Housing

Meeting a Landlord for the First Time

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2 minutes - Article

Landlords will be more willing to rent to you if you are friendly and respectful.

Melissa Meneen is the Manager of the Indigenous Youth Housing First Program at Native Counselling Services of Alberta. She helps provide housing and support to Indigenous youth in Edmonton. Melissa knows how important it is to make a good first impression when you are meeting with a landlord.

“When you introduce yourself to a landlord, talk in a good way about who you are so you can get your foot in the door,” says Melissa.

Tips for a successful meeting

Remember to be on time, or early, for any meetings you have. Be polite both in person, on the phone or over email. Try to not cancel meetings with landlords as they may think that you lack follow through and may get concerned about rent being paid on time.

Know your rights

Melissa also stresses the importance of knowing your rights when you are speaking to a potential landlord.

“Youth often go see a landlord and don’t know what the boundaries are. They sometimes overshare when a landlord is asking personal questions that are outside the bounds of information that they need to know. If youth don’t know their rights, they overshare and then they don’t get the unit.”

Some questions are out of bounds

Keep in mind that questions like “Do you use drugs?” or “If you lived on the street, how long did you live on the street?” are outside the bounds of a housing application. You are not required to answer these types of questions.

As Melissa says, “Really, all the landlord needs to know is are you going to pay your rent on time and are you going to follow the rules of the lease? This has nothing to do with the type of people that you associate with, what kind of relationships you have or your history of trauma.”

Dealing with Racism

Racism exists and many Indigenous people find that landlords may stereotype them because of the color of their skin. Sometimes, apartment units that were available all of a sudden aren’t after they meet you.

“You can stand up for yourself even when there’s someone in front of you in a position of authority that is not giving you respect or has misconceptions about who you are,” says Melissa. “If you think a landlord might be asking an inappropriate question, you can say something like “I don’t give out that information,” or “That isn’t relevant to my rental application, but I would be happy to provide you with other information that is relevant.”

If you’re unsure about your rights or whether a landlord is acting appropriately, you can call the Consumer Contact Centre at 780-427-4088 or toll free at 1-877-427-4088, They can provide you with information on many topics related to landlords and tenants.

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