RentSmart Course Equips Tenants to Build Strong Tenancies
In-Depth RentSmart Program shows power of partnerships
Calgary Housing Company (CHC) has been partnering with RentSmart for the last two years, providing CHC tenants and applicants with the opportunity to learn about their rights and responsibilities when renting a home. RentSmart is a housing readiness model that gives participants the skills and knowledge to be great tenants, and positively impact housing stability.
The RentSmart course is offered to applicants and tenants free of charge to lay the groundwork for successful tenancies and to help tenants and applicants feel confident in their knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as a tenant – with CHC or with any other residential landlord.
The RentSmart course offers a variety of benefits including helping applicants reduce barriers to finding suitable housing and supporting people who need assistance in finding and keeping housing. It can also help tenants who are dealing with housing instability by helping them to be aware of the importance of communicating with their landlord about things like financial challenges and setting up rent payments to avoid eviction.
Generally it helps participants understand the whole residential rental process: from identifying their needs, to initiating the search, to acquiring and maintaining housing. The Calgary Housing Company delivered course provides information relevant and specific to CHC processes and rules, as well as to tenancy situations in general.
About the RentSmart Course
The RentSmart course not only teaches applicants and tenants things to keep in mind to be a successful tenant, it can also help them secure housing in the future. When a participant completes the course, they get a RentSmart certificate which can act as a reference when applying for a place to rent. The RentSmart certificate lets landlords know an applicant cares about being a good tenant!
Currently, the RentSmart course is 12 hours long and divided into six modules, delivered online over 3 weeks with two – two hour classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Learn about upcoming course offerings.
Benefits of taking RentSmart
The RentSmart course empowers applicants and tenants in a number of ways. Knowing your rights and responsibilities, including who is responsible for what when it comes to home maintenance, what legal requirements need to be met on the part of the tenant and the landlord, and generally understanding your role as a tenant. Understanding these matters gives tenants power over their housing situation.
For example, knowing what types of damages you are responsible for can help to ensure you get as much of your security deposit back as possible when you move out.
The program can also help you develop better relationships with neighbours or roommates, and overall improve communication and interactions with others in your community.
The information in this course can be used for all residential rental situations, not just with Calgary Housing Company, and for applicants waiting to get into CHC, it looks good on your application.
RentSmart topics include:
- Tenant rights and responsibilities
- Landlord responsibilities and expectations
- Tenancy, human rights and privacy laws
- Roommates and neighbours
- Budgeting and keeping housing affordable
- Maintenance dos and don’ts
- Fire and safety
- And more!
- Module 1: The Importance of Home
- Module 2: Applying for Housing
- Module 3: Rights, Responsibilities and Expectations
- Module 4: Managing Finances
- Module 5: Communicating Effectively
- Module 6: Taking Care of Your Home
RentSmart began delivering their program in 2011 in Victoria, BC, providing education and support to individuals and families who were homeless or whose housing was unstable. In 2014 they began hosting their “Train the Trainer” program to share the model with other communities on Vancouver Island and the following year to all of BC. In 2015 RentSmart Educator training expanded to include principles of Adult Education and Transformative Training (part of the reason why RentSmart is effective), as well as facilitation practice. In 2017, RentSmart was adapted to Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario and CHC began partnering with them to connect tenants to courses in Calgary.
In 2019, Calgary Housing Company sent several Property Managers to the “Train the Trainer” program, and now the RentSmart course is offered to CHC tenants and applicants in-house. Being able to rely on dedicated knowledgeable staff members who can provide information relevant and specific to CHC and renting in general, helps to ensure successful tenancies and build confidence as a renter.
CHC is excited to continue delivering this valuable program to tenants and applicants to empower them for successful tenancies today and into the future.