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Rental Applications

After viewing a unit, if you like it and are interested in living there, your next step is to apply! Keep in mind that Toronto housing is competitive and you may need to apply to multiple units before being approved.

How do you prepare for a rental application?

In addition to submitting a rental application (see sample form), landlords may ask you to provide references and documents that show you are responsible and have enough money to pay the rent.

In order to expedite your application process, we suggest having the following prepared before beginning your search:

  1. The amount of two months’ rent as the landlord can legally ask you to pay first and last month’s rent when you sign a lease

  2. A guarantor/co-signer, who is someone with a Canadian bank account who agrees to pay your rent in case you cannot or in case you leave the city or country

  3. If you do not have a guarantor, you may wish to have letters from employers, scholarships, and other forms of income and/or a bank statement that demonstrates you have enough money to pay the rent for a few months

  4. References: the names and contact information of people who know you and can confirm that you would be a responsible tenant – for example, former landlords or employers

Optional: Your credit report which indicates your credit score and any debts owed to others. See the slider below for key information about credit reports.

What can a prospective landlord ask about in your application? What if I have pets or smoke?

A landlord can ask questions related to the tenancy, as long as they do not infringe on your rights.

A landlord can ask questions such as:

  • What is your income?

  • Do you work? Where do you work?

  • How many people will be living with you and what are their names?

  • Do you have pets?

  • Do you smoke?

  • Do I have permission to run a credit check?

  • Do you have a guarantor or co-signer?


Note: the RTA does not address smoking nor does it cover individuals before they become tenants, so if a landlord refuses to rent to you on the basis of pets or smoking, you cannot appeal to the Landlord and Tenant Board for this reason.

Once you have signed a lease, a “no pets” clause in the lease is void, but a landlord may still have the grounds to apply to evict you either for having a pet or for smoking if the pet or smoke damages the property or bothers other tenants.

What can’t a prospective landlord ask about in your application?

A landlord cannot select or refuse you as a tenant based on your rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Thus, no questions may be asked about your age, gender, sexual orientation, family status, place of origin, race, religion, disability, gender expression, your relationship status, pregnancy status, intention for more children, nor Canadian citizenship status.


Will you be asked to pay a rental application fee?

Legally, landlords and property management companies are not entitled to charge an application fee (usually called a “processing fee”).

In Ontario, landlords are legally only allowed to ask you to pay first and last month’s rent at the time of signing the lease, as well as a refundable key deposit (which can only be in the amount it would cost to replace the key). Landlords are not allowed to ask for security deposits. Note: this does not excuse you from liability if you cause damage to the unit–read our tips for avoiding incurring charges at the time of your move-out!  


Landlords will review the documents you submit, and will choose whether to accept or reject your application. Toronto’s housing market is competitive, so you may receive a rejection or two. Don’t give up! Once your application has been accepted, it’s time to sign the lease.