February 1st, 2012
A member of the OLA Defends Landlords in the Toronto Star
The January 28th edition of the Toronto Star included an informative article on the challenges some newcomers to the GTA face when finding rental housing.
A new immigrant was unaware of his ‘tenant rights’ under Ontario law and paid his landlord nearly $9,000 “upfront” in order to secure an apartment (bachelor) in Mississauga.
Rafiqul Islam stated he and his wife spent months looking for a rental apartment. He stated his tenant application had been refused because landlords wanted a year of rent upfront. Desperate to find a place of their own, they finally agreed to do so.
According to Islam: “The landlords said we had no jobs and no credit, and we must pay up. It is just unfair, but what can we do?”
According to tenant activists, this social and economic phenomena is because of unjust motives of landlords.
Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants Association explains it due to “landlords who prey on newcomers’ lack of education of the law and a lack of understanding of the rental situation.”
The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation said this issue is the ‘norm’ in their English classes.
Jennifer Ramsay, of the Ontario Human Rights Support Centre these “additional requirements of newcomers is discriminatory and exclusionary.”
However, Mike Chopowick of the Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario has not seen any evidence that large rent deposits are commonplace.
Ontario Landlord Association member Stephen Peacock went further and offered a real explanation of the situation.
According to Peacock, this isn’t a “immigrant issue” at all. It’s an issue about the deficiencies of the McGuinty Liberal Governments Residential Tenancy Act.
Peacock explained that landlords must obey the law. However, the laws in Ontario are lacking and harming both good landlords and good tenants (newcomers or not).
According to Peacock “If landlords could easily evict non-paying “hell” tenants and ask for a damage deposit as a safeguard they would be more willing to take a chance on those with no credit history and employment references.”
To read the original Toronto Star article go here.
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