-complex or apartment building, it is likely that the condo fees will go towards outdoor maintenance. The condo board will usually have outdoor maintenance covered, hiring landscapers to care for the property and surrounding area. To be sure, tenants should always consult the lease and speak with the landlord!


Who is responsible for salting ice?

With winter also comes the hazards and problem of ice on sidewalks and pathways. Keeping up with the ice on sidewalks is very important as it could mean the safety of others. If ice is not properly dealt with and someone falls, seriously injuring themselves, either the tenant or the landlord would be held responsible if the person pressed charges.

The person responsible for salting the ice is the same as the individual responsible for shoveling the walks. Stand-alone homes or duplexes commonly fall to the tenant to care for the salting of sidewalks. For rental properties such as condos, condo fees will usually include this in the fees, and no action from the tenant is necessary. Always take the time to clearly read and understand the lease and rental agreement. If you are ever unsure of who is responsible for outdoor maintenance, speak with your landlord/tenant – this will prevent any miscommunications and possible fines or accidents.


Who is in charge of addressing weather-damaged property? 

During the winter months, a storm hits and brings down a tree onto the garage, or smashes a window. Who is responsible? In almost any situation where weather damage has been done to a rental home, the landlord is responsible. Because it is the landlord’s property, and the tenant is not at fault, they are required to fix the damage done. Keep in mind that fixes to a home may require tenants to leave the rental for the duration it takes to fix.

If, for instance, the tree fell onto the garage and also hit the tenant’s car, or destroyed the backyard BBQ, it is another story. The landlord will be responsible for the damage to the home, but the tenant is responsible for their own belongings and possessions. This is why having rental insurance (and of course, car insurance) is so important! Rental insurance is there to help cover the damages done to tenant belongings. The landlord has no responsibility to cover those losses. In most cases, when signing the lease, a landlord may ask tenants to get renter’s insurance. But, if it is not a requirement, it is up to the tenant to purchase the insurance and take precautions to protecting their belongings!

NOTE: Rental insurance with providers such as Nuera Insurance also can help tenants when they are required to leave during repairs!



Once you know your responsibilities, you can feel comfortable that outdoor maintenance for winter will be properly managed. If you ever have doubts about the responsibilities or maintenance tasks, always review your lease and rental agreement or speak to your landlord/tenant! Better to be safe than sorry this winter!


Rental Documents You Need When Renting Your Home

Rental Documents You Need When Renting Your Home

The process of renting a home is a busy one! You need to take photos of your home (or hire Rentfaster to for $35), list your rental, find the perfect tenant, and, most importantly, ensure that all rental documents are filled out and signed! Once you purchase a listing with Rentfaster.ca (for only $35 we might add), you have access to tons of useful information that will help rent your home faster! Not to mention, there is a screening process to protect you from experiencing a horror rental story. One of the features of Rentfaster.ca that not many are aware of are the FREE rental documents! With a free account on Rentfaster.ca, you have access to all the rental documents needed to properly and safely rent out your home!


NOTE: All forms are useable to create a Residential Tenancy Agreement for the province you live in. Some forms identified below are only available for certain provinces. Select the drop-down tab on the “Rental Forms” page to confirm you have the correct documents.


Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement

Once you and your new tenant have agreed upon the lease, it is necessary that you sign the tenancy agreement. This will acknowledge the timeline of the lease, have both parties signed agreement and approval, as well as the terms of the agreement. Both yourself (the landlord) and your new tenant should review the agreement in detail, ensuring that all features of the document are acceptable for each individual. The agreement also includes information such as:

  • Fixed Term Tenancy
  • Rent
  • Security Deposits
  • Late Fees and Dishonoured Cheques
  • Inspections
  • Tenant Obligations
  • Landlord Obligations
  • Tenant Alterations and Improvements
  • Utilities
  • Etc.

In addition to the Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement Document, Rentfaster.ca also has a tenancy agreement document with “an option to convert to periodic” or a “periodic tenancy agreement.” These forms will have slightly different information, including the option for month-to-month tenancy. Be sure you select the form that best matches what you have discussed with your new tenant!


Inspection Checklist and Inventory Report

Once your tenancy agreement forms have been signed and agreed upon, as the landlord, you will want to have a record of the state of the rental. The Inspection Checklist and Inventory Report is one of the most significant rental documents you can have. This table-formatted sheet will allow you to go through and inspect the condition of the rental at move-in, move-out, and list the repair charges (if any).

Because there are so many things to remember and inspect, this form makes your inspections simple. Each room and item is organized so that you can go room-by-room and not forget the little things. Once the inspection has been done, there is an area in the document to complete your statement on the condition of the rental, as well as your tenants. At the bottom of the form is a section for you to fill out if there are charges and deposit amounts required from the tenant.


 Statement of Account

Separate from the inspection checklist, there is a unique rental document that summarizes the account, security deposit, and deductions. This document includes the “final amount refunded,” so that both you and your tenant are aware of the final financial payments/refunds and have it for your records.


Additional Documents

In addition to the listed forms above (dependent upon province), you will also have access to other rental documents should you need to provide:

  • Notice to Vacate,
  • Notice to Terminate,
  • No Smoking Addendum
  • Increase the Rent.

It is beneficial to always have a physical copy as well as a digital copy to ensure that you have a paper trail of your rental account. This will prevent any misunderstandings or problems in the future.


To access any of these rental documents, simply create your free Rentfaster.ca account. Once you are logged in to your account, under the tab “My Account” you will find a section called “Rental Forms.” It is here that you will be able to access and print any of the above or mentioned rental documents.


Create your free account today and get look forward to being an organized landlord! Happy renting!

What You Need to Know About Security Deposits

What You Need to Know About Security Deposits

Landlords usually ask tenants for a security deposit, sometimes called a damage deposit. It can not be more than one month’s rent at the time the tenancy starts. The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) limits the maximum amount a landlord may ask for in a security deposit.

If your rent increases the security deposit can not be increased as the rent is increased. When you give your security deposit, it is important that you ask for a receipt. It must show the amount you paid, the date and must state that you paid the security deposit and who you paid it to.

The landlord must deposit the security deposit into an interest bearing account.  The landlord must pay you, the tenant, the interest at the end of each tenancy year unless you both agree otherwise. If both you and the landlord agree in writing, interest may be compounded annually and paid to you at the end of your tenancy.

The minimum annual interest rate that landlords must pay on security deposits is determined by a formula set out in the Security Deposit Interest Rate Regulation. You can access the Security Deposit Interest Calculator at Service Alberta’s website at www.servicealberta.ca>Landlords/Tenants>SecurtyDeposits .

Be safe out there and know your rights.

Christine Versnick
CIR Realty


7 Easy Home Improvements to Upgrade your Rental

7 Easy Home Improvements to Upgrade your Rental

Are you a landlord looking to get more value out of your rental? You can with easy home improvements! You have the ability to work with and enhance what already exists, and make it more appealing. Renovating your rental is the perfect way to increase the value and allows you to bump up the rent. Not to mention, your new and improved home will be more likely to rent out faster because of the appeal. Here are 7 easy home improvements to upgrade your rental.


1. Update Light Fixtures

Update Light Fixtures - Home Improvements

One of the easiest and most affordable home improvements you can do is to update light fixtures. Many homes will still have the same light fixtures from when the house was built. Everyone remembers the dreaded “boob light” fixtures, as well as the glass-decorated plates that covered dual light bulbs. Not only are these light fixtures out of date and out of style, they are inefficient! Replace and update your light fixtures so that they reflect the current style of your home (modern, rustic, traditional, etc.) and reduce the energy bill too!


2. Remove Old Carpet

There is nothing more undesirable than a rental home that has carpet from the 80s or 90s. Renters will often close listings because of unattractive home features! Rip up those green shag carpets and put in new, soft, neutral colored carpet instead. Your rental listing photos will draw in more prospective tenants and your home will rent out faster! Want to take your home improvements up a notch? Installing hardwood/laminate is an option that gives a home that brand-new feel. Everyone loves the look of wood!


3. Replace/Paint Cabinet Doors

Replace-Paint Cabinet Doors - Home Improvements

Does your rental property have plastic on each of the cabinet doors? Or perhaps they are an old oak colour making the home look dated. Give your rental home an upgrade by replacing or painting cabinet doors. If you have cabinet doors that are strange in size, shape, or design, it is best to replace them. On the other hand, if you have older oak finishes, painting these white (or other neutral colours) can remove that “old-fashioned” look from your home.


4. Knocking Down Walls

Many of the older model homes will have separate and closed off rooms. To upgrade your rental, you can make easy home improvements by knocking down walls (be sure they are not load-bearing!). People want a home where they can cook dinner and still mingle with people in the living room. Creating an open-concept home will increase the appeal and desire for the rental. Knocking down walls also gives your rental home more options for layout of furniture and space to move around. Perfect for those who are looking to host family and friends!


5. Replace Faucets and Shower Heads

Replace Faucets and Shower Heads - Home Improvements

When a home has new and shiny accessories, it increases the value in a rental property. Replace all of those leaking, rusted, or calcified faucets and shower heads in your home. It is amazing what a new and styled faucet can do for a bathroom to remove the feeling of “aged” and “lived-in.”


6. Drawer Cupboards

With all of the stuff people have, it is important to find a rental that has enough storage spaces. One of the many home improvements you can make to your rental is to add drawer cupboards. These are cupboards in your home (usually in the kitchen) that open up and have roll out drawers within them. These are space saving improvements compared to basic shelves, which limit the amount of space you can use. Not to mention, they are easy to access (no more crawling around in low and hard to reach cupboards!). Make this change and be sure to feature it in your rental images!


7. New Trim and Paint

New Trim and Paint - Home Improvements

If your rental is a condo, house, or townhouse, curb appeal is one of the driving forces that will ‘sell’ your home. People like to be proud of the home they are living in, and the exterior is the first thing anyone sees. Give the front of your home an upgrade and purchase new trim and apply a new coat of paint. Something as simple as freshening up the paint will drastically brighten the home from the outside, making it appear new once more.


Once you’ve completed these home improvements, Rentfaster will come to your rental and take new professional photos for your listing for only $30! Ensuring that potential tenants see the value right away!


Most Popular Calgary Neighbourhoods to Live In

Most Popular Calgary Neighbourhoods to Live In

The city of Calgary. Located in southern Alberta, Calgary is commonly known for the legendary Calgary Stampede and for being the home to many oil and gas companies. Lovingly referred to as “Cow Town” due to the vast grasslands that surround the city, Calgary is ever-growing and always expanding – creating more popular Calgary neighbourhoods each year. Being the home of a diverse number of people, it is said to host speakers in over 120 different languages. If you are looking for a place to rent in an area that has the buzz of city life or more of a quiet residential area, Calgary is diverse enough to accommodate. Calgary is filled with rental opportunities, with an overall average price of $1,389 and 6719 total rental listings. There is a lot to do in Calgary and each neighbourhood holds its own unique characteristics. Here are the most popular Calgary neighbourhoods to live in:


1. Varsity Neighbourhood, Calgary

Varsity - Calgary Neighbourhoods

Varsity is one of the Calgary neighbourhoods located in the Northwest of the city. Although it is further away from the downtown core (roughly 20 minutes by car and 45 minutes by bus), the area is highly sought after for its greenery. Varsity is close to the Silver Springs Golf course and is only a short drive from Nose Hill and Bowmont Park. The area is popular due to the close proximity to the green spaces as well as amenities. Northland Mall, Market Mall, and the Varsity strip mall (with stores, such as Planet Organic, and some restaurants and cafes) are amongst it. This Calgary neighbourhood has a total of 87 rentals available, with an average rental price of $1,142. Considering the price, the easy access, and the natural surrounding area, it is no wonder that Varsity is the most popular neighbourhood in Calgary!


2. Beltline Neighbourhood, Calgary

The Beltline neighbourhood in Calgary is located south of the downtown core. This neighbourhood is commonly known for the high number of diverse and delicious restaurants and entertainment options. Every evening is an opportunity to try new foods, or meet up with friends. Because of its close proximity to downtown, it is the ideal place to rent an apartment or condo, with its easy commute to offices downtown! There are currently 294 available rentals with an average price of $1,492. This neighbourhood is perfect for those wanting to be immersed in the energy of the Beltline (events, pubs, restaurants, etc.) and also for those working in the core.


3. Edgemont Neighbourhood, Calgary

Edgemont - Calgary Neighbourhoods

Close to Nose Hill (the beautiful park in the north of Calgary) is the Edgemont neighbourhood. This lovely neighbourhood has many walking paths and green spaces (Nose Hill and the Edgemont ravine) and is accessible by number of main roads, making commuting simple. The area is older – development of Edgemont began in the year 1978, and it is now one of Calgary’s largest communities. As well, a number of schools and shopping centers are close by, making it the ideal location for those looking to settle down. This is one of the most popular Calgary neighbourhoods due to its appeal for families. Edgemont currently has 52 available rentals on Rentfaster.ca, with an average price of $1,439.


4. Aspen Woods Neighbourhood, Calgary

Aspen Woods is a highly sought after Southwestern neighbourhood for its close proximity to nature as well as easy access to the mountains. The area is filled with green spaces, perfect for those looking to stay active – biking and walking trails surround the community. The area is primarily residential besides the green spaces, and it also has the Aspen Landing Shopping Centre. Aspen Landing is filled with trendy stores, restaurants, cafes and other necessary amenities. The Aspen Woods community is in a prime location to get around, as it is close to major roads, and also has primary bus routes and a nearby LRT station. There are currently 37 rental available with an average price of $2,359 – more expensive than others because of its beautiful surrounding area and gorgeous houses.


5. Brentwood Neighbourhood, Calgary

The Northwest community of Brentwood is one of the most popular Calgary neighbourhoods. Bordered by Shaganappi trail and Crowchild trail (two main Calgary roads), Brentwood is often a central meeting place in the northern quadrant. The Brentwood LRT station is across from the Brentwood Village Shopping Centre where a variety of stores, cafes, and restaurants are situated. If you are a student looking to live close to school, the University of Calgary is just across the road and SAIT is only a short ride away. On Rentfaster.ca there are 60 rentals available in Brentwood, with an average price of $1,137. Brentwood is the community that combines accessibility to residential living.


6. Signal Hill Neighbourhood, Calgary

Signal Hill - Calgary Neighbourhoods

The Southwest neighbourhood of Signal Hill is most commonly identified through the geoglyphs found on Battalion Park. These geoglyphs, made out of white stone, identify the battalion numbers that Alberta soldiers fought in. This neighbourhood park acts as a memorial for the First World War and is also a gorgeous green space to those residing nearby. Because the neighbourhood is located on the outermost part of the city, the area tends to be quieter. It is away from the buzz of downtown, but still accessible by car (a 20-minute drive or 45-minute bus ride). The area is mainly houses, but some condos and apartments are available. The average price of a rental in this neighbourhood is $1,768 (higher than most Calgary neighbourhoods), and only 21 rentals are currently listed.


7. Huntington Hills Neighbourhood, Calgary

If you are looking for a neighbourhood that is mainly residential homes, Huntington Hills may be just what you are looking for. The community was built in the mid 1970’s and contained many single-family homes. This neighbourhood is close to the Beddington community, another older community, with beautiful homes and large backyards as well as a number of townhouses. There are a few schools in the area, but the main feature in this neighbourhood is the close access to Nose Hill. This Northwest neighbourhood is not as close to downtown as others, but instead you get the benefit of quiet-living in a local residential area. Not to mention you will be extremely close to the Calgary Airport! Huntington Hills has 91 rentals available with an average price of $1,120.


8. Bridgeland Neighbourhood, Calgary

Bridgeland was originally known to be the heart of the Italian and Ukrainian communities, but slowly has expanded beyond. This beautiful neighbourhood overlooks the Bow River and is only a short drive away from downtown Calgary (7 minutes by car, 16 minutes by bus). Bridgeland is home to a number of restaurants and cafes (some of which are still Italian and Ukrainian). The types of homes most common in this area are apartments, condos, and lofts (all three make up 54 of the 86 available rentals). The Bridgeland neighbourhood currently has 86 total rentals available on Rentfaster.ca with an average price of $1,395.


9. Garrison Woods Neighbourhood, Calgary

Garrison Woods is a neighbourhood located in the Southwest of Calgary. The community used to be a base for the Canadian Forces, but afterwards was turned into an upscale residential area. Garrison Woods is located very close to the Marda Loop community which offers all the amenities needed. There are a number of bus routes that go downtown, ranging from 25 to 40 minutes, dependent on the route. The area is also a short drive away from the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University – wonderful for students. This area is in high demand as it only has 4 available rentals (lofts and townhouses) on Rentfaster.ca with an average price of $2,925.


10. Arbour Lake Neighbourhood, Calgary

Arbour Lake - Calgary Neighbourhoods

Known for being one of the only neighbourhood in Calgary located near a lake, the Arbour Lake community is one highly sought after. This community is mainly filled with residential homes, each surrounding Arbour Lake – lake front properties being the most desired. This Northwest neighbourhood is wonderful for those looking to stay active and participate in recreational activities. The lake provides opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing, skating, and simple leisurely strolls. The area is close to the Crowfoot Shopping Centre, which has an LRT station, making downtown access simple. Of the 6719 total rental listings available in Calgary, only 26 are rentals available in Arbour Lake. The average price of a rental in this area is $1,655.


11. Downtown Core Neighbourhood, Calgary

The Downtown Core in Calgary is where energy thrives and business people alike fill the streets. This is the location where most corporate businesses and companies reside. In addition, there are endless amounts of food and entertainment in the Downtown area, an ideal option for entrepreneurs, business people, and downtown workers. Because of the high demand for living space in the downtown core, Rentfaster.ca currently has 255 rentals available for an average price of $1,803. It is one of the most expensive Calgary neighbourhoods to reside, but has the benefit of being in the city. There is little to no commute time, and you get the perks of being immersed in the heart of the city! If you are looking for a neighbourhood close to the activity of the city and near the business central, the Downtown Core neighbourhood in Calgary is just for you!


12. Crescent Heights Neighbourhood, Calgary

Crescent Heights - Calgary Neighbourhoods

One of the ‘old money’ neighbourhoods in Calgary is the Crescent Heights area. The community is a mixture of quaint small homes, houses that have been remodelled into large, single-family, modern dwellings, and huge cliff-top estates. The neighbourhood is far enough away from the downtown core that it is a quiet residential area (with an amazing view of downtown). Yet it is a quick 15-minute commute by bus to the downtown core. There is a total of 129 rental available in the Crescent Heights neighbourhood, with an average price of $1,390.


13. Mckenzie Lake Neighbourhood, Calgary

Mckenzie Lake is one of the southeastern Calgary neighbourhoods that has caught a lot of attention. The area is nearby Mckenzie Lake, filled with beautiful residential homes that surround the water (similar to that of Arbour Lake in the northwest). The community is mainly single-family dwellings, perfect for settling down or raising a family in. Living in this area, there is the opportunity to be a part of the Mckenzie Lake Residents Association which host a number of programs and have park hours for enjoying the facilities. Currently in the Mckenzie Lake neighbourhood there are only 12 rentals available, with an average rental price of $1,518.


















7 Cool Ways to Save Space in Your Apartment

7 Cool Ways to Save Space in Your Apartment

Are you struggling to find space in your apartment? Depending on what your budget is, a small apartment may be just the place you end up in. You find yourself bumping into the couch, piling your books on the floor, and maybe eating off of the coffee table. So, when you have a limited area to work with, how do you save space? Here are 7 cool ways to save space in your apartment!


1. Multi-Purpose Furniture

Save Space in Your Apartment - MultiPurpose Furniture - Murphy Bed

Having a hard time fitting a desk and a bed into your bedroom? With inventions like the Murphy Bed, you don’t need to! There is a wide variety of multi-purpose furniture available that will reduce the amount of furniture you need by making one piece – multi-purpose! The Murphy Bed in particular is a bed that lifts up to the wall, and beneath is a desk. The best thing about this Murphy Bed is that the desk never tilts or turns, keeping your stuff just where you left it.


2. Foldable Furniture

Save Space in Your Apartment - DropLeafTable

Because you are limited on space, it can be helpful to eliminate the size of your furniture. But what about when you have guests over, or a big project to spread out? A number of foldable home items are available that will ‘fold down’ when needed and expand when required. Items like drop leaf tables, folding chairs, etc. store nicely. If you are hosting a get together and need more space for people to stand, these items can be folded up so that more room is left to party.


3. Hidden Storage

Save Space in Your Apartment - Hidden Storage - Storage Bed

Hidden storage is the most innovative way to make the most of your small apartment. Stair steps are turned into drawers, empty spaces behind hung photos, rolling boxes under beds, and a number of other things you can do to add extra storage to your apartment. There are beds that lift up revealing an entire space to keep your infrequently-used goods, or sofas and chairs that have pull out drawers beneath them. Because the one thing that is bulkier than your ‘stuff’ is the storage unit you get to hold it.


4. Higher Shelves

Save Space in Your Apartment - Tall Shelving

You are limited on the square footage you have to work with, so save space by storing things up high! Floating wall shelves, as well as tall shelving units, are available at furniture stores or online. When you store things closer to the ceiling, you leave more space on the ground for the things you use on a daily basis. Not to mention, bookshelves that go to the ceiling are a dream by any bookworm (hello personal library)!


5. Take Advantage of Corners

Save Space in Your Apartment - Corner Bookshelves

When you are limited on space, you may not have the luxury to have large shelving units and bookshelves. Take advantage of the corners of your apartment and save space by purchasing Corner bookshelves. These can work especially well for small corners in your home that would not normally fit any other pieces of furniture. This allows you to store your books, add some personal décor, or show off your family photos in a space that may not otherwise have room.


6. Pendant Lighting

Save Space in Your Apatment - Floor Saving Lighting

Many people have a number of lamps that need to be placed on a table or the floor. Although it may not seem like much, these lights actually take up a lot of space (corners of the room and table-tops). Do yourself a favour and save space by purchasing pendant lighting! There are hundreds of beautiful wall and ceiling fixtures that not only act as a light source, but also can compliment your style. Don’t want just another light fixture? There are unique and creative fixtures you can put on the wall that will add a little flare. Use this opportunity to add personality to your space!


7. Mobile Furniture

Save Space in Your Apartment - Mobile Unit

If your apartment is too small to have a room dedicated to laundry, create a mobile one that can easily be pushed away! By putting a small station on wheels, you can bring it into the main room when needed, and store it in a convenient place when finished. This cool way to save space limits the square footage needed for permanent pieces since they can roll away into tight quarters until needed. Do this for your laundry, a kitchen island, or a small mobile bar (equipped with drinks and glasses!).


BONUS: “Create” More Space

Save Space in Your Apartment - Create More Space

When you fill a small space with furniture, it leaves the room feeling crowded and cramped. “Create” the feeling of more space by adding more mirrors into your décor. Have mirrored cabinet doors, add a mirror at the end of a hallway, or use mirrors in place of art. Doing this will create the illusion that your space is actually larger than it is!


Use these cool methods and save space in your apartment! You will be amazed at how much room you actually have!

6 Ways to Save Money on Utilities

6 Ways to Save Money on Utilities

When renting, it can be discouraging to see your money disappear into bills and living costs. Although you have a rental that is the perfect rate for you (thanks Rentfaster.ca!), in the blink of an eye your utility bills can add up. Thankfully, you can reduce those costs and save money on utilities through small changes! Lower those bills and have more money freedom in your future. Here are 6 ways to save money on utilities!


1. Laundry with Cold Water

6 ways to save money on utilities - Laundry with Cold Water

If you do your laundry with cold water instead of warm, you will notice a drastic change in your utility bill. By making this small change, you are reducing the amount of energy needed to heat up the water tank. Worried about your clothes being affected by the cold water? Most clothes and delicate items actually require cold water to clean.


2. Use a Clothes Line

6 ways to save money on utilities - Use a Clothes Line

Another way to reduce the amount of energy spent on heating is to hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer! The dryer requires a high amount of energy to work the machine, as well as heat the air to dry the wet clothes. If you think about the average time you spend drying your clothes, you probably will find that your dryer is on for up to an hour for each load! Instead air-dry your clothes when possible (Canada has it’s outdoor limitations) and reduce the time spent with the dryer on.


3. Apply Weather Stripping

6 Ways to Save Money on Utilities - Apply Weather Stripping

One of the best ways to save money on utilities is to apply weather stripping to your doors and windows. This will ensure that the warmed air inside your house stays in, and the cold air from outside stays out! Applying weather stripping is as simple as going to your local hardware store and purchasing a weather stripping seal or tape (priced as low as $10). Stick this on to the inside frame of your windows and doors and spend less on heating your home!


4. Fill Up the Dishwasher

6 Ways to Save Money on Utilities - Fill up the Dishwasher

We live in a society where we will often run the dishwasher even when it is half-full. We don’t like to see dirty dishes! If you are looking for ways to save money on utilities, be sure that your dishwasher is completely full before running it. This will save the number of runs needed and reduce the amount of water and heating required to run a load! Also take one step further and turn off the ‘hot air dry’ function – your dishes will still dry, but use less energy.


5. Turn Off (and Unplug) Lights

6 ways to save money on utilities - Turn Off (and Unplug) Lights

If you can teach yourself to turn lights off when not in use, you will start to see a decrease in your utilities bill. It is often a tough habit but will save money in the long term. In addition to switching off lights, unplug any lights that are rarely used. Even though the lights are turned off when they are plugged in, small amounts of electricity are still used (called vampire electricity). Unplug those lamps and appliances in rooms that you use less often to save money!


6. Use Less Water

6 ways to save money on utilities - Use Less Water

Of course, the most obvious way to save money on utilities is to take shorter showers and avoid baths. But in addition to these water-saving methods, there are a number of other things you can keep in mind.

  • As mentioned, make sure your laundry and dishwasher loads are full before running them!
  • Fix any leaking or dripping taps or pipes.
  • Turn off the taps while you not in use (ex. putting away a washed dish, or while you are brushing your teeth).
  • Replace shower heads with low-flow options.


Apply these small changes to your daily life at home and you will begin to see a decrease in your utilities. Happy saving!

Leases, Why Are They Important And What Needs To Be Included?

Leases, Why Are They Important And What Needs To Be Included?

Guest Blog: Jeff Kahane, Kahane Law Office 


Before a landlord or tenant can rent out or occupy a house, a tenancy agreement (lease) must be agreed upon by both parties to outline the rules of the tenancy. This agreement can be either verbal or written (written is always better for evidence sake) and has numerous components that both the tenant and landlord must follow in order to ensure that the tenancy goes smoothly, with as little conflict as possible.  First things first, you, as the landlord or the tenant, must know that within a lease there are two types of tenancies that can take place:

  1. Fixed Term Tenancy – meaning that it has both a start and an end date.
  2. Periodic Tenancy – this type has a start date but there is no end date to the tenancy, meaning that it could go on anywhere from a week to a year and can end at any time.


In addition to knowing what type of lease that you want, you should also know that they should include a few important things to ensure that you are not held liable, as well as that your property is treated with respect. Some examples of what should be included in a lease are:

  • The amount, per month that rent costs;
  • If utilities are included (i.e. water, electricity and gas);
  • The terms of the security deposit, as well as the date it is due and the amount due;
  • If appliances such as: dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines are included;
  • Which party is responsible for maintenance of the house such as: changing light bulbs, replacing stained or damaged countertops etcetera;
  • That inspections be carried out by the landlord one week before and one week after tenancy begins and ends;
  • The rules and regulations laid out by landlord that the tenant must follow, however; it must not take away and rights laid out by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA);
  • Must be signed and dated by both parties; and
  • A waiver that releases the landlord from any liability for damage or loss of a tenant’s property.


Leases are a tricky business, as the smallest thing may be exploited if ever a situation were to come up such as:

  • Illegal subletting,
  • Unjust eviction, or
  • A violation of RTA rights.

However, by following these basic principles of a lease, as outlined above, a tenancy agreement can aid you in avoiding issues whether small or big, saving you time and money.  If a legal situation arises and you require advice or aid, our experienced real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office can help. Learn more at www.kahanelaw.com. Also, feel free to contact us at info@Kahanelaw.com or call us at (403)-225-8810.

Cheap Alternatives to Blackout Blinds

Cheap Alternatives to Blackout Blinds

Whether you are looking to darken a room for a nursery, or just need to block out the sun in your bedroom, blackout blinds are everyone’s go-to! The only problem becomes the cost – blackout blinds can range anywhere in price from $50.00 to $269.00 and beyond. That doesn’t even cover installation! If you need to darken a room, instead of purchasing expensive blinds, try something else that will save you some money and still do the job! Here are some solutions you should avoid and some easy and cheap alternatives to darken a room!



Cardboard Blackout Blinds

One of the easy solutions that many people gravitate towards is using cardboard cut-outs to cover up a window. The problem is that this solution looks very rough and tacky in a home. Although this may be the cheapest and simplest alternative to keeping a room dark, it leads to an ugly distraction in the room. No longer does your window act as a feature; instead you are stuck looking at an un-flattering piece of cardboard – something that does not match your room’s style or décor (and looks very suspicious from the outside)!



DIY Curtains Blackout Blinds

Blackout Curtains DIY

To darken a room without using blackout blinds, get creative with a little ‘DIY.’ It is as easy as heading to your local fabric store, purchasing some heavier fabric, and doing some sewing. When you purchase your fabric, the fabric you select does not have to be thick, as long as the fabric will hang heavy against the window, sealing out the light. Other than a sewing machine, you will need enough fabric to fit your window (or drape to the floor of the room), and some wooden dowels.

  • Measure out the fabric you have selected, and then hem the sides and bottom for a clean-cut look.
  • Add holes into the top of the curtain for placing shower/curtain hooks, sew loops on the back of the fabric, or simply fold over the top and sew a tunnel.
  • Attach your curtain hooks to a rod or slide a wooden dowel through the loops or top.
  • Place it in the desired location above the window and voila! Goodbye sunshine, hello fabulous, decorative, and handmade curtains!

Prefer to follow direct instructions on how to make DIY curtains? Check out Two Twenty One’s step by step on how to make your own blackout curtains: https://www.twotwentyone.net/make-blackout-curtains/



Tin Foil Blackout Blinds

Tin foil is an alternative to blackout blinds that often creates the feeling of an abandoned home. The tin foil may be an easy solution, but the shimmery appearance often leaves a room feeling cold and harsh. In addition, when people are passing by your house, the tin foil can reflect the sun, drawing attention to the poorly covered window.



Magic Blackout Blinds Sticker

Magic Blackout Blind Stickers

If you don’t have the sewing skills to make a curtain, blackout blind stickers are an effective and cheap option! Available online for as low as $8.99, these easy to use stickers will keep out the sun. These stickers come in large sheets so that you can simply measure and cut the sticker to your window specifications. These stickers are a better alternative than tin foil because they do not shimmer or crease. From the outside your windows just appear dark! Try these Magic Blackout Blind Stickers available at: https://www.dormco.com/Magic_Peel_N_Stick_Blackout_Blind_24_x_32_p/gh3-5-6-800060.htm.



Cheap Blackout Blinds

If you are not feeling like getting creative and instead would prefer to purchase blackout blinds, there are cheap options! IKEA has Roller Blackout Blinds for $34.99 that will fit certain sized windows. Select the best size and colour (available in white, grey, and black – black is a higher price) and you now have a way to keep your room sunlight-free!



Wherever you need to block out the sunlight (your college dorm, child’s nursery, or your own bedroom!), do it cheaply and effectively with these alternative blackout blinds!

How to Use Area Rugs Properly in a Small Home or Apartment

How to Use Area Rugs Properly in a Small Home or Apartment

There are some challenges that come with decorating and filling a small home or apartment – area rugs are one of these challenges. Area rugs are great to keep your feet warm in the winter and make a room appear cozy and comfortable. But when you have a small space how do you know what area rug to purchase? When choosing an area rug for your space, there are a number of things to assist you in finding the perfect rug for the perfect spot! Here is how to use area rugs properly in a small home or apartment:


Separating Rooms in Open Concept Homes

Area Rugs - Separating Rooms in Open Concept Homes

If your apartment is open concept, rugs are the perfect way to “separate” spaces. By adding a rug you are able to great a visual ‘barrier’ to the beginning and end of the ‘living room’, keeping it separate from the kitchen and dining room. It also lends itself to a base for furniture to sit on. This creates the sense that the furniture is within a designated area. The space is now defined with the rug that acts as the “perimeter” of a room. Easy and effective!


Use Area Rugs that Compliment Furniture or Decor

Use Area Rugs that Compliment Furniture and Decor

One of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing a rug is that it clashes with the room (modern home with traditional rug). Find an area rug that compliments your furniture and décor. The best way to do this is to look around your room and get a sense of what style it is. Is it rustic, modern, classic? Once you have determined what your style is, selecting a rug to compliment the room’s style will be simple! Still not sure? Pinterest has plenty of suggestions based on room style!


Secure Under Couch or Table Legs

Area Rugs - Secure Under Couch or Table Legs

If the rooms in your home are small, it is likely that they will have high foot traffic. One common problem with rugs is that they get bunched up or caught when stepped on. Fix this problem by anchoring rugs in high traffic areas with your furniture! Secure those ends under your couch, table legs, bed, or perhaps a heavy vase or other decorative item! Keeping the ends secured will prevent your area rugs from moving around and causing gathering.


NOTE: When purchasing your rug, always be sure you have measurements in mind. A rug that is oversized (or even too small) can make the room look awkward. Select a rug size that comfortably holds all your furniture.


Use Contrast Patterns

Area Rugs - Use Contrast Patterns

Having rugs that contrast your room (instead of blending in with the background) bring colour and detail into a space. Add a rug with a contrasting pattern and place it under your dining room table, your couch, or your coffee table! This is especially beneficial for glass items (such as a glass coffee table). Having a designed or patterned rug beneath adds personality. Be sure that you choose a rug that is contrasting but not clashing with your other furniture and décor (see above point!). Find rugs that repeat a pattern, have similar colours to those in the room, or include a new pattern to your space.


Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind

Area Rugs - Keep Your Lifestlye in Mind

When selecting an area rug, consider the lifestyle that is lived in that room. Does your eating area experience regular messes? Do you have children who like to paint in the living room? Do you have pets that chew bones on the carpet? Keeping these things in mind will help you decide what type of rug you need (or if you need one at all). Some rugs require more maintenance for cleaning, while others are simple to remove a stain. Darker colours will show less mess, while thicker rugs will require deeper cleaning to get out all that dust, debris, and dog hair!



You will love your area rug! And keep in mind that it is not as permanent as a carpet, so once you’re tired of it, you can get a new one! Above all else, make sure you smile when you walk into the room.