Archive for the ‘Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board’ Category

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.

What Are The New Rules For Ontario Landlords in 2017?

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

OLA positive change

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

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

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

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

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

What Are the New Rules For Landlords?

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

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

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

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

The announced changes included:

1. Newer Rentals Will Covered By the Rent Control Guideline

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

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

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

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

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

You can also offer them another acceptable unit to rent.

4 Standardized Rental Documents

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

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

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

Rent Control on Newer Properties

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

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

Utilities

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

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

Lease Documents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Rules For Ontario Landlords in 2017

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

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

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

Ontario Landlords – Let’s Improve the Residential Tenancies Act

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

OLA campaign 1

The Ontario Landlords Association Wants The System To Be Improved For Small Residential Landlords. A Better System Will Lead To More Investment and Better High Quality, Affordable Housing For Tenants!

According to a report by CBC News called Ontario mulls changes to rental rules, prompting concern from tenants groups the Ontario Liberal government wants to make it easier for small residential landlords to evict problem tenants.

After listening to small landlords and far-reaching and passionate landlord groups such as the Ontario Landlords Association and our hard working members, the government realizes there is a need to improve the system to help small landlords. This will lead to more investment, more rentals and more affordable housing in the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is a former Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister. At that time, the Premier made it clear to the Ontario Landlords Association the Ministry took our concerns seriously. The Ministry wants to help both good landlords and good tenants by making the rules fair which would lead to more high quality rental units (and more investment by professional, service-oriented residential landlords).

On Monday, March 14th, 2016 the government announced the details of an important update to the Ontario Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

This updated strategy would be both bold and transformative to support the challenge of chronic homelessness in Ontario within a decade. As part of the update, the government has floated some proposals to improve the Residential Tenancies Act and improve the law and rules.

These proposed changes are very important to help small residential landlords in Ontario succeed and to encourage more investment in the residential rental sector in Ontario. Some of the ideas proposed include:

1. Eviction for Smoking

Tenants can be evicted if they smoke in a “smoke free building”. 

2. Pets

Landlords will be able to prohibit pets in their rental units if the landlord lives in the same building.

3. Fixing the Rent Increase Guideline

The government proposes to examine whether or not the Rent Increase Guideline accurately calculates the true costs for landlords in a given year. The system for BC landlords is something to look at carefully.

The Ontario Landlords Association has made the government aware of these and other important issues for small residential landlords. Your voice has been heard.

Also in the report the current Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, stated the Liberal government is still in the phase of getting more ideas. The goal is to encourage more small residential landlords to invest in rental properties and to rent out part of their properties.

Let’s Improve the Residential Tenancies Act

The Ontario Landlords has voiced the concerns of small residential landlords in Ontario to both the government and the media regarding the problems in the Residential Tenancies Act. Our tens of thousands of landlord members in every corner of Ontario know things need to change and welcome the provincial government also seeing this need.

We Have Lots Of Recommendations How To Improve the Rules For Ontario Landlords!

The Ontario Landlords Association has sent our proposed changes to the government. These proposals are from our members who want to create a better system in Ontario to help good landlords invest in and run safe, affordable rentals for tenants.

Send Your Experiences, Suggestions and Ideas to Us

The Ontario Landlords Association wants to hear from YOU!

Tell us about your experiences as a small landlord and your suggestions and ideas at landlordvoice@lobbyist.com.

Let’s make it happen, together

By making important changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board, both landlords and tenants will helped. Some groups want to create a  “landlord vs. tenant” system. This is what we have now and it hurts both parties.

Let’s make Ontario a world leader in encouraging excellent, safe, affordable housing. Together we are strong.