1. How should I prepare for home hunting?
You will need a deposit of one month's rent and a guarantor for any student rental, so it's best that you get this lined up ahead of time so that you can move quickly and beat the competition for the perfect place.
You should also get your group of five friends together, as well as an idea of several others with whom you would enjoy living just in case someone hesitates when signing the lease You should discuss carefully your priorities for a home (a dishwasher? close proximity to campus? two fridges?), your budget, and your living style to ensure that you will be congenial. Here's a fun survey which will help you figure out if it will work out.
Make a list of questions so that you don't forget to get whatever information you will need to make your decision.
You should also do some research to check out market prices so that you know good value when you see it.
Don't miss out on making a home with us because you need to figure things out after you have seen the place and love it. Every year we have to turn away groups of students who really want to become residents. Don't let that happen to you. As the girl guides and boy scouts say, "Be Prepared".
2. When do you offer showings?
We prefer to schedule viewings between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekends, or 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. weekdays. We will do our best to accommodate your needs as well as the needs of our current residents.
3. How do I book a viewing?
Call or text 519-886-1414. Email or fill in the form. Be prepared to tell us what year of school you are in, how many are committed to living together, as well as a variety of time when your group can meet us. If you think you have something to brag about that would make us want to welcome you as residents, please feel welcome to share. It's always best if the whole group can see it at once so that--if you all like it--you can be first in line.
4. How do I cancel a viewing?
Call or text 519-886-1414. Email. Just don't leave Terezinha standing out in the cold! Also contact us if you are going to be delayed. Be ready with some alternative times if you wish to reschedule.
5. At a showing, do I wait outside for Terezinha?
Yes, please do! We usually schedule multiple viewings and each takes about 15 minutes. If you are early, we will try to move you up if at all possible. Ring the doorbell or buzz the speaker when everyone in your group has arrived.
The Legalities of the Lease
1. Do you rent to individuals or groups?
In general, we only take groups of five. The only exception occurs when a group who wishes to stay has lost a member and needs to seek someone new outside their current circle of friends. In all cases, five names are on the lease.
2. Who is responsible if one member of the group does not fulfill their responsibilities?
Each resident is solely responsible for their rent (and utility payment at 24 Young and 58 Regina), as well as damages in their own room. No one will be asked to cover those costs. All five students are, however, responsible for general damages to the common areas. Choose roommates who will take care of your home and who will take responsibility for things they break.
2. What does a May lease mean to me?
Nothing, as long as you are living in residence or in another rented accommodation with a May-to-April lease. Overwhelmingly, landlords expect a minimum of twelve months commitment from their tenants. If you live off-campus after your first year, you will pay 36-months rent in all no matter when the lease starts. You will have three summer terms no matter when your lease starts. In fourth year, you walk away at the end of April if you signed a May-April lease or at the end of August if you signed a September-August lease.
3. What do I need to put down to secure a house?
You will need to place a deposit (immediate payment) of last month's rent to secure the room in your name. This is a non-refundable deposit. The deposit secures the room/suite/house for 5 days, at which time all lease documents need to be completed, key deposit and rent payments arranged in order to complete the rental agreement.
4. Is the deposit refundable? Can I get out of the lease?
No, you are bound by the lease you sign until the end of the term. The deposit pays the last month's rent. It is a legal obligation which can only be terminated in prescribed ways. The Landlord Tenant Board explains about early termination of the lease here. A non-refundable deposit guarantees that students will not continue shopping around and leave the landlord with an unoccupied unit at the last minute when most students have found other places. That is why we ask for it when you ask us to take the unit off the market.
5. How long is the lease?
A lease can be any length agreed upon by the Landlord and Tenant. Most commonly, leases are one-year long. Many Waterloo students sign three-year leases. This gives the student the certainty that their rent will stay the same throughout their period of study for their undergraduate degree. What if the student wants to leave after their first year? Our leases allow any resident to terminate the lease after the first year (or after the second year) as long as they give notice prior to December 15th. Early notice allows us to look for new tenants since students generally go house-hunting in December and January. If you decide to terminate your lease, no doubt you too will be house-hunting in those months.
6. Where can I read over a copy of the lease?
We use the Ontario Standard Lease Agreement and include 21 additional terms. You can find how we complete each clause, as well as a link to a copy of the government's lease here.
7. What forms of payments do you accept?
We accept post-dated cheques, or cash or certified cheques if delivered at the first of the month to the Landlord. Many of our tenants prefer to use email transfers.
8. What is a Guarantor Form?
Having a guarantor for your lease is very similar to getting a co-signer for a mortgage. It ensures the landlord will get paid if a tenant does not pay the rent. In the majority of cases, a student's parents act as the guarantor. Therefore, if you do not pay your rent, expect your landlord to call your parents. Nobody wants that to happen! The guarantor form requires:
9. Do I need renter's insurance?
Yes. In the waiver you sign as part of the leasing package, it states that tenants belongings should be insured, either by renter's insurance or extended coverage under his or her parent/guardian's home insurance. You need to protect not only your possessions but your liability towards accidently injuring a guest or a roommate or their possessions. Likewise, the management agrees to respond to all issues brought to their attention promptly and within the guidelines of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2008.
What Can I Expect?
1. Will my house be in great condition before I move in?
Outgoing tenants are expected to leave the unit in the same condition they found it. Nevertheless, we always hire professional cleaners and carpet cleaners (where needed). Walls, ceilings, and trim are painted if required. We carefully inspect all units prior to the departure of outgoing residences and either effect all necessary repairs or make arrangements for them to be completed over the summer.
2. Are your houses pet-friendly?
No, we do not accept pets in any of our buildings.
3. What are the rules about smoking?
Our houses and apartments are non-smoking buildings. Smoking inside or within 10 feet of the building are against the conditions of the lease and will result in a $200 charge. If caught, you can be fined by the City of Waterloo By-Law Enforcement.
4. How does maintenance work?
We are proud of the maintenance we provide, and the condition of our buildings shows our commitment to providing quality accommodation. On this website, you can see the procedures we use to ensure that our residents receive prompt and satisfactory service.
5. Is subletting and the assignment of the lease allowed?
Yes, although you must seek our approval of your candidate. We want to make sure that your roommates will be happy with the choice you make. If there is an all-female or all-male group, we will need your roommates' written agreement if you wish to sublet to someone of the opposite sex. We welcome sublets for one-term and tenants usually have no difficulty renting their rooms on a short-term basis.
6. Do you allow assignment of the lease?
Assignment involves finding someone to permanently replace you and take over all the same terms in your original lease. When a replacement is found, a $225 administration fee is charged. Replacements are required to submit all required documents and payments and be approved as a tenant before you are released from your contract.
6. Is there parking?
Parking is available and free at 58 Regina and 24 Young. Parking is rented on a first-come, first-serve basis for a fee at 180 Regina. You can read our parking policy here.