In choosing a person to share your accommodations with, you want to consider whether this person:
Once you have decided to share accommodations, you should determine the legal relationship between you and the landlord. There are 2 alternative methods:
The legal relationship between tenants and landlords are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. The Residential Tenancies Act does not address the rights and obligations that tenants have to one another.
The security deposit is often a topic of confusion when one person wants to move out before the other person. The security deposit is paid by the tenant or tenants and that person receives the refund and interest or pays for the cost of any damage or repairs. Where there are 2 tenants, the security deposit must be paid jointly. When the security deposit is returned at the end of the tenancy, the landlord must make the cheque out to all of original tenants named on the lease, even if one of the tenants already left the premises. Both tenants must be present when the cheque is cashed. Where one tenant decides to move out before the other, the tenant who remains may ‘buy out’ the share of the deposit of the tenant who leaves early. This situation should be considered early in the relationship, so that there is no misunderstanding. However, the landlord is under no obligation to return part of the security deposit if one tenant moves out early. The security deposit is usually only returned when the tenancy ends. If the landlord does agree to return some of the security deposit early, this agreement should be put in writing.
Payment of utilities operates in much the same way as payment of rent. If only one tenants name is on the utility account, that person is wholly responsible for seeing the account is paid. That tenant must then collect from the other tenant. Some utility companies may allow an account to be in more than one name, in which case each person named will be liable for the account. All persons named on the account should have their name removed from the account if they move out of the premises before the other.
If a dispute arises between the landlord and the tenant or between the persons sharing the rental premises and cannot be worked out between them, the dispute may be resolved in the Civil Division of the Provincial Court or the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).
Sharing accommodations can be a convenient way of saving money by cutting costs. You should consider all costs involved before entering into such an arrangement. Determine your relationship as a tenant with the landlord or if you are in a relationship with only your roommate. In either case, be clear in knowing your rights and obligations and what are expected of you. Whenever possible, set out your rights and obligations in writing.