Archive for the ‘Ontario Landlords’ Category

Toronto Star – Join A Group Such As The Ontario Landlords Association To Avoid Bad Tenants

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Toronto Star  Ontario Landlords Use Credit Checks To Avoid Bad Tenants

Toronto Star – “Join a group such as the Ontario Landlords Association  where after becoming a member, you can do a credit check for as low as $10, and use their supporting materials to assist you.”

It’s a situation landlords all over face when renting out a property.

Everyone wants to rent to good tenants who pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Successful landlords rent to good tenants (and avoid the pro tenants out there who want to rip you off for thousands of dollars!)

This is especially important considering costs for landlords are rising and we can only raise the rent 1.6% in 2015.

Toronto Star Advice For Ontario Landlords 

There is an excellent column for landlords in the Toronto Star called “How Ontario landlords can avoid bad tenants.”

It’s written by Mark Weisleder who writes regularly for The Star.

Mr. Weisleder’s columns are very helpful for real estate investors and landlords and highly recommended.

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Ontario Landlords – Nightmare tenant Nina Willis battling with new landlord over 7th eviction

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

 Ontario Landlords – Make Sure You Rent To Great Tenants (And Avoid Nightmare Tenants) With Good Tenant Screening, Including a Credit Check!

Ontario Landlords – Make Sure You Rent To Great Tenants (And Avoid Nightmare Tenants) With Good Tenant Screening, Including a Credit Check!

The story in the Toronto Star last Friday was shocking for many residential landlords across Ontario.

It was about a person the Toronto Star calls a “Tenant from Hell” who is facing being evicted from her Scarborough rental property.

It’s brought a lot of discussion at the Ontario Landlords forum.

Nina Willis is in the process of appealing a Landlord and Tenant Board decision ordering her to either pay rent on time or move out of the rental property she is staying in

The original Landlord and Tenant Board Order told her she had to move by March 2014.

However, she is “appealing” the Order which means she can delay the eviction (and avoid paying rent) for more months until she gets her say in the next court.

She has done this is each of her previous cases. It’s an easy way for tenants to continue to stay in a rental property and live “rent free” for months.

This isn’t the first time the Toronto Star has reported on this tenant and her tactics to rip off small landlords.

The Star says this is the 7th case of Nina Willis being evicted since 2005.

The Ontario Landlords association has also written about this “Tenant From Hell” in the past to warn landlords.

At least seven different landlords who have been cheated out of rent and dragged through the tribunal system. A system that can be expensive, time-consuming and extremely stressful.

Nina’s current Scarborough landlord won’t even talk to the media as they try to evict Nina from their rental property.

Why Do Landlords Rent To Bad Tenants?

No landlord wants to rent to bad tenants.

The worst tenants (meaning tenants who have a plan to rip off small landlords from Day 1 are often very crafty.

For example, Willis will do an Academy Award worthy performance when she first meets a potential landlord.

Bad tenants will be exceptionally friendly when they first meet you.

They will appear to be really “decent people” who will convince you they will pay rent on time and take care of your rental property like it is their own home.

It’s only when you rent to them that you begin to see their true face.

You won’t believe how they change as they accuse you of neglecting maintenance issues and even harassing them.

How Can I Find Good Tenants and Avoid the Bad Ones?

One of Nina’s former landlords is now an OLA member and is very careful to screen her tenants to avoid “tenants from hell.”

One of the best tenant screening tools is a credit check.

Check out the Ontario Landlord Credit Check site for more information on the importance of doing credit checks on tenants. This site was created to help Ontario landlords learn how to find good tenants and avoid tenants from Hell.

How Can a Tenant Credit Check Help Landlords?

Conducting a tenant credit check will give you the essential information you need to know about a potential renter before you rent to them.

This isn’t only important for Ontario landlords, but also key for Alberta landlords and British Columbia landlords who are also facing challenges.

How Can Tenant Credit Checks Help Me Avoid Tenants From Hell?

That’s an excellent question. After all, small landlords are often on tight budgets and conducting a credit check is an extra expense.

Let’s take a closer look at how a tenant credit check can help Ontario landlords find good tenants and avoid tenants from hell.

#1 Current and Past Addresses

A credit check from the Ontario Landlords Association will show you the current and past addresses of your potential tenant.

You don’t have to ‘trust’ what the tenant tells you. You can see the FACTS on the credit report.

You can then make sure you talk to the REAL current and previous landlords and learn the TRUTH about the tenant who wants to rent your rental property.

#2 Current and Past Employment

It’s very common for bad tenants to lie about their employment history.

They lie because they know landlords want to rent to tenants with stable jobs that provide enough income to cover the rent.

A tenant credit check from the Ontario Landlords Association will show you the REAL employment situation of the potential renter.

#3 Financial Responsibility

Bad tenants will smile and tell you they always pay their bills on time.

A tenant credit check will show you the TRUTH.

Do they pay their bills on time? Do they owe anyone money? Are there judgements against them? Are there any collection agencies after them?

Even British Columbia landlords are now recognizing the importance of credit checks as they face some serial bad tenants ripping off landlords in BC.

We often think of Alberta as the best place to own rental properties in Canada. Yet even Alberta landlords are conducting tenant credit checks to make sure they avoid pro tenants who can end up costing landlords tens of thousands of dollars.

How Can I Run a Credit Check On My Prospective Tenants?

In the past running a credit check was complicated and expensive.

Some of the landlord credit check companies out there add on all sorts of extra fees on you and have a complicated start up process.

As a small landlord, you want everything open and up-front.

You also want low fees and a fast and efficient system.

Join the Ontario Landlords Association

For only a one-time registration fee , Ontario landlords can get access to premium credit checks for only $10/check!

That’s right. No annual fee. Just a one-time registration fee.

You can then access premium credit checks foronly $10/check for credit checks that give you a credit score, addresses, employment and all the information you need to make a smart, informed decision on whether or not you will rent to a tenant.

You will even get a recommendation from the credit report.

Ontario Landlords – Bad Tenants Are Out There But You Can Protect Yourself!\

Become a Member of the Ontario Landlords Association and Get Premium Credit Checks For Only $10/check from your Home or Office Computer.

It Really Is the Landlord Deal of a Life Time!

How Much Can You Raise the Rent For New Buildings?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

February 22nd, 2014

Ontario landlords raise the rent new buildings

Landlords Ask: How Much Can I Raise the Rent for New Condos, Townhouses, Houses and Buildings in 2014?

We informed Ontario landlords about the 2014 rent increase guideline back in June.

Lots of Ontario landlords were unhappy when they read the report and learned the Ontario government set the 2014 Rent Increase Guideline at only 0.8%.

The news led to even more frustration and even anger when an Ontario Landlords Association member was interviewed about the meager increase in the Toronto Sun newspaper.

The OLA member explained how the increase hurt small landlords and our ability to provide well maintained rental properties for our tenants.

Landlords can only raise the rent by 0.8% for current tenants in Ontario and many landlords feel it’s simply too low and doesn’t take into account the real rising expenses residential landlords face.

After all  Alberta landlords don’t have any rent increase guideline.

And British Columbia landlords area allowed to raise the rent by the rate of inflation PLUS 2 % to account for the special costs landlords knows we face.

The ridiculously low guideline has led some Ottawa landlords to want to leave the residential rental industry completely and move to commercial rental properties where there is more freedom to run run your rental business like a real business.

Are You Exempt from the 2014 Rent Increase Guideline?

We have received thousands of emails from landlords asking us to help clarify the Rent Increase Guideline for them.

Here’s A Common Question from a New Landlord On the Ontario Landlord Forum:

Excellent forum and thank you for all the good advice and posts here.

I bought a townhouse property which was newly built in 2013 and rented since Spring 2013.

My taxes are higher than expected and when I first took possession from the builder I forgot there was a fee for the road which is considered un-assumed and I have to pay a pretty big monthly fee to the builder to maintain it.

I currently rent the property for $1600/month and would like to raise the rent to take account for my increased costs.

I read that the 2014 rent increase is only 0.8% 

0.8% won’t cover my costs and I think I might be exempt from the because the property is only a year old. Can someone with experience explain how this works because I want to make sure I do it right.

You May Be Exempt From the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline

The annual guideline applies to most rental properties in Ontario. 

However, it you need to know it doesn’t cover all of them.

The Residential Tenancies Act has Section 6 (2) which lists where a landlord can raise the rent above the rent increase guideline.

It’s important you look at this carefully.

The Residential Tenancy Act and the rent increase guideline doesn’t apply to landlords if you meet the following criteria:

The provisions of the RTA that deal with the maximum amount by which rents can be increased do not apply with respect to a rental unit if:

1.         It was not occupied for any purpose before June 17, 1998

– meaning it is either in a new building (often a condominium building) built since 1998, or an older building with a new unit or never occupied, residentially or otherwise, before June 17, 1998;

2.         It is a rental unit no part of which has been previously rented since July  

            29, 1975

– meaning only the owner has used or occupied the unit since 1975; or

3.         No part of the building, mobile home park or land lease community was

            occupied for residential purposes before November 1, 1991

– meaning the building was probably commercially used before 1991 and then was converted to residential use.

Landlords Ask: If I Qualify For the Above What’s Next?

If any of the the above situations describe your situation, an N2 rent increase form can be given when increasing the rent by any amount.  

In most other situations (unless the rent increase is by agreement of both parties) an N1 form should be given to increase rent only by the guideline. 

Landlords are required to provide 90 days written notice when increasing the rent using either the N1 or N2 form.

You can find these forms here: http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Forms/STEL02_111311.html

Some Groups Want To End This Important Rule for New Landlords

The NDP and Some Left Wing Toronto Councillors aren’t happy with rent increase exemptions, calling it a ‘loophole.’

Some claim it’s unfair and leads to some tenants being “hammered” by huge rent increases.

Others claim it leaves some renters vulnerable to large rent increases.

We will discuss this in future posts.

Ontario Landlords and Raising the Rent

Landlords make sure you are aware of the rules.

The rent increase guideline exemption is designed to encourage investment in new rental properties and it exists for you to use it.

Ontario Landlords, make sure you are aware of the rules and do proper tenant screening to find great tenants, cover your costs, make profits and have a successful rental business.

Ontario Landlords: Tenant Screening and Tenant Credit Checks

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

 January 17th, 2014

Ontario landlords association tenant credit check 2014

What Are the Rules For Ontario Landlords to Do a Tenant Credit Check the Right Way?

(And What Happens If You Don’t? Because Tenants Are Complaining So Be Careful)

Landlords know the importance of renting to good tenants.

We have written about this before to warn Ontario landlords.

There are a lot of good tenants all over the province and they want to rent from you.

These tenants pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Landlords big and small are seeking these tenants who follow the rules and cooperate with their landlords for a win-win situation.

It’s especially important since the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline is only 0.8% as a recent Toronto Sun report explained.

Bad Tenants

There is also a large group of bad tenants out there.

Whether you are an Ottawa landlord, a Toronto landlord, own properties a bit north and are a Barrie landlord or anywhere else in the province you have surely heard about the damage bad tenants can do to landlords in Ontario.

These bad tenants know how to manipulate the system and will end up costing you thousands of dollars in losses and months of stress and frustration.

A Supreme Court Justice even said there are too many opportunities for bad tenants to take advantage of good landlords in Ontario. You can read what the judge said at the excellent column by our friend Bob Aaron at the Toronto Star.

Tenant Credit Checks

The Ontario Landlords Association has introduced tenant credit checks and their importance in a professional tenant screening system to thousands of landlords across the province.

We have excellent partners such as Equifax and GARDA.

They are authorized to conduct tenant credit checks and look into your potential tenant’s financial history.

These companies provide tools for landlords to succeed with their rental businesses by helping you rent to good tenants.

Are Some Landlords Doing It Wrong?

Yes, some are.

And you need to be careful.

We have received lots of emails from tenants who are claiming some landlords are obtaining their credit data in a fraudulent manner.

The tenants say their privacy rights have been stomped on by small landlords.

There have also been posts about this from tenants on the Ontario Landlords Forum.

For example a tenant wrote:

I’m looking for some advice on how to deal with a serious situation.

I take great care of my credit profile and my privacy. This year I was forced to look to rent a property near my work. After finding a property I was interested in the landlord said they would do an employment check, reference check and a credit check on me to see if I was qualified. I agreed they could.

Fast forward and I recently checked my credit report. At the time of my application there is now a ‘credit hit’ from a mortgage and real estate agent on my credit score. I did not apply for a mortgage or to buy a house! It is the only ‘credit hit’ for that time period.

I never agreed for a credit check from a mortgage or real estate agent. I never applied for a mortgage or to purchase a house. This will lead future creditors/landlords/anyone to think I wanted to buy my own place and applied for a mortgage. It will also lead to people mistakenly thinking I was refused a mortgage and failed to buy a place of my own.

I only authorized the landlord to do a credit check for the purpose of renting. I would like to know my options because this is a breach of my privacy rights.

With so many emails and an increasing number of tenant posts passionately explaining their serious concerns we decided to contact our partner Equifax Canada.

It seems some landlords are using friends or relatives who are Realtors or mortgage agents or insurance agents to get credit checks done on prospective tenants.

equifax ontario landlords

Our Interview With Equifax Canada

We contacted our partner Equifax Canada and spoke with them about the ‘right way’ for landlords to conduct tenant credit checks.

Here are our questions and the answers that follow:

1. Can I Call my Relative or Friend To Do the Credit Check For My Potential Tenant?

If the landlord uses a mortgage agent, Realtor, etc. to access potential tenants credit data for them, and the tenant didn’t agree and these tenants contact Equifax what will happen?

What are the penalties that could occur?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

No.

Given the nature of the existing credit reporting/privacy legislation and the terms of use (agreement) by the Equifax member, the consumer can report this type of unacceptable activity to the Ministry of Consumer Services, who will then investigate.

Any inappropriate use or breach of contract could lead to termination of membership with Equifax.

 2. Mortgage Agents, Realtors, Insurance Agents, Car Dealerships

Several landlords say they have used friends who are mortgage agents, Realtors, etc. for years to access tenant credit data and nothing happened and there is nothing wrong using this method to obtain credit data on potential tenants.

What is the best response to their claims?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

See above and below for more details.

Equifax must disclose the actual entity that received the file.

3. What About Third Parties to Obtain Credit Data?

Some landlords have a waiver on their application form saying they will use a “third party” to obtain credit data on a potential tenant (they don’t say who will do the check, only that it will be a third party).

They then contact a friend who is a mortgage agent, Realtor, insurance broker, someone who works at a car dealership, etc. to do the credit check on the potential tenant for them. 

They wonder if the waiver clause allows them to use a ‘friend’ is okay.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

The service agreement signed by EACH of our members clearly articulates that they will not “share” a credit file with another entity: the credit file is for their exclusive use ONLY.

Any entity that does share is in violation of this agreement.

4. Tenants Complaining About Unauthorized Credit Checks

Some tenants complain they have a ‘credit hit’ on their credit reports from mortgage agents, insurance agents, etc. which they never agreed to (as they only wanted to rent an apartment). 

How can tenants get these unauthorized credit hits off their records?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Due to privacy legislation, once Equifax delivers a file to a member, we MUST post an inquiry (by law).

As such, we do not remove these inquiries as they are factual and the consumer has a legal right to know their file has been disclosed.

5. What Can Tenants Do?

Some tenants who have credit hits from people they never authorized have asked if they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services to make formal complaints that their credit data was obtained fraudulently. They would like advice on this.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Yes, they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services who will launch an investigation.

They can reach also reach Equifax directly at the following telephone numbers to lodge a complaint and we will do an investigation:

English: 1-866-828-5961

French: 1-877-323-2598

Ontario Landlords And Tenant Screening 2014

Let’s work together to make 2014 the most successful year ever for landlords across Ontario.

Tenant screening is an essential part of being a successful landlord.

Make sure you follow the rules and find great tenants for your rental properties.

High quality tenant credit companies such as Equifax and GARDA are waiting to assist you.

Ontario Landlords: Rent Increase Guideline 2014

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

December 25th, 2013

Ontario landlords Rent Increase Guideline 2014

How Much Can Landlords in Ontario Raise the Rent in 2014?

If you are a landlord in Ontario you face what is called ‘rent control.’

This means in many cases how much you can charge for rent is controlled by the government.

As we wrote in June about how much Ontario landlords can increase the rent in 2014 the government announces a Rent Increase Guideline, usually in the early summer before the coming year.

This is the announcement from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing informing Ontario landlords rent increases for the next calendar year.

We have had lots of landlords from all over the province asking us to clarify and confirm how much they can raise the rent in 2014 and here is your answer:

HOW MUCH CAN ONTARIO LANDLORDS RAISE THE RENT?

Ontario Landlords Can Raise the Rent 0.8% in 2014

That is the allowable increase according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the province.

Is the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline Too Low?

Many landlords think it is.

After all, landlords still have not been allowed to catch up to the added costs for when the HST was implemented.

Is 0.8% a realistic example of the increased costs Ontario landlords face?

Whether you are a Toronto landlord, invest in Ottawa rentals or have properties in a smaller area and become a Newmarket landlord, many property investors and landlords say no.

Let’s look at some of the increasing costs for  landlords in our province:

1. How about the increased prices of your property taxes?

2. What about increase costs from the people we depend on to maintain our rental units?

3. Many small landlords are facing increases over 5% for services such as water.

I Need To Do Major Improvements on the Property Including a New Roof.

Is There A Way To Increase the Rent More Than 2.5%?

If you want to raise the rent more than the guideline you can apply for what is called an Above Guideline Increase through the Landlord and Tenant Board.

You can apply if the cost of your municipal taxes and charges or your utilities have increased more than the following formula: the rent increase guideline + 50%.

You can apply for increased costs due to capital expenditures or investing in security services.

Are All Residential Landlords Covered By The Rent Increase Guideline?

No, not all.

You do not have to follow the Guideline if your situation in one of the following:

1. The rental was not occupied for any purpose before June 17th, 1998

This means your rental property was built after June 17th, 1998 or you have built a new unit in your property that was never occupied before June 17th, 1998.

2. The rental unit was never previously rented since July 29th, 1975

This means only the owner has lived in the property since the date of July 29th, 1975.

3. No part of the building was occupied for residential purposes before Nov. 1st  1991

This means the property was converted from commercial to residential or was not built or occupied until after November 1st, 1991.

Ontario Landlords and the 2014 Rent Increase Guideline

 For more information see the Landlord and Tenant Board Website

To discuss this and other issues go to the Ontario Landlord Forum