Landlord Information: The questions you can and cannot ask when renting your property

Finding the right tenant for your rental property can be a lot easier said than done.  If it is possible for you to absorb the loss of rent, it is most certainly worth your while to take time when choosing.  Ideally you should thoroughly research any candidate before making your final decision and getting them to fill in a rental application and property screening for applicant suitability before accepting them are vital to the process.  The chart below provides you will some of the questions you are legally allowed and not allowed to ask candidates.


As a landlord you can ask As a landlord you cannot ask
You can ask questions that will help you assess the suitability of a tenant, as long as you do not infringe on his/her rights. For example, you can ask a prospective tenant:What is your income? 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 written permission for a credit check?

May I see your references and their current contact information?

You cannot ask questions that infringe on the rights of the tenant under the Human Rights Code for your province. For example, you cannot ask a prospective tenant:Do you plan to have (more) children?What is your ethnic background, religion, or sexual preference?Will your family be visiting?What is your social insurance number? If you don’t provide your SIN, I won’t rent to you.

Are you married, single, or divorced?

If you take the time to  have candidates answer these questions, make sure to follow-up on the questions you ask and confirm the validity of  their statements.  Remember to:

  • Check the applicant’s credit bureau history and banking history.
  • Confirm the applicant’s employment situation.
  • Check the applicant’s tenancy history/evictions, if available.
  • Check court records, if available.
  • Check the applicant’s references and consider contacting previous landlords going back two or three tenancies

For additional advice and information about the legalities of renting out your property visit the Landlord and Tenant Board or the CMHC, they both have excellent resources.

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