As a result of COVID-19, the Government of Canada banned evictions, frozen rent hikes, and is pressuring landlords to be lenient with their tenants during the pandemic.
Although this may be difficult if you live in a large commercial apartment building, smaller landlords are often open to negotiating with you. If you have been a reliable tenant up to this point, you are invaluable to your landlord. This situation is hard on them too, and they would much rather negotiate with you then risk losing you.
Proactivity and communication are key — whether your situation has changed due to COVID-19 or if you feel you are paying unfair rates in the current market situation. Do not take advantage of the eviction freeze by disappearing and angering your landlord though, because these measures can end at any time.
Reach out to your landlord using this platform to outline your situation and provide a resolution that benefits both parties.
If your situation has changed due to COVID, be honest about it. Not all landlords are stone-cold, and most will sympathize with you. Go over your finances and come up with a reasonable plan.
Consistency is key. Your landlord will appreciate a number that they can expect every month. If you are in a dire situation, Sarah Morgan of Mixed Up Money recommends reducing your monthly rent by two-fold — a permanent rent reduction, and a reduction that you will pay back in the future.
As with any money agreement between two people, you should have an agreement in writing, outlining the reduced rate and when the landlord can expect to get the money back. This can be done digitally here.
If your situation hasn’t changed due to COVID, this could still be an opportunity to negotiate with your landlord due to the changing market outlined previously. Renters have increased power right now.
Lay out the facts to your landlord without bombarding them with information. Check out the Rentals.ca report to see how your rent compares to that in your area. Look up local ads on rent sites like Kijiji and see what similar housing is being advertised for. If there’s a significant difference, this could be used in your favour when you negotiate.
One tool that makes this negotiation process simpler is Condico. It seperates this from your genereal comunication (such as texting about a repair) and makes it a priority. The tool is available online or as an app, to help with this process. You can learn more or get started here.