Archive for the ‘Landlord and Tenant Board’ Category

An Ontario Landlord Story Part 3 “Does the Landlord and Tenant Board Follow Their Own Rules?”

Friday, July 12th, 2013

July 13th, 2013

Landlord and Tenant Board Adjudicator Tenant Duty Counsel

(Click to read Part 1 and Part 2)

To give the tenant the power to destroy the landlord’s employment hardly seems reasonable to me, but as it happened, I was able to send my eldest daughter to the house with a permission form, and the squatters did sign it.

Even so, it took a great many phone calls and tears before a manager at the Landlord and Tenant Board finally intervened and agreed to schedule all three of our hearings for the same day – and on a Tuesday.

Still not ideal, as I teach at 11 am on Tuesdays, and they do not typically allow such minor details to influence the adjudicator’s schedule, but the manager did agree to write a letter requesting that if at all possible, our issues be dealt with as early as possible on that day. 

Unfortunately, in order to “accommodate” me to this extent, the hearing was delayed by several weeks – and of course, the tenants paid no rent for January either.  Nor February.

Over the course of the time while we were waiting for the hearing, the tenants made numerous complaints to various agencies, resulting in our receiving almost daily phone calls, and even threats, from by-law officers, fire chiefs, and the police.

They complained that the vacuum my husband used in the basement unit of the building disturbed them, which resulted in a police officer first of all, entering our unit without permission, and secondly, instructing my husband to leave to cease interfering with her “enjoyment.”  

They objected to him stopping at the work site on the highway where the partner worked and writing down the name of his employer from the side of the work trucks, and called the police for that as well.

They provided a list of repairs they wanted completed in the unit. These ranged from the frivolous such as “our light fixtures don’t work” (light bulbs) and 2 elements and the oven don’t work (they removed the elements, and the oven timer needed turning to the off position) to the ridiculous (we want the wall that we ripped out in the bathroom and the deck that we trucked away from the back door replaced).

When we did attend to attempt to make repairs we were verbally abused and/or denied entry, and the few repairs they did allow were promptly and publicly undone.  We also heard regularly from people in our small town that they were crowing about how they were successfully “screwing” both us and OW

And of course, they continued to toss their garbage – mountains of it – into not only the back yard, now, but also in the front, and in the parking areas.

Finally the day of the hearing arrived. And we were, in fact, one of the first cases to be dealt with. The tenants were not actually present when we were called to the front of the room – they arrived several minutes in, more than an hour past the time we were – supposedly – required to sign in. 

It was abundantly clear that the rules about signing in and providing three copies of any evidence to be offered only applied to landlords. 

The issues were dealt with relatively easily, and we – we thought – were successful on all three counts.

The adjudicator told us that he found that our evidence was credible and the tenants’ was not, and that they had indeed given notice for the end of November, refused to vacate, and paid no rent since.

He would, he said, order that the stay of the original eviction order be lifted, requiring them to vacate the unit by 31-Jan. As well, his order would direct that they pay the rent owing and for the damages we were able to prove at that point.

As we left the building, naively thinking that we had won, the tenants were heading back in

– it was not until the written order arrived more than a week later that we discovered that we should, perhaps, have followed them. The written order was not as the adjudicator had stated. It seems likely that when they went back in, the tenant was able to speak to the Duty Council and – in spite of the principles stated on the LTB website which include that:

5. A Member will not communicate directly or indirectly with any party, witness or representative in respect of a proceeding outside of a hearing or pre-hearing conference, except in the presence of all parties and their representatives

He was somehow able to have it amended.

When it arrived, her partner had been deemed to be not a tenant and therefore removed from the order – and the adjudicator found that due to her circumstances it was “not unfair” to permit her additional time, so rather than 31-Jan, he gave her until 15-Feb.

Which, given the Sheriff’s “process” meant that we would be on the hook for all of February and possibly well into March. How nice of him to be so charitable with our money! 

And while the order would allow for us to be paid a pro-rated amount for the additional period, since she was on OW (Ontario Works), the fact that he was removed from the order ensured that we would not be able to collect a single cent of the more than $5,000 owing to us at that point.

This left us asking ourselves – Does the Landlord and Tenant Board Follow their Own Rules?

To Be Continued…

Landlord and Tenant Board News

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

July 1st, 2013

Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board L1 L9

What’s New at the Landlord and Tenant Board? Rule 33 and Revised L1/L9 Information Update Form

In Ontario the Landlord and Tenant Board’s role is to provide information about the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and to resolve disputes between most residential landlords and tenants. 

Many small residential landlords have experienced frustration when going to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Thousands of emails and thousands of OLA members have made it clear things need to change.

It can be a complicated and intimidating process for small landlords.  It can be especially stressful as tenants in Ontario can get free legal help at Hearings.

With legal reps for landlords charging up to thousands of dollars with no guarantees and often unsatisfactory results, more and more landlords are choosing to represent themselves at the LTB.

We know because the emails keep pouring in regarding landlords who paid thousands and are extremely unhappy!

This is why we are pleased that as part of its ongoing efforts to improve service, the Board has introduced changes to some of its processes and the forms and Rules of Practice that support those processes.

Earlier in 2013 the Board posted draft versions of the revised L1 / L9 Information as of the Hearing Day form and a new Rule, Rule 33 – The L1/L9 Information as of the Hearing Day Form for public review and feedback.

Based on the comments received, the Landlord and Tenant Board has finalized the form, and finalized the Rule.

The good news is the form can now be easily completed online compared to the complications of the previous one.

Click here to access the L1 / L9 Information as of the Hearing Day Form.

Click here to access Rule 33 – The L1 / L9 Information as of the Hearing Day Form.

Make Your Voice Heard

The Landlord and Tenant Board says they thank everyone who provided comments on the L1/L9 process and the update form.

We know many of our members participated in providing these comments.

The result – a better system that particularly helps small landlords new to the process.

Let’s keep making sure our voices are heard.

The people who run the system need to know the challenges small residential landlords face. We have a new Premier who has proven she listens and invites us to talk more.

Let’s keep communicating our message and change the system to encourage more investment in safe and affordable rental housing in Ontario.

Whether your are a landlord in Barrie, Toronto, Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario let’s continue to let people know it’s important to support small landlords who risk a lot to provide safe and affordable rental housing all over Ontario!

An Ontario Landlord Story Part 2 “Dealing With the LTB and the Sheriff”

Friday, May 31st, 2013

June 1st, 2013

system-broken-sign-300x225

(To Read Part 1 of this important story click Here)

When she did not vacate the property, nor pay rent for December, I filed an L3 – Application to Terminate a Tenancy:  Applicant gave Notice or Agreed to Terminate the Tenancy.  I did not, on the advice of the LTB customer service person, file any additional issues at this time, as these were likely, he said, to prolong the process by requiring hearings.

This application was accepted and I received an eviction order within two days! For all the good it did us. When I spoke to the Sheriff’s Office it became clear that there would be no immediate resolution in spite of the order. The earliest they might possibly trouble themselves to come out and serve her with the notice of eviction was “sometime late January.” 

I found this extremely problematic, and did a great deal of research online, only to discover that delays of weeks, or even months, are apparently quite common in Ontario.

The Sheriff has a monopoly on evictions, and eviction orders only say “on or after” … they don’t set any sort of guidelines for what “after” might mean. Phone calls to my MPP’s office, the Ontario Ombudsman, and the Ministry of the Attorney General which oversees this “service” had no impact.

In any case, on the day which the eviction order could be turned into the Sheriff’s Office I (stupidly!!!!) I did exactly that, paying $401 for the Sheriff to not do his job. When I arrived at home, I discovered that the tenants had stopped by to serve us with a notice of a hearing and a stay of the eviction order.

The hearing date given on that set of papers was a Monday, but in Mississauga – an interesting choice, given that the Barrie office is significantly closer – but since I did not teach on Mondays, I was fine with that.

Since we were having a hearing anyway, we decided to cover all of the issues and I paid another $170 to file an L1 re: nonpayment of rent, and an L3, notice to evict based on the second N5. I also included a note asking that, due to my teaching schedule, hearings not be scheduled on Thursdays or Fridays, and a copy of my timetable.

When I received my notice of hearings, they were scheduled for not one, but two consecutive Thursdays – and when I called to complain about this, I was told that the tenant had requested that the initial hearing be moved and that this was also scheduled, now, on a Thursday, although not either those on which mine were scheduled. 

Apparently, no one at the LTB thought anything of forcing me to miss work not once, but on three consecutive Thursdays. If I was stupid enough to rent to deadbeats, clearly I deserved to also lose my job – although how they think that landlords will be able to continue to pay all the bills for the deadbeats without employment is beyond me.

They would not even consider rescheduling anything until I obtained written permission from the tenants!

This is a ridiculous requirement – the tenant certainly did not obtain my permission to move the initial hearing from a date on which I could attend without placing my job at risk to one which did exactly that – nor did she ever bother to notify me of the change.

Presumably she thought I would like to drive to Mississauga to find out that the date had been changed…

TO BE CONTINUED

To discuss this story welcome to the free Ontario Landlord Forum 

An Ontario Landlord Story – “I Guess We Were Naive”

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

May 21st, 2013

Ontario Landlord Tenant Problems

 

There are lots of good tenants out there. We’ve also read about some not so good tenants. Here’s a story of Ontario landlords who faced challenging tenant problems and found the current system left a lot to be desired.

….

Part 1:  I Guess We Were Naive

We’d been having issues with our tenant – or, more specifically, the boyfriend who had moved in with her after 8 months of relatively problem-free tenancy.

They were irked with us for having cancelled their fire permit due to our unwillingness to be responsible for paying fines for their insistence on having fires even during a total fire ban – and their response was to start piling up their garbage in the yard, rather than taking it to the curb.

We didn’t want to pay those fines either – so when the township by-law officer gave up on dealing with them directly and sent us a letter notifying us that we would be responsible for the cost of having a crew clean it up, we served them with an N5: clean it up or risk eviction.

She did make an attempt at cleaning, or rather re-organizing the mountains of trash, but he came home from his job and threw an almighty tantrum, not only undoing all of her attempt, but also ripping bags open and scattering dirty diapers from one end of the yard to the other.

So – my husband hired a helper and a truck and cleaned the yard, paying more than $200 in dump fees – and I completed the paperwork to evict. We didn’t serve it though, because when we went to speak to them about an outstanding portion of October’s rent and November’s rent, they gave notice. Insufficient notice – they said they would be out by the end of November, but since we were happy to see the back of them, I accepted it and agreed that we would apply their last month’s rent to November.

Problem solved, right? Did I mention naive?

On the 27th of November, my husband stopped by the house to let the tenants know that I had arranged a showing for the 29th.  The woman was home, but had someone there and refused to speak to him beyond telling him to get lost (in not nearly such polite language). 

I went down later in the day to find out what was going on, and she told me that they had not yet found a place that they could afford, and therefore “might” not be moving. Although not at all pleased with this development, I did clearly state the requirements necessary to continue their tenancy: they needed to make a decision by the next day and let me know, and they would be responsible to both pay rent for December and replace their last month’s rent.

Repeatedly, I told her, you MUST let me know by tomorrow if you want to stay – repeatedly she agreed. Right before I left, I again re-iterated that I needed to know by the following day, and that if I did not hear from her, I would assume that her tenancy would end on the 30th, and would proceed with the showing on the 29th. I also wrote a notice and left it with her – without retaining a copy.

Nothing from her on the 28th.

But when we showed up as per the notice on the 29th  with prospective tenant in tow she had company – a foul-mouthed friend who spouted off at length about their “right” to stay and to not to pay any rent before she proceeded to threaten to sic her Rottweiler on us.

Calling the police accomplished little – because I did not have a copy of the notice, the officer refused to facilitate entry. He instead had me write another notice for the following day, which also included demand for a key to the front door, since they had changed the lock.

The next day, I met the officer there. The prospective tenant did not attend – can’t imagine why! There didn’t seem to be much point to entering, but the officer did serve her with the forms I had completed – a second N5, and an N4 for non-payment of rent.

She handed him a key – presumably for the front door, but in fact, a key that did not open any of the doors in the unit…

To Be Continued

To discuss this and other landlord and tenant issues go to the Ontario Landlords Association free landlord forum

Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) Showdown in London, Ontario

Monday, March 4th, 2013

March 5th, 2013

LTB BOARD SIGN

It’s a Landlord & Tenant Board Hearing to decide on the approval of an above guideline increase, otherwise known as an AGI.

It’s also become a showdown between the corporate owners and hundreds of angry seniors in London, Ontario.

How can a landlord increase the rent above the annual guideline?

According to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board

Generally, a landlord can only increase the rent by the rent increase guideline.  However, under certain circumstances a landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board, (the Board) for a rent increase that is above the guideline amount.

What are some of the circumstances?

In this case, the rules allow a landlord to apply for an AGI for

 The landlord did extraordinary or significant renovations, repairs, replacements or new additions to the building or to individual units. This type of work is called a “capital expenditure”.

Who is the corporate landlord involved?

The landlord is Minto Properties Ltd. who purchased the apartment campus in question in March, 2011.

How much does Minto want to raise the rent?

Minto Properties  has applied for an AGI to increase the rent for the 2,023 units in the complex by another 3.25 percent in 2013. This is 3/4 more than the 2013 rent increase guideline, which is capped at 2.5%.

Why do they want an above guideline increase?

Blair Spencer is the director of property operations in Londong, Ontario for Minto.

Mr. Spencer claims Minot has done a lot of improvements after buying it.

-improving the complex boilers

-upgrading the elevators

-working hard to bring all the buildings in the complex up the local bylaw codes

-the creation of a new, free of charge, fitness center

Has Minto clearly communicated this to the tenants there?

Minto says the information to back up the AGI is all on a CD. It’s can be bought by the renters (or anyone else) for only five dollars.

Why is the Ontario 2013 allowable rent increase so low?

The rent increase was capped at 2.5% no matter how much landlord costs went up by the Liberal government.

How does this low rate compare to other provinces?

In Alberta there isn’t a guideline. Landlords can raise the rent as much as they want with proper notice.

In British Columbia the 2013 rent increase guideline is 3.8%.

Why are the tenants unhappy? After all the buildings have been improved.

According to a tenant there who requests to be anonymous, most tenants in the complex are on fixed incomes. Many have lived there without major increases for decades.Tenant Michael Drabick has lived in the complex for over twenty years. He says Minto should have included their costs when buying the property. He says they should have discounted their fees when buying instead of slamming the current tenants.

The tenants are very upset!

Yes, this shows the difference between corporate landlords and small, residential landlords.

What do you mean?

Most small, residential landlords only have a tenant or two. They rely on those tenants to pay their rent on time so the landlord can pay their mortgage and/or other expenses each month.

If a small, residential landlord did something to anger their tenants it could lead to a financial disaster for them.

Furthermore, most small residential landlords will try to avoid the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) at all costs.

Why is that?

For a variety of reasons

1. Small landlords usually have full-time employment other than being a landlord. A trip to the LTB means a day off work.

2. Tenants can get free legal help at the Landlord Tenant Board. Wealthy corporate landlords can easily hire their own lawyers. Small landlords try to represent themselves, or often get tricked into spending very large fees for some sort of representation.

3. Even if you get an eviction notice, it will take weeks for the tenant to finally be evicted. This can lead to real tension between the tenant and the small landlord. This is illustrated by a recent tenant assault against a Barrie, Ontario landlord.

4. Many tenants with evictions notices still refuse to move. This means the landlord must wait, and then hire the Sheriff to evict the tenant. This costs over $300. Small change for a corporate landlord, but a huge expense for most small landlords.

The Landlord & Tenant Board showdown between Minto and hundreds of seniors happens today. To discuss this and other important Ontario landlord matters go to the #1 landlord and tenant forum in Canada