Leases - Students - Covid-19

Are all student apartments within the Residential Tenancies Act jurisdiction?

As a student it is important to be aware that the Residential Tenancies Act applies to premises used for residential purposes but does not include living accommodations provided by an educational institution to its students where the living accommodations do not have their own self-contained bathroom and kitchen facilities.

What happens to lease agreements if classes are offered on line in September and students are not returning to campus to attend classes due to Covid-19?

At this time, any changes to the delivery of classes at post secondary education facilities in the Fall will not impact lease agreements for students.

What if I have signed a lease with another roommate or more and one or more of them no longer want to or cannot return to campus due to Covid-19?

Lease agreements are joint and several, meaning that all parties on the agreement are equally responsible for upholding the agreed upon lease.  All parties named on the lease agreement are responsible for ensuring rent is paid in full.  If one tenant fails to pay the rent, the other parties are then required to pay on the other tenant’s behalf.  Entering into a lease agreement with roommates is a serious commitment therefore who a student chooses to live with should be an informed decision.  The actions of other co-lessors can affect all those named within the lease agreement.

What options are available to students who have signed a lease agreement for a residential tenancy and have since decided they will not return to campus in the Fall?

  1. Contact the Landlord to discuss the possibility of mutually agreeing to end the tenancy
  2. The Tenant may assign the tenancy to someone else if this was agreed upon when signing the lease agreement.  Verify ‘Section 6 – Assignment’ to understand the assignment rights of the tenancy in question.

Contacting the Landlord sooner rather than later is in the best interest of both parties.

What if a student gives up their rental but later this Summer changes their mind and decide they do want to rent a unit?

If a student reaches an agreement with their Landlord to terminate their tenancy but later changes their mind and wants to rent a unit in the Fall, they may contact their previous landlord to discuss if they have rentals available or they can find an alternate unit to rent.

What happens to my security deposit if I have signed a lease for the fall to attend university, but I no longer want the rental due to Covid-19?

The Landlord is required to mitigate their loss if you choose to forfeit the unit.  Meaning they must actively engage in renting vacant premises when leases are not upheld.  If the Landlord is successful in re-renting the premises without a loss a rent, they would be not eligible to claim for unpaid rent.  Tenants should apply for the return of their security deposit as soon as a tenancy has terminated.  The Residential Tenancies Tribunal will inform the applicant if there is a claim against their security deposit.  Tenants are then given an opportunity to dispute the claim and the Residential Tenancies Tribunal will investigate the matter.

After contacting my Landlord to inform them that I am not taking the unit, they indicated that they will keep my security deposit, what can I do?

Landlords must remit all security deposits to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal within 15 days of receipt.  Upon remitting, the Tenant and Landlord will receive a Certificate of Deposit indicating the amount of the security deposit, the name of the tenant(s) and the premise address.  Landlords are required to place a claim against a security deposit to receive these funds.  Tenants are informed by mail when a claim has been placed against their security deposit.  To ensure that you receive the details of the claim, you must apply for the return of your security deposit promptly after terminating a tenancy to ensure the Residential Tenancies Tribunal has your most up to date address information.  You are then given an opportunity to dispute the claim and the Tribunal will investigate the matter.

What if the Landlord did not remit my security deposit to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal?

If you have not received a certificate of deposit or your landlord informs you that the security deposit was not remitted to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal, you should make a written request to the Landlord that they remit the security deposit to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.  If after 7 days, the Landlord has failed to do so, you may apply for assistance through our website at and complete a Tenant’s Application for assistance and include a copy of your security deposit receipt and a copy of the written request sent to the Landlord. You will be provided with a case number for reference.