When the University is your landlord

Queen’s housing is subject to different rules

Compared to what she’s heard about other landlords in the Ghetto, Laura Alarie thinks she lucked out.
Alarie, ArtSci ’08, lives in a University-owned house. Queen’s is her landlord.

“I think it’s been really great. They’re always really helpful. If something’s wrong in the middle of the night, they’re there. They’re always willing to help you out, point you in the right direction.”

Queen’s Apartment and Housing Services manages University-owned rentals.

David Wright, executive director of housing, said Queen’s Apartment and Housing Service falls under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, but there are a few differences in the legislation due to the nature of the leases for Queen’s houses.

“We can use termination agreements to keep the University property agreements available when students are looking,” he said. “In the general marketplace, after the first one-year contract, tenants can go on to a month-to-month tenancy.” However, students renting from the University are required to stay on a fixed-term lease, Wright said. “Part of this exemption is because we are only renting to students, so when students are looking in January or August—the two prime times—we know what property will be available.”

Carly Steinman, from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said universities don’t
have to apply for the exemptions because they apply automatically according to Section 37.6 of the
Residential Tenancies Act, which says standard termination rules “do not apply to rental units occupied
by students of one or more postsecondary educational institutions in a residential complex owned,
operated or administered by or on behalf of the post-secondary educational institutions.”

Steinman said this exemption has been in Ontario legislation since 1998.

Wright said residences don’t fall under the Residential Tenancies Act, but are under contract law.

“[Students] are expecting to get certain things and they pay certain amounts of dollars,” he said.
“There are certain expectations that anybody who is moving into res has for room and food and cleaning and things like that.”

Mandy Daniel, manager of residence admissions, said the residence contract, which was written by the department of residence and approved by Queen’s legal department, stipulates that, “the University may take disciplinary action against a resident and/or terminate this agreement for failure by any person occupying the room to comply with the terms of this agreement.”

Daniel said when a student signs the contract, he or she is liable for that academic year.

“They’ve signed that they’re going to take the room for the full eight months,” she said. If a student needs to leave residences for any reason, they are still liable for the cost of the room. However, if the individual can find someone who is a Queen’s student who isn’t currently living in residence, Daniel said Residences will sign a new contract with the replacement.

If a student needs to withdraw from the University for academic or medical purposes, she said,
Residences doesn’t expect them to pay for the rest of the year.

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