Ontario Landlords Association


Welcome to the OLA for Small Business Landlords

The Ontario Landlords Association (OLA) and its sister organization The Canada Landlords Association (CLA) are leading provincial and national organizations for private small residential landlords. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect landlord interests to national and local government.

  • Network with top professionals
  • Get advice from experienced landlords
  • Learn how the Landlord and Tenant Board works
  • Meet our recommended partners
  • Take part in landlord activities, social events.
  • A chance to "get involved!"

Toronto Star – Join A Group Such As The Ontario Landlords Association To Avoid Bad Tenants

Toronto Star  Ontario Landlords Use Credit Checks To Avoid Bad Tenants

Toronto Star – “Join a group such as the Ontario Landlords Association  where after becoming a member, you can do a credit check for as low as $10, and use their supporting materials to assist you.”

It’s a situation landlords all over face when renting out a property.

Everyone wants to rent to good tenants who pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Successful landlords rent to good tenants (and avoid the pro tenants out there who want to rip you off for thousands of dollars!)

This is especially important considering costs for landlords are rising and we can only raise the rent 1.6% in 2015.

Toronto Star Advice For Ontario Landlords 

There is an excellent column for landlords in the Toronto Star called “How Ontario landlords can avoid bad tenants.”

It’s written by Mark Weisleder who writes regularly for The Star.

Mr. Weisleder’s columns are very helpful for real estate investors and landlords and highly recommended.

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The Ontario Landlords Association is the Recognized Voice For Residential Landlords in Ontario

 

“The Ministry greatly values the role the Ontario Landlords Association and its members play in providing quality, affordable rental housing in Ontario and recognizes the OLA provides an important voice for small private residential landlords.”

Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

 

What Are The New Rules For Ontario Landlords in 2017?

OLA positive change

There are lots of new rules for landlords in Ontario in 2017

With new legislation coming to Ontario to protect tenants our province-wide landlord community wants changes to also protect good small landlords & investors who provide high quality, affordable rental housing in Ontario 

With property prices increasing in Ontario the provincial government announced they would be making some important policy changes that would protect tenants and home buyers and owners.

There was to be a bunch of comprehensive measures which would bring stability to the housing market. This made many small residential landlords interested in what would happen.

As home-owners who run rental businesses, small landlords are important stake-holders in Ontario. None of us wants instability and a lot of landlords were looking forward to the announcement of the new measures to strengthen the housing market and rental industry in our province. 

What Are the New Rules For Landlords?

The Premier, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Housing spoke at the press conference on April 20th.  The weather was a bit wet and the sparrows were making sure their chirps where heard (as the Housing Minister noted at the press conference).

Our community networked and lots of us viewed the Ontario Premier’s YouTube Channel to watch the press conference. We were eager to find out what the new rules would be to help make the housing market more stable to help tenants and landlords and improve the Ontario rental industry.

Among the changes was a 15% foreign speculation tax, changes to allow municipalities to discuss creating their own vacancy taxes, and allowing some surplus lands be made available for rental property construction.

There was also talk of of big changes to the way landlords can do business in Ontario under what is called Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan.

The announced changes included:

1. Newer Rentals Will Covered By the Rent Control Guideline

If your property was built after 1991 your property will now be covered by the rent increase guideline.

This means you can no longer raise the rent as much as you want to cover your costs.  The 2017 rent increase guideline is only 1.5% New condo owners will now be covered by the rent increase guideline.

2. Utilities Can’t Be The Reason For Your Above Rent Increase Guideline Application

So it utilities go up a lot you can’t raise the rent for this reason.

3. Own Use Application Will Mean You Have To Pay Your Tenant 1 Month Of Rent

You can also offer them another acceptable unit to rent.

4 Standardized Rental Documents

The government will prepare and distribute certain documents that landlords will be required to use.

Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan And Changes To How Landlords Can Run Their Rental Properties

While landlords understand the importance of protecting tenants, many in our community have serious concerns over these changes. For example:

Rent Control on Newer Properties

Many new condo landlords invested in condos over other types of properties (and invested in rental properties over other types of investment vehicles) because they had the flexibility of raising their rents annually in order to cover any increasing costs (like maintenance fees, etc.)

By including post 1991 properties under the Rent Increase Guideline it may lead to many landlords/investors selling their rentals and thus causing the number of rental units to decline in Ontario.

Utilities

Many members of our landlord community list rising costs of operating their rental businesses as one of their biggest worries. If utilities increase dramatically it will have a strong negative impact on small landlords.

It may even lead to more landlords renting out “non-inclusive” of utilities leading to more pressure on tenants.

Lease Documents

Our community believes this will have a strong negative impact on both small landlords and tenants.

Many aspects of the landlord tenant relationship are not covered in the Residential Tenancies Act.

Our most experienced and successful small residential landlords like to get everything agreed to by all parties at the beginning of a tenancy.  They make sure everything is clear and everyone understands what has been agreed upon. 

With a strong and clear comprehensive residential tenancy agreement (“lease”) things such as laundry use, shared common spaces and shared driveways can be agreed upon prior to a tenancy beginning to avoid potential confusion or conflict later on. A good lease with agreed upon clauses helps both good landlords and good tenants.

Let’s Include A Lot More in the Ontario Fair Housing Plan To Protect Small Landlords

Last year the Province contacted us and said they wanted ideas and suggestions on how make changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board to encourage more people to invest in rental properties in Ontario. 

So we asked our community for some ideas on how to improve the rental industry and had a huge response from places ranging from Thunder Bay to Hamilton to the Niagara Region, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, etc.

Thousands of ideas were presented and the OLA made a submission to the Provincial Ontario government

Since changes are being made to the Residential Tenancies Act now with the Ontario Fair Housing Plan let’s take this opportunity for true comprehensive changes and improvements to overhaul the current system and help both good landlords and good tenants and improve the entire Ontario rental industry! 

Here are just some of the changes our landlord community would like to see happen soon:

(1) Landlords Should  Be Able To Charge A Damage Deposit If All Parties Agree

This was a very popular idea within our community.  By making sure tenants have some “skin in the game” they will be more careful in the rental unit and won’t leave garbage or needed repairs when they move out.

As it is now, landlords will need to go to Small Claims Court to recover their losses.  And when tenants moving out leave garbage and damages behind it hurts new tenants who are moving in the same day.

Our community lists the need for a damage deposit as one of the key changes needed to improve the Ontario rental industry.

(2) No Pets Should Mean “No Pets” (and we need to be able to charge a pet deposit)

The overwhelming response in our community is a love for pets.

The issue is some tenants don’t take care of their pets properly and that means damages to the rental unit.

We have many landlords who have stories of dog and cat urine soaked carpets. And tenants saying they don’t have pets, and then bringing in lots of dogs and cats the same day they move in.

The OLA has suggested a “pet deposit” that pet-owning tenants could pay to help ease the financial fears of having people move in and having pets lead to thousands of dollars in damages. 

To be fair to tenants, a Toronto landlord suggested if there are no “pet damages” their deposit will be fully refunded and tenants will have a way to make sure it happens.  If for some reason it’s not, the tenant can go to the LTB to get it back in a simple, easy and fast manner.

(3) We Need a Quicker and More Efficient Way To Evict Non-Paying Tenants

It can now take months and even years for landlords to evict non-paying tenants. If you want to encourage more people to invest in rentals in Ontario this needs to change.

For example, we should change the N4 period to receive rent from 14 days down to something more reasonable such as a week or 48 hours.

Hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board should be guaranteed to be held within 14 days.

If the Enforcement Office cannot evict a tenant with a week, landlords need to be able to hire private bailiffs to fulfill and eviction order.

(4) Fast Evictions for Tenants Who Harm Other Tenants, Their Landlord, Or Seriously Damage The Rental

While this may sound a bit ridiculous for non-landlords, tenants who harass other tenants or their landlords is the reality for many of us.

This needs to change and landlords need a fast and efficient way to evict in these situations. A system such as Alberta landlords have would be a good policy for Ontario.

(5) When a Lease Ends Tenants Shouldn’t Automatically Become  “Month by Month”

Tenants In Ontario tenants have ‘security of tenancy’.  This means even when a mutually agreed upon lease is signed with a date for the termination of the lease, tenants can still stay on as monthly tenants afterwards.

This can become a real problem for small landlords as it doesn’t allow for any business certainty for future actions.

One Ottawa landlord wrote “In the province of Ontario it’s far easier to divorce your husband than it is to end a relationship with a tenant renting your basement.”

Is this the type of policy that encourages more good people to invest in rental properties in Ontario? No.

Many new landlords are not aware of security of tenancy laws in Ontario and are shocked when they find out.

(6) How About Different Rules for Corporate Landlords & Small  Landlords With Rentals of 3 Or Less Units

We know there are problems in many of the big rental buildings out there.

By helping creating a fairer and more just system for small landlords there would be more investment in the industry and more rental properties available for tenants.

For example, small landlords can’t afford an expensive legal team to represent them at the LTB.

We also don’t have thousands of units, so one non-paying tenant can lead to extreme financial and emotion stress on the small landlord.

A better system that protects small landlords would also encourage more investment by people who would be excellent, service-oriented housing providers.

These are people such as teachers, mechanics, dentists, nurses and all sorts of working people who want to invest in residential rental properties as a business and a way to help themselves financially.

New Rules For Ontario Landlords in 2017

With all the new changes many in our community are asking “what about rights for small landlords?”

How about we work together for a system that helps both good tenants and good landlords? Let’s improve the Ontario rental industry and let’s do it now!

Let’s Support Small Landlords And Investors Who Create So Many Great Rental Properties For Tenants!

Will There Be An End To The Rent Exemption That Removes Rent Control From Nearly All Rental Units Built After 1991?

OLA campaign 1

We Want To Hear From The Small Landlord Community. The Ontario Landlords Association Will Be Making a Submission to the Ministry Sharing Your Thoughts & Concerns on a Bill Which Could End the Exemption That Allows Rental Properties To Avoid Rent Control If The property Was Built After 1991

Real estate prices have appreciated greatly in Toronto and the GTA over the past several years. And it looks like property prices will continue rising in 2017.

With these rising property prices, many areas have also seen rising rents. This has led to politicians looking to make changes in how the residential landlord-tenant system works in Ontario.

Why are rents rising?

It’s because most of the new rentals on the market are due to the investments of hard working and risk taking small landlords and investors. These are often working people who invest in a “income property” as a nest egg to help their financial future.

With costs rising these small landlords need to charge rents that cover their costs of owning the property. With prices rising, they also have to spend more buy the property. As they are also small business people they have invested with the goal of attaining at least some sort of profit.

Who are these Ontario landlords?

Many of these investors/landlords are people like you reading here. They are people who have jobs and are working very hard to build for their retirement.

They save their money, and invest…taking a risk to provide high quality rental properties for tenants with the hopes of a fair and decent return.

These investors/landlords include teachers, fire-fighters, police officers, dentists, contractors, secretaries, nurses, truck drivers, small business owners, retirees, etc.  These are the people who make up the OLA community.

These investors and landlords are not rich corporations hoping to build their share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

What changes are being proposed?

An NDP member has put forward a private member’s bill that will end the rent control exemption for rental properties that were built after 1991. The NDP claims this exemption puts tenants at risk and is putting many people who rent in a difficult situation.

What is the 1991 exemption all about?

We have written about the 1991 rent exemption before. In fact, before the OLA began discussing this it was rarely mentioned in the media and few people even knew about it. As with so many aspects of the rental business in Ontario after the OLA began discussing the issue it became well-known and a “hot issue”.

Why is this such a hot issue now?

It’s because rents are increasing. A Global News report said the average rent for a Toronto condo is now over $2000/month. So many tenants are justifiably concerned about rent increases and being able to afford being able to stay in their rental property.

What Do OLA Members Say?

Our landlord community consists of landlords all over Ontario.  And we have owners of all types of rentals.  These range from condos to basement apartment rentals to duplexes and even larger buildings.

The issue of rent control has been a big issue for our community for years. When this latest development was announced landlords were quick to begin to share their thoughts and concerns.

Here are some of the thoughts and points of discussion in our busy member forum.

(1) This is a Business And I Need To Keep Up With Costs

Many landlords worry about being able to cover their costs. They aren’t out to “gouge” tenants (as successful landlords know how valuable good tenants are). If rents can’t be raised to cover costs it will lead to financial hardship, especially for small landlords.

Others stated that landlords take a risk when buying a property to rent out and our investments are important to the Ontario economy. As they are running a “business” they need some flexibility in how they operate.

An Ottawa landlord said investors like her  fund the construction industry and the building trades. We hire property managers and provide business to real estate agents.

We are also the people who are providing new rental accommodations. Changing the rules for rent control will impact jobs and the entire Ontario economy.

(2) I Bought My New Build Rental Property Because of the 1991 Exemption

Many new landlords who bought condos are shocked at the news that they may be covered by rent control.

One new condo investor wrote that if the exemption is stopped she will never ever trust this government again.

(3) My Rentals Aren’t in Downtown Toronto and If I Raise Rents Too High Tenants Will Just Move

Some landlords think the government is too focused on the situation in Toronto and not aware of how things work in the rest of Ontario where real vacancy rates are not that low. A Barrie landlord said while having the freedom to cover costs is important, if she raises rents too high her tenants will simply move.

(4) The 1991 Exemption Is Unfair To Landlords With Older Rental Properties Because The Rent Increase Guideline is Far Too Low

Many members of our Ontario landlord community own older homes. A Newmarket landlord said he buys older homes, invests his hard earned money to fix them, renovates them, makes them attractive, and then rents them out. He wonders why are these landlords punished with an extremely low annual rent increase guideline that is capped?

(5) Let’s Get Rid of Rent Control for All Rental Properties in Ontario Whatever the ‘Age’ of the Property

Some members of our community believe the real solution is to end rent control for all Ontario rental properties. This would lead to a lot more investment into rentals. This would give tenants more options and good landlords with great rental properties would be able to invest more with confidence.

Proposal To End the Rent Control Exemption on Properties Built After 1991

It seems so simple at first glance. The headlines are all about tenants who are being priced out of their rental property as rents rise.

In reality it’s more complicated.

The issue of rent control and rental properties requires serious research and the input of all stake-holders.

And small landlords are key stake-holders and our voices need be heard.

The Concerns From Tenant About Ridiculous Rent Increases Is a Serious Issue

Many of our members rented before and are concerned about the challenges tenants can face with a ridiculously high rent increase.  The problem is legislation covering both large corporate landlords and small landlords will hurt the ‘small players’ who take tenant concerns seriously.

For example one of our members wrote “Good tenants are the key to success as a landlord and investor.  I haven’t even raised rents on my good tenants for the past three years because I value them!”

Another landlord said: “Okay, make it fair for all rentals of all ages but make the annual rent increase more reasonable because now it’s far too low!”

Improving the Ontario Rental Industry to Benefit Landlords and Tenants

The stakes are high as any knee jerk media friendly policies could seriously impact the Ontario rental industry in a very negative way.  This will hurt both good landlords and good tenants.

Bad policy decisions based on media click-bait stories can lead to very bad results for landlords and for tenants. It’s important the government meets with all stake-holders before such an important policy decision is made.

We will make a submission to the province and want to hear your landlord and tenant concerns about rent control.  Contact us at landlordfairness@lobbyist.com.

We will make sure your voices are heard.

Any new policies regarding rent control need to be part of a much larger overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board. Let’s improve the Ontario rental industry for tenants and small landlords who have invested in properties.

Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) Fees Are Going Up in 2017

ontario-landlords-association-education-campaign

Ontario Landlords Filing Applications at the LTB Will See Fees Rise in 2017

Experienced Ontario landlords know one of the keys to success in this industry is having strong, mutually respectful relationships with your tenants.

You provide a terrific, safe, fairly priced rental property to your tenants. You are a service-oriented landlord and that means when things need fixing or issues arise, you make it a priority and get things fixed fast. When you fix these issues you cooperate with your tenant to make sure both sides are satisfied with the solution.

Great Tenants

In return your tenants take care of the rental home and pay their rent on time. When they want to move out to buy their own home or move to another area they provide proper notice and allow showings according to the Residential Tenancies Act. When you do the showings the tenants are cooperative and keep the place clean. (Many of our most successful members even have tenants recommend their rentals to new prospective tenants during showings).

It’s a win-win situation and it’s what everyone wants.

In Reality Sometimes Things Go Wrong

It happens.

Let’s face it, the LTB is very busy and this is why it can take such a long time to get a Hearing date.

Some landlords don’t fulfill their responsibilities. Important repairs are neglected and safety issues not taken as seriously as they need to be taken.

Other times your tenants don’t fulfill their end of the deal.

We’ve had landlords write about rent being consistently paid late. Or sometimes they don’t get paid at all by their tenants.  There are even examples of tenants who make big damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

One of the most common complaints our members have discussed recently have been from landlords owning multiplex units. They have to deal with tenants arguing with other tenants in the building and get drawn into it.

Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

When these type of issues happen landlords and tenants can go to the LTB to try to resolve the issues.

We’ve written before about the Landlord and Tenant Board and the longer you are a landlord the greater the chance that at some point you will need to go to a Hearing.

Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) Application Fees Are Increasing January 16, 2017

There are going to be some higher prices for landlords filing applications beginning on January 16, 2017. There are also going to be some increases for a couple of tenant applications.

The LTB wants it to be known that fees are going up around 10% and haven’t been increased since back in 2009. You can see the new 2017 fees versus the older ones here.

Fee Waivers For Those On a Low Income

If you are on a low income you can make a request for a ‘fee waiver’.  The threshold to get this fee waiver has increased and you can find more information here.

Discounts With E-Filing

Four of the most common landlord and tenant applications can be filed through the LTB e-filing system.  These forms make up about eighty percent of the applications filed. 

These applications are:

(a) Form L1 – Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-Payment of Rent and to Collect the Rent the Tenant Owes

(b) Form L2 – Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant

(c) Form T2 – Application about Tenant Rights

(d) Form T6 – Tenant Application about Maintenance

Be aware of the discount if you are e-filing one of these.

Landlords and the Landlord Tenant Board 2017

Successful Ontario landlords know the importance of choosing good tenants and developing a mutually respectful relationship. Just as good landlords appreciate good tenants, good tenants also are looking for professional and knowledgeable landlords.

If you do go to the LTB make sure you are aware of the process and that includes knowing how much the fees are.

Ontario Rent Increase Guideline 2017 Set at 1.5%

Ontario Rent Increase Guideline 2017 is 1.5%

Ontario Landlords Can Raise The Rent By 1.5% in 2017

Experienced and successful landlords know the importance of owning safe, attractive, well-maintained rental properties. With great properties landlords can attract good tenants and are on your way to running a successful rental business.

Maintaining and improving properties can be costly. The prices of contractors, plumbers, electricians and building materials keep rising. Purchasing things to make your tenants happy can also add up. Improvements such as replacing windows and doors to help save heating costs, adding new outside lights to create a more secure environment, and buying the latest energy efficient appliances can be a challenge for small landlords on a tight budget.

How Much Can Landlords Raise the Rent in 2017?

According to the Ministry of Housing, the province of Ontario has set the 2017 rent increase guideline at 1.5%

What is the Rent Increase Guideline?

This is a question many new landlords ask us. The rent increase guideline is the maximum amount of money a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent. If you want to raise it more than the guideline you have to get approved by an adjudicator at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

How is the Rent Increase Guideline Calculated?

It is created with information contained in the Ontario Consumer Price Index.Most of the information is gathered by Statistics Canada which measures inflation.

What Was the Rent Increase Guideline for 2016?

In 2016 Ontario landlords could raise the rent by 2.0%

Are All Ontario Rental Properties Subject to the Rent Increase Guideline?

No, not all. For example you are not covered by it if your rental property is vacant, is social housing, was first occupied after November 1st, 1991 or is a commercial unit.

Ontario Landlords Can Raise the Rent by 1.5% in 2017

Are you going to raise the rent? Remember to follow the Landlord and Tenant Board rules if you are which includes using proper forms and giving proper notice.

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) Has Changed

ontario-landlords-association-education-campaign

Keeping Ontario Landlords Informed: Tenants who are the victims of sexual and domestic violence can now end their tenancy in 28 days 

Successful Ontario landlords know the importance of following the rules and laws for running a successful rental businesses. We also know to follow the rules you need to be aware of them.

Sometimes that can be a challenge. Most small residential Ontario landlords have full-time jobs.  Our members aren’t large corporations with full-time staff and stocks and bonds.

We have members who are nurses, teachers, Toronto fire-fighters, carpenters, plumbers, professional athletes (including some famous ones), lawyers, doctors, electricians, full time Mums and Dads, receptionists, dentists, and investors who don’t even live in Canada (but have invested a lot of money, hired property managers and created terrific rentals.)

With such busy lives it can be hard to keep track of changes that are important for our professional and service-oriented landlords.

This is another way the OLA helps out because we reach a huge audience of small landlords across Ontario and let them know about important changes. For example, we still have Mississauga landlords thanking us for letting them know about the changes to the landlord licensing system in that city.

At first glance the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) can look very complicated and even intimidating. The reality is the RTA is complicated and can be a bit scary for new landlords (and even for some vets).

Over the years we’ve had thousands of small residential landlords from across the province contact us for help and assistance.

This is one of the reasons why the OLA has been asking the government to improve the Residential Tenancies Act to help small landlords and encourage more investment in rental properties in Ontario.

The RTA Has Changed in 2016

There has been a change in the RTA recently.  It’s a change to help victims of sexual and domestic violence be able to escape bad situations.

Many of our landlord members were tenants at one point in our lives. Or they have relatives or friends who rent now.  They recognize this is a positive changes to help tenants in trouble and our membership agrees with helping tenants who are honestly in abusive and  dangerous situations.

Our members want to rent out high quality, legal rental units, to all the good tenants out there and be great landlords. We encourage rule changes, to help good tenants and to help good landlords.

New Notice Allows Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence To End Tenancy in 28 Days

There has been a change is section 47.1 of the Residential Tenancies Act. Tenants who are the victims of sexual or domestic violence can now end their tenancy in just 28 days if they think they or a child living with them might be harmed or even injured if they don’t get out of the rental property.

Tenants in this type of situation can give notice at any time during the duration of their tenants.In order to do this the tenant must give the landlord 2 documents.

(a) Tenants Notice to End Tenancy because of Fear of Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse (Form N15)

Landlords (and all the tenants who read here) can get more information here.

(b) Tenant’s Statement about Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse.

Landlords and tenants can get more information here.

(c) Court Order

Tenants can also give the landlord a copy of the court order. For example, they can give you a copy of a peace bond or a restraining order).

Successful Ontario Landlords Know The Rules and Follow Them

Make sure you are aware and follow the laws and rules for landlords in Ontario. We encourage and welcome changes to help tenants.  We also want to encourage some changes to help all the good landlords in this province.

The OLA is the voice of small residential landlords so if you have any ideas for change to your business and encourage other to invest in rentals in Ontario please let us know and we will present it to the Ministry.

We all have the goal to create rules and procedures that promotes and protects both good tenants and good landlords and improves the residential rental industry in Ontario.

Let’s continue to make positive and important changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for both tenants and small residential landlords.