Canada has a large and growing immigrant population. In 2011, statistics revealed 1 in every 5 Canadians were foreign born – approximately 20 percent of Canada’s total population of 35,158,300.
Fifty percent of those immigrants throughout Canada are said to be renters, most of whom do not have easily verifiable employment and credit histories. This, of course, presents a challenge for landlords’ and property managers’ screening procedures.
So what’s a landlord to do? Some Canadian landlords are turning this challenge into opportunities for themselves by taking advantage of the newcomers who are in search of rental homes, but unaware of Canadian landlord-tenant laws. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), some unscrupulous landlords are providing great examples of what not to do by charging a full year’s rent or more, up front.
In February 2013, prospective tenant Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi immigrant, filed a complaint with the OHRC stating that his future landlord had charged him a total of $8800 in advance for a bachelor apartment.