Posts Tagged ‘legal’

Brantford Landlords Watch Out – Rental Property Ad Scam Has Arrived

Friday, February 1st, 2013

February 1st, 2013

 Ontario Landlords Watch Out Rental Property Online Scam

 

As if Ontario Landlords don’t have enough to watch out for in 2013.

We already have to deal with grow ops, small rent increases, and bad tenants. Now an international rental property scam is targeting landlords and tenants in Brantford, Ontario.

According to a news article in the Expositor newspaper, the fraud unit of the Brantford police is warning landlords and tenants to be cautious of online apartment ads.

The fraud unit has been notified of several victims who have been scammed after responding to online ads for rentals. People looking for new place to rent first see places online. They contact the landlords for the properties they are interested in renting. After communicating with the landlord, they are told to transfer money. Except the person they sent the money too isn’t really the landlord.

This scam is also occurring in Alberta and other cities in Ontario.

Here’s a story on about the scam in Edmonton:

Edmonton Tenants and Landlords Under Attack From Online Scammers

In one case in Brantford the fake landlord called himself “Ron.”  To sound convincing “Ron” provided not one but two phone numbers to potential tenants (his potential victims). One number was for Houston, Texas. The second number was from an area code in North Carolina.

The interested tenants sent their rent deposits via Western Union to Ron’s “account” in Nevada. In return, “Ron” said the keys to their new rental home would be sent by courier to them to the airport in Brantford.

Unfortunately, “Ron” wasn’t the landlord and the potential tenants were defrauded.

Brantford police encourage tenants to make sure offers for rental properties are real and to make sure the rental property advertised actually exists. You should also visit the property and try to meet the landlord at the rental. Landlords and tenants can also use reputable companies to find great tenants and great properties.

Brantford Landlords are the latest targets for scams. Landlords all over Ontario should be cautious because the scam appears to be spreading fast.

Tenant Disables Smoke Alarms, House Burns Down, Tenant Charged

Friday, January 11th, 2013

January 11th, 2013

OLA smoke alarms 1

Orillia Ontario Tenant Charged With Intentionally Disabling Smoke Alarms

The Ontario Landlords Association has repeatedly emphasized to landlords how important it is to make fire safety a priority in your rental properties.

For example, last October 1st we recommended landlords use the opportunity of collecting October rent to also check the smoke alarms in your rental property.

Fire Safety Should Be a Priority for Small Landlords

Like we said then:

With furnaces and space heaters soon to be turned on as the weather gets cold, it’s also a great opportunity for Ontario Landlords to check that smoke alarms are present and working in your rental properties.

Let your tenants know ahead of time and let them know you are working to protect not only yourself, but your tenants!

Why Does it Matter?

Not having working smoke alarms can lead to fines and even worse.

The Fire in Orillia

On January 2nd, 2013 a huge fire broke out at 11 William Street in Orillia, Ontario. The fire caused over $150,000 in damages.

One of the tenants was charged for disabling a smoke alarm in the property on purpose.

According to Ralph Dominelli who is the Fire Chief in Orillia, it’s a very serious act if you disable a smoke alarm.

Chief Dominelli says that while the fire that broke out in the bedroom on the second upstairs floor was not being considered suspicious, the smoke alarms were not activated.

The Fire Chief said even while his team was fighting the blaze, no smoke alarms went off.

The Tenant Was Charged

The Fire Department charged the tenant under the Provincial Offences Act. While the tenant only faces a fine of $235, the Fire department has the option to raise that up to one year in jail and a $50,000 fine.

The severity of the charge will depend on evidence pointing to why the smoke alarms were disabled.

The Investigation

At this time the Fire Chief cannot say why the smoke alarms were disarmed. However a professional engineering company was hired by the landlords insurance company. They have confirmed the fire began at the edge of a mattress.

One of the possible reasons for the fire was faulty discharge after smoking in the bedroom. This has not been confirmed.

Landlords and Tenants Responsibilities

Dominelli says  it is the tenants responsibility to make sure all smoke alarms are in good working condition.

It is the landlords responsibility to make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of the property and outside of the bedrooms and other sleeping areas.Smoke alarms ought to be checked to make sure they are working effectively each month.

The Lesson for Landlords

Landlords this is another example of why fire safety is important. Landlords must make sure there are working smoke alarms in their investment properties.

It is also important to find good tenants who will cooperate with you in making sure the smoke alarms are maintained in good working order.

You need to do proper tenant screening to make sure you avoid renting to tenants from hell who do not respect you, your property, or their own safety. If you do rent to bad tenants, be aware of what can happen and make sure you fight for your rights and evict them.

If you hire a property management company, make sure they are professional and know all the rules and respect your concerns and worries at all time. There are lots of bad property management companies out there.

To discuss this and other issues with thousands of other small landlords join the Ontario Landlord Forum

Ontario Landlord Question – How Much Can I Raise the Rent in 2013?

Monday, December 31st, 2012

January 1st, 2013

Ontario Landlords How Much Can I Raise the Rent in 2013

 

Ontario Landlords Can Raise the Rent 2.5% in 2013

It’s a question landlords all over Ontario are asking.

In Ontario, landlords can raise rent every year by a certain percentage that the provincial government allows.

In past years, this percentage was based on the Computer Price Index (CPI) which is a measure of inflation.For example in 2012 the allowable increase was 3.1%

According to the Rent Increase Guideline published on the Landlord and Tenant Board Website, the CPI is a reliable and objective way to measure inflation, see a broad picture of changes in the price of goods and services in Ontario, and a sound way to set the annual rent increase.

Except for 2013, the Ontario Liberal Government threw out everything they’ve been saying about rent increases for the past nine years.

In June 2012, the government decide to put forward the Resident Tenancies Amendment Act to cap the maximum amount Ontario landlords can increase the rent for tenants occupying our rental properties.

The Liberal government stated this will create stable rents for tenants while landlords will still get a “fair return” to maintain high quality rentals. Therefore it looks like they are admitting setting the rental increase guideline based on the CPI was bad policy on their part…or political catering to tenant voters during an election year is how rental policy is truly handled in Ontario.

This means that despite inflation, higher taxes, higher costs and higher bills landlords can only raise the rent by 2.5% in 2013.

You cannot simply tell your tenants you are going to raise the rent. There are rules and procedures you must follow.

Rules For Raising the Rent

1. The 12 Month Rule

Landlords must wait at least 12 months after tenants move in before increasing the rent.

2. The 12 Month Rule Part II

All future increases must be 12 months apart from the last increase.

3. Proper Notice

Landlords must also provide tenants with written notice 90 days before the rent goes up.

4. Use the Notice of Rent Increase Form

The Landlord and Tenant Board website has a form N1 you can use to give notice about a rent increase.

 

Despite replying on the CPI Index to set the annual rent guideline in the past, and landlords facing higher costs in 2013 rents are capped at only 2.5%. Another reason to make sure you raise the rent in 2013 and make sure you find great tenants

 

Oshawa Student Landlords To Face A Demerit System

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

December 1st, 2012

Ontario Landlords

Own Student Rental Properties in Oshawa, Ontario and Tenants Noise or Bad Parking Can

Lead the Landlord Into Closing Down For a Year or More!

What’s Going On In Oshawa?

Student rental properties in Oshawa are already licensed. Now the City of Oshawa has created a new system to have even greater control over landlords and tenants.

What Is It?

They have created a new system whereby each landlord and their properties are subject to a demerit point system.

A Demerit Point System? You’ve Got to be Kidding.

Unfortunately, it’s really happened. Student landlords in Ontario already have enough challenges, and then this new system comes along.

Does This Apply to Every Landlord in Oshawa?

No. it will apply to rental properties in the northern part of Oshawa near the campus of Durham College and the campus of UOIT.

Why Is This Happening?

Student rental housing has caused conflict between landlords, their student tenants, and residents in the area for a long time. Licensing, and this new system is yet another stage of the conflict.

How Does the Demerit System Work

Here’s how it works.

1. If the rental gets up to 7 demerit points, the landlord will get a letter with a warning.

2. If the rental gets up to 15 points, the landlord will lose their license to operation for at least a year.

How Does a Landlord Lose Demerit Points?

The landlord will lose points for things such as:

– Tenants making noise

– Tenants parking their cars in unauthorized ways

– Landlords operating without a valid license.

So the Tenant Makes Noise or Parks Wrong and the Landlord is Punished?

Yes. This is particularly frightening considering landlords have so few controls over what tenants can do. Even in ‘pro landlord’ provinces such as Alberta tenants can get out of control.

How Long Do These Demerit Points Stay On the Landlord’s Record?

The demerit points stays on a property record for two years.

Is This System Permanent?

This new system will exist for at least a year and likely more.

How Much Will This System Cost?

A councillor admits the government doesn’t know how much it will cost but they should ‘do something.’

How Can this Be Defended?

The councillor who started this whole plan says this is another tool for the government to deal with landlords who ignore city bylaws.

What If the Landlord is an Investor and They Hire a Bad Property Manager?

It will be the landlord who is punished. This is why investors should be careful to only hire the best property management service companies to manage their properties that can deal with bad tenants and bad situations.

 

Landlords The Message Is Clear. The Demerit System Oshawa Ontario Landlords Face Is Simply More Evidence the Government Wants to Blame Landlords for Tenant Actions Without Giving Landlords Any Real Power to Control Tenant Behaviour. Discuss this at the Ontario Landlords Forum

Tenants Start a Grow Op? In Ontario, the Landlord Pays the Bill! 10 Tips To Protect Yourself and Save You Money

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

 November 24th, 2012

If Your Tenants Get Charged For Having a Grow Op in Ontario the Bill Will Go to the Landlord So Make Sure You Read These Tips to Save You a Headache and Money

According to a news article at Yorkregion.com, councillors in Markham, Ontario and York Region Police have come up with a new plan to get landlords to pay the bill for tenants who start grow-ops in a rental property. This is another reason why tenant screening is of vital importance for small landlords.

What are the Details of this Plan?

The goal of the plan is to stop the number of grow-ops in the region.

York Regional Police will first charge the landlord an administration fee of $1,000. This will be part of the fees paid to remove any illegal drugs, fix any tampering with hydro metres, remove booby-traps and vent the home to improve the quality of air in the unit.

Will the Landlord Have to Pay for The Actual Investigation?

No.

The Mayor of Markham Frank Scarpittle said the fees will only be charged for the actual ‘clean up’ of the property

What if the Landlord Doesn’t Pay?

The fees will be sent to the landlord. If the landlord doesn’t pay voluntarily, the bill will be put on their property taxes.

Are Grow Ops a Big Problem in York Region?

Yes.

In 2010 there were 39 grow-ops growign marijuana in York Region.  There were 30 last year and already 23 this year.

Also, there have been 9 illegal chemical grow ops found in the past three years.

How Can A Landlord Know Their Tenants Have a Grow-Op?

A few councillors were hesitant to make landlords responsible when it’s the tenants who control their own utilities. This makes it difficult for landlords to know if there are grow ops in their investment properties.

That’s Right. And Tenants Can Take the Landlord To the Landlord and Tenant Board For Harassment

There are sure signs of an illegal grow-op, such as blacked out windows, no garbage or recycling placed on the curb, lack of snow on the roof and frequent visitors at irregular hours. If you have tenants who you suspect may be up to no good it’s important to get experienced professionals to help you deal with them…before the police do (and you pay).

Here are some tips:

1. Tenant Screening

Make sure you know who you are renting to. If possible, do a check on the potential tenant to see if they have any criminal background.

2. Tenant Insurance

Make sure you see proof tenants have insurance before handing over the key. Put this in your lease.

3. Monitor Your Rental Property

Do regular drive-bys. Make regular inspections part of your lease.

4. Utilities

If your tenants are going to pay for their own utility usage, make sure you know which tenant is going to have the account in their name.

5. Neighbours

Get to know your neighbours. Give them your contact information in case they see anything suspicious going on.

Here are some suspicious things you should always be aware of:

6. Is Anyone Home

If your rental property doesn’t look like anyone is actually living there, it’s a red flag.

7. Visitors

Are there visitors at strange hours?

8. Windows

Are windows (especially in the basement) boarded up?

9. What Stinks?

Are there any strange smells coming from the property?  Particularly anything smelling something similar to a skunk.

10. Hydro Metres

Has anyone messed with the hydro metres?

.

The Message is Clear: Ontario Landlords Have More Responsibilities Than Ever Before. Tenants Start a Grow Op and the Landlord Pays. Use these 10 Tips to Avoid Grow Ops In Your Investment Property!