Archive for the ‘Landlord legal’ 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!

 

Ontario Landlords Need To Be Protected – The Current System Just Isn’t Fair!

Monday, December 4th, 2017

ola landlords speak out

Ontario Landlords Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry

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.

The Rental Fairness Act Isn’t Fair For Landlords – Ontario Small Landlords Need More Protection

ola it's not fair

Tens of thousands of small landlords emailed in as part of our drive to create a way for landlords and tenants to communicate with each other to find positive common ground. While there are some unethical landlords out there, by far the vast majority of us try our best to be excellent landlords with attractive, well-maintained rentals.

The vast majority of small Ontario landlords play by the rules and care for our tenants and our properties.

The Ontario Rules Do Not Protect Small Landlords And This Isn’t Fair

One of the most common themes in all the replies was that while landlords want to learn and follow the rules those same rules often don’t adequately protect small landlords.

This means landlords who make sure they do everything according to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board still find themselves in very difficult situations stemming from bad tenants. These bad situations often mean losing thousands of dollars.

However it also goes beyond just financial losses.

Under the existing system landlords experiencing incredible stress, worry and sleepless nights when they are just using the system in place and following the rules. This isn’t right and this isn’t fair.

Good people making huge investments in our province need to be protected and must not be subjected to tenants who can easily manipulate the rules to cause harm and huge financial losses. Recently there was a good media story of a tenant who created a fake credit report to trick landlords into renting to him. He then ripped off his landlords and also cheated other tenants. He is now wanted by the police.

Let’s Protect Good Tenants, But We Also Need to Protect Good Landlords

Most of our small landlord members were renting themselves not that long ago. We are the working class looking to support our retirements and hopefully get some cash flow as a return on our investments. Many of us rented as students at Ontario universities and colleges and many others rented while beginning their careers.

We support protections for tenants, but we need to also protect good landlords. Currently things are simply not balanced.

What Happened To The Changes To Encourage More People To Invest in Rental Properties?

It was only a year or so ago that that landlords were asked to present needed changes to the Ministry. The request was for current landlords to suggest new policy ideas to help them succeed, and this would in turn encourage more people to become landlords in Ontario.

It was a good idea as with a better, fairer system more people would invest in rental properties and this would lead to more choices for tenants and more affordable rental housing in Ontario.

Our landlord members were not worried about increased competition from new landlords and investors. In fact, they were very enthusiastic and excited about getting changes that are desperately needed to help landlords continue to even run existing rentals. With a better system and more protections, landlords could better deal with bad tenants who abuse the system.

More Protections for Ontario Tenants But What About Fairness for Small Landlords?

When the Rental Fairness Act was announced in April many landlords were excited and expected to hear about new protections for small landlords. An Ottawa landlord organized an online event and many our members networked and watched the news conference on the Premier’s YouTube channel.

After the news conference good Ontario landlords were extremely disappointed, and many were upset.

For while there were many changes designed to help tenants, there was little to help small landlords. No one objected to helping good tenants but wasn’t the goal to encourage more great people to invest and create a lot more amazing rental properties?

A Toronto Landlord asked: “Why are the concerns of small landlords ignored as we are key stake-holders in Ontario and important rental housing providers!?”

Some of the major challenges Ontario landlords are facing include:

Evicting for Smoking

Dealing with tenants who smoke, and have this smoke bother other tenants, has been a problem for many small landlords for years. With new laws regarding marijuana this issue is just going to become larger and we need to find a solution.

Creating a New System to Help Landlords and Tenants with Pets

Our landlord members love pets and many have pets of their own. However, we need a way to make sure tenants take care of their pets and don’t damage the rental property. 

Ontario Landlords Association members suggested we create a voluntary “pet deposit”. Tenants with pets would pay a deposit to protect the small landlord from any damages from the pets (and they do happen). When the tenants move out they will get the deposit back if there aren’t any big damages. If their aren’t any pet damages and the landlord doesn’t give the deposit back the tenant can take pictures, file at the LTB, and get the deposit back.

Making the Rent Increase Guideline More Fair For Service Oriented Small Landlords

With even newer rental properties covered by the rent increase guideline (which is only 1.8% in 2018) we need a way to make sure the guideline covers the true cost increases landlords face.

Making the Landlord and Tenant Board More Efficient and Effective

When landlords have problems with renters in their properties we have to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to seek justice and fix the problems. While most LTB staff are hard working and professional, the way the LTB is designed needs to be improved.

-We cannot continue to have landlords waiting for weeks or even months to even get a Hearing date.

-We cannot continue to have tenants ‘ambushing’ landlords with maintenance claims at the Hearing.

-We need the Enforcement Office to enforce LTB evictions in a time sensitive way, meaning days not weeks or months 

This is just the start of issues that need to be addressed.

Closing Loopholes Exploited By Bad Tenants

We need to make sure the Landlord and Tenant Board process is fair and end loopholes that delay evictions. Some unethical tenants can delay being evicted for months.

The Rules For Small Landlords Need To Change

Small landlords are not huge corporations, massive REITS with stockholders and millions of dollars available from investors from all over the country and around the world.

Small Ontario landlords are working people who believe in the future of our province and have invested their hard-earned savings into Ontario rentals hoping for a better future. Many landlords are newcomers to Canada who want to run successful rental businesses as part of their contributions to their new country.

Ontario Landlords and Tenants Speak Out: “I Wish The Rental Fairness Act Was Fair For Landlords!”

We have asked many of the landlords who emailed in to expand on their concerns and stories of challenges they have faced owning rental properties in Ontario. We have also asked Ontario tenants who wrote in the same thing and look forward to posting their opinions and ideas.

By working together we can create a better, fairer Ontario rental industry that helps both good landlords and good tenants.

The current system just isn’t fair for small Ontario Landlords and that’s not fair

We need changes to be made to protect small landlords or we will see a big drop in investment and less high quality and affordable rental properties. We aren’t huge corporations who can put up ads near Queen’s Park and hold golf tournaments and invite Brian Mulroney to sip champagne with us…we are too busy working and taking care of our rental properties.

Who are small landlords?

We are teachers, contractors, electricians, firefighters, police officers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, Realtors…we are the people of Ontario. And we have been treated unfairly for too long.

Small landlords need support as we truly are important stake-holders in Ontario and need to be protected as the current system simply isn’t fair.

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) Has Changed

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

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.

Ontario Landlords and Small Claims Court

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

August 23, 2013

Ontario landlord small claims court

 An Ontario Landlord Goes To Small Claims Courts and Wins Against a Bad Tenant

When a tenant moves out they have up to one year to file a complaint against their former landlord at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

Do Ontario landlords have the same rights?  No.

In fact Ontario landlords have few rights under the current Residential Tenancies Act after the Ontario Liberals amended it in 2007.

Once tenants move out landlords cannot file against their former tenants at the LTB. Your only choice is to go to Ontario Small Claims Court.

Many landlords ask “I have to go to court?”

They say “I’ve never been to court before! I always follow the law!”

Yes, it can be intimidating. Not only do you have to find your ex-tenants to serve them, many small law-abiding landlords have never even visited their regional court house before and find the whole idea of ‘suing’ a former tenant to be time-consuming and downright scary.

Fortunately thanks to the Ontario Landlords Association‘s fight for landlord networking, education for landlords, and a demand for transparency and demystification of the various processes, landlords can learn the system and then use the system to get justice.

Here is an OLA Member who after serving his ex-tenant explains what it’s like for the next step, the Settlement Conference.

You Successfully Served Your Ex-Tenants. What’s Next?

Just had my Settlement conference with an ex-tenant. For those who haven’t been through the ol’ small claims process here’s what happened and what it’s like. If this helps even one person here collect what they are owed I’ll be happy.

What’s the Background Story to This?

Ex-tenant broke the lease and left a mess and his ‘repairs’ where not up to my standards. What personally irked me is leaving a refrigerator full of old pizza, old container full of food and lots of sauce all over it. The oven, full of grease. These things are just rude because he and his sons could have easily at least put in an effort.

How Did You Serve the Ex-Tenant?

It took a few weeks for service. I went to his his company. Personal service. Can’t challenge it.

After Serving What Was the Next Step?

In Small Claims once you start the process both sides get called for a Settlement Conference before a real judge.

What Are the Differences Between “Mediation” At the Landlord and Tenant Board?

Unlike ‘mediation‘ at the Landlord and Tenant Board, the judge isn’t there to push you to “give the poor tenant a break” or create “a payment plan” (that often ends up as a non-payment plan) and you are allowed to speak candidly without being accused of “harassing your victim”. It’s perfectly acceptable to let loose what you really feel as long as you don’t make threats or use the worst foul language.

The judge has read the case and lets you and the defendant speak directly.

I made it very clear that I wasn’t happy with what happened. He said he tried to repair things, tried to clean up. I said “reality is reality” and “we are going to trial and you are going to pay me what you owe me.”

He directed the next comments to the judge. “I was having financial difficulties. I can’t pay what you want. I tried my best to leave the place in good condition…”

How Did the Judge React?

The judge gave his perspective on things. He told us the rules for giving notice are clear and the defendant didn’t do it. He said the clean up and repairs were clear in the pictures I took. He strongly suggested the defendant try to work something out with me. Ex-tenant wasn’t happy to hear this.

What Happened Next?

We went over the list of what he owes and he was very willing to go over it and started agreeing with the expenses.

-Carpet cleaning. Ok
-One month rent (as I re-rented after a month of cleaning/repairs). Ok
-The list went on……Ok.

I agreed that a few things could come off my list if we worked it out here and now. In return I want checks coming in starting September 1st.

What Happened Next?

The judge let us go back and forth and we agreed. All my main expenses would be covered. A few beautification expenses I dropped. Still about 90% of what I wanted.

I also said I want the cheques to be $300/month or we go to trial and I’ll win and garnish him at work.

He agreed, the judge wrote up the order and said he thought it was a good settlement. The debt will be paid off in a year and if he doesn’t pay I’ll call a motion and drag his butt back to court.

What Does This All Mean For Me?

After your tenants move out landlords have two choices: either ‘eat the costs’ or go to Ontario Small Claims court.

As the above OLA member describes Small Claims Court doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating.

We encourage small landlords to never ‘eat the costs’ and make sure you defend your rights and pursue ex-tenants who owe you money.

To Discuss This And Other Ontario Landlord and Tenant Issues Go To the Free Ontario Landlord Forum