Real Estate Guides

Housing resources for those with disabilities and their families

A person living with a disability is intimately aware of the challenges when trying to find suitable housing. To help we put together a list of resources from across the country

There is perhaps nowhere in which accessibility is more important than the home. Design flaws and small annoyances multiply one another to create frustrating, even dangerous standards of living.

People seeking barrier-free housing often require carefully planned living spaces, with considerations that range from physical construction to location and availability of surrounding services. Here you’ll find resources that can help people with disabilities and their families find affordable and accessible housing.

House hunting: what should you consider?

Making changes to your living situation is difficult and stressful under the smoothest of circumstances. Often, this process is made more difficult when you attempt to find locations that meet even basic accessibility standards or that are possible to modify to meet particular needs.

As a person living with a disability, or someone caring for a family member who has a disability, you likely already know a great deal about the specific features to look for in a living space. The following section briefly describes the more general process involved with renting and owning housing, with some additional accessibility concerns that might be unexpected.

Renting a home

The process of renting a home in Canada can be quite stressful. With all of the applications, agreements, and additional charges its can be quite overwhelming.

However, there are some helpful tips for renting, with a particular focus on protecting your family if someone you love is disabled.

Here are a few general rules to finding a decent rental property:

Visual inspection

The most important rule, especially for evaluating a location’s appropriateness for a person with disabilities, is the visual inspection. Visit the property and look around. Ask to see every room, every closet, ask about storage, about parking, about noise policies and pets.

Know your rights

It is equally as important to know your rights. Up-front application fees and deposits are illegal across Canada, so never pay anyone before filling out an application. In some parts of Canada, such as Ontario and Quebec, security deposits are also illegal. This is important because legal or not, many landlords still try to charge them — in Quebec, alone, almost a third of landlords charge illegal deposits.

Recognize signs of discrimination

Spotting discrimination is also an important part of the process. Alyssa Davies, writing for the Zolo News, states:

“… across Canada, it is illegal to refuse a tenant based on: race, colour, ancestry, where you were born, religious beliefs, gender, physical or mental ability, marital or family status, the source of income, sexual orientation and gender identity of expression. That means, as soon as a rental unit is open to the public, a landlord must provide an opportunity to every individual without discriminating against any category of person.”

None of this is to say that landlords are, as a whole, out to get you. Being a landlord is a business and just with other businesses, there are reputable ones and disreputable ones. There are landlords that see their tenants as people, and some that see them as a paycheque. So in all dealings, remember to refer to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the provincial or territorial human rights agency that represents your area.

Fixed-term leases

Leases generally either have a fixed term (normally in years), or considered month to month, sometimes week to week. Fixed term leases have advantages as well as disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • A fixed term lease is a strong contract that can’t be exited without good legal reason by either party. The landlord cannot remove you from the property without an eviction procedure.
  • Rent rates are locked in for the term of the lease. The longer the lease lasts, the longer it will be before a rent hike.
  • In Canada, when a lease expires you aren’t automatically required to move out. However, different provinces deal with the expiration of a lease in different ways.

Disadvantages:

  • A fixed term lease is a strong contract that can’t be exited without good legal reason by either party. If you need to terminate a lease early, generally you need to come to an agreement with the landlord, otherwise, you will be considered financially responsible for the remaining term of the lease even if you move out.
  • Sub-leasing is an option but generally requires landlord consent, within reason. There are protections in place for you if a landlord is not meeting their legal obligations.

Some accessibility concerns when it comes to renting include:

  • Noise: The proximity and number of neighbours make noise a common complaint. If you or a loved one feels stress when subjected to unexpected loud noises or you are easily disturbed it’s best to take extra care when choosing a location. Especially if you live in a university town.
  • Scheduled landlord inspections: Having a virtual stranger come into your living space to conduct a routine, scheduled inspection can be extremely disruptive and stressful, particularly for renters living with intellectual disabilities. However, a landlord is legally allowed to inspect the premise with good reason. To alleviate the stress, consider having a conversation with your landlord about how this process can be made less stressful. For instance:
    • Ask a trusted friend or family member to be present during the inspection.
    • Ask the landlord for at least seven days notice, as opposed to the 24-hour mandatory notice. This will allow you time to find a friend or family member that can be present or plan to be out of the apartment when the inspection occurs.
    • See if the landlord is open to being educated about particular stressful triggers to keep in mind when performing inspections.
    • If you have a support worker, see if they can be present during an inspection.
  • Landlords often dislike or disallow pets: If you are allowed and get an animal, some landlords will end up charging a security or pet deposit. But this doesn’t and shouldn’t apply to a companion or service animal. Know your rights. Service and guide animals are generally widely protected, though the specific laws can vary by province and territory. Emotional support, therapy and companion animals, however, do not have a legal definition under the acts protecting service animals. In some places, they are included within service animal protections. In others, they are not.

Buying a home

Buying a home is a much more complex and in-depth process than renting, involving more moving parts. Between banks, realtors, offers and contracts, it can become overwhelming.

Zolo has many resources for you to browse to help you make sense of the home-buying process.  Here are a few integral pointers, along with a few choice tips, specifically for purchasing property as or for a person with disabilities in Canada.

You don’t have to put 20% down

In fact, it could be advantageous to put a down payment of less than 20% on a house. Put down more than 20% down on your home and you, the buyer, can avoid tacking-on mortgage insurance fees (also known as mortgage insurance or CMHC fees). The problem is, even though a buyer is putting more money down, the lack of insurance to cover a potential loss (should the buyer default on their mortgage) can seem like a bigger risk to a bank. As a result, banks will charge buyers who put down 20% or more on a home higher mortgage rates. Over the course of your loan, this can result in paying tens of thousands extra in mortgage interest to the bank.

An offer begins a contract

This is where you have to be quite careful in Canadian real estate. Once you submit an offer, you’ve begun the process of entering into a legal contract. This happens whether the seller accepts your offer, refuses it, or tries to negotiate. So make sure everything looks good, your ducks are all in a row, and there are no outstanding questions before making that offer.

Get a professional home inspector to look at the property

This step is especially vital if you need to make alterations or if alterations have already been made to a home. A home inspector will be able to tell you a lot about the current integrity of the home, and about potential difficulties with renovations. A home inspection report is one of the best value-for-money tools you can buy when purchasing a home.

Beware of dual agency

Put simply, dual agency is where one realtor represents both the buyer and the seller. The potential conflict of interest is that the listing agent is invested in selling the property, but is now representing you the buyer as well. This potential conflict of interest can mean you are not fully represented in one of the largest transactions you’ll ever make in your lifetime. Since different provinces and territories have different rules about dual agency, it’s best to inform yourself and get our own real estate agent.

Some accessibility concerns when it comes to owning include:

  • A large number of homes were built before accessibility was a consideration for architects and builders. When looking at homes, it’s important to weigh the costs of a new build home against renovations on a resale home. Here are four of the biggest considerations:
    1. With new homes, if you buy early enough, there are often customization options that allow for accessible features to be built right in, such as wider hallways and doorways and bathroom modifications.
    2. However, new build homes are more expensive (on a per square foot basis) and it’s much harder to negotiate on price. This is because you’re dealing with a company, rather than an individual seller.
    3. Most resale homes will require renovation. The key is to balance the purchase price with the renovation costs. A more expensive house with a more accessible-friendly layout might better serve you than a less expensive home which requires more modification. For example, a more expensive bungalow might be more cost-effective than a cheaper two-story home, if stairs are a major issue.
    4. However, don’t forget to look at the renovation support provided by the government and other organizations in your province before making a decision. The right loan or grant could tip the scales and make a renovation less expensive than other options.
  • Check local municipalities around your desired location to see which region has the best services, supports, and educational programs for those with accessibility issues. It might be worth your while to look for a home one municipality as it offers much better support and services for those living with accessibility concerns. Call or look online and make a list to compare the services provided by all the municipalities in a region, then weigh that against local home prices.

Housing resources in each province and territory

British Columbia

City-of-Vancouver-mid-rise-apartments

  • Fixed-term lease: You are only required to move out at the end of a fixed-term lease under specific circumstances, and both parties must agree when the lease is first signed. Otherwise, a landlord may not compel you to move out at the end of a fixed-term lease.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Paying a deposit effectively and legally begins your tenancy even if a lease agreement has not yet been signed. Deposits can be no greater than half of the first month’s rent. Landlords must pay interest when returning the deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: As of June 15, 2018, dual agency is banned in B.C. It is the only province to make significant changes to dual agency rules. In the rest of Canada, dual agency is allowed with varying limitations, but all parties involved must be informed and agree in writing.

B.C. has a few organizations that aim to allow people with disabilities to live more independent lives while receiving assistance and care. For those who don’t necessarily need assisted living, or who don’t wish to live in specialized community housing, there are also grants programs for housing, as well as financial assistance and tax credits for the modification of houses. Housing options

  • Independent Living BC Program
    • Independent Living BC (ILBC) is a subsidized, assisted-living program that provides housing with support services to seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Supportive Housing
    • Supportive housing is subsidized housing with on-site support. These supports help you find and maintain housing stability.
  • Community Living BC (CLBC)
    • Community Living BC (CLBC) is a provincial Crown agency, mandated under the Community Living Authority Act, that funds support and services through service agencies for adults with developmental disabilities and their families in British Columbia. CLBC is working to create communities where people with developmental disabilities have more choices about how they live, work and contribute.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • Home Adaptations For Independence (HAFI)
    • HAFI is a grant program for people with diminished physical abilities. It helps low-income households pay for modifications to their home for accessibility. Many past recipients were older adults but the funding is available to help people of any age and families with children. If you qualify, you could receive up to $20,000 in financial assistance.
  • Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
    • The Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities assists eligible individuals 65 and over and persons with disabilities with the cost of certain permanent home renovations to improve accessibility or be more functional or mobile at home.
  • Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program
    • This program offers financial support for major home repairs to bring on-reserve rental housing up to a minimum level of health and safety.
  • Homeowner Grant for People with Disabilities
    • If you’re a person with a disability, or you live with a relative who has a disability, and you meet certain requirements, you may be eligible for the additional grant of $275 on top of the regular or basic grant of $570.
  • Services for People with Disabilities — British Columbia
    • A hub of supports and services provided to people with disabilities by government agencies, crown agencies and corporations. All of these services receive government funding and are required to meet government standards.

Alberta

Calgary-housing-skyline

  • Fixed-term lease: In Alberta, a fixed-term lease assumes that a tenant moves out when the lease ends, and a landlord is not required to issue a notice. However, the legislation encourages communication between tenants and landlords, as a lack of agreement at the end of a lease can lead to legal complications which require arbitration. Landlords and tenants should actively seek a written agreement as to what happens at the end of a fixed term lease. Resolutions can include:
    • The tenant moves out.
    • The fixed term lease is re-negotiated and renewed.
    • The fixed term lease ends and becomes a month to month lease.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits can be no greater than one month’s rent. Landlords must pay interest when returning the deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: “Transaction brokerage” rules apply, conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Alberta runs government subsidies that nonprofits can make use of to provide affordable housing and other services. Rather than a centralized resource centre, Alberta has a network of independent organizations that operate locally. The subsidies allow local organizations to best serve local needs but can make finding the right information for the right community difficult. Housing options

  • Subsidized Special Needs Housing
    • Subsidized by the federal government, there are a number of special needs housing units that are income-based, allowing residents to pay a reduced rent of 30% of their monthly income.
    • A number of organizations receive these subsidies, some of which can be found at information Alberta.
    • Many are locally operated, such as Horizon Housing in Calgary and Easter Seals in Edmonton.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

Manitoba

(Winnipeg Free Press / Joe Bryksa )
  • Fixed-term lease: In Manitoba, a landlord must offer you a lease renewal at least three months before the end of your fixed-term lease. If they do not, and you choose to continue living in the property, the lease is automatically renewed. In the case that your lease is automatically renewed due to a landlord’s neglect to offer you a renewal, you may cancel the agreement at any time with one month’s notice.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits can be no greater than half of the first month’s rent.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Manitoba has excellent protections for renters, especially when it comes to fixed-term leases. The provincial government offers supplements directly to families who live with disabilities in order to help them live in the private rental sector, and as additional help in combination with non-profit organizations. Manitoba also offers financial assistance for not only the modification of homes, but assistance to landlords who have tenants with disabilities to modify their buildings to become more accessible. Housing options

  • Rent Supplement
    • The Rent Supplement helps low-income families, elderly and special needs households obtain affordable, adequate and suitable housing in the private rental sector and in non-profit affordable housing initiatives.
  • Rent Assist
    • Rent Assist is a financial benefit for people who receive Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) and have housing costs to cover. It is also available to other low-income private renters.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • Residential Adaptation for Disabilities Program
    • Homeowners with low income and landlords with tenants who have low incomes may apply for financial assistance to make adaptations to homes and housing units. These adaptations will help increase mobility, safety and independence for a person who finds it difficult to do everyday tasks in their home.
  • Information for Manitobans with Disabilities
    • Provincial government website tool that allows you to access fact sheets and other informational resources about services the province provides for people with disabilities.

Saskatchewan

Regina-Saskatchewan-housing-Lumsden-apartments

  • Fixed-term lease: In Saskatchewan, a fixed-term lease must be actively renewed. The landlord is required to send notice two months before the end of a lease to the tenant declaring whether they are offering a renewal or not. If the landlord does not offer a written notice in time and wishes the tenant to move out, the tenant may take the issue to arbitration. Arbitration could result in a declaration for the tenant, in which case the contract becomes a month to month lease, or for the landlord, in which case the tenant will need to move out.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits can be no greater than one month’s rent. Landlords must pay interest when returning the deposit if the tenant has lived in the property for more than five years.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Saskatchewan can be particularly difficult for people with disabilities. One of the few programs they have is ending in 2018, and there may be up to a two-year gap before people who need financial assistance can apply for it again. The province is not void of services and community support, however, compared to other provinces, people with disabilities may have a harder time finding housing. Housing options

  • Housing Support for People With Intellectual Disabilities
    • Housing support in Saskatchewan occurs as a partnership between provincial authority and local organizations. They include group homes, supportive living programs, and private assistance programs.
    • Each client of these services receives a case manager assigned by the province.
  • Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement 
    • The rental housing supplement is designed for people who have disabilities and are classified as low income. The program helps people to afford housing that is accessible and of a quality that doesn’t negatively impact their lives.
    • However, as of July 1st 2018, the program will no longer be accepting applicants, and there will be a wait of up to two years before federal aid becomes available.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • Home Repair Program
    • The Saskatchewan Home Repair Program – Adaptation for Independence provides financial assistance to low-income homeowners or rental property owners to make a home more accessible for a person with a housing-related disability.
  • People with Disabilities — Saskatchewan
    • A list of resources from the government of Saskatchewan to help you determine eligibility for resources, and information about how to access them.

Ontario

Toronto-Ontario-condo-apartment-housing

  • Fixed-term lease: In Ontario, fixed-term leases are being replaced with a standardized rental agreement. Under the new agreement, tenancy does not automatically end when the term of the lease expires. A tenant would be required to move out only under special circumstances, standard eviction procedures, or if they have followed normal procedures for ending a tenancy. If a lease is not actively renewed, it becomes month-to-month or week-to-week where applicable.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: No. Security deposits are not legal in Ontario, however, landlords can charge rent deposits, which involve asking for the last month’s rent in advance.
  • Dual agency rules: Ontario is working on re-evaluating the dual agency rules. They are stiffening fines for unethical behaviour and placing heavy limitations on dual agency. They may move to ban it, but so far it is permissible with limitations similar to other provinces.

Ontario has particularly strict laws regarding tenants rights, ethical guidelines for realtors, and a continuing agenda to crack down on unethical behaviour in all real estate markets. Couple with a number of support programs, Ontario is an attractive province for people with disabilities for its robust protections of both tenants and home-buyers. The new standard tenancy contract the government introduced has a focus on clear language that is easy for all parties to understand. However, most group living facilities will be exempt from this standard contract for the time being. Housing options

  • Ontario Disability Support Program
    • This program provides direct income support for the cost of housing, with maximum amounts based on family size. Allowable expenses for the program include rent, payments on the principle and interest of a mortgage, property taxes, and even temporary second dwellings under some circumstances.
  • Affordable Housing Program
    • Ontario’s affordable housing program is delivered through a number of different service managers who operate in local communities. Contacting your local service manager will enable you to find out what services you qualify for.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.
  • Thunder Bay Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program
    • The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) provides a wide variety of affordable housing programs for Thunder Bay residents in partnership with the provincial and federal governments including forgivable loans for homeowners to repair their homes, bring them up to health and safety standards, and improve accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Accessibility options

  • Home & Vehicle Modification Program
    • March of Dimes Canada’s Home & Vehicle Modification Program provides funding for basic home and/or vehicle modifications. The program is intended to assist permanent Ontario residents with a substantial impairment expected to last one year or more, with their disability management
  • Easter Seals Financial Assistance
    • Easter Seals provides direct financial assistance to children, youth and young adults with physical disabilities, to assist with the purchase of specialized mobility equipment and communication devices.
  • Ontario Renovates Program
    • The Ontario Renovates program administered by the City’s Housing Services branch (“Housing Services”), provides limited funding to low-income seniors and to persons with disabilities who own their home for necessary repairs and accessibility modifications to support independent living.
  • Halton Accessibility Repair Program
    • If you are a homeowner and need modifications to your home to increase accessibility, HARP may be able to help. HARP provides limited funding to eligible homeowners to improve and/or maintain independent living.
  • Bruce County Home Repair Program
    • The Home Repair program is designed to improve the living conditions and provide financial assistance to homes needing safety, energy-efficiency and/or accessibility upgrades.
  • York Region Home Repair Program
    • The Home Repair Program offers grants of up to $7,500 per year, with a lifetime maximum of $15,000, to low and moderate income homeowners who need modifications to make their homes accessible or critical repairs to improve the safety of their homes.
  • People with Disabilities — Ontario
    • Provincial resources and information hub for people with disabilities in Ontario. Includes information about health, jobs, financial assistance, and law.
  • Accessibility Ontario
    • Resources and information regarding Ontario’s accessibility legislation.

Quebec

Montreal-Quebec-housing

  • Fixed-term lease: In Quebec, a fixed-term lease is assumed to be renewed with the same terms and conditions, and the tenant does not need to vacate. The landlord may not compel the tenant to vacate at the end of a lease outside of normal eviction procedures. A landlord may propose modifications to the lease in writing, however, the tenant may choose not to accept the modifications and continue to live in the property. The landlord may seek legal arbitration, but cannot evict a tenant for refusing modifications to the lease.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: No. Security deposits are prohibited in Quebec, and rent deposits are limited to the last month’s rent only.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Quebec has some of the most robust protections for tenants in Canada. Landlords cannot demand security deposits, post-dated cheques, or a rent deposit of greater than one month. Lease agreements have strong protections built-in, and allow tenants to refuse modifications such as high rent hikes while continuing to live in the property. Housing options Unfortunately, when it comes to housing, Quebec doesn’t have many resources for persons with disabilities. Most of their resources focus on job training, employment support and pension plans. Accessibility options

  • Residential Adaptation Assistance Program
    • The Residential Adaptation Assistance Program helps people with disabilities adapt their homes so that they can carry on their everyday activities. The program provides homeowners and landlords with financial assistance to cover the cost of essential, functional and cost-effective adaptations.
  • Home Adaptation Program
    • The home adaptation program is a financial assistance paid to the homeowner to perform work adapted to the needs of a person with disabilities.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.
  • Persons with Disabilities — Quebec
    • Information from the government of Quebec about services offered by the province and approved organizations. Available in French only.
  • Montreal Association for the Intellectually Handicapped
    • An association that provides activities, educational services, some family services and other supports in the Montreal area.

Nova Scotia

Halifax-Nova-Scotia-housing

  • Fixed-term lease: In Nova Scotia, fixed-term leases do not automatically renew, and the ending of a fixed term lease agreement is considered adequate reason for a landlord to refuse to continue renting to you.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to half of one month’s rent.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Nova Scotia has a robust rent supplement program that can help a great deal with housing, but their tenant rights legislation is less favourable than other provinces. The rent supplement program is governed by the province but operated by individual service providers in both the private and nonprofit sectors. Housing options

  • Rent Supplement Program
    • This program provides affordable rental housing to low-income families, seniors and individuals. The units are located in both privately owned apartment buildings and cooperative/non-profit housing projects across Nova Scotia.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

New Brunswick

Rutgers-University-New-Brunswick

  • Fixed-term lease: In New Brunswick, fixed-term leases do not automatically renew. The end of a lease agreement is an adequate reason for a landlord to discontinue renting a property.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to one month’s rent.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

New Brunswick has less robust tenant protections than other provinces. However, it does have a number of social housing programs, and financial assistance for the modification of property for accessibility reasons. Housing options

  • New Brunswick Social Development
    • New Brunswick offers a number of public housing, rent assistance, and nonprofit housing programs to help people who are low income and people with disabilities, delivered locally.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • Federal/Provincial Repair Program
    • For homeowners in need of major repairs and or accessibility modifications assistance is in the form of a loan a portion of which may not have to be repaid.
  • Housing Assistance for Persons with Disabilities
    • For homeowners in need of accessibility modifications assistance is in the form of a forgivable loan up to a maximum of $10,000. Additional assistance may be available in the form of a repayable loan based on a household’s ability to repay.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Hamilton-Street-St-Johns-Newfoundland-housing

  • Fixed-term lease: In Newfoundland and Labrador, fixed-term leases do not automatically renew. The end of a lease agreement is an adequate reason for a landlord to discontinue renting a property, however, notice of termination must be provided to the tenant three months beforehand.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to three-quarters of one month’s rent. Landlords must pay accrued interest when returning a security deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

While protections for tenants aren’t as thorough as other provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador do have some extra measures in place to make sure that you aren’t blindsided at the end of a lease contract. There are a number of support and assistance programs available to people with disability and to people with low income. One program of interest is placements for people with intellectual disabilities in homes with families who have been approved by provincial authorities. It is similar to a foster care system, but for adults. Housing options

  • Cooperative Apartment Program
    • This program offers a private residential setting operated by an incorporated community board of directors and staffed by a live-in supervisor and relief staff. The private residences are usually rented houses and are shared by up to three adults with intellectual disabilities. The main emphasis is on skill teaching and support to enable more independent living rather than providing a permanent residence.
  • Alternative Family Care Home Program
    • This program offers private homes which have been approved by the Regional Health Authority for the purpose of providing room and board, supervision and personal and social support for up to two unrelated adults with intellectual disabilities in a family atmosphere. Supports and services are available as necessary. Monitoring and supervision are provided by the social worker assigned by the Regional Health Authority.
  • Personal Care Homes
    • Privately owned and operated residential homes for seniors and older adults who need assistance with daily living. Individuals who are admitted to personal care homes do not require on-site health or nursing services but may require the service of a visiting professional. These homes are licensed by the regional health authorities.
  • Provincial Home Support Program
    • The Provincial Home Support Program (PHSP) is part of a wider array of Community support services and is intended to enable eligible individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living to remain independent in their homes and communities.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

Prince Edward Island

PEI-housing

  • Fixed-term lease: In Prince Edward Island, fixed-term leases do not automatically renew. They do however convert to a month-to-month tenancy if not changed or renewed. Landlords may not evict a tenant just because a lease ends. However, if the lease contains an “option to renew” clause, and the tenant does not actively inform the landlord that they are renewing, an eviction can occur.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to one month’s rent. Landlords must pay accrued interest when returning a security deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

PEI has better tenant protections than some provinces, but it can be quite difficult to find information about available resources for people with disabilities. The provincial website does not go into much detail, however, the assistance is there. Housing options

  • PEI Housing Assistance
    • This is a province supported and locally delivered program that provides housing for families, most of whom pay rent equal to around 25% of their income.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • PEI Disability Support Program
    • The PEI Home Renovation Programs may be able to help you with the cost of major structural renovations to your home. You could receive up to a maximum $6,000 for eligible renovations to the structure, heating, plumbing, and electrical systems or to improve life safety.
  • Support for People with Disabilities — Prince Edward Island
    • A hub of information and links to supports offered by the province to people with disabilities.

Nunavut

Nunavut-housing-Nunatsiaq-News
(Nunatsiaq News)
  • Fixed-term lease: In Nunavut, fixed-term leases do not automatically renew. They do however convert to a month-to-month tenancy if not changed or renewed. Landlords may not evict a tenant just because a lease ends.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to one month’s rent. Landlords must pay accrued interest when returning a security deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Housing options

  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Nunavut has fewer resources and less information available than most of the provinces. The territory does, however, contain a number of support organizations for people with disabilities. Tenant rights are relatively robust, on the other hand, which makes life a little easier. Accessibility options

  • Seniors and Disabled Preventative Maintenance Program
    • The Seniors (60+) and Persons with Disabilities Preventative Maintenance Program (SPDPMP) assists eligible homeowners for the purpose of carrying out preventive maintenance and minor repairs.NHC will provide a contribution in the form of a grant to cover materials, freight and labour, to a maximum amount of $3,000 annually.
  • Nunavut Resources and Links — On Thin Ice
    • Contact information for disability support organizations in Nunavut.

Yukon

Yukon-housing-Yukon-News
(Yukon News)
  • Fixed-term lease: In Yukon, fixed-term leases underwent changes in 2016 which allowed them to include move-out clauses. These clauses do not require landlords or tenants to give notice for non-renewal at the end of the term. That means a tenant can move out and a landlord can require vacancy at the end of a fixed-term lease unless a written renewal (or request for renewal) is provided.
  • Landlords allowed to charge security deposits: Yes. Security deposits may be up to one month’s rent. Landlords must pay accrued interest when returning a security deposit.
  • Dual agency rules: Conflicts of interest must be disclosed and both buyer and seller must agree to proceed.

Rental legislation in Yukon is particularly draconian compared to other provinces and territories. Many people have been caught off guard and unprepared for clauses that leave them without a place to live without warning. Yukon is working on improving its services, such as the transitional facility completed in 2015. Housing options

  • Yukon Housing Corporation
    • This organization provides housing to low-income individuals, as well as loans and grants. Rent is geared to income, approximately 25% of monthly income.
  • Human rights commission
    • Every province and territory has a human rights commission. The organizations exist to educate people about their rights and to provide recourse if someone feels that their rights are being violated. They especially seek to help marginalized and vulnerable populations who are most prone to human rights abuses.

Accessibility options

  • Home Repair Program
    • For those homeowners with a low- to modest-income and a disability, this program provides home repair loans to improve health and safety concerns, address accessibility needs, and/or improve a home’s energy efficiency.
  • Accessibility Enhancement Grants
    • This program offers grants to homeowners and landlords for improving the accessibility of people’s homes and rental units. Grants of up to $25,000 per unit and up to a maximum of $50,000 per multi-residential buildings are available.
  • Services for People with Disabilities — Yukon Health and Social Services
    • List of services offered to people with disabilities by various government departments in the Yukon.

National programs and disability resources

The federal government also provides a great deal of support to people with disabilities and to people with low- or fixed-income. These take the form of tax credits, grants, income supplements and assisted living arrangements.

  • Home accessibility tax credit (HATC)
    • The Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) is a nonrefundable tax credit that’s deducted from the amount of taxes owed by the taxpayer for the cost of additions, alterations, or renovations used to make the home more accessible to a person or a senior citizen with mobility impairments. A common example of such a modification is a ramp to make the home accessible for a relative in a wheelchair. Qualified individuals may deduct up to $10,000 for this credit.
  • Home Buyers’ Plan
    • The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows each first-time buyer to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year from their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.
  • Home Buyers’ Tax Credit
    • The HBTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps homeowners recover closing costs such as legal expenses and inspections. If you have a disability (i.e., you are eligible for the disability tax credit) or if you bought the house to improve accessibility for someone who requires accommodation, you can claim up to $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home on your personal tax return on the year of purchase.
  • Board and Lodging Supplement
    • A Board and Lodging Supplement is a funding supplement that is available, based on assessed need, to an adult with psychiatric, physical and/or intellectual disabilities, 18 years of age and older, who reside with relatives or non-relatives. These adults have identified needs and require a higher board and lodging rate to live in these arrangements than is usually allowed. The basic rate of board and lodging is available through HRLE and the supplement is available through the RHAs.
  • Individualized Living Arrangements
    • An individualized living arrangement (ILA) is established when no other service option is available or appropriate for an adult with an intellectual disability, meeting home support criteria and unable to reside with their natural family. While this program usually supports one client per home, there may be situations approved where the living arrangements are shared by individuals who wish to reside together. The funding for basic income support is provided by the Department of Human Resources Labor and Employment with additional funding for home support and other related costs provided by the RHAs. Once established, the ILAs are managed by the individual, family, or operations committee.
  • Shared Living Arrangements
    • In some instances, individuals with disabilities who require a high level of home support may choose to share the cost of a living arrangement and home support staff with another person. Funding may be provided from several sources such as the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment (HRLE) and the Regional Health Authorities (RHA). As in an individual living arrangement all benefits of income support including rent and heat and light supplements, and any other benefits available are obtained from HRLE and supplemented as per policy by RHAs.
  • Disability Benefits — Government of Canada
    • A guide to benefits provided at a national level, including pensions, children’s benefits and tax refunds.
  • Accessibility Resource Centre — Government of Canada
    • Resources from the Government of Canada concerning accessibility and building modification.
  • Disability resources by province — Canadian Assistive Technology
    • A list of assistive technology support and resources for each province and territory in Canada.

Private and non-profit national disability resources

If you can’t find what you need by going through your local government or the federal government, there are still options available to help you meet your housing needs. These resources are generally national in scope, but operate independently of the government (though they may receive some public funding):

Romana King
Romana King

Romana is an award-winning personal finance writer with an expertise in real estate. She is obsessed with the property marketplace and is the current Director of Content at Zolo.