Monday, January 17, 2005

Housing in Kingston

On Friday I was part of a panel giving information about housing & tenancy issues to undergraduate students. As a volunteer with Queen's Legal Aid, I suppose I have a smidgen of expertise in landlord/ tenant disputes. Here are a few points I'd like to pass along:

** Kingston has a glut of vacancies. It is a renters market and don't let any landlord tell you otherwise. Due to this fact, combined with provincial limitations regulating rent increases, potential renters are in a good position to ask for things like "one month free rent please" or "utilities are included, right?" These work much better than rent reductions because landlords keeping hoping for the market to tighten up and if they lower rents now it will be harder to raise then again once their hopes are realized.

** It is against Ontario statute to disallow pets. So, if you have a cat and love an apartment that says "no pets," don't fret. Get the place. The province will fight for your furry friend.

** Rents and utility costs vary greatly. One panelist is paying $845 for a 1BD apartment downtown while another (me) is paying $300 for a room in a house (I have 4 housemates).

(It feels way too early to be thinking about this!)


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