Posts Tagged ‘landlord rights’

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.

Landlord Advocacy- Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get A License

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

OLA positive change

Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get a License (You Still Need To Make Sure Your Rental Property is Registered, and Safe and Secure For Tenants)

When the City of Mississauga announced a plan to license landlords, it led to a lot of concerns from our Mississauga landlord members and a ton of posts in our Members Forum.

Many Mississauga landlords were confused about how the program would be run.

Others were concerned about what would happen to their current tenants in their unlicensed units.

Many more told us they were worried the extra costs involved would lead them to have to give up being a small residential landlord.

As we represent thousands of small residential landlords across Ontario our expert team was quick to act. We began looking into the issue carefully and contacting people in the City government to get answers.

We then helped inform landlords what the rules and laws are for Mississauga landlords to operate a rental property and publicized the issue and lobbied for landlord rights.

We would like to point out the people we spoke with at the City of Mississauga were extremely professional and helpful and were a great resource for us to get the city’s message out to landlords and residential rental property investors.

The Ontario Landlords Association Doesn’t Believe Licensing Landlords Is The Answer

We are a group made up of hard working small residential landlords. We appreciate and agree with the goals of governments and tenant activists to ‘protect tenants.’

After all, as small business people most of the people in the OLA have rented before (and some of us had to deal with unprofessional landlords!) and have friends and relatives who rent  now.

We understand the need the for safe, high quality and affordable housing.

Based on our experiences as small landlords, we feel that the costs involved with landlord licensing makes other options (such as landlord education and well-trained By-law officers) more effective ways to protect tenants while also recognizing the hard work and investment of all the good landlords out there.

Due to the high costs of getting a license we had many Mississauga landlords tell us they were selling and other planned to invest in other areas where there were no licensing schemes, such as investing in cities as Ottawa or Newmarket.

The Ontario Landlords Association has been a reasonable, yet firm and strong voice, for small landlords and against expensive landlord licensing schemes that will only raise rents on tenants and drive good people out of the rental providing industry.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required to Get a Landlord License

This has been huge news and the response from our Mississauga landlord members has been overwhelming!

To help clear up the issue and education landlords we interviewed Mickey Frost, the Director of Enforcement for Bylaws in the City of Mississauga. Mr. Frost has been incredibly helpful over the years and we thank him. Mr. Frost is a true professional.

1. What is the current situation regarding the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

The City has repealed the current licensing process and will now require that houses containing a second unit be registered. As part of the registration process, the City of Mississauga requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law.

Registration is free of charge. Homeowners will no longer need to purchase or renew a license. Existing second unit license holders will be automatically registered.

2. When did these changes happen?

The Second Unit Licensing By-law was repealed by Council on March 30, 2016. The Second Unit Registration By-law was enacted on June 8, 2016.

3. Can landlords who applied previously to get a license get a refund?

Although there is no legal requirement to provide a refund, it was identified that refunds would mitigate some of the inconvenience experienced by property owners who have taken the necessary steps to complete the licensing process within months of the Second Unit Licensing By-law being repealed.

Refunds for the cost of a second unit license were provided to license holders, as approved by City Council.

Property owners that have submitted an initial application or renewal application in 2016 will be provided with a full refund and property owners whose application was process between September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 will be provided with a partial refund representing 50% of the cost of a license.

Refunds have been dispersed to all eligible applicants that paid by debit, cash or cheque. All eligible applicants that paid by credit card have been contacted and advised to obtain their refund in person at our Compliance and Licensing Enforcement office.

4. Are there any plans for more changes to the Second Unit Licensing By-law in the near future?

The City has repealed the Second Unit Licensing By-law. A Registration By-law was passed by City Council on June 8, 2016, which requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law. There are no further changes proposed at this time.

5. Where can residential landlords get more information on developments on the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

Further information is available on the Second Units website at http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/housingchoicessecondunits. For further information on the Second Unit Registration process, please contact the Citizen Contact Centre by dialing 3-1-1.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required To Get a Landlord License

This is great news for all the landlords who voiced their concerns to us. Make sure you register your second unit according to the new By-law.

Ontario Landlord Advocacy

This is also an important lesson for good small landlords who want to help create a fair playing field for landlords and tenants. Make sure your voice is heard in a positive and constructive manner and change can happen.

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.

What is the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act? (And Why You Need To Study It)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

January 10th, 2012

You decide to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario

With so much money at stake, you don’t take your investment lightly.   You’ve looked into a variety of potential investments and decided to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario.

Now it’s time to cover all the bases to make sure you start out right and have a plan for success.  You go through the categories, from finance to marketing.

Location, location, location

Being a careful and cautious investor, you spend months researching which area you want to buy in.  After all, you know the old real estate adage ‘location, location, location.’

Financing

You work with your mortgage broker or bank to find out out how much you can spend and to make sure you can pull the trigger once you find the ideal property.  You carefully work out all the numbers.  You are pre-approved and know what your budget is.

Buying the right property

You work with a reputable Realtor to find the ‘right’ property in your targeted area.  Now it’s on to carefully hiring contractors to make your rental property safe and attractive.

You feel you’ve done your due diligence and are on the right track

Carefull planning.  Research.  Hiring the right people and creating your team.  Patience.  A good business plan.  You are on your way.  Or so you think.

What do many Ontario landlords miss?

Many smart and professional Ontario landlords neglect one aspect of their business.  The law. Before entering any industry it’s important for you to learn the laws governing it.  Many landlords are not fully aware of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.

How difficult is it to simply rent out an apartment or my basement?

This isn’t Alberta.  This isn’t British Columbia.  This isn’t P.E.I. or Newfoundland.   The laws in Ontario are complicated. Very complicated.  Everything starts with the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).  Tenants are very well-protected under the RTA.  This is especially so after the Ontario Liberal government’s amendment of the Act in in 2006.  When the amendments were proposed, there was a consultation process with various stake-holders.  Small scale landlords were not represented.

Don’t landlords have rights too?

Under the RTA, landlords have rights as well.  However, you have to see the thinking of the people who made the laws. Tenants are essentially viewed as ‘victims.’  After all, they cannot afford to buy their own homes, right?  Wait, you’re not buying it?  Here’s more.  Landlords are viewed as wealthy and powerful.  Landlords can afford to hire over-priced paralegals and lawyers.  Landlords can afford to wait 3-6 months to evict a non-paying tenant.  You get the picture. Remember, small scale landlords were not represented during consultations to change the RTA.

Wow!  Please tell me more about the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 covers most residential rental units in Ontario including mobile homes, care homes and rooming and boarding houses.

However, there are some situations where a rental unit may not be covered by the Act or certain parts of the Act.

For example, the Act does not apply if:

  • the tenant must share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner, or certain family members of the owner;
  • the unit is used on a seasonal or temporary basis.

Many of the rules about rent do not apply to:

  • new rental buildings;
  • non-profit and public housing;
  • university and college residences.

Note these units are still covered by most of the other rules in the Act, such as maintenance and the reasons for eviction.

Note the Act does not cover commercial tenancies.

Where can I learn more about the RTA?

You can read the RTA here.  Read it carefully.  Twice.  Daily.

Ontario landlord politics

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

EZRA LEVANT: “There’s a word for what the OHRC allows- Bigotry”

October 12, 2011

 

In an opinion column in the Toronto Sun, columnist Ezra Levant commented on the Ontario Human Rights Commission policy on online rental property ads.

Levant explained some of the terms the OHRC policy on online rental ads deemed discriminatory.  These include terms such as “perfect apartment for a student” and “adult building.”

However, Levant describes “…reporter Sarah Boesveld was poking around the website Kijiji.ca and found 32 apartments that say “only Muslims need apply.” She called up the human rights commission..which said it’s out of its hands.”

What do you think?

 

Read the original Toronto Sun article here

Discuss this in our Politics forum here