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Tenants, before renting that apartment do your homework on the potential landlord and the place before signing a lease.
Check the potential apartment thoroughly. Check kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, functionality of the toilet, the flooring, check for proper windows and doors, apartment’s insulation, crack in walls, have the landlord or previous tenant explain the reason for water marks from previous leakage (verify that it was properly repaired), check for mildew, painting.
If possible ask the previous tenants questions concerning the relationship with the landlord, how often is the building cleaned, maintenance, repairs to the building, check for smoke detectors, how often is routine checks done (in the case of fire alarms), walk around the building to see whether you are pleased with its overall condition.
This is your future home; you need to make sure that you and your family will be safe. Doing your homework is of vital importance and will help eliminate unforeseen and future problems.
Before signing a lease, make sure that the lease is written in the language that you can clearly understand. Verify every aspect of that lease and be sure that everything agreed upon is clearly stated.  Once the lease is signed you are totally responsible for the dwelling and whatsoever is written therein.  Remember that a lease is a legal binding document created by the court to protect both tenant and landlord. Failure to verify that everything in the lease is acceptable to both parties can be problematic in case of litigation.
Do not sign a lease where the landlord verbally promises to do certain repairs when you move in.  Everything the Landlord promises should be written in the lease. If the landlord promises to do repairs it should be written in Section E, on page 2 of the lease, stating “Work and repairs.” Tenants should treat renting apartment as a business, just like you would execute any other business transaction.  It is your life at stake.
After having done your due diligence everything should run smoothly. If a defect or deterioration arises in the apartment, notify your landlord immediately, if it’s not attended to in reasonable time, you have the right to send him a registered letter describing the problem.
You need to send him a first warning, a second warning and a third warning. In the event that he does not make the necessary repairs to remedy the situation, you have your written proof to file a complaint against your Landlord at the Regie du Logement.
If your Landlord is smart, once he sees that first registered letter he will fix the problem speedily. If he neglects to do the repairs you have the right to file a case against him at the Régie du Logement. He will then be responsible for all the court costs, damages and any prejudice the situation might have caused you. Do not take it upon yourself to fix the problem, allow the Régie to remedy the situation.
Tenants do not have the right to withhold rents because repairs are not done; the Regie will decide the outcome. In situations like this, once you’ve been diligent, tenants will always win over your Landlord.
It’s also important for tenants to remember that your first obligation is to pay your rent in full on the date prescribed in your lease and you have the right to request a receipt as an attestation of the payment of the rent. This is useful in the event of a legal dispute. It is also wise to keep this proof of payment for at least three years. And remember that landlords are not required to accept partial payment.
In order to maintain a smooth balance the Régie du logement have implemented a set of policies as guidelines for tenants to observe, which include:
•    Do NOT CHANGE THE LOCKS OF THE DWELLING.
•    Tenants should not change the form of the dwelling.
•    Maintain the dwelling in clean condition.
•    Respect the laws pertaining to the safety and sanitation of the dwelling.
•    Do minor maintenance or repairs.
•    Allow for urgent and necessary repairs.
•    Make sure that the occupants respect the normal conditions of comfort and sanitation.
•    Allow the landlord to verify the condition of the dwelling, to have it visited by the prospective renter. Inform the landlord about a serious defect or deterioration
•    At the end of the lease, the tenant’s obligation is to remove all his movable effects and leave the dwelling in the condition in which he/she received it.
I AM YOUR REALTOR AT (514) 947-8240.