Archive for the ‘Landlord laws’ Category

I’m Getting 1 Year Rent Upfront, Pet Deposits, & Damage Deposits…And You Can Too!

Friday, October 19th, 2018

We Turned Our Failing, Depressing Ontario Rental Business Into A Huge Success By Getting A Year Of Rent Up-Front, Along With Pet Deposits and Damage Deposits

It’s Changed Everything For Us…And You Can Do It Too!  Learn How!

As part of our “Let’s Improve the Ontario Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the Ontario Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the Ontario rental industry.

I’ve been a small residential landlord with some condos and a small building in Ontario.  I decided to share my story to help other landlords out there who might be down in the dumps like we were before.

This is only my story and I’m only sharing it to help the huge Ontario landlord community reading here. I hope those reading learn how we changed our entire rental business from one of misery and lost money into a huge success. 

We are so successful now we have bought several more elite condos in the past 18 months.

Over the past four years we have guaranteed our financial future and look forward to not only buying more properties, we want to travel the world and eventually do volunteer work in 3rd world nations.

Why We Became Landlords In Ontario

My partner and I are both employed in the public sector and invested in the rental properties to create equity and help us be safe for our retirement.

With properties prices rising about ten years ago we decided to invest in Ontario rentals. I must admit we didn’t really do a ton of research. We thought it would easy to be landlords as long as we had nice properties and worked hard to be great landlords. 

Our Biggest Mistake: We Thought All Tenants Would Be Like Us

We were both renters before and would never even dream of not paying rent or damaging our landlord’s property.

My partner spent years studying in different universities and rented. My partner always left the rental better than when they first rented it! 

For me growing up as an immigrant family we didn’t have enough money to buy a house and rented for years. We treated our landlord like a ‘partner.’  We paid the rent and took care of the property and the landlord fixed things when needed, and didn’t bother us.

With our rentals we found out we were wrong.  

While we respected our landlords, we found many people didn’t.  We had people yell at us “I’m paying the rent and paying your mortgage” and “there’s nothing you can do!” and more.

Our Second Biggest Mistake: We Thought The Rules Would Be Fair

We thought the rules would be fair for both landlords and tenants. No matter if you were a landlord or a tenant, if you followed the rules you would be treated right.

We were wrong again. The Ontario rules are not fair for landlords at all.

Landlord and Tenant Board Is Unfair, Biased, Unprofessional and They Should Be Ashamed

When a renter didn’t pay we took her to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). She had a lease and didn’t pay rent, so the result should be obvious and fast, right?

First of all it took months to even get our LTB court date so that one one month of not paying rent turned in three months.

When we finally got our LTB date we showed up and so did the tenant (who was living rent free). 

When it was our turn to plead our case the tenant was not alone. There was some dumpy looking, overweight guy who needed his mustache trimmed with her.

And when it was time for her to speak, he spoke. I didn’t even know who he was!

He and the adjudicator seemed to know each other and were very friendly. This guy, who I later learned was the free legal rep all tenants get, accused me of being a slumlord (gasp!) and the hearing was adjourned because of “all the problems, such as mold, unsafe appliances, etc.”…these were all lies!

The property was excellent…but this dumpy guy managed to delay everything for another two months And more months of no rent.

Being an Ontario Landlord Can Be Stressful and Even Lead To Divorce and Health Problems

We dealt with lots of problematic tenants for years and it was really stressful for us and even led to some serious marital stress and even led me to starting drinking to try to “chill out”. We had so much of our saving invested in our rentals and selling would mean huge losses

My drinking started out as once a week, but it soon became a problem as I needed a few shots every night to put the latest problems out of my head. I got into gin.

My partner was also stressed as Hell and began drinking wine. At first just a glass a night but it soon became a bottle.

Our arguing started to become a regular occurrence

The rules are unfair and allow bad tenants to rip off good landlords.  Many non-landlords or new landlords reading will not understand the stress that renting to bad tenants can bring.

We know several couples who have divorced as their marriages simply couldn’t last with losing thousands of dollars, harassment and huge damages.

My Partner & I Were Depressed and Scared…and Everything Changed in 2014!

We were reading the Ontario Landlords Association site and came across an interesting article from the Toronto Star that has really changed our landlord experience.

It’s helped so much that we have had great tenants, no worries about rent, no worries about late payment for years.

This along with our buildings going up in value by 50% has meant we are now millionaires. 

If we didn’t have the Ontario Landlords Association and didn’t see what we could do back in 2014 we probably would have sold our rentals and lost out on millions of price appreciation!

As a show of respect and appreciation to the OLA we want to help others in the Ontario landlord community succeed. 

The reality is if we had sold four years ago because of bad tenants we would have lost millions of dollars in equity.

The OLA saved us, saved our financial future, saved our retirement and even likely saved our marriage.

Ontario Landlords Are Plagued With Late Rent, No Rent and No Damage Deposits: But Most Don’t Know About This Game-Changer!

I saw this first at the Ontario Landlords Site directing me to an article in the Toronto Star called It was really a game-changer for me. It was about a Toronto Star story that told about some court cases that impacted small landlords like us.

Many Landlords & Property Managers Are Taking Advantage Of Tenants Offer Rent Up Front & Pet Deposits

Many knowledgeable Ontario landlords and property managers are taking advantage of this loophole and collecting a lot of rent up-front. But they don’t really want others landlords to know what they are doing.  This is why I don’t want to “hide” my “secrets of success” and want to share it with others.

If Tenants Volunteer to Pay Rent Upfront, Pet Deposits, Damage Deposits You Can Take Them!

The article I saw linked can be found here: “Toronto Star: Ontario Tenants Can Offer Rent Up Front” from April 2014 

Here is the “nitty gritty” written by a famous Toronto lawyer and the case law is here:

Alison Corvers agreed to rent a home from Tanveer Bumbia in Mississauga from May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014 for $7,500 per month. Bumbia initially refused Corvers’ rental application because Corvers was from the UK, was here on a visitor’s visa and was hoping to extend her time here by getting a work visa, according to her lawyer. Bumbia was concerned as to whether she would maintain the payments.

Corvers then paid one years’ rent in advance, $90,000, to demonstrate her good faith. Bumbia accepted this. Corvers also paid a security deposit of $7,500 up front to cover potential damages to the unit. The problem is that under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord cannot request more than first and last month’s rent before a tenant moves into the property. The Act also states that anything in a lease that violates the Act is void. As such, after moving in, Corvers brought an application to court to pay the extra months’ rent and the security deposit back to her, as she claimed that this was all demanded by the landlord. In an original decision dated October 7, 2013, Judge Kofi Barnes of the Superior Court of Ontario looked at a text sent by the tenant’s real estate agent to the landlord’s agent that said “Alison will pay 12 month’s rent up front.”

Based on that, he decided that since the tenant offered the money up-front, it was legal. However, since the security deposit was not offered by the tenant, this amount had to be paid back.

The case was appealed and in a decision dated February 12, 2014, Superior Court judge Frank Marrocco agreed with Justice Barnes and explained that while a landlord could not require a tenant to pay more than first and last month’s rent as a condition of the tenancy, if the tenant offered to pay more money in advance and the landlord accepted the payment, then it would be legal. In addition, the court held that interest on the entire prepayment of rent had to be paid by the landlord, in accordance with the rate prescribed under the Act, which was 2.5 per cent in 2013 and .8 per cent in 2014.

Barnes cited a decision in 2009 of Royal Bank v MacPherson in support of this position. In the MacPherson case, the tenant prepaid a year’s rent of $24,000 to the landlord and then the landlord lost the property to the bank after defaulting on his mortgage. The tenant said he did not owe any rent as he had prepaid it for a year. The bank argued that since the payment was illegal, it should not be binding. The court disagreed, and said that the bank must step into the shoes of the landlord and be bound by the prepayment. It would be unfair to penalize the tenant by not recognizing the prepayment.

Here are the lessons to be learned from these cases:

Landlords cannot advertise that they will require more than first and last month’s rent in advance of the tenant moving in. This includes any security deposit.

If the tenant offers to pay extra money up front, make sure that it is clear that the offer is coming from the tenant. This could include a deposit to cover any damages or clean the unit when the tenant wants to bring a pet.

Tenants need to keep a receipt for the payment as proof that the amount was paid, in case it is ever challenged later by anyone.

Here’s How I Am Succeeding…And You Can Too! 

First of all you need to have attractive properties.  You need properties people want to rent and it’s even better if you several tenants wanting to rent from you.

Second, I inform the applicants that I have other tenants renting my places who have volunteered to offer 6 months or 1 or 2 years of rent upfront, a damage deposit, and a pet deposit (just in case they bring in pets which can cause lots of expensive clean up costs). 

I make sure to inform them this is not a requirement to rent from me but others have done this to get the apartments they want. It’s up to them.

Good Tenants Who Want Your Place Will Pay!

The reality is good tenants are reasonable and if they really want the place they will volunteer to pay

1. 3 months to 6 months to 1 year to 2 years to 3 years of rent up front

2. If they have pets they will volunteer to pay a pet deposit

3. Pay a damage deposit voluntarily (which they will get back by simply leaving the rental in decent shape when the move)

My Rental Business Has Changed…And So Has My Life

The past four years have been terrific. 

No more lost rent, no more paying thousands to clean cat pee, replace appliances, and fix mold and flooring! You can do it too. 

I’m now an OLA member and will be happy to discuss this with fellow members in the Ontario Landlords Private Member forum

Thank you for reading and wishing you all great success.  See you in Hawaii!

 

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

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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.

What is the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act? (And Why You Need To Study It)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

January 10th, 2012

You decide to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario

With so much money at stake, you don’t take your investment lightly.   You’ve looked into a variety of potential investments and decided to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario.

Now it’s time to cover all the bases to make sure you start out right and have a plan for success.  You go through the categories, from finance to marketing.

Location, location, location

Being a careful and cautious investor, you spend months researching which area you want to buy in.  After all, you know the old real estate adage ‘location, location, location.’

Financing

You work with your mortgage broker or bank to find out out how much you can spend and to make sure you can pull the trigger once you find the ideal property.  You carefully work out all the numbers.  You are pre-approved and know what your budget is.

Buying the right property

You work with a reputable Realtor to find the ‘right’ property in your targeted area.  Now it’s on to carefully hiring contractors to make your rental property safe and attractive.

You feel you’ve done your due diligence and are on the right track

Carefull planning.  Research.  Hiring the right people and creating your team.  Patience.  A good business plan.  You are on your way.  Or so you think.

What do many Ontario landlords miss?

Many smart and professional Ontario landlords neglect one aspect of their business.  The law. Before entering any industry it’s important for you to learn the laws governing it.  Many landlords are not fully aware of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.

How difficult is it to simply rent out an apartment or my basement?

This isn’t Alberta.  This isn’t British Columbia.  This isn’t P.E.I. or Newfoundland.   The laws in Ontario are complicated. Very complicated.  Everything starts with the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).  Tenants are very well-protected under the RTA.  This is especially so after the Ontario Liberal government’s amendment of the Act in in 2006.  When the amendments were proposed, there was a consultation process with various stake-holders.  Small scale landlords were not represented.

Don’t landlords have rights too?

Under the RTA, landlords have rights as well.  However, you have to see the thinking of the people who made the laws. Tenants are essentially viewed as ‘victims.’  After all, they cannot afford to buy their own homes, right?  Wait, you’re not buying it?  Here’s more.  Landlords are viewed as wealthy and powerful.  Landlords can afford to hire over-priced paralegals and lawyers.  Landlords can afford to wait 3-6 months to evict a non-paying tenant.  You get the picture. Remember, small scale landlords were not represented during consultations to change the RTA.

Wow!  Please tell me more about the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 covers most residential rental units in Ontario including mobile homes, care homes and rooming and boarding houses.

However, there are some situations where a rental unit may not be covered by the Act or certain parts of the Act.

For example, the Act does not apply if:

  • the tenant must share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner, or certain family members of the owner;
  • the unit is used on a seasonal or temporary basis.

Many of the rules about rent do not apply to:

  • new rental buildings;
  • non-profit and public housing;
  • university and college residences.

Note these units are still covered by most of the other rules in the Act, such as maintenance and the reasons for eviction.

Note the Act does not cover commercial tenancies.

Where can I learn more about the RTA?

You can read the RTA here.  Read it carefully.  Twice.  Daily.

Do you need to enter your unit? What can you do to get in?

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ENTER