In today’s market, high demand for rent has resulted in extremely competitive conditions in terms of the rental application process. The quality of your documents when placing an offer is a critical factor in the landlord’s decision-making. Here’s a detailed breakdown of every single document you would need in your rental application, its purpose and what goes into it.

Rental Application

This document is probably one of the most important documents in the entire rental process. Filling this out completely and in detail will allow the landlord to get to know you and understand why you would be a good fit for their home.

The rental application requires information regarding your:

  • Employment
  • Income
  • Current address
  • References (previous landlords, friends, etc.)
  • Government-issued ID

Depending on the landlord/agent, additional information may be required of you. This compilation of information gives the landlord a better understanding of the tenant's financial standing and lifestyle. Below is a free and editable download of the OREA Rental Application Form.

Rental Application (PDF)

Letter of Employment

A letter of employment is a reliable form of verification provided by a third party, your employer, often required by landlords as part of the rental application. The letter is meant to state details regarding the tenant’s employment arrangement, such as but not limited to their date of employment and salary. The letter must be signed by an authorized representative of the tenant’s employer or the employer themselves.

Here is an example of what a letter of employment should, more or less, look like.

A Full Credit Report

Your credit report is a key factor in determining your position as a potential tenant. In short, it is simply a snapshot of your credit history that the landlord can refer to in order to decide whether or not you would be a suitable tenant. Since your credit score is a real-time assessment of your financial health, it is an indicator of the risk you represent in comparison with other prospective tenants. Therefore, it is vital that you continuously work towards maintaining a high credit score.

Your credit report may contain the following financial information and more:

Insufficient funds payments, bad cheques, money owing or fraud, bankruptcy
Credit used such as credit cards, retail or store cards, lines of credit and loans, and debts that have been sent to collection agencies.
Requests for your credit report in the past three years

Your credit report will also list some facts regarding your credit history such as:

  • The date your account was opened
  • Your owing amount
  • Whether payments were made on time
  • Missed payments
  • Whether your debt has been transferred to a collection agency
  • Whether you surpassed your credit limit
  • Personal information that is available in public records, such as a bankruptcy

Although some banks provide credit scores via online banking, your full credit report must be obtained from Equifax.ca or Transunion.ca. Here are some sample Credit Reports for TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada.

Government Issued Photo ID

Your application must require a copy of a valid government issued photo ID. This could be one of the following:

  • Driver's license
  • State issued photo ID
  • Passport

Recent Pay Stubs

This could include a payslip, pay stub, pay advice, or, sometimes, pay-check stub. It is a document that an employee receives, either as a notice that the direct deposit transaction has gone through or as a physical stub attached to their pay-check, that acts as a paper trail for validating payments.

A Personal Letter Written to the Landlord

In some rental applications, the potential tenant opts to write a letter to the landlord in order to create a more personal relationship. The letter usually describes the potential tenant’s personality, lifestyle, and characteristics in their own words, which could aid the landlord in making their decision. This gives the potential tenant the opportunity to position themselves as more than just an applicant, but a person looking for a home.

Reference Letter(s) from Previous Landlord(s)

If you’ve rented a property before, you should be able to obtain a reference letter from your previous landlord or property management company. The reference letter would outline your ability to sufficiently carry out your rental obligations, such as payment of rent, adherence to tenancy agreement, and upkeep of property.

Here is a sample Reference Letter

Bank Statements/Proof of Equity

A bank statement, or proof of equity, is a record of the balance in your bank account. It is issued periodically via online banking or by mail and can be requested by you at your bank. This information reassures the landlord that you are in possession of the required funds to pay the rent for the property as agreed upon.

Renter’s Insurance

A renter’s insurance policy is a group of coverages that ensures protection over you and your possessions. A typical renter’s insurance policy includes liability coverage, protection for your belongings and coverage for additional living expenses, should your rental home become temporarily uninhabitable. Although some situations are uncontrollable, such as a break-in or visitor's injury, your renter’s insurance can minimize the impact of such events. Most landlord and property owners will require you to obtain renter’s insurance and provide proof of possession prior to moving into the property, so that they ensure their unit is protected from damages and liability. There is a wide range of tenant's insurance providers such as Sonnet , Square One, and many more.

Proof of Utility Transfer

Before taking possession of your new rental home, your landlord will require that utilities are transferred into your name. In most cases the only utility being transferred would be hydro, but in other cases this may also include WiFi.

Post-Dated Cheques

A post-dated cheque is a standard negotiable cheque that is written by the drawer (payer) for a date in the future. Post-dated cheques are commonly written out to the landlord or the property management for the upcoming months of rent. The cheque amount will only be withdrawn on the future date that you have written. Say, for example, that your rental period starts on June 3rd, 2018 and you have already paid the first and last months’ rent. You would date the cheques for the upcoming unpaid months of June, July, August, etc... until April 2019 since May 2019 (your last month) has already been paid. Your first post-dated cheque should be dated July 3rd, 2018, which is your second month of rent.

Lease Paperwork

In Ontario there are two lease agreements when renting with Realtor or a Real Estate Brokerage. One being the Ontario Standard Lease Agreement and the other being the OREA Agreement to Lease.

Ontario Standard Lease Agreement

As part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan and Rental Fairness Act, the provincial government introduced a new standard lease that will be mandatory for private residential leases signed on or after April 30, 2018, including tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condominiums and secondary suites (such as basement apartments).

The standard lease uses easy-to-understand language to help:

Landlords and renters understand their rights and responsibilities
Reduce illegal terms in leases and misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements Reduce the need for Landlord and Tenant Board hearings to resolve disputes

For more info you can visit here and you can download a copy of lease agreement here.

Agreement to Lease - Residential (OREA Form #400)

The OREA Agreement to Lease is the document that is used to state the Tenant’s desire to lease the property, and to negotiate the terms of the lease. It is often referred to as an “Offer”. This document also allows the Tenant an opportunity to set out in detail all of the terms and conditions they wish to be part of their Offer when leasing the Landlord’s property. After the Offer is prepared and signed by the Tenant, it is presented to the Landlord for acceptance. The Landlord, in turn, may want to make changes to the Offer for the Tenant to consider. This process can continue back and forth several times in an effort to reach an agreement.

You can download a copy of lease agreement here.

Note: The purpose of OREA Form #400 Agreement to Lease - Residential is as a negotiating tool only and the mandatory government standard lease form for landlords is the actual formal lease document.

Working with a Realtor (Orea Form #810)

This form is required under Section 10 of the Code of Ethics to fulfill the requirements of Information Before Agreements. The form highlights that a contract for real estate services is with the brokerage, that the consumer is entitled to know the different types of service relationships that are available, and that the Realtor shall adhere to the buyer’s and seller’s best interest.

You can download a copy of the agreement here.

Confirmation of Co-operation (Orea Form #320)

This Form is used to indicate to all parties involved the specific types of relationships that exist in their real estate transaction. It is used to set up an arrangement between brokerages and is acknowledged by the parties.

You can download a copy of the agreement here.

Buyer Representation Agreement (Orea Form #300)

This Form is a contract between a Buyer and a real estate company that gives the real estate company permission to act on the Buyer’s behalf in the purchase of a property. Assuming the Buyer is a Client of the real estate company, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (Ontario’s governing body) REBBA Code of Ethics requires that Salespeople have a written Buyer Representation Agreement presented for signature prior to an offer being presented on behalf of the Buyer.

You can find a copy of the agreement here.

For more information regarding Standard Lease Paperwork please visit: https://www.orea.com/Resources-and-Forms/Standard-Forms-and-Clauses

This in-depth description of every aspect that goes into the rental application, including required documents, supplementary documents, actions and follow-up actions is meant to familiarize you with the process as much as possible. If you have any additional questions, inquiries or would like to book a with Dwelly reach out to us at [email protected] or visit Dwelly.ca.