Which insurance should you choose when renting a condo?

Many people enjoy living in condos because of the perks they offer – no lawns to tend to or snow to shovel, for example. If you’re considering renting a condo for yourself or a loved one, let’s take the time to go over this option. Here’s what you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of renting, but also the type of insurance you’ll need in this situation.

Renting a condo: The good...

Those who live in condos often point out the benefits of living in a modern and urban space. They are typically centrally located, avoid traffic, do their shopping at walking distance, take public transport...

With rare exceptions, condo tenants have the exact same benefits as their neighbours who own the condo units. Some of these buildings offer it all: swimming pool, gym, air conditioning, indoor parking, rooftop terrace. Sure, some apartments can rival these amenities, but they’re tough to find.

The other benefit of renting is that you can feel right at home without assuming the maintenance and costs. Renting therefore allows you to bypass some of the responsibilities related to owning a condo unit.

...and the bad

Renting a condo can provide a certain sense of comfort. However, this benefit comes with a price: The monthly cost is usually greater than a mortgage payment.

And that’s not all. Owners of newer condos sometimes have more flexibility to increase rental rates than landlords who rent apartments. In fact, the rules for rent fixing established by the Tribunal administratif du logement  (formerly known as the Régie du logement) do not apply to the first five years of a newly constructed building, for example, or a condo unit converted for rental. You may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you renew the lease.

As a tenant, you face another risk...you may be forced to move out even if you don’t want to. The new condo owners may require you to leave. They must still wait until the end of the lease, however, to take back control of their property.

Good to know

The building’s declaration of co-ownership also applies to you as a condo tenant. The owner is responsible for providing you with the condo rules, which vary based on location. Here are a few examples:

  • No smoking or pets allowed
  • Maximum number of visitors allowed at the pool
  • Installations that are permitted or forbidden on balconies, etc.

If you do not comply with the conditions, the condominium syndicate can take certain measures to force your hand. They may even request the cancellation of your lease. So make sure you know the rules inside out to spare you the hassles!

Condo or tenant's insurance?

Does the good outweigh the bad, in your opinion? Still wish to rent a condo? If so, it’s time to start thinking about getting the right insurance coverage.

Helpful tip : Don’t count on your condo insurance for compensation in the event of a loss. Like for any apartment, the contract does not include your personal property: furniture, jewelry, electronic appliances, clothes, sports equipment, musical instruments... Even if it’s not required legally, you should protect your property with tenant’s home insurance . Buying everything anew would set you back significantly!

Getting civil liability insurance is also an excellent idea. With a suggested coverage amount of $2 million, it covers you in situations in which you are deemed liable for damage caused to other occupants of the building.

Why $2 million? Let’s say one of your electric appliances catches fire (you left the iron plugged in or your toaster is defective, etc.) and the building begins to burn, you may be sued by your neighbours. This is when civil liability insurance comes in handy. It would save you from major financial problems. This precaution became mandatory for condo owners in 2018.

Living in a rented condo is appealing – especially if you hate shovelling and raking! The important thing to do is check whether this option is right for you and get adequate coverage so you can have peace of mind.