Archive for the ‘landlord licensing’ Category

Landlord Advocacy- Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get A License

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

OLA positive change

Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get a License (You Still Need To Make Sure Your Rental Property is Registered, and Safe and Secure For Tenants)

When the City of Mississauga announced a plan to license landlords, it led to a lot of concerns from our Mississauga landlord members and a ton of posts in our Members Forum.

Many Mississauga landlords were confused about how the program would be run.

Others were concerned about what would happen to their current tenants in their unlicensed units.

Many more told us they were worried the extra costs involved would lead them to have to give up being a small residential landlord.

As we represent thousands of small residential landlords across Ontario our expert team was quick to act. We began looking into the issue carefully and contacting people in the City government to get answers.

We then helped inform landlords what the rules and laws are for Mississauga landlords to operate a rental property and publicized the issue and lobbied for landlord rights.

We would like to point out the people we spoke with at the City of Mississauga were extremely professional and helpful and were a great resource for us to get the city’s message out to landlords and residential rental property investors.

The Ontario Landlords Association Doesn’t Believe Licensing Landlords Is The Answer

We are a group made up of hard working small residential landlords. We appreciate and agree with the goals of governments and tenant activists to ‘protect tenants.’

After all, as small business people most of the people in the OLA have rented before (and some of us had to deal with unprofessional landlords!) and have friends and relatives who rent  now.

We understand the need the for safe, high quality and affordable housing.

Based on our experiences as small landlords, we feel that the costs involved with landlord licensing makes other options (such as landlord education and well-trained By-law officers) more effective ways to protect tenants while also recognizing the hard work and investment of all the good landlords out there.

Due to the high costs of getting a license we had many Mississauga landlords tell us they were selling and other planned to invest in other areas where there were no licensing schemes, such as investing in cities as Ottawa or Newmarket.

The Ontario Landlords Association has been a reasonable, yet firm and strong voice, for small landlords and against expensive landlord licensing schemes that will only raise rents on tenants and drive good people out of the rental providing industry.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required to Get a Landlord License

This has been huge news and the response from our Mississauga landlord members has been overwhelming!

To help clear up the issue and education landlords we interviewed Mickey Frost, the Director of Enforcement for Bylaws in the City of Mississauga. Mr. Frost has been incredibly helpful over the years and we thank him. Mr. Frost is a true professional.

1. What is the current situation regarding the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

The City has repealed the current licensing process and will now require that houses containing a second unit be registered. As part of the registration process, the City of Mississauga requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law.

Registration is free of charge. Homeowners will no longer need to purchase or renew a license. Existing second unit license holders will be automatically registered.

2. When did these changes happen?

The Second Unit Licensing By-law was repealed by Council on March 30, 2016. The Second Unit Registration By-law was enacted on June 8, 2016.

3. Can landlords who applied previously to get a license get a refund?

Although there is no legal requirement to provide a refund, it was identified that refunds would mitigate some of the inconvenience experienced by property owners who have taken the necessary steps to complete the licensing process within months of the Second Unit Licensing By-law being repealed.

Refunds for the cost of a second unit license were provided to license holders, as approved by City Council.

Property owners that have submitted an initial application or renewal application in 2016 will be provided with a full refund and property owners whose application was process between September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 will be provided with a partial refund representing 50% of the cost of a license.

Refunds have been dispersed to all eligible applicants that paid by debit, cash or cheque. All eligible applicants that paid by credit card have been contacted and advised to obtain their refund in person at our Compliance and Licensing Enforcement office.

4. Are there any plans for more changes to the Second Unit Licensing By-law in the near future?

The City has repealed the Second Unit Licensing By-law. A Registration By-law was passed by City Council on June 8, 2016, which requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law. There are no further changes proposed at this time.

5. Where can residential landlords get more information on developments on the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

Further information is available on the Second Units website at http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/housingchoicessecondunits. For further information on the Second Unit Registration process, please contact the Citizen Contact Centre by dialing 3-1-1.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required To Get a Landlord License

This is great news for all the landlords who voiced their concerns to us. Make sure you register your second unit according to the new By-law.

Ontario Landlord Advocacy

This is also an important lesson for good small landlords who want to help create a fair playing field for landlords and tenants. Make sure your voice is heard in a positive and constructive manner and change can happen.

Mississauga Landlord Licensing 2016 – Make Sure Your Rental Is Licensed

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Mississauga landlords and landlord license

Mississauga Landlords and Landlord Licensing 2016

We continue to have lots of Mississauga landlords contact us for information regarding landlord licensing in their city.

We wrote about this when City of Mississauga and Landlord Licensing, and now it’s 2016 and we have more advice from the always helpful Mickey Frost, Director of Enforcement, City of Mississauga.

We would again like to thank Mr. Frost for his cooperation helping us educate landlords in the city.

Has Anything Changed for the Mississauga Landlords in 2016 Regarding the Bylaw?

The requirements for obtaining a second unit licence have not changed under the Second Unit Licensing Bylaw 204-13, as amended. The licensing fees as listed in Schedule 1 of this bylaw will remain in effect for 2016.

How Many Units Have Been Licensed So Far?

As of December 21, 2015, a total of 121 second unit licences (97 Owner Occupied and 24 Investment Dwellings) have been issued and approximately 129 applications (107 Owner Occupied and 22 Investment Dwellings) are currently pending at various stages in the process. A list of licensed second units can be downloaded and viewed on Mississauga Data. Information on licensed second units is updated weekly (last update: December 18, 2015).

Tenants can report safety concerns or unlicensed second units by calling our Citizen Contact Centre at 3-1-1 (if within City limits) or 905-615-4311 (if outside City limits), Monday to Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. or by email at bylaw.enforcement@mississauga.ca. Please note that City offices will be closed on December 24th at noon to January 3, 2016 inclusive.

Should you require additional information or assistance on this matter, please contact Mr. Douglas Meehan, Manager of Compliance and Licensing Enforcement, by telephone at (905) 615-3200, ext. 5676 or by email at douglas.meehan@mississauga.ca.

Here are some questions from landlords on the Ontario Landlords Association forum:

1.”I want to buy a house in Mississauga with an existing bsmt apartment. What happens if the Tenant moves in, doesn’t want to pay and reports the apartment to the City as illegal. ? Do I go to jail? Do I Pay fine?”

All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.  To avoid penalties apply for and obtain a Second Unit Licence before the tenant moves in.

2. “As far as I know there was only 1 Licence issued in 2014 but almost every second house in Mississauga has illegal bsmt apt. Is this bylaw serious or just a joke? Am I stupid to obey this or just wasting my money when they don’t really care about basement apartments!”

All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.  The City of Mississauga takes the licensing of second units very seriously.  Property owners who fail to obtain a licence will be charged and if found guilty may be subject to a fine of $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.  Currently the City of Mississauga is processing approximately 250 properties seeking a licence.

3.”Mississauga needs affordable housing. Is the City after penalty or they treat the landlord with respect and work to help him make the second unit affordable and safe ?”

The City’s priority is to ensure that second units meet the health and safety regulations in the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code.  The licensing system was designed to do this so that second units may provide a safe housing option for the public.  City staff are committed to working with property owners to assist them through the process of obtaining a licence to help make these homes safe.

4.”Can I apply for Licence while tenant lives in the apartment ?”

Yes, if there is a tenant in place the tenant may remain while the property owner is actively engaged in obtaining a licence.  To avoid penalties apply for and obtain a Second Unit Licence before the tenant moves in.  All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.

5. “Why is the fee so high?”

The fees for licences are based upon cost recovery.  The process through which second units are licensed is labor intensive and involves initial and ongoing periodic inspections, processing of applications, maintenance of records related to the second units, and the investigation of complaints related to both licensed and unlicensed second units.

Mississauga landlords is your rental property licensed?

Make sure you follow the laws and make your rental unit safe and legal in 2016.

And make sure you get the services and tools you need to make sure you rent to good tenants in 2016.

City of Mississauga and Landlord Licensing

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Mississauga landlords landlord licensing

Mississauga Landlords – Do You Know Landlords Need To Get a City Licence in 2014? Read Our Interview With Mickey Frost, Director of Enforcement for the City of Mississauga

Mississauga landlords know they live in a dynamic and growing city.

With a growing population there is increased demand for high quality rental housing. This means many home-owners are renting out basement apartments to good tenants who are looking for safe and affordable housing.

Some Mississauga landlords are unaware of the need to get a license from the City if you are renting out your basement or other part of your home.

We wrote about this before in an article last year called “Mississauga Landlords Ask: What’s Going On With Landlord Licensing?

This has led to hundreds of emails and even more posts in the Ontario Landlords Private Members forum from landlords asking a multiple of questions about how the law applies to them.

It’s important that Mississauga landlords are aware of the requirements to rent out property and follow the rules carefully. This way tenants are assured of safe rental properties.

In an effort to help get the message you we interviewed Mickey Frost the Director of Enforcement for the City of Mississauga.

We thank Mr. Frost for his time and want to help get his important message out to Mississauga landlords:

Why does Mississauga require small landlords get a licence when big cities such as Toronto do not?

Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013.

The plan includes official plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements.

The official plan policies permit second units within detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, where appropriate. 

Part of this plan included a requirement to licence second units. This was initiated to ensure that these units meet health and safety requirements, property standards requirements and are compliant with the Ontario Fire and Building Codes. 

The licensing system also provides a mechanism through which ongoing inspections can take place to ensure that the secondary units are maintained and meet the requirements of City of Mississauga By-laws.

As to why Toronto has chosen not to pursue a licensing regimen for second units, we would be unable to address that question.

What is the reason we need to get a licence in Mississauga?

The Second Unit Licensing By-law 2014-13, as amended, Section 2 (1) requires that:

No Person shall own or operate a Second Unit unless the Person is licensed under this By-law.”

If I don’t have a landlord licence and apply for one now will I be punished?

Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013. The plan includes official plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements.

The official plan policies permit second units within detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, where appropriate. 

Part of this plan included a requirement to licence second units. This was initiated to ensure that these units meet health and safety requirements, property standards requirements and are compliant with the Ontario Fire and Building Codes.

Property owners who fail to obtain a second unit licence may be charged with an offence under the by-law and if found guilty are liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.

Can my basement be ‘grandfathered’ in? I did lots of improvements years ago to make my unit “safe”.

There is no “grandfathering” provision contained in the by-law.

If a second unit is present in a residential property, a license is required.

Question: Do I have to pay a licensing fee every year?

Yes. The required license is valid for one year and must be renewed every year.

If I have a tenant who doesn’t pay rent do I still have to pay for a licence even though I don’t get rent?

Yes.

Is there any way I can lose my landlord licence?

The Manager has the authority to refuse to issue or renew a licence. This is identified in Section 8 of the Second Unit Licensing By-law 2014-13 as amended.

What happens if a vindictive tenant calls the city of Mississauga by-laws and claims my licensed unit is unsafe? Will I lose my license?

No If a complaint is received, a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer will be assigned and will investigate to determine its validity and take any action that is necessary.

Do big rental buildings require a landlord licence?

No, “big rental buildings” are not eligible for second unit licences. Second units are only permitted in a detached house, a semi-detached house or a row house.

How can I get a Mississauga landlord licence fast? 

Please visit the City’s website for the process to obtain a licence.

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/housingchoicessecondunits

Mississauga Landlords Make Sure You Get a License For Your Rental Unit

Thank you Mr. Frost for helping us get the message out.

Make sure your rental property is legal and safe. Use a good tenant screening including tenant credit checks to make sure you find great tenants for your legal and safe rental apartment.

Ontario Landlords 2014: Landlord Licensing in Windsor?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

 December 20, 2013Ontario Landlords Association 2014 Landlord Licensing Windsor landlords

The new year is an important one for Ontario Landlords and we are upbeat.

Despite a very low Rent Increase Guideline of only 0.8% in 2014 more and more landlords are doing proper tenant screening and renting to all the good tenants out there (and avoiding the pro tenants who are out there and ready to prey on unsuspecting landlords).

There are still going to be challenges.

For example, we’ve received hundreds of emails from Windsor landlords concerned about landlord licensing.

The rumours all over the internet that landlords would require a license to operate in 2014 spread fast around the landlord and residential property investor community in October.

After all, Windsor landlords are looking forward to a positive and successful new year.

The vacancy rate keeps getting lower and more and more good tenants are choosing our city as their new home.

With proper tenant screening landlords all over the city can expect to find tenants who pay rent on time and are take care of the property they are renting.

The idea of landlords having to get license is upsetting because it’s the wrong type of policy for our city.

What Is Landlord Licensing?

This is a government policy that exists for Oshawa landlords and Waterloo landlords renting to students.

It means the government requires landlords to pay a fee and apply to get a license to be a residential landlord.

There are also annual inspections, new rules for how many rooms which can be in a rental unit and lots more. (In some cases it even requires small landlords to get a criminal check!)

Starting in January 2014 Mississauga landlords will need to get a license. The rules are strict and the fees are high. 

Earlier this year the City of Hamilton wanted to license landlords who owned properties with six rooms or less.

Hamilton landlords fought back! They were united and made a strong case about why licensing, which they called a ‘tenant tax’ was a bad policy option.

The government decided to move in another direction.

The hard work of Hamilton landlords paid off and good landlords and good tenants all over the city were rewarded for their courage and hard work!

What’s The Truth about Windsor Landlord Licensing?

The Ontario Landlords Association contacted the Windsor government to get some answers.

Mr. Michael Chantler, the Supervisor of Licencing & Deputy Licence Commissioner at the Office of the City Clerk for the City of Windsor was very helpful in replying to the questions on the minds of many Windsor landlords.

Mr. Chantler believes rumours of landlord licensing deal with the City of Windsor’s “Residential Rental Housing” report which is still in the developmental phase.

Here are some of the answers to the OLA’s questions:

1. Will Windsor License landlords in 2014?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction by Council to license landlords in 2014.

2. Is there any plan to license landlords in the future?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction to license landlords at any time in the future.

3. When will the report to City council be submitted and discussed regarding landlord fees, licenses, etc.?

There is a report being prepared regarding “Rental Housing” that is very complex and takes into account more than just a Licensing component. There are several different departments involved including, but not limited to, Fire, Planning, Licensing and Building. There is no firm date set for the report, but I believe it will probably go to Council in 2014.

4. Is there a way Windsor landlords can express their opinions to the government?

As with any major public issue, citizens can call 311, send a letter or call their Councillor/Mayor’s Office directly to provide their opinion.

However, you must keep in mind that the Members of Council don’t have a report before them to discuss at this time.

Some multiple property owners have already sent written submissions to Administration in Licensing.

If/when a report on this item does go forward: there will be opportunities for a delegation to appear at a City Council meeting.

Let’s Say NO to Landlord Licensing in Windsor and Other Cities in Ontario

Windsor landlords, like all landlords in Ontario are facing challenges from governments who don’t value the services small landlords provide and the important role we play in providing high quality, affordable housing to tenants all over the province.

Landlords need to be proactive in getting information about government plans and make our voice heard.

The Ontario Landlords Association and our thousands of members will continue to fight to make a difference in 2014.

Strength In Numbers – Hamilton Landlords Battle Landlord Licensing

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

December 11th, 2012

On Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 Hamilton Landlords Including Members of the Ontario Landlords Association Packed the City Planning Committee Meeting To Say ‘NO’ to Landlord Licensing

What’s Happening in Hamilton?

Today was a meeting of the Hamilton Planning Committee and Councillors discussed a proposed new law to license landlords who own buildings of 1-6 units.

How Would a Hamilton Landlord Obtain a License Under This Proposal?

To apply for a license to have control over how they use their own properties, landlords would be required to provide a lot of documentation.

This would include a ‘property maintenance plan’ (whatever that is), proof of insurance, proof of proper zoning. The list would likely get larger, to include landlord criminal record checks and more legal issues. It’s part of an alarming trend of painting landlords who provide affordable housing as crooks and thieves.

How Would the Government Handle The Demands of Licensing Landlords?

Hamilton city staff stated they would need to hire at least 17 new staff members before 2015.

Were the Landlords United Against This Plan?

Yes. Over 200 hundred people crammed into the Hall seats, including members of the Ontario Landlords Association. 30 people registered to speak and give their views to Council.

What Did the Landlords Say?

The landlords made excellent arguments against this ridiculous plan.

1. Hamilton landlords made it clear there is already enough red-tape and ‘protection’ of tenants with the existing Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Hamilton Fire Code.

2. Hamilton Landlords make it clear the licensing system doesn’t target landlords and properties who are problems. Instead, it targets all landlords.

3.  Hamilton landlords illustrated how a problem that is essentially based near McMaster University (student housing) is being used for a program that encompasses the whole city unnecessarily.

4. Hamilton landlords made it clear the real problem is a simple zoning issue and not some huge catastrophe of bad housing.

5. Licensing will cause lots of good landlords to simply leave the industry. This will decrease the number of affordable rental properties and those who stay in the industry will conduct especially thorough tenant screening making it hard for many tenants to find a nice place to live.

Did Anyone Argue In Support of Landlord Licensing?

Yes. These included:

1. Kenneth Sherman owns a home near McMaster University. He rents out to students. He said he’s seen three fires in houses owned by unscrupulous landlords.

2. The vice-president of education for the Students Union at McMaster University said lots of students live in rental properties that require urgent maintenance.

He stated many students are too intimidated to complain to their landlords and need the government to step in to protect them.

How Long Were the Presentations?

There were over 5 hours of arguments from those who against the proposed bylaw and those who support it.

How Much Would this Program Cost If It Became Law?

Councillors heard it would cost over $800.000 for 2013 alone.

That number would increase to over one and a half million dollars in 2014.

How Would Landlord Licensing Affect the Rental Market?

Tenants would suffer. At least 30% of the rentals in Hamilton would be affected leaving thousands of tenants searching for new places to live.

What Happens Next?

City staff will prepare a more detailed report answering questions raised by landlords. These questions include why Aren’t large high rise rental buildings included to be licensed and what type of appeals process would there be.

 

Today Hamilton Landlords and Other Stake-Holders Made a Stand and Their Voices Were Heard. We Thank OLA Members Who Took Part. Landlord Licensing is Wrong For Hamilton and Will Only Decrease Supply and Hurt Tenants. Landlord Licensing is Not the Solution for Hamilton.