Lost password

HomeLandlord and Tenant Information and Issues

Landlord/tenant rights, dealing with problems, where to get help...

Renting a Room 

Posts: 8

Posted On: 9/14/2015
Posts: 8

I am and new immigrant, looking for a room to stay when I move to Toronto next month. Many of the landlords or main tenants require first month rental fee plus deposit of one month rental.

Can you suggest me what type of document I should ask from them to confirm that they are legally allowed to rent out the room.

My concern is that I might be paying cash to scammers who never owns the place or never has the right to rent the room since usually no property agent to help out with legal issue involves in rental process.

Thank you.
Posts: 3752

Posted On: 9/21/2015
Posts: 3752

Thank you for sharing your situation and question with us.

It is great that you are looking into this type of information before arriving.

It is also great that you are looking to confirm what is needed when renting a room or a place to live from abroad. It is really important to be aware of many things to avoid being scammed or taken advantage of.

It is important to be aware of different tactics that scammers can use to try and get your money.

You can find some helpful tips and information on the following sites:

How to avoid apartment rental scams

Rental scams: How to avoid losing money

Some tips include:

- Research the apartment/listing thoroughly
- Confirm that the apartment/room actually exists
- Contact a realtor or broker to help you with your search
- Never wire transfer money

It is also important to confirm that you have a separate agreement with the landlord respecting rent for a room in the house.

You can also find some helpful information regarding what your rights are and what you should do in by using the Web tool for renters with roommates: Sharing rental housing?.

Here is an excerpt,


You are considered a "licensee" and the person who rents the place to you is a "licensor". The law of landlord and tenant does not apply. Neither the Commercial Tenancies Act nor the Residential Tenancies Act applies to you. The law about licensees is mostly judge-made law.

A licensee has a limited right to occupy the premises for a limited period of time.

The courts will look at many factors to determine whether a person is in a landlord-tenant relationship or a licensor-licensee relationship. There is no simple test.

Two common situations when you would likely be considered to be a licensee are:

-if you share a house or condominium unit (including a bathroom or kitchen) with the owner or their child, parent, spouse, or their spouse's child or parent

-if you rent a room in a house, apartment or condominium unit from a person who is a tenant living there, and you share the space with that person.

As a licensee you have very little legal protection. You can be evicted:

-without notice if you don't pay rent; or

-with notice for any reason or even for no reason. The amount of notice required is usually equal to your rental period (often one week or one month).

It is often a good idea to get a written agreement before moving in. You should include in this agreement what will happen if you want to move out or if the person you rent from wants you to leave.

If there is a dispute between you and the person you rent from, and you cannot settle it between yourselves, you may have to go to court.

Depending on the type of dispute, you may be able to go to Small Claims Court or the Superior Court.

It is very unlikely the court would stop you from being evicted, but you may be entitled to monetary compensation in some situations.

NOTE: This area of the law is very complicated. You should get legal advice from a lawyer or legal clinic. For information on getting legal help, see the Legal Resources section of this web site.

You may want to look at other types of short term accommodation options until you are able to go in person and look at some other longer term housing options.

You may be able to find some helpful information in our Settlement.Org Short-Term Housing section.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions and if there is any follow up to your question/situation.

Settlement.Org Content and Information/Referral Specialist, CIRS