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Information About Renting

If you rent a home or apartment, the largest expense you will have to budget for each month will likely be your rent.

Rents can vary greatly, depending on where you live, how much space you need and how many features you want your home to have. It is therefore important to make sure you know what your rent will include, and what it won’t, before you sign a lease.

The best way to find out if the rent is fair is by "comparison shopping". This means looking at several homes or apartments in the same community to find out the average rents. However, if there is a shortage of places to rent, that is not always possible.

What your rent includes differs from one province to another, from one city to another, even from one landlord to another. Make sure you fully understand what is included in your rent, and what is your responsibility.

When you calculate how much you will be paying each month, make sure to take into account the additional features or services that may end up costing you extra. For instance, an $800-a-month apartment that includes utilities and cable television could end up costing less in total than a $600-a-month apartment that does not include those utilities. What’s important isn’t always the rent cost, but which gives you the best value for your money.

Apartments in Canada must include at least a fridge and a stove. Most landlords allow you to have a microwave oven, but some may not allow you to have a dishwasher, a clothes washer and dryer, or an air conditioner.

If you decide to rent a house, you may have to supply your own appliances. You will also be responsible for mowing the lawn, weeding the garden and shovelling snow in the winter. The landlord is generally responsible for providing you with a lawn mower, a shovel and the other tools you will need to carry out these chores.

Some landlords offer special deals such as a reduced rent for the first year or one month’s rent free. These deals are usually meant to give you extra incentive to rent their apartments. Make sure you understand exactly what is being offered. For example, the special may only apply to your first year’s rent.

You may want to consider getting home renters’ insurance. Home renters’ insurance, sometimes called contents insurance, is an option for anyone who rents a house or an apartment. It is insurance that covers your possessions. The owner of the property will have insured the building, but your personal effects (for example, furniture and clothing) will not be covered by the owner’s insurance.

Renting a house

When you rent a house, you are generally responsible for:

  • Rent
  • Power (SaskPower)
  • Natural gas (SaskEnergy)
  • Telephone (SaskTel)
  • Water, sewer and garbage collection fees (City of Yorkton)
  • Cable or satellite television (SaskTel, Access Communications, Shaw Direct)
  • Internet service (SaskTel, Access Communications)
  • Water softener rental
  • Interior maintenance and repairs
  • Exterior maintenance (garden, lawn, sidewalks, driveway)

The landlord is generally responsible for:

  • Property taxes (City of Yorkton)
  • Major exterior repairs
  • Heating system replacement or repair

Renting an apartment

When you rent an apartment, the landlord generally includes the cost of utilities (power, heating cost, gas, water, sewer, garbage collection) in the rent. However, you may be responsible for the cost of cable television, internet service, and telephone service.

If you are not sure about your responsibilities and those of the landlord when you are looking at renting, it is best to get advice before you sign any lease or agreement. Advice is available from others who are familiar with renting, such as the Yorkton Newcomer Centre, friends and family, co-workers, employers, teachers, counsellors, lawyers -- people you know and trust.