Negotiating with Your Landlord

We can help you negotiate with your landlord.

What to do if you can’t pay the rent…

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Does this happen every month or is this a one time situation?
  • Do I have more money coming in every month then my expenses?
  • Can I truly afford this apartment? Do I need to find a cheaper place to live?

If you decide to leave your apartment, contact a housing worker to help you find a new place to live.  In East York, contact the East York Housing Help Centre.

If you want to stay in this unit, and you can’t pay this month’s rent, pay as much as you can.  A partial payment will show the landlord that you are trying and that you have not forgotten your obligation to pay.

Here are 10 tips for negotiating with your Landlord:


Talk to your landlord. Be honest. Offer a solution - state that you can not pay all of the rent at this time. Then offer a detailed solution. For example state that you will pay $300 on the 10th of the month and $300 on the 17th. or that you will pay an extra $150 for the next 4 months on the first each month to make up for this missing month of rent.


Make sure that the plan you offer your landlord is something you can actually do. Landlords do not have to accept your plan. As a tenant it is your responsibility to pay the rent on time and in full. However, if you have been a reasonably good tenant a landlord will often be willing to work with you to solve this problem.For more information, check out this ACTO Tenant Tip Sheet ‘When You Owe Rent to Your Landlord’. If your landlord agrees to a payment plan, check out these Tip Sheets on Payment Plans and Payment Plan Worksheet.


Talk to your Case Worker/Manager.  If you are on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) talk to your Case Manager to see if they can help you catch-up on this unpaid rent.


Take a look at your expenses.Are there things you can cut back on for a month or two in order to catch up on the rent owing?


Take a look at your income. Can you increase the amount of money you make in a month? Can you work at a Temporary Agency or get a part-time job for a while?


Can friends or family provide you with a loan in order to catch up with the rent owing?


Can you get a roommate in order to share the cost of the rent?


Try to avoid short term solutions which will leave you worse off in the long run. Places that offer Pay Day Loans will get the rent paid at this moment, but then leaves you with no money to pay the rent or the other bills next month. Think carefully about whether this is the best option for you.


Consider a Rent Bank Loan.  If your budget works and this is a one-time problem, you may be eligible for an interest free loan from the Rent Bank. Contact the East York Housing Help Centre by filling in this form and one of our staff will contact you.


Seek Legal Advice.  If you find you need to speak to a legal expert, contact a Community Legal Clinic.

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