Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Landlords Association’

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.

City of Mississauga and Landlord Licensing

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Mississauga landlords landlord licensing

Mississauga Landlords – Do You Know Landlords Need To Get a City Licence in 2014? Read Our Interview With Mickey Frost, Director of Enforcement for the City of Mississauga

Mississauga landlords know they live in a dynamic and growing city.

With a growing population there is increased demand for high quality rental housing. This means many home-owners are renting out basement apartments to good tenants who are looking for safe and affordable housing.

Some Mississauga landlords are unaware of the need to get a license from the City if you are renting out your basement or other part of your home.

We wrote about this before in an article last year called “Mississauga Landlords Ask: What’s Going On With Landlord Licensing?

This has led to hundreds of emails and even more posts in the Ontario Landlords Private Members forum from landlords asking a multiple of questions about how the law applies to them.

It’s important that Mississauga landlords are aware of the requirements to rent out property and follow the rules carefully. This way tenants are assured of safe rental properties.

In an effort to help get the message you we interviewed Mickey Frost the Director of Enforcement for the City of Mississauga.

We thank Mr. Frost for his time and want to help get his important message out to Mississauga landlords:

Why does Mississauga require small landlords get a licence when big cities such as Toronto do not?

Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013.

The plan includes official plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements.

The official plan policies permit second units within detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, where appropriate. 

Part of this plan included a requirement to licence second units. This was initiated to ensure that these units meet health and safety requirements, property standards requirements and are compliant with the Ontario Fire and Building Codes. 

The licensing system also provides a mechanism through which ongoing inspections can take place to ensure that the secondary units are maintained and meet the requirements of City of Mississauga By-laws.

As to why Toronto has chosen not to pursue a licensing regimen for second units, we would be unable to address that question.

What is the reason we need to get a licence in Mississauga?

The Second Unit Licensing By-law 2014-13, as amended, Section 2 (1) requires that:

No Person shall own or operate a Second Unit unless the Person is licensed under this By-law.”

If I don’t have a landlord licence and apply for one now will I be punished?

Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013. The plan includes official plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements.

The official plan policies permit second units within detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, where appropriate. 

Part of this plan included a requirement to licence second units. This was initiated to ensure that these units meet health and safety requirements, property standards requirements and are compliant with the Ontario Fire and Building Codes.

Property owners who fail to obtain a second unit licence may be charged with an offence under the by-law and if found guilty are liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.

Can my basement be ‘grandfathered’ in? I did lots of improvements years ago to make my unit “safe”.

There is no “grandfathering” provision contained in the by-law.

If a second unit is present in a residential property, a license is required.

Question: Do I have to pay a licensing fee every year?

Yes. The required license is valid for one year and must be renewed every year.

If I have a tenant who doesn’t pay rent do I still have to pay for a licence even though I don’t get rent?

Yes.

Is there any way I can lose my landlord licence?

The Manager has the authority to refuse to issue or renew a licence. This is identified in Section 8 of the Second Unit Licensing By-law 2014-13 as amended.

What happens if a vindictive tenant calls the city of Mississauga by-laws and claims my licensed unit is unsafe? Will I lose my license?

No If a complaint is received, a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer will be assigned and will investigate to determine its validity and take any action that is necessary.

Do big rental buildings require a landlord licence?

No, “big rental buildings” are not eligible for second unit licences. Second units are only permitted in a detached house, a semi-detached house or a row house.

How can I get a Mississauga landlord licence fast? 

Please visit the City’s website for the process to obtain a licence.

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/housingchoicessecondunits

Mississauga Landlords Make Sure You Get a License For Your Rental Unit

Thank you Mr. Frost for helping us get the message out.

Make sure your rental property is legal and safe. Use a good tenant screening including tenant credit checks to make sure you find great tenants for your legal and safe rental apartment.

Ontario Landlords – How To Attract Good Tenants

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

 Ontario Landlord Marketing How To Make Your Rentals Attractive For Great Tenants

Great Tenants Want to Rent Attractive Properties. Here’s A Way To Get Tenants To Want to Rent Your Rental Property!

Ontario landlords know the importance of renting to good tenants.

This means landlords need to screen applicants carefully before handing over the keys to their rental unit.

Experienced Ontario landlords know careful tenant screening should also include an Ontario landlord credit check on all potential renters.

How Can I Find Good Tenants?

In order to rent to good tenants you need to be able to attract them to your property and they need to want to rent from you.

This means you need to have a well-maintained and high quality property.

How Can I Make My Rental Property More Attractive For Good Tenants?

A recent post at the Ontario Landlords Forum from a Toronto landlord asked how to improve curb appeal.

Here’s the post:

“I have a multiplex in Toronto that I put a lot of time and money into to make the inside very attractive. I’m in an area where this is a lot of competition for qualified tenants… The problem is the outside of the property isn’t appealing and it turns off a lot of good potential tenant from even wanting to view the inside of the rental. How can I improve the curb appeal of the property without spending a fortune?”

Improve Your Rental Property By Planting Trees and Shrubs

An Alberta landlord replied with the advice of planting trees and shrubs to improve curb appeal. This landlord said after adding some leafy shrubs and a few trees her rental property attracted a lot more applications from interested tenants.

A BC Landlord echoed the opinion and stated that the trees near his rental has attracted a lot of great tenants.

Fortunately, for landlords in Toronto and the GTA planting trees and shrubs is a terrific and affordable options thanks to a program called LEAF.

LEAF – Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests

LEAF is a non-profit organization that has been offering a subsidized tree planting program in York Region for the past 18 years.

LEAF offers a full-service planting program to help multi-units in Toronto and York Region plant trees and shrubs on the private property around buildings. This includes a consultation and site assessment with one of our expert arborists and full planting service.

Melissa Williams, Acting Program Manager for LEAF

The Ontario Landlords Association interviewed Melissa Williams for more information on the LEAF program.

We thank Melissa for her enthusiasm to help landlords know about the program and how it can help landlords create attractive rental properties.

1.            Could you tell us how your program can help residential landlords?

LEAF offers a full-service planting program to help multi-units in Toronto and York Region plant trees and shrubs on the private property around buildings at affordable rates. This includes a consultation and site assessment with one of our expert arborists and full planting service. LEAF is a non-profit organization that receives funding to offer this subsidized program for private property plantings. 

Trees and shrubs increase the aesthetic value of your property which in turn can increase property value by as much as 30%! Trees also reduce air and noise pollution, lower summer air temperatures and provide much-needed shade.

2.            Are all landlords in Toronto and York Region eligible for this?

All residential landlords in Toronto and York Region are eligible for the program.

3.           We have lots of members all over Ontario.  

                    Can Mississauga landlords and Ottawa landlords access the program?

At present time we only offer the program in Toronto and York Region. We would recommend that landlords in other cities check with their local municipality or conservation authority to see if similar programs are offered in their area.  

4.            What happens during the consultation/assessment of the property?

During the consultation, a LEAF arborist will assess the site conditions such as soil type, sun exposure and spacing restrictions, and speak with you about what your preferences are in terms of trees and shrubs for the property.

The arborist will then recommend suitable native species that will do well on your property, and determine planting locations with you as well. We would then come back and plant the trees and shrubs for you in either our spring (April-June) or fall (September-November) planting season.

5.            What are the costs involved for the landlord and what does this include?

The cost for the program ranges from $150-$220 per tree, depending on the species selected. This price includes a site consultation with an arborist, a 5-8 foot tall tree, and delivery and planting service.

The full value of this service is approximately $300-$400, and the difference is paid by our funding partners. Native shrubs can also be purchased for $25 each.

6.            How can landlords interested in this opportunity get started?

We recommend visiting our website at www.yourleaf.org/multi-units-and-businesses to learn more about how the program works and to fill out our application form. We can also be reached by email at info@yourleaf.org

Make Your Toronto or York Region Rental Property Look Good!

Toronto and GTA landlords can take advantage of this program to make your rental property more attractive to renters.

Whether you are landlord in Toronto or cities in the GTA make your rental property sparkle and attract good tenants.

Ontario Landlords – Nightmare tenant Nina Willis battling with new landlord over 7th eviction

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

 Ontario Landlords – Make Sure You Rent To Great Tenants (And Avoid Nightmare Tenants) With Good Tenant Screening, Including a Credit Check!

Ontario Landlords – Make Sure You Rent To Great Tenants (And Avoid Nightmare Tenants) With Good Tenant Screening, Including a Credit Check!

The story in the Toronto Star last Friday was shocking for many residential landlords across Ontario.

It was about a person the Toronto Star calls a “Tenant from Hell” who is facing being evicted from her Scarborough rental property.

It’s brought a lot of discussion at the Ontario Landlords forum.

Nina Willis is in the process of appealing a Landlord and Tenant Board decision ordering her to either pay rent on time or move out of the rental property she is staying in

The original Landlord and Tenant Board Order told her she had to move by March 2014.

However, she is “appealing” the Order which means she can delay the eviction (and avoid paying rent) for more months until she gets her say in the next court.

She has done this is each of her previous cases. It’s an easy way for tenants to continue to stay in a rental property and live “rent free” for months.

This isn’t the first time the Toronto Star has reported on this tenant and her tactics to rip off small landlords.

The Star says this is the 7th case of Nina Willis being evicted since 2005.

The Ontario Landlords association has also written about this “Tenant From Hell” in the past to warn landlords.

At least seven different landlords who have been cheated out of rent and dragged through the tribunal system. A system that can be expensive, time-consuming and extremely stressful.

Nina’s current Scarborough landlord won’t even talk to the media as they try to evict Nina from their rental property.

Why Do Landlords Rent To Bad Tenants?

No landlord wants to rent to bad tenants.

The worst tenants (meaning tenants who have a plan to rip off small landlords from Day 1 are often very crafty.

For example, Willis will do an Academy Award worthy performance when she first meets a potential landlord.

Bad tenants will be exceptionally friendly when they first meet you.

They will appear to be really “decent people” who will convince you they will pay rent on time and take care of your rental property like it is their own home.

It’s only when you rent to them that you begin to see their true face.

You won’t believe how they change as they accuse you of neglecting maintenance issues and even harassing them.

How Can I Find Good Tenants and Avoid the Bad Ones?

One of Nina’s former landlords is now an OLA member and is very careful to screen her tenants to avoid “tenants from hell.”

One of the best tenant screening tools is a credit check.

Check out the Ontario Landlord Credit Check site for more information on the importance of doing credit checks on tenants. This site was created to help Ontario landlords learn how to find good tenants and avoid tenants from Hell.

How Can a Tenant Credit Check Help Landlords?

Conducting a tenant credit check will give you the essential information you need to know about a potential renter before you rent to them.

This isn’t only important for Ontario landlords, but also key for Alberta landlords and British Columbia landlords who are also facing challenges.

How Can Tenant Credit Checks Help Me Avoid Tenants From Hell?

That’s an excellent question. After all, small landlords are often on tight budgets and conducting a credit check is an extra expense.

Let’s take a closer look at how a tenant credit check can help Ontario landlords find good tenants and avoid tenants from hell.

#1 Current and Past Addresses

A credit check from the Ontario Landlords Association will show you the current and past addresses of your potential tenant.

You don’t have to ‘trust’ what the tenant tells you. You can see the FACTS on the credit report.

You can then make sure you talk to the REAL current and previous landlords and learn the TRUTH about the tenant who wants to rent your rental property.

#2 Current and Past Employment

It’s very common for bad tenants to lie about their employment history.

They lie because they know landlords want to rent to tenants with stable jobs that provide enough income to cover the rent.

A tenant credit check from the Ontario Landlords Association will show you the REAL employment situation of the potential renter.

#3 Financial Responsibility

Bad tenants will smile and tell you they always pay their bills on time.

A tenant credit check will show you the TRUTH.

Do they pay their bills on time? Do they owe anyone money? Are there judgements against them? Are there any collection agencies after them?

Even British Columbia landlords are now recognizing the importance of credit checks as they face some serial bad tenants ripping off landlords in BC.

We often think of Alberta as the best place to own rental properties in Canada. Yet even Alberta landlords are conducting tenant credit checks to make sure they avoid pro tenants who can end up costing landlords tens of thousands of dollars.

How Can I Run a Credit Check On My Prospective Tenants?

In the past running a credit check was complicated and expensive.

Some of the landlord credit check companies out there add on all sorts of extra fees on you and have a complicated start up process.

As a small landlord, you want everything open and up-front.

You also want low fees and a fast and efficient system.

Join the Ontario Landlords Association

For only a one-time registration fee , Ontario landlords can get access to premium credit checks for only $10/check!

That’s right. No annual fee. Just a one-time registration fee.

You can then access premium credit checks foronly $10/check for credit checks that give you a credit score, addresses, employment and all the information you need to make a smart, informed decision on whether or not you will rent to a tenant.

You will even get a recommendation from the credit report.

Ontario Landlords – Bad Tenants Are Out There But You Can Protect Yourself!\

Become a Member of the Ontario Landlords Association and Get Premium Credit Checks For Only $10/check from your Home or Office Computer.

It Really Is the Landlord Deal of a Life Time!

Ontario Landlords 2014: Landlord Licensing in Windsor?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

 December 20, 2013Ontario Landlords Association 2014 Landlord Licensing Windsor landlords

The new year is an important one for Ontario Landlords and we are upbeat.

Despite a very low Rent Increase Guideline of only 0.8% in 2014 more and more landlords are doing proper tenant screening and renting to all the good tenants out there (and avoiding the pro tenants who are out there and ready to prey on unsuspecting landlords).

There are still going to be challenges.

For example, we’ve received hundreds of emails from Windsor landlords concerned about landlord licensing.

The rumours all over the internet that landlords would require a license to operate in 2014 spread fast around the landlord and residential property investor community in October.

After all, Windsor landlords are looking forward to a positive and successful new year.

The vacancy rate keeps getting lower and more and more good tenants are choosing our city as their new home.

With proper tenant screening landlords all over the city can expect to find tenants who pay rent on time and are take care of the property they are renting.

The idea of landlords having to get license is upsetting because it’s the wrong type of policy for our city.

What Is Landlord Licensing?

This is a government policy that exists for Oshawa landlords and Waterloo landlords renting to students.

It means the government requires landlords to pay a fee and apply to get a license to be a residential landlord.

There are also annual inspections, new rules for how many rooms which can be in a rental unit and lots more. (In some cases it even requires small landlords to get a criminal check!)

Starting in January 2014 Mississauga landlords will need to get a license. The rules are strict and the fees are high. 

Earlier this year the City of Hamilton wanted to license landlords who owned properties with six rooms or less.

Hamilton landlords fought back! They were united and made a strong case about why licensing, which they called a ‘tenant tax’ was a bad policy option.

The government decided to move in another direction.

The hard work of Hamilton landlords paid off and good landlords and good tenants all over the city were rewarded for their courage and hard work!

What’s The Truth about Windsor Landlord Licensing?

The Ontario Landlords Association contacted the Windsor government to get some answers.

Mr. Michael Chantler, the Supervisor of Licencing & Deputy Licence Commissioner at the Office of the City Clerk for the City of Windsor was very helpful in replying to the questions on the minds of many Windsor landlords.

Mr. Chantler believes rumours of landlord licensing deal with the City of Windsor’s “Residential Rental Housing” report which is still in the developmental phase.

Here are some of the answers to the OLA’s questions:

1. Will Windsor License landlords in 2014?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction by Council to license landlords in 2014.

2. Is there any plan to license landlords in the future?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction to license landlords at any time in the future.

3. When will the report to City council be submitted and discussed regarding landlord fees, licenses, etc.?

There is a report being prepared regarding “Rental Housing” that is very complex and takes into account more than just a Licensing component. There are several different departments involved including, but not limited to, Fire, Planning, Licensing and Building. There is no firm date set for the report, but I believe it will probably go to Council in 2014.

4. Is there a way Windsor landlords can express their opinions to the government?

As with any major public issue, citizens can call 311, send a letter or call their Councillor/Mayor’s Office directly to provide their opinion.

However, you must keep in mind that the Members of Council don’t have a report before them to discuss at this time.

Some multiple property owners have already sent written submissions to Administration in Licensing.

If/when a report on this item does go forward: there will be opportunities for a delegation to appear at a City Council meeting.

Let’s Say NO to Landlord Licensing in Windsor and Other Cities in Ontario

Windsor landlords, like all landlords in Ontario are facing challenges from governments who don’t value the services small landlords provide and the important role we play in providing high quality, affordable housing to tenants all over the province.

Landlords need to be proactive in getting information about government plans and make our voice heard.

The Ontario Landlords Association and our thousands of members will continue to fight to make a difference in 2014.