Service NL

Consumer Affairs Division Frequently Asked Questions

Collection and Credit

  1. A collection agency called me at work, can they do that?
  2. I went to get a car loan and they told me that I have bad credit but I don't know how I ended up with bad credit. What can I do?
  3. Do I need a licence to charge interest on overdue accounts?

Please refer to Collection Agencies, and Consumer Reporting for additional information.

Direct Selling

  1. Do people selling door to door need a licence?
  2. If I buy something from a door to door salesperson and I change my mind can I return it?

Please refer to Direct Sellers for additional information.

Landlord and Tenant

  1. Does the Residential Tenancies Act apply to a verbal rental agreement?
  2. Is the landlord required to give a tenant a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act?
  3. Can a landlord request post dated cheques for rent payments?
  4. Are there Residential Premises not covered by the Act?
  5. Does the Act apply to business/commercial rental agreements?
  6. Is a tenant responsible to have insurance on his/her personal belongings?
  7. When a rented premises is sold to a new owner, does the rental agreement continue?
  8. What happens to a security deposit when there is a change in ownership of a rented premises?
  9. Can a landlord charge a fee for late payment of rent?
  10. Can a landlord charge a fee if a tenant's rent cheque is returned because of non sufficient funds (N.S.F.) in the tenant's account?
  11. Can a tenant withhold rent because a landlord is not maintaining the premises?
  12. Can a landlord terminate a rental agreement when the tenant does not pay rent?
  13. Can a landlord increase rent by giving a verbal notice to the tenant?
  14. Can a landlord increase rent anytime?
  15. Is a tenant responsible for damages to the residential premises?
  16. What can a landlord do if a tenant has not repaired damages?
  17. Can a termination notice be verbal?

Please refer to Residential Tenancies for additional information.

Lottery

  1. I want to conduct a lottery, do I need a licence?
  2. I represent workers at my business and we want to sell tickets amongst ourselves to raise money for the staff Christmas party, can we do this?
  3. Who is responsible for video lottery terminals (VLTs)?

Please refer to Lotteries for additional information.

Collection and Credit

1. A collection agency called me at work, can they do that?

No, a collection agency and their collectors are bound by the code of practice under the Collections Act. Under the code, a collection agency and their collectors are not allowed to call you at your place of work, contact your employer without your consent, contact you between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am, threaten to proceed with an action for which they do not have authority, use coercive language, threaten loss of employment, make contact with you in a manner that would be considered harassment and except to obtain your address, communicate with your acquaintances, friends, relatives or neighbors. For more information contact the Consumer Affairs Division.

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2. I went to get a car loan and they told me that I have bad credit but I don't know how I ended up with bad credit. What can I do?

You can request a copy of your report from the credit reporting agency to verify the information contained in your report is valid. If information contained in your report is not accurate you can contact the individual or company that gave the information to the credit reporting agency about correcting the error. If after doing this your credit report is not corrected contact the Consumer Affairs Division.

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3. Do I need a licence to charge interest on overdue accounts?

No, a license is not required to charge interest on overdue accounts but there are sections one should be aware of in the Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act regarding disclosure. See Part VII of The Act.

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Direct Selling

1. Do people selling door to door need a licence?

If you go from door to door selling goods or services or soliciting orders for future delivery you need a licence under the Direct Sellers Act. There are however some people that are exempt from licencing. Some that are exempt are people selling newspapers, dairy or bakery products, firewood, farm products, fish or meat, and charitable organizations. For more information contact the Consumer Affairs Division.

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2. If I buy something from a door to door salesperson and I change my mind can I return it.

Yes, under the Direct Sellers Act you have a 10 day cooling off period after a copy of the contract is received to either cancel the agreement or return purchased goods. For more information contact the Consumer Affairs Division.

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Landlord and Tenant

1. Does the Residential Tenancies Act apply to a verbal rental agreement?

Yes. The Act applies to a verbal rental agreement.

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2. Is the landlord required to give a tenant a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act?

Yes. The landlord is required to provide the tenant with a copy of the Act, without cost, upon entering into a rental agreement. However, if a landlord fails to provide a copy, the tenant should make every effort to become aware of his/her rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2000.

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3. Can a landlord request post dated cheques for rent payments?

Yes. The landlord can request post dated cheques.

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4. Are there Residential Premises not covered by the Act?

There are certain premises which do not come under the Act, such as accommodations:

  1. Where meals and bed linens are provided;
  2. Where the owner shares bathroom and kitchen facilities with an occupant, as in a boarding home;
  3. Provided by an educational institution to its students (including units owned by Memorial University of Newfoundland);
  4. Provided by religious, charitable or non-profit organizations;
  5. In a hospital or nursing home;
  6. Occupied on a transient basis provided in a hotel, motel, inn, tourist home or hostel.

(Refer to Section 3 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2000 for more information concerning what accommodations are excluded.)

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5. Does the Act apply to business/commercial rental agreements?

No, the Act does not apply to this type of landlord-tenant relationship.

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6. Is a tenant responsible to have insurance on his/her personal belongings?

Yes. A tenant is responsible to carry insurance on his/her personal belongings. A tenant's personal belongings are not covered by insurance the landlord may have on the residential premises.

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7. When a rented premises is sold to a new owner, does the rental agreement continue?

Yes. The rental agreement (written or verbal) continues as if there was no change in ownership. (exception maybe on a foreclosure).

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8. What happens to a security deposit when there is a change in ownership of a rented premises?

The new owner will be responsible for the security deposit.

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9. Can a landlord charge a fee for late payment of rent?

Yes. The landlord can charge $5.00 for the first day the rent is late and $2.00 for each additional day the rent is not paid up to a maximum of $75.00.

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10. Can a landlord charge a fee if a tenant's rent cheque is returned because of non sufficient funds (N.S.F.) in the tenant's account?

If a rent cheque is returned N.S.F., a landlord may charge a fee not greater than $25.00.

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11. Can a tenant withhold rent because a landlord is not maintaining the premises?

No. Not paying the rent may result in the landlord serving a short termination notice. The tenant has other options to have a landlord carry out required maintenance work. The tenant should contact the landlord in writing outlining the maintenance work required. If the landlord does not then carry out requested maintenance work, or if any work carried out is not satisfactory the tenant may contact the Division for assistance.

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12. Can a landlord terminate a rental agreement when the tenant does not pay rent?

Yes, a landlord can give a short notice of termination when the rent is not paid. Refer to Termination Notices for additional information.

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13. Can a landlord increase rent by giving a verbal notice to the tenant?

No. A landlord must give the tenant a written notice to increase the rent.

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14. Can a landlord increase rent anytime?

A landlord cannot increase the rent during any fixed term rental agreement or during the first 12 months of a week to week or month to month rental agreement.

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15. Is a tenant responsible for damages to the residential premises?

A tenant is responsible to repair damages where the tenant or one of the tenant's guests or visitors caused the damages.

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16. What can a landlord do if a tenant has not repaired damages?

A landlord can request in writing a tenant to repair damages. If the tenant fails to do the repairs within 3 days, or a reasonable time, if appropriate, then a landlord can give a tenant a written termination notice of not less than 5 days.

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17. Can a termination notice be verbal?

No. A termination notice must be in writing.

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Lottery

1. I want to conduct a lottery, do I need a licence?

Yes, you can obtain an application and licence information from your nearest Government Service Centres Division location, or by phoning (709) 729-2732.

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2. I represent workers at my business and we want to sell tickets amongst ourselves to raise money for the staff Christmas party, can we do this?

No, all proceeds from lotteries must be used in a charitable or religious way. A staff Christmas party is not considered charitable. For more information on lotteries contact the Consumer Affairs Division.

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3. Who is responsible for video lottery terminals (VLTs)?

The video lottery terminals are administered by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) on behalf of the Provincial Government. ALC's phone number is (800) 561-3942.

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