Archive for the ‘Ontario Landlords’ Category

Ontario Tenants – Our Landlord Community Wants To Hear From You (And Work Together For Mutual Success!)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

ola landlord and tenant win win campaign

Renting Should Be a Win-Win Situation. Ontario Landlords Want to Rent to Good Tenants and Ontario Tenants Want To Find Good Landlords and Great Rental Properties. We Want To Help Make It Happen

With property prices increasing in Ontario over the past few years and rents rising, rental properties (and the landlords and investors who own them) have been in the news a lot recently. 

We have also had the new Rental Fairness Act which makes changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Many small landlords were expecting some important changes to balance the playing field. By adding urgently needed protections for small landlords it would keep a lot of good people in the rental industry and encourage more investment, more rentals, and more affordable options for tenants.

Bad Landlord Alert…or not

While the media seems to focus on the “bad landlords out there” the reality is these are rare cases and not representative of the larger Ontario rental market.

There are a lot of great people who are landlords (or want to invest in residential properties) and we need to make sure there is a fair regulatory environment to protect them. These landlords are huge corporations with unlimited resources. 

In reality many landlords are teachers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, electricians, plumbers, contractors and people working hard for some cash flow and their retirement.

Changes need to be made to protect small landlords

We need to discuss important issues such as allowing damage deposits and pet deposits.  We need a healthy debate on allowing a fixed term lease to really mean the lease actually ends unless renewed by the landlord and the tenant.

It’s important for all stake-holders to make changes in how we can quickly evict tenants who don’t pay or abuse other tenants or their landlord.

Many Ontario Landlords area also greatly concerned about the legalization of marijuana and how this will impact rental properties. Many landlords are gravely concerned this will lead to many tenant vs. tenant challenges.

The Rental Fairness Act Isn’t Very Fair

Instead of dealing with important issues, there were policy changes such as expanding rent control and making it even harder and more expensive for family landlords to get control of their property for their own use. There were also punishing new rules for those who include utilities in the rent.

Alberta landlords are working hard to let the general public know how hard they work and how much they care and it’s time we did the same in Ontario.

Good Landlords Want Good Tenants…And Good Tenants Want To Find Great Landlords and Great Properties

Experienced and successful small Ontario landlords know we are running a business and our tenants are our “clients.”

As we usually own only one or two rental properties we usually do our own tenant screening. This means we are personally involved in the rental process.

Successful small residential landlords also know the key to a profitable rental business means we have to first attract some of the great tenants out there to rent from us, and then we need to work hard to ensure they love renting from us and want to stay. It’s hard work and it’s not easy.

Secrets and Tips From Successful Landlords

We asked our most successful members to share some tips to help other small landlords and investors on how to avoid problems and create a win-win situation between the landlord and your tenants.

(a) Screen your Tenants Yourself

With the excellent tools available landlords can take their business “into their own hands” and make sure they know who they are renting to. Make sure you know the rules and laws. 

For example: Getting a real estate agent friend to run credit checks for you can be illegal and cost your real estate friend their license with Equifax. If you are running credit checks make sure they are legal.

(b) This Is A Hands On Business

Get to know your tenants and get to know your rental property. Make sure you make the place safe and comfortable. 

One of our Ottawa landlords wrote: create a rental property that you would want to live in.

(c) Treat Your Tenants With Respect And Appreciate Them

You provide a terrific, safe, fairly priced rental property to your tenants. You are a service-oriented landlord and that means when things need fixing or issues arise, you make it a priority and get things fixed fast. When you fix these issues you cooperate with your tenant to make sure both sides are satisfied with the solution.

(d) Many Ontario Landlords Were Tenants Not So Long Ago

One OLA member wrote on the Ontario landlords forum:

“I rented for years when I was in university.  My first year was in residence and after dealing with the meal plan and a small room I couldn’t wait to get out and rent a property with my friends.”

“Looking back the experience renting a house wasn’t the best.  The landlord would didn’t ever make repairs.  When the basement flooded we were told just to ‘not go down there’ and the stove only had 2 burners that worked (and the oven was so weak it took what seemed like hours to cook french fries.)”

“Now I’m planning to buy an income property near a university.  Maintenance and dealing fast with any issues will be a priority.  But what else can we do to stand out from the crowd and offer a terrific housing experience for student renters?”

(e) What Would Lead You To Stay At A Rental For A Longer Period of Time?

Many landlords feel stressed out when looking for new tenants.  While there are a lot of great tenants out there, there are also people who know how to play the system and can lead to a lot of financial and emotional stress.

What are Tenants Looking For When Choosing a Rental Property and a Landlord?

Our members usually own one or maybe two properties. They aren’t large, huge corporations that don’t care about individual tenants and don’t care about vacancies.

Ontario Landlords Want To Hear From Ontario Tenants

The media keeps talking about “super high rents” and “bad landlords.”  They fail to differentiate between large corporate landlords and small landlords who are simply trying to run a rental business.

Here are some questions from small landlords to help us improve how we run our rental businesses:

 1. What Do Tenants Want In a Landlord?

2. What Type Of Features Are You Looking For In a Rental Property?

3. What is the Best Way To Advertise To Attract Good Tenants?

4. How Can Service-Oriented, Professional Small Landlords Show You Their Professionalism?

We Welcome Tenant Comments on Ontario Rental Industry

Are you a tenant now?  Are you looking to rent? Let us know your experience and your feelings. 

Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at landlordtenantsolutions@groupmail.com

(Please note you will not receive a reply upon emailing us)

Tell us what is happening and we’ll share it with landlords to help improve the Ontario rental industry!

While recent rules seem create a narrative of “landlords vs. tenants” the reality is good landlords want good tenants and good tenants are looking for professional landlords and great rental properties. Let’s work together to make this happen!

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.”

(more…)

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.