Posts Tagged ‘landlord help’

Ontario’s New Standard Lease (And How Smart Landlords Can Succeed Using It)

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Ontario Landlords Association Advocacy Credibility

Ontario Has A New Standard Lease Which Will Be Used Beginning April 30th. Experienced and Successful Landlords Say That You Can Still Put In Important (and legal) Clauses To Protect You and Your Rental Property 

What happens when a tenant wants to rent from an Ontario residential landlord? Both the landlord and the tenant agree to create a business relationship by signing a residential tenancy agreement.  This is also called a lease and is signed by both sides.

According a report on CBC news the Ministry of Housing has now created a new mandatory document for landlords and tenants to sign to begin this business relationship. You can download the new Ontario Landlord Standard Lease here.

Standard Lease For Ontario Landlords

The new standard lease will be required to be used by landlords and tenants beginning April 30, 2018.  According to some tenant activists Ontario tenants have been demanding this since 2012. Furthermore these activists state this will be an excellent improvement on the current situation to protect tenants from bad landlords.

Are Landlords Bad and Always Trying To Rip Off Tenants As Some Tenant Activists Believe?

According to some tenant activists, landlords write lots of “illegal clauses” into leases to trick poor unsuspecting tenants into traps. They says it’s like a bad cheesy John Wayne western movie, or the “Wild West”, out there with few controls on what landlords can do. The radical activists also state “almost every lease in Ontario you could find something illegal” and they receive daily calls from frightened and scared tenants about these clauses.

OLA Members Disagree. The Reality is Most Landlords Just Want To Find Good Tenants For A Win-Win Situation

First of all many landlords use OLA documents which do not have any illegal clauses. What we have are carefully thought out (legal) clauses which protect both the landlord and the tenants.

For years our members have complained about the poorly written OREA lease document that many new landlords and Realtors use. It’s a document that is inadequate and doesn’t protect landlords properly (especially if you go to Small Claims Court which many of our members have done).

Successful Ontario Landlords Know Good Lease Clauses Are Helpful for Both Landlords and Tenants

While the tenant activists want to label anyone renting out their property as inherently evil it’s not true.  Experienced and successful Ontario landlords know that creating smart, legal lease clauses is a key part of their success.

By creating a comprehensive lease, both the landlord and tenant can avoid potential confusion and conflict by making rules clear prior to the tenancy beginning.

For example one long term landlord wrote on the Ontario Landlords Association forum:

“I own a lot of duplexes. Two of the biggest problems I used to face was use of the shared laundry room and use of the yard.

When I first started I didn’t make the usage clear using the real estate agent lease. i used the OREA lease. It was constant tenant vs. tenant conflict. Both sides kept complaining to me. They both wanted me to be “on their side” and evict the other tenants.

When I joined the Ontario Landlords Association I was taught that it was important to go beyond just “how much is the rent” and “who is the landlord/who is the tenant”. I added in information to my tenants about what their laundry privileges were (times and dates for each parties usage) and what part of the yard each side got.

Since I did this the amount of tenant vs. tenant conflict has vanished. 

In 2010 I was even thinking of selling!  Now my rental business is smooth and it’s scary even thinking I almost bailed as now my cash flow is good and my properties have appreciated greatly! Fellow landlords at the OLA saved my rental business.”

The Standard Lease Distracts From The Real Issues To Help Landlords and Tenants: Changes Are Needed in the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board

Creating a standardized lease sounds good. It sounds fair. And in fact most OLA members don’t mind it (and we contributed ideas to the Ministry as you will read about soon).

However the real key to improve the Ontario rental industry is not a new lease template. The real key is to fix the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board.”

Let’s look at a couple things that need to change.

Ontario Landlords Need To Be Able To Charge A Damage Deposit

Ottawa landlords bad tenants 2018 4

When tenants pay a damage deposit they have ‘skin in the game’. This means they will be careful in the property and report any problems quickly to the landlord. With no damage deposit landlords regularly face garbage left behind, dirty properties and worse. This also cause problems with new tenants moving in. They move in and see garbage left around, fridges full of food and worse.

The Landlord and Tenant Board Must Speed Up the Process for Evictions

ola delay

Even evictions for what should be simple things can take months and months at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

And many OLA members complain about some adjudicators and Tenant Duty Counsel acting disrespectfully and even rude towards small landlords (especially those who can’t afford legal representation and have to represent themselves).

Important News: Ontario Landlords Can Still Add In Clauses in the Standard Lease!

Thousands of Ontario landlords wrote in to us when we asked for ideas when the Ministry was create the standard lease.

One of the most important points we pressed for was allowing landlords and tenants to add “clauses” to the new standard lease…and we got it!

This is really key for landlords, new and experienced alike, from Toronto to Ottawa to Thunder bay to Windsor and every where in between.

ola success

The “Additional Terms” Part of the Standard Lease (Go to Part 15, Page 6)

In this section you and your tenant are allowed to agree on things in an “attached form”. 

Of course smart landlords will avoid illegal terms such as requiring the tenant to pay for all repairs for the rental. It’s silly to even thing about adding them as good tenants will not want to rent from you.  However you can add some important clauses to protect you and your rental business (and protect your tenants too!)

Ontario Standard Lease And Additional Terms

We need to improve the Ontario rental industry to help both good landlords and good tenants. The standard lease doesn’t do this. We need real reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Smart landlords will make sure they use Part 15, Page 6 “Additional Terms” in the Ontario standard lease to protect your rental properties and your tenants.

Ontario Landlord Association and GTS-Global Tracing Solutions

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

You wouldn’t think how the experience of dealing with tenants (or for this article, ex-tenants) could be so close to the story of Cinderella but when I gave it a closer look, I was surprised to see the similarities. Things CAN change when the clock strikes midnight- especially if your tenant decides to do a midnight run. That beautiful and expensive carriage (vehicle)  that you thought they owned turns out was either borrowed or leased. The great references disappear quicker then the horses that were pulling the carriage. But remember there can be a happy ending if you take the rights steps.

Let’s look at the Prince (in this case it will be played by GTS-Global Tracing Solutions) he has a clue as to where “Cinderella”  (ex-tenant) could have gone. He starts with the glass slipper, well as most people don’t realize, they leave footprints wherever they go- Cinderella is no different. And in her case the Prince is lucky that there are also some digital footprints left behind as well. So the Prince starts to analyze the foot prints and pulls out some clues for him to follow.  With a few phone calls, more searching and some helpful “info fairies” along the way he is able to locate a different location. Where the peasant girl –Cinderella (the tenant that made the midnight move) now calls home (yes she too ended up back with her evil step mother) .

So it’s not exactly like that for a skip tracing company but in many ways it is. People pretend to be things they are not and provide an “image” and information to get what they need- in this case it’s a roof over their head. That is why it’s important to start off on the right foot (sort of speak) and make sure that you are using a thorough application and doing the checks on the information provided. NOW is the time at the beginning of the relationship to confirm and ask the questions that you need answered. Don’t have time – use a service like Tenant Verification Services. At least give US a chance to start on the right path , so we can give you the best chance to recover by locating a new address for service or a new phone number so you can start your collection process. It is hard to find someone when you are their last known address and there is nothing else to go on.

GTS-Global Tracing Solutions Ltd. is here to help you recover what is rightfully yours from those that are clearly not making the right decisions.

If you could change 3 things about the current laws for Ontario Landlords…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

The Ontario Landlords Association for small business landlords has received a request to create a list (with follow-up explanations) of what changes should be made to the Residential Tenancy Act and to the Landlord  Tenant Board.

Here’s a chance to get your views to those who make the decisions. Please keep it to 3 main points, and if you can add an explanation or personal experience regarding the matter, please do so.

Please post in the HELP FORUM and get YOUR VIEWS HEARD!!

Do you have questions about the Landlord and Tenant Board? How to evict a tenant? Your tenant hasn’t paid rent? Do you need Landlord help?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

There are questions Landlords ask everyday in Ontario:

1. I need help with the Landlord and Tenant Board

2. How do I evict a tenant?

3. My tenant hasn’t paid rent?

4. I need landlord help

Welcome to the Ontario Landlord Association HELP forums!!

Is it better to rent with utilities included?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

By Dominique Jarry-Shore | Tue Feb 01 2011

With several cold snaps already behind us, renters may be wondering whether it’s better to have their heat and hydro included in the rent or pay it separately.

There are pros and cons to both.

When heat is included budgeting can be easier with set costs every month. This can be especially helpful where roommates are concerned since divvying up heating bills from month to month is an extra hassle. It also protects you from rising energy prices, since the amount of rent you pay will likely stay the same or rise by only a small amount, as set out by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

This year, the rent increase has been set at less than 1 per cent, and although landlords can apply for a rent increase over and above that amount .

If you’re planning on staying in your apartment for several years, it could be more advantageous to have the heat included because annual rent increases will likely be less than the increase in energy costs.

The drawback to having the heat included is that you have less control over how much you pay for it. If you’re someone who is good at saving on heat, and generally has a small heating bill, you could end up paying more than your consumption when it’s included in the rent.

Stuart Henderson is a member of the Ontario Landlord’s Association and a small-business landlord who owns about 50 rental units.

He says landlords will often adjust the amount of rent a tenant pays when the heat is included to account for a tenant who might waste energy. Even if you aren’t the type to leave the window open in the middle of winter, your landlord may have factored that kind of wastefulness into the price as a precaution.

Henderson says a more worrisome concern is rising energy costs and that uncertainty means many landlords are wary of including utilities in the rent.

He calls the 10 per rebate on hydro bills introduced by the McGuinty government a “very small help” and estimates costs for landlords have gone up 10 to 20 per cent in recent years due to a combination of factors, including the HST, the increase in the cost of energy, and in some areas, rising property taxes.

With the rent increase set at 0.7 per cent for 2011, Henderson says landlords are more and more willing to negotiate a rent that doesn’t include utilities.

This is where it can get interesting for renters.

By comparing similar units in the neighbourhood, renters may want to try bargaining for a lower rent in exchange for paying the heat themselves.

Here are some tips for negotiating a better deal on your rent where heat and utilities are concerned.

1) Compare apples to apples. Take some time to research the prices for similar units in the neighbourhood both with heat included, and excluded from the price. That way you’ll have a better starting point when bargaining. Craig’s List and other online housing sites can be a good place to start.

2) Find out how is consumption is measured. Sometimes heat is included in the rent because it’s not possible to determine the exact consumption in your unit. This is especially true in some older townhouses where one heating system may be used for a couple of units. Find out how exactly your consumption will be measured to make sure it’s fair. If this seems suspect, you might want to skip offering to pay your own utilities.

3) Check the energy efficiency of the apartment. Are the windows winterized? Which was does the apartment face? Keep in mind that a basement will cost more to hear than a top floor apartment.

4) Find out who you’re you dealing with. You’ll probably have more of a chance negotiating a rent with a small-business landlord as opposed to a large company-managed building where rules may be less flexible

Dominique Jarry-Shore is an editor with She lives in an apartment in downtown Toronto.–is-it-better-to-rent-with-utilities-included?bn=1