One of the most common misconceptions about homesharing in Canada is that the arrangement between a homeowner and housemate is the same as a landlord and tenant. While there are some similarities, the fact remains that home sharing is not the same because the homeowner and housemate share specific common spaces of the residence (a kitchen, for example). Therefore, from a legal perspective, homesharing does not fall under the Residential Tenancies Act (we recommend visiting Community Legal Education Ontario to learn more about the legalities of home sharing).
So, a lease agreement doesn't apply to homeshare arrangements. What exactly is a HomeShare Agreement, then? Good question!
What is a HomeShare Agreement?
A HomeShare Agreement is a document that outlines the expectations of the homeowner and housemate. It is essential to put these expectations in writing. Doing so will ensure clear communication, help avoid problems, and provide a guideline to both parties should conflicts arise.
There is no one standard HomeShare Agreement. The agreement will likely vary depending on the parties involved and the details of the living arrangement. A HomeShare Agreement is one of the services that the team at HomeShare Alliance provides. We'll work with you to help draft a HomeShare Agreement that is customized to your specific preferences and needs.
What is Included in a HomeShare Agreement?
Keeping in mind that the HomeShare Agreement is unique to you and your situation, here are some of the details we recommend including:
Term – From one month to a year or more, outline the term of your arrangement
Rent – Agreements around rent, deposit and payments should be included
Inclusions – Some homeowners include utilities, Internet, hydro, property taxes, etc. in the rent. Make sure you list what is included in the rent and detail how these items will be paid.
Space – Which rooms and appliances are shared, and which are for private use? This includes parking spaces! Write these details down so there isn't any confusion.
Occupants – Who is considered an occupant as part of the agreement? Make sure you discuss and include these details.
Insurance - Most homeowners' property insurance doesn't include the housemate's personal belongings and contents.
Liability and damage - Ensure the responsibility for liability and damage is spelled out.
Obligations and Responsibilities - In a task exchange it's extremely important to set out the housemate's obligations and responsibilities that are included in exchange for subsidized rent. In a supplemental incomehome share arrangement, it's still a good idea to outline the obligations and responsibilities of each party. From washing dishes to noise levels to purchasing cleaning supplies – in both situations discussing and putting these details in writing will contribute to a harmonious living environment.
House Rules – Is smoking, drinking or recreational drugs a problem? What about having friends over? Are pets allowed? Outline the house rules so everyone is on the same page.
Terminating the agreement – How much notice is needed to vacate the premises or to give notice that the housemate will move out? How and under what circumstances can the agreement be terminated? This is important information to include.