What a Landlord Can (and Can’t) Ask You.

With the help of Rentfaster.ca, you’ve found the perfect listing that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs. Now that you’ve started the process, it is time to prepare for your application with the landlord. Quite commonly, a step is often an interview with a property manager or landlord to determine if you are the right fit for their listing.

 

A landlord may ask you questions that are related to the tenancy, as long as they don’t infringe on your rights. These questions will help the landlord decide if you are a suitable tenant and able to pay rent, on time each month.

 

Questions landlords can ask:

  • What is your income?
  • Do you work? Where do you work?
  • How many people will be living with you and what are their names?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Could you provide permission for a credit check?
  • Could you provide me with references?
  • What if your banking information?

 

Landlords may also ask for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) to check your credit score. However, according to Equifax, a SIN is not mandatory for a credit check. If you are uncomfortable providing this information, landlords can obtain credit score through your full name, current address, and date of birth.

 

Once you are accepted and become a tenant, your landlord may request additional information from you such as banking information, (if not already provided), and emergency contact.

 

Questions landlords cannot ask:

A landlord cannot ask you personal questions that may conflict with your human rights. Therefore, a landlord cannot ask questions such as:

  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your Gender?
  • Do you plan to have (more) children?
  • Are you married, single, or divorced?
  • What is your ethnic background or religion?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • Do you receive public assistance?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you a Canadian citizen?

 

A landlord can refuse a tenant based on how many occupants will be residing in the rental unit, however, they cannot refuse a tenant based on family status. This means they cannot turn you away because you have children (or are planning on having children), or are living with your significant other but are not married. Further, landlords are not allowed to refuse tenants based on age. 

 

Exceptions:

There are a few exceptions to the grounds above:

  • The tenant will be sharing kitchen, bathroom, or sleeping accommodations with the landlord
  • Every unit in the building is designated for adults age 55 and older; or
  • The unit is designated for people with disabilities

 

Now that you have a sense of what a landlord can and cannot ask, you can begin the application process with confidence. If you’re uncomfortable with one of the questions a landlord is asking, ensure you address it with them. It is generally desirable to address these concerns rather than leaving your application incomplete.