What Are The Requirements For A Legal Basement Apartment In Canada?

legal basement apartment requirements
legal basement apartment requirements

Do you have a sizable basement in your home? Has it been finished – complete with furnishings, appliances, and washrooms? 

If your basement apartment has its own separate entrance, furnishings, and a washroom, you’re in luck!  You have an opportunity to become a landlord and earn some significant extra income. 

According to a recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) study, over 15% of houses in Toronto have basement units. They also found that most city policies make it easier to create basement apartments than second-floor or laneway homes. 

But what are the requirements for a legal basement apartment in Canada? In our article below, we’ll walk you step by step through the process of setting up a legal basement apartment in Canada.

What are the first steps to legally renting out your basement apartment?

Without adhering to these basic legal requirements, a basement apartment can present a risk, not just to its occupants, but to the community at large. In order to ensure your second unit is ready for a tenant, it must comply with the following:

        • Fire codes
        • Building codes
        • Electrical Safety Authority Regulations
        • Zoning and housing standards by-laws

Also, all utility connections and building renovations must be legal and safe. You also want to consider such factors as the excess garbage your home will be producing. 

There are also other factors you may not have considered. For example, is there enough space on your driveway for your tenant to park his/her car? If not, is parking on the street overnight legal in your neighbourhood?

The 13 Basic Requirements for a Legal Basement Apartment

 Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to go in-depth. Below, you’ll find all thirteen of the basic requirements you’ll need to cover to rent out a basement apartment legally in Canada. Remember, some of your province’s specific requirements may be different. So check with your municipality before conducting any work on your home.

1. To legalize a basement apartment in a detached or semi-detached house, the property must be at least five years old.

2. The front of the house cannot be significantly altered in order to change its appearance from being a one-unit building.

3. The basement apartment must be smaller than the main dwelling unit above it.

4. The minimum ceiling height must 6’5″. The ceiling must also be continuous. Suspended (T-bar type) ceilings and exposed joists are not acceptable. As well, furnace room ceilings must be either dry-walled or plastered.

5. All doors in the basement dwelling must be solid wood or metal. They must each have a minimum thickness of 1.75″. Interior doors must have a half-inch gap at the bottoms to provide air movement within the basement apartment. Exceptions can only be made if return air ducts are installed in the room. Exterior doors must be at least 32″ x 78″. The smallest dimension of windows is 18″ and their opening must be at least 600 square inches. As well, all windows must be within three feet of the ground. If there is a window well, it must extend three feet from the house wall to allow room to crawl out.

6. All bathrooms must have either windows or fans.

7. The kitchen must be equipped with a refrigerator and a well-functioning stove. The cupboards must have a capacity of no less than four cubic feet multiplied by the total number of persons occupying the unit.

8. All new basement apartments require building permits before construction can start. You may be required to have an additional parking space on the premises for your tenant, depending on your area. However, if the upper unit has a parking space, it is mandatory for the basement apartment to have a parking spot as well.

9. The owner of the property is responsible for ensuring the installment of all smoke alarms. They must be installed in each dwelling unit on every floor including those with bedrooms or sleeping areas. The alarms must be audible in bedrooms when the bedroom doors are closed. The property owner is also required to install carbon monoxide detectors. They must be provided and maintained in each dwelling unit if the building contains a fuel-fired appliance or an attached garage.

10. An electrical inspection must be conducted. Any and all deficiencies that are identified during the inspection must be addressed. Once the inspection is completed, the property owner must retain the letter of compliance. That way, it can be made available to a chief fire official if requested.

11. A continuous fire separation with a minimum Fire Resistance Rating of 30 is required between dwelling units and between dwelling units and other areas. A lower Fire Resistance Rating may be acceptable with the provision of interconnected smoke alarms or sprinkler protection.

12. A single means of escape is required in the event of a fire. Two means of escape are required if the one means of escape is through another dwelling unit.

13. A source of soundproofing is needed between the dwelling units. The minimum sound transmission class rating is STC 50.

Need Some Help Renting Out Your Basement Apartment? Singlekey can Help

Sound like a lot of work? While some of the codes and rules may take a little longer than others to implement, the benefits can be huge. In June of 2021, the average rent for a 1-bedroom basement apartment in Canada was $1216. That extra income can have a big impact on your monthly budget! 

If you’re looking for some help to begin legally renting your basement apartment, contact us. We have the experience and resources to help you get your apartment ready and find the right tenant.

The Top 3 Tenant Screening Tools in Canada: SingleKey vs Naborly vs RentCheck

Want to know the best tenant screening tools in Canada. We compare the top three apps in this head-to-head to help you find a winner.

The Top 3 Tenant Screening Tools in Canada: SingleKey vs Naborly vs RentCheck

Due to the massive delays with rental boards, Canadian landlords are feeling especially vulnerable in 2021.  As a result, it is very difficult for landlords to deal with delinquent tenants, and it’s not unusual for property owners to lose 6 months of rent or more.

These high risks make it even more important that landlords do a very good job of screening tenants before signing the lease. This helps to minimize the chance of signing on a delinquent tenant.

Luckily, we have researched the top 3 tenant screening tools in the Canadian market (based on popularity) to make sure that you have all the data you need to make a good decision on which tenant to rent to. 

SingleKey vs Naborly vs RentCheck: How to Choose a Tenant Screening Tool

Exploring the Features Landlords Care About

You’re looking for a service to help streamline the rental application process and do a better job screening your tenants. With that in mind, here are the features that landlords who are looking to do that should care about most.

Detailed Credit Report

When you’re a landlord, ideally you want to see a detailed credit report of everything you need to know to make an informed decision and choose the right tenant. The problem is if you only have limited information that can be tough. 

For example, if you only have a credit score, that doesn’t show you the full picture. How good is the rental applicant at making their rent payments on time? Does the rental applicant have missed payments on any of their credit accounts? Without these critical details, you could end up choosing the wrong tenant.

Fast Credit Checks

When choosing tenants, you want a credit check that’s fast. In today’s rental environment where there are more vacancies in a lot of markets than in pre-COVID times, if you take too long to get back to a prospective tenant, by the time you’re interested in renting to them, they could have already signed a lease at another place.

To avoid unfortunate situations, it’s important to choose a credit check service that’s fast. Ideally with a service you can find out a tenant’s credit score in less than an hour and be able to make your decision about whether you want to rent to them shortly thereafter.

Easy to Understand Reporting

Have you ever tried to read a credit report and been confused about what you’re looking at? It’s great to receive a tenant screening report in a timely manner as long as you can understand it. 

Most credit reports are written in language for lenders to understand, not landlords. You ideally want a tenant screening report that’s already deciphered for you so you have all the information you need to pick the perfect tenant.

Streamlined Rental Application Process

Rental applications can be tedious and a pain in the neck, but they don’t have to be. Imagine having rental applicants complete a rental application by hand and then having to key in all the information online to receive a tenant screening report. Imagine doing that for dozens of applicants. 

If you’re looking to save time, you’ll want a rental application process that’s automated. By having prospective tenants complete the application online rather than by hand, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and headaches.

Consider a Rent Guarantee

One of the biggest fears as a landlord is that you’ll have a tenant who refuses to pay the rent. It might not even be the tenant’s fault. They could be laid off at work due to COVID-19.

Choosing your tenants wisely is more important than ever. In 2021, it can take anywhere from six months to a year to evict a bad tenant. During all of this time you’ll be expected to continue to make your mortgage payments even if you don’t have rent coming in from the tenants. 

That’s why it’s helpful to use a service that offers some sort of rent guarantee. That way if the tenants can’t pay the rent, at least you’ll receive some money so you can still make your mortgage payments on time and protect your credit score.

Help Removing Bad Tenants

Let’s say all else fails and you need to remove a bad tenant. What do you do? You want a service that provides you with the help and resources that you need to evict bad tenants in a timely manner so that you can get good tenants in your place and keep making the mortgage payments. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re on your own and to have to figure it all out yourself.

Good Customer Service

When you need help, you want good customer service that responds to your own individual needs. While you’d like to think that you can figure out everything on your own, even the smartest of people need help. 

Some customer services leave a lot to be desired. You can wait days for a response or never receive one. Ideally you want to use a service with customer service that is responsive and who answers your questions within minutes or hours.

Comparing Canada’s Top Tenant Screening Tools

We highlighted some of the important distinctions between the three screening tools. Find out which one is right for you below.

Service Fees

SingleKey and Naborly have no membership fees and only charge $25 per report; it’s pay as you go. RentCheck has a membership / setup fee of $30 to 75 and then charges $38+ for their tenant report. They are by far the most expensive, but they do offer discounts to various organizations.

For small individual landlords looking for an affordable option, SingleKey and Naborly are your best bet. If you’re a landlord for a living with several dozen doors, that’s when a service like RentCheck can make more sense.

Ease of Use

Both SingleKey and Naborly make it very easy for landlords to sign up and place an order. When the report is ready, both of their reports are visual and intuitive to read. 

We really like how SingleKey brings the top 4 most important metrics at the very top and displays them as colorful gauges, which include:

You can quickly glance at these numbers and get a feel for the applicant’s credit quality and their ability to pay the rent.

Tenant Application Process

SingleKey and Naborly have a tenant application where you can invite a tenant with their email and they will send them a comprehensive Rental Application form to collect their information and consent. 

In this form, tenants can also upload proof of income, photo ID, and pet pictures. Rentcheck did not have this functionality.

We have to give the edge to SingleKey here as tenants find it easier to fill out, and many fields are optional.

Lastly, SingleKey also sends tenants text message invites, so they can apply on their phone, making the application process that much easier. That’s why they win this category.

Payment Options for Tenants

Both SingleKey and Naborly offer this feature – when they invite a tenant to fill out an application, they can choose to have the tenant make a credit card payment at the end. This is a lot better than asking your tenant to pay cash for the credit report, especially during COVID times. RentCheck does not offer this option, which is a real letdown.

Credit Report Quality

SingleKey’s report breaks down the balance owing, and monthly rent payments for each trade. They also include collections and bankruptcy details in the report. 

On the other hand, Naborly does not show the trade-by-trade breakdown but instead will roll up their total balances and payments – this seems to be a lower-tiered Equifax Report, making it never very useless. RentCheck also claims to offer a full credit report, and given the higher price point we assume that they have the same level of detail as SingleKey.

SingleKey and Naborly both get their credit information from Equifax, which is the preferred credit reporting agency. With RentCheck you can choose to order an Equifax or Transunion report, or pay extra to get both ($51), which is nice if you want to be extra cautious, but isn’t necessary in a lot of cases.

Tenant Court Record Check

SingleKey is the only company that includes a Court Record check in their $25 reports, which really sets them apart in terms of value. 

This feature provides an analysis of over 200,000 databases from each province looking for criminal records, court decisions, negative press, public biographies, past employment, past addresses, and more. The best part is that this report is done in only 5 minutes, making this the fastest court record check in Canada!

National Criminal Record Check

None of the 3 providers include a National Criminal Record Check as part of their standard pricing. However, RentCheck does offer the ability to upgrade to a police check for an additional $60. 

This may be worth it depending on how thorough you want to be. If you’re a landlord for a living and renting out places on a monthly basis, this feature may be worthwhile for you. For part-time landlords, it probably isn’t necessary.

Getting Started

SingleKey and Naborly both allow landlords to create an account instantly via their automated enrollment process, making the sign up process super easy and simple. Meanwhile, RentCheck quotes a 4 hour account verification turnaround time. In this category we give the slight edge to SingleKey and Naborly.

Time to Create a Report

The rental market moves fast, so it’s important that your tenant screening can be done quickly, otherwise you could miss out on good quality tenant. Both SingleKey and RentCheck offer almost instantaneous credit check results, while Naborly quotes a 90 minutes turnaround time.

Our Top Pick Is…

While RentCheck is a trusted company with a long history in this space, since 1976, unfortunately their technology and website design has not kept up with the times.  Naborly and SingleKey offer a sleek and smooth web interface and allow for much more functionality for both landlords and tenants. They are cheaper as well, which helps!

Based on the comparison results above, it’s clear that SingleKey is the best credit checking service in Canada. The product wins for 3 main reasons: 

Singlekey Is the Best Tenant Screening Tool in Canada

Canadian landlords know a good thing when they see one. Singlekey’s tenant screening tool offers the best overall functionality, features, and value. To find out more, head over to our services page. Or, if you have a specific question to ask our team, get in touch!

Landlord’s Guide: How to Recognize Tenant Red Flags

tenant-red-flags
tenant-red-flags

Out of all the tools of the trade, one of the most important skills a landlord must have is recognizing tenant red flags. Think of these as warning signs that could lead to problems with a tenant. 

Of course, that does not mean that a renter without red flags will always be the perfect tenant. Or that every renter with warning signals could be a problem tenant. In a recent Toronto ruling, for example, a tenant was convicted on three counts of fraud. He was notorious for showing up dressed well and with references, but when it came time to pay his rent he refused.

Eviction doesn’t just affect tenants. Head over to our eviction calculator to see how much it can cost you. This all goes to say that knowing the red flags can be invaluable. We’ll discuss some of the most important ways to uncover tenant red flags below. Let’s get going!

Singlekey’s 4 Ways to Discover Tenant Red Flags

1) Ask for Tenant Details (and Get Them on Record!)

Whenever you meet a prospective tenant, you should give them a rental application that covers the basics. This includes:

        • Current Address
        • Employer
        • Monthly Income
        • 3-5 Years of Residence History

It’s a good idea to follow up with their current employer and landlord to double-check that the information is valid. If the information doesn’t line up, that’s a red flag. Consider an unstable work history, lack of steady income, or reports of property damage as huge red flags as well.

Also, if you learn that the tenant was troublesome and bothered other renters in their last residence, that should set off your alarm bells. One unruly tenant can lead to fewer renters and less income.

2) Always Perform a Credit and Background Check

A credit check can reveal a tenant’s bad financial habits — and a big risk on your end. A poor credit score suggests an inability to pay bills or living above their means. 

But you don’t have to spend the time and effort to vet tenants manually. With SingleKey’s credit and background check, you can process tenant screening in minutes. The report also includes metrics that make it easier to understand the information Equifax reports on.

Our credit and background check reveals a wealth of information about tenants, such as:

        • Records of rent payments
        • Previous or ongoing collections
        • Bankruptcies
        • Past-due accounts

None of this information will give you a definitive answer about the tenant in question. But they will reveal some of the most important red flags you’ll encounter.

3) Never Rush to Fill a Vacancy

When it comes to renting, taking one’s time is a necessity for owners and tenants. When you rush to fill a vacancy, you can overlook the tenant evaluation. That’s not a wise decision. Screening tenants is a crucial step in the renting process.

Generally, renters start to look for apartments six to eight weeks before their moving date. If a tenant wants to move in right away, that could be an indication of upheaval, confusion, and lack of thought and planning in their lifestyle. This behavior can be a red flag for landlords who want a dependable and reliable tenant – and one who gives proper notice.

Similarly, if tenants indicate that they move frequently, they could turn out not to be ideal as a long-term tenant. Of course, they could have legitimate – even urgent – reasons for relocation. A single red flag shouldn’t be considered a black mark on their record. It does mean, however, that you should be on the lookout for other red flags, just in case.

4) Trust Your Gut

We’ve talked about how red flags can show up on paper through credit checks and employment history. But landlords can also make observations from interaction with the tenant – either in person, online, or during a phone conversation. 

If they are late for a viewing or careless about answering texts or emails – you guessed it – red flag. Of course, the savviest landlords avoid the extra stress and time required to vet tenants. Instead, they choose professionals like Singlekey to handle tenant screening.

Our Tenant Red Flag Rundown

Okay, so we’ve gone through lots of potential red flags. Here are some questions to ask as you decide on a tenant.

Key Takeaways

  • Does the applicant’s basic information match your research?
  • Do previous landlords or employers speak highly of them?
  • Does the credit and background check seem healthy?
  • Are they willing to move in at a reasonable time and date?
  • Do I feel good about the applicant in general?

Spotting Tenant Red Flags Easily with Singlekey

By following the steps above, we know you’ll have more success with tenants. But when it comes to property management, nothing is ever certain.

That’s why we set up the Singlekey Rent Guarantee. Signing up means you’ll get paid every month, no matter what happens to your tenant’s financial situation. You can find out how it works here.

Cost of Evicting a Tenant: the Ultimate Guide for Canadian Landlords

cost of evictions in Canada
cost of evictions in Canada

Delinquent tenants are arguably the biggest risk a landlord faces when they decide to invest in rental property. While landlords try their best to screen for good tenants to keep their rental income secure, sometimes the unexpected can still happen. Landlords still have to deal with evictions when they end up with delinquent tenants who may not pay their rent or may even damage the property.

So how do landlords evict tenants in Canada? What does the eviction process look like and how much does it actually cost to remove a delinquent tenant?

When calculating the cost of evicting a tenant, Canadian landlords need to keep three things in mind:

A. Loss of Rental Income During Evictions

The only recourse that landlords have to deal with non-payment of rent and tenants who refuse to leave the unit is to go through the provincial tribunal or court to file for tenant eviction.

The problem is that the process of eviction in most provinces suffers mainly from long delays due to a high backlog of hearings. So it takes a long time  to carry out eviction procedures from start to finish.

The duration of the eviction process in Canada depends on three things:

Statutory Delays

Statutory delays are periods of time that a landlord must wait before they can apply to their provincial tribunal or court to remove a tenant. This set number of days differs in each province.

The purpose of these additional wait times is to give tenants the opportunity to pay any outstanding rent owed to a landlord. If the set number of days passes, the landlord can then apply for an eviction order on the grounds of non-payment of rent.

How long does it take to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent in each province?

In British Columbia, a landlord must issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent when a landlord fails to pay rent by the agreed upon date. Within the 10 days, if the tenant fails to pay the outstanding balance of rent, a landlord must wait the respective 10 days before they can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to claim the lost rental income.

When a landlord wishes to remove a tenant in Alberta, the landlord is to serve the tenant with a 14- day notice to vacate the unit.

In Saskatchewan when a tenant is 15 days late to paying rent, the landlord has the right to immediately end the tenancy by serving the tenant with an eviction notice.

In Manitoba a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant 5 days after the rent is due. On the 5th day, the landlord can ask the tenant to vacate the unit and has full discretion in determining how soon the tenant should vacate the unit.

The average amount of time given to tenants to allow them to leave is between 5 and 10 additional days (this is at the discretion of the landlord as there is no guidance on this).

In Ontario, eviction proceedings take at least 25 days.

First, a landlord must issue a Termination Notice (N4 Form) when the tenant is late on rent, then they have to wait 14 days to file an application for eviction (L1 Form) with the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict the tenant.

In addition to this initial 14 days, and unlike any other province, there is also a statutory requirement that the landlord must wait an additional 11 days to allow the tenant to either pay the outstanding balance or vacate the unit before the landlord is allowed to hire a sheriff to enforce the standard order.

In Quebec, the landlord must wait 3 weeks from when the payment was initially due before filing to evict a tenant. Once a tenant is 21 days late, the landlord can then apply to the Tribunal to end the tenancy, remove the tenant, and recover the lost rent.

Following the application for eviction after 21 days, if the tenant pays the outstanding balance to the landlord before the Tribunal reaches a conclusion, then the termination of the tenancy is avoided.

In Nova Scotia, a landlord can only serve a delinquent tenant with a notice after their rent is 15 days late. Further, a landlord must wait an additional 15 days from the date the tenant is handed the eviction notice before the eviction can be carried out, totalling a minimum of 30 days of mandatory wait time before a tenant can be evicted.

In PEI, a landlord can issue a notice to evict the tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 20 days to vacate the unit. If they manage to pay the outstanding balance within 10 days, then the eviction notice is invalidated.

Similar to PEI, in New Brunswick the landlord can issue an eviction notice to a tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 15 days to vacate the unit.

In Newfoundland when a tenant is 5 days late in paying rent, a landlord will then serve a tenant with notice that the tenancy has ended, and the tenant then has 10 days to vacate the unit amounting to an average of 15 days for the entire eviction process.

Court Delays

Court delays are the length of time between the issuing of the notice to the tenant or filing with the provincial tribunal, to when an arbitrator issues a decision. These numbers include any delays in scheduling a hearing date, and any delays in the arbitration proceedings including the amount of time it takes to release a decision.

How long does it take to get an eviction court order?

In British Columbia, after a landlord files the appropriate 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent and a tenant has not paid all outstanding rent or vacated the unit, the landlord must then proceed to claim the unpaid rent amount with the provincial tribunal (the RTB).

In BC, the tribunal can take 1-2 weeks to schedule a hearing for the two parties to plead their case depending on the availability of arbitrators and their caseload. Following the end of the arbitration, the tribunal will make the final decision within 30 days of the hearing.

In Alberta, it can take as little as 5 days to as much as 48 days for a landlord to have a hearing scheduled. On average, it takes 25 days after filing a dispute to get a hearing scheduled. Following the conclusion of the hearing, it takes an additional 10 days for the arbitrator to reach a final and binding decision. Depending on the outcome of the possession order, a landlord may further need to wait between 10 to 30 days before they can regain possession of the unit.

In Saskatchewan, due to the lighter caseload, hearings are scheduled approximately 7 days from when the claim is brought the tribunal.

Manitoba’s court system adds an additional 15 days in lost time. This is because it takes approximately 12 days for the hearing to be scheduled. Following the hearing, the arbitrators release the final outcome after 3 days.

Ontario’s court delays total an average of 51 days. It takes 14 days for the provincial tribunal to schedule a hearing. When the hearing date is set, it is typically scheduled for 4-6 weeks later.

Similar to Ontario, Quebec’s tribunal system is subject to heavy delays. It can take up to 3 months in some cases for a tribunal to release a final decision. However, on average, it takes 30 days for a final and binding decision to be made.

For Nova Scotian landlords, it can take up to an additional 20 days to receive a verdict for eviction. This is a combination of delays in scheduling the hearing and waiting for a conclusion by the arbitrator to be reached. 

In PEI, the provincial tribunal prioritises eviction hearings over other landlord-tenant disputes. So hearings are scheduled between 7 – 10 days after the landlord brings forth the claim to the tribunal.

New Brunswick boasts the shortest court delay length across Canada. Landlords there face shorter wait times as it takes an average of 5 days for the court to issue their decision.

In Newfoundland, after requesting a hearing at the Residential Tenancies, there is an additional 14 day wait before the hearing is conducted. While the average length of delay is 14 days, tenants, in some cases, can have up to 18 days to file an appeal and have the case reconsidered.

Sheriff Delays

Following the eviction decision from the court, landlords need to also account for the time it’ll take to hire a sheriff to enforce an order of possession or court order to remove a non-paying tenant and allow a landlord to re-possess his unit.

How long does a sheriff take to evict a tenant?

In every province except for Ontario, it takes between 1-6 days for the sheriff to enforce an eviction. However, in Ontario, due to the backlog of cases in the LTB there is also a high demand for sheriffs to enforce evictions. Therefore, following the issuing of an order to allow a landlord to regain possession of the unit, and following the statutory waiting period of 11 days to allow the tenant to move out of the unit, if the tenant does not leave, it takes an average of 30 days more for an Ontario landlord to hire a sheriff to uphold the eviction order.

This statistic is one of the key reasons why the process of carrying out an eviction in Ontario is longer than any other province. While we see the average across the country is only 4 days, in Ontario this process takes approximately 8 times longer than in the rest of Canada.

How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Total?

It takes between 2 weeks to 3 months to remove a delinquent tenant (depending on what province you reside in). The province with the longest procedural delays during an eviction is Ontario and the province that has the shortest delays is Saskatchewan.

So how much rent in total can a landlord expect to lose?

You can calculate the total amount of rent a landlord expects to lose while going through the eviction process using this formula:

TOTAL LOST RENT $ = AVG EVICTION TIME (+1 MONTH TO FIND A NEW TENANT) X AVG MONTHLY RENT $

To determine the total cost in lost rent when faced with a delinquent tenant, it is important to consider what the monthly average monthly rent and utilities are in each province:

On top of not receiving rent for multiple months, a landlord can expect to spend an additional 1 extra month to post ads, screen, and sign a lease with a new tenant. This does not include any time spent repairing any possible damages to the property by the delinquent tenant.

This lost income also does not include extra costs such as legal expenses, court fees, etc that may be incurred during eviction proceedings.

The average landlord renting a 1-bedroom unit can expect to lose between $2,000 to $4,000 worth of rent while going through the eviction process. In Ontario, landlords are subject to much higher losses as Ontario landlords can expect to lose $9,000 in rent! This is due to the lengthy eviction process in Ontario (3 to 5 month) combined with the higher avg. rent prices.

B. Eviction Legal Costs

In addition to the rental income that landlords lose during the process of evicting a tenant, they also spend thousands of dollars in legal costs.

There are 3 types of legal costs:

Legal Fees

Legal expenses mainly include the cost of hiring a paralegal to deal with a case on behalf of a landlord. Paralegals will file relevant paperwork, handle the eviction hearing and any other negotiations that may be necessary throughout the process.

Legal Costs For Eviction in Canada

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the average landlord spends between $700- $800 to hire a paralegal to carry out the eviction process. 

However, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, the average landlord spends approximately $400 – $500 on legal expenses over the course of an eviction.

Unsurprisingly, Ontario and Quebec are the most expensive provinces in relation to hiring legal assistance due to longer eviction processes. In Ontario legal fees cost $2,000 on average and in Quebec they cost $1,000 on average.

Court Fees

Court fees are the payment to be made to the court or a tribunal in order to file a claim or order to evict a tenant. Generally, the average spend for court applications is between $50 to $100. Ontario, once again, remains as the outlier as the cost to file an application with the LTB for eviction is $175 (nearly twice as much as the next most expensive province).

Sheriff Fees

The cost of hiring a sheriff to enforce an order to remove a tenant widely varies across Canada. The average amount ranges between $100 – $200. In Ontario, due to the high demand for sheriffs, a landlord must also spend approximately $400 before a tenant is removed by a sheriff. On the other hand, landlords in Newfoundland, PEI, and New Brunswick pay a measly $50 – $75 for the same service.

C. Estimated Property Damage Costs

Lost rental income is one of the scariest expenses that a landlord can face. The only thing that can make a landlord’s job harder is when a delinquent tenant damages their property before vacating the unit.

In Canada, 1 in 6 eviction cases includes a claim for compensation for damages to the unit in addition to lost rent. The average landlord claims between $1,500 to $3,500 in court against a tenant for damages caused to their unit.

Damages caused to a landlord’s unit tend to extend the waiting time and the amount of losses that a landlord suffers before they are able to find a new tenant and begin renting the unit out once again. It can take 1-2 weeks just to do simple repairs to the property. Landlords may not be able to recover the full amount of damages from the tenant in court so they may still be left with some expenses to cover out of pocket.

What is the total cost of eviction?

In all Canadian provinces, even the least expensive ones, the costs of eviction can be substantial. From the many days it takes to begin eviction proceedings to the additional months it takes to remove a tenant; landlords lose an average of 2 months (60+ days) of rental income going through the process. They also have to account for an extra 1 month of lost rental income till they find a new tenant.

The average cost shouldered by landlords across Canada is between $4,000 to $5,000 in eviction expenses. These costs can even reach $11,000 in more expensive provinces with lengthy processes such as Ontario.

How do landlords protect their rental income and keep renting risk-free?

For a landlord to protect themselves and their unit, the first step to be taken is to perform a proper tenant screening when signing a new lease.

Tenant screening services offer financial insight into the tenant’s history. Some services, like SingleKey offer a comprehensive  Tenant Credit and Background Check in Canada that includes a full credit check, as well as a background check and a social media scan. All this information comes wrapped in one report, and you can get started in just 5 minutes.

For landlords who are looking for additional peace of mind and protection for their unit, products such as the SingleKey Rent Guarantee program offer just that. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee Program protects landlords from losing rental income by guaranteeing up to $60,000 worth of coverage.