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
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.