Toronto Star – “Join a group such as the Ontario Landlords Association where after becoming a member, you can do a credit check for as low as $10, and use their supporting materials to assist you.”
Toronto Star – “Join a group such as the Ontario Landlords Association where after becoming a member, you can do a credit check for as low as $10, and use their supporting materials to assist you.”
We Need Changes To the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board to Protect Our Rental Properties From Marijuana Smoking and Plant Growing
Ontario residential landlords continue to face a lot of challenges. For years we have dealt with unfair rules that are biased against landlords and can cause us to face many sleepless nights. It can also lead us to lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Now we have a new challenge in 2018. It’s so important that one experienced and successful Ontario landlord said it is “one of the biggest issues for landlords in 20 years.”
Laws Are Already Unfair For Ontario Landlords
The rules are already out of whack for landlords across Ontario. For example, we can’t charge a damage deposit and as this Ottawa landlord found out it can lead to renters who move out leaving big, expensive damages behind.
Also, since 2017 just about every residential rental property is covered by rent control. Not only are we all covered, but the legal rent increase guideline was ‘capped’ at 2.5% for landlords no matter what the rate of inflation is.
An OLA member wrote on the Ontario Landlords Forum inflation is very high but landlords are stuck at a maximum rent increase of 2.5% no matter what. If it wasn’t for OLA lobbying the amount would have been even lower! And those who have tried to go for above the guideline rent increases know how difficult that is as most applications are rejected. You can’t even do it for the rising cost of utilities.
This is only a small sample of the issues we face as the previous Ontario government seemed to be trying to get ‘tenant votes’ instead of fixing the rental industry to help both good landlords and good Ontario tenants. But it didn’t work in the last election as good tenants are aware landlords need some power oversee their units (and protect tenants who ask for help).
Ontario Tenants Can Soon Smoke Weed and Grow Plants In Our Rental Properties
On top of everything else will soon have to deal with the issue of legal marijuana. While other provinces have made important changes to protect landlords this hasn’t happened in our province.
For example, did you know:
1. Tenants Without “No Smoking Clauses” Will Be Able to Smoke Marijuana
That’s right. They will be able to light up in your rental unit causing smells and other damages. Just imagine how this will negatively impact your rental business.
2. Tenants Will Be Able To Grow Marijuana Plants in Your Rental Property
Tenants will also be able to grow up to four plants in the rental unit. This will lead to mold, extra power usages and potential nightmares for landlords. As one OLA member wrote in the Ontario landlord forum: “tenants can say four plants but it could be a lot more as they have all the heating, lighting and other infrastructure set up! This will be a disaster!”
Even Good Tenants Might Cause Big Problems (And Think They Aren’t Doing Anything Wrong)
Imagine a long term tenant decides to smoke some weed. Even good tenants will tell their landlord “I’m just following the rules”. Meanwhile, their smoking can bother other tenants in the unit and damage the property.
And they can grow plants leading to dangerous humidity and extra power usage. Your tenant can say “what’s the problem, I’m growing some marijuana plants in the apartment and it’s legal.”
Why Do Ontario Landlords and Tenants Have These Ridiculous Laws?
The current rules regarding marijuana smoking in rental properties were provided by the now defeated Liberal government. So do not blame the PC government.
The Liberals who held power the past 15years constantly took the “tenants side of things” and often disregarded the serious concerns of small residential landlords and investors. They were nonchalant when we made it clear their policies not only hurt good landlords and good tenants it stopped many really good people from investing in Ontario rental properties.
Some members wrote the previous regime not only wanted tenant votes but they seemed to “disrespect” hard working small landlords. Furthermore, they refused to distinguish the important difference between small landlords and huge corporate landlords.
How can you compare a small time investor with a condo or renting their basement with big corporate landlords with scales of efficiency, millions of dollars in the bank, and their own legal teams?
If it wasn’t for the hard work of Ontario Landlords Association members the rules for landlords would have been even worse than they are now!
We Need New Rules To Protect Ontario Landlords From Legal Marijuana
We need urgent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. We wrote about marijuana before and received thousands of emails. Our members have a lot of great ideas of what is needed to protect landlords, encourage investors, and protect tenants.
It’s important that we get new laws and rules that are based on the experiences of real landlords who have ‘skin in game’ by investing their money and time in being landlords in Ontario.
These ideas include:
1. Blanket Bans On Smoking and Growing Marijuana in Rentals
Some of our members want new laws to prohibit smoking of any kind in rental properties. Growing marijuana plants would also be 100% prohibited.
2. No Smoking Clauses Be Put In The Leases Of All Existing Tenants
Currently current tenants without “no weed” clauses can smoke and grow plants. Some of our members want all current tenants be required to sign a new lease stating they are not allowed to smoke week or grow plants. Or even better, automatically all existing leases will have legal “no smoking clauses.”
3. Super Fast Evictions For Weed Smoking/Growing
Many landlords wrote that we need a new way to quickly evict a tenant who is smoking weed and/or growing plants.
Expert, veteran OLA members say an attempted eviction for even smoking cigarettes can take months (while the tenant still smokes during the long delay) and the eviction will even often fail. We need a fast and efficient way to evict people who break the rules.
This would require a new form where if you are smoking the landlord could apply for a quick eviction after 24 or 48 hours if the tenants don’t change their behavior. Let’s call it the W1 (Weed 1)…or even better the OLA-24 for 24 hour notice to stop smoking marijuana or automatically be evicted with no right to make up excuses!
4. A Legal Damage Deposit To Protect Us From Potential Damages.
It can cost over $5000 to get a rental professionally cleaned to get rid of the smell of marijuana . When a tenant wants to move we have to find a new tenant. And many new tenants will simply not rent a place that reeks of weed. There can also be mold and other damages from tenants growing plants.
OLA Action Led To A Historic Vote For A Legal Damage Deposit in 2011
Many people are unaware that in 2011 the OLA educated the PC party and the OLA got a damage deposit bill to a vote in the Ontario parliament. This was historic! (And the corporate landlords were no where to be found).
However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against it.
One NDP member told the OLA “there are lots of cheap apartments in Toronto so your arguments don’t make sense.”
Okay, how is the vacancy rate in Toronto now? Are the rents still “cheap?” We warned the Ontario government that if they didn’t make changes the vacancy rate would drop and rents would sky-rocket…and this was in 2011!
5. These Are Just Some Of The Ideas From Small Landlords Who Have “Skin in the Game” & Are Worried
There are many other ideas from not only long term landlords, but people from around the world who have come to Ontario and invested here. We all want to make Ontario “open for business” and that means protecting landlords, tenants and investors.
We Need Changes To Protect Ontario Landlords From Legal Marijuana Smoking & Growing
Marijuana Will Be Legal On October 17th, 2018. Tenants are renting and should not have the same rights as if they owned the property themselves. Tenants are paying to use a property owned by someone else and the owner has to protect their investment.
Property owners need rights too. If we don’t who will buy rental properties in Ontario?
This is not about landlords “wanting power to control tenants”. Many OLA members used to rent. We were great tenants and many of us dealt with great landlords (and some not so great) ourselves. This is about about protecting our rental investments and protecting other tenants. While other provinces are acting to protect landlords, Ontario has yet to act.
This is a key issue which will have dramatic consequences if the rules are not changed to protect landlords. Investment will drop and many current landlords will simply sell and leave the industry.
Let’s Take Action To Protect Ontario Landlords To Improve the Ontario Rental Industry!
Tenants Speak Out – “Ontario Tenants Can Now Easily Break Your Lease…And This Is A Good Thing!”
As part of our “Let’s Improve the Ontario Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the Ontario Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the Ontario rental industry. Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Tenants Can Now Easily Break the Lease…And This Is A Good Thing!
I want to thank the people here who have invited all important stakeholders, including tenants. Ontario Landlords Association has proven it is open to lots of views for all of us to play a role with a goal of improving the rental industry. Thank you for providing this venue for my concerns and agreeing to not censor anything I have to say. My opinions are extremely important and need to be heard.
I’m a young professional who has been renting for the past six years. There are numerous reasons why renting has been the best option for me. The most important is the need for me to be as flexible as possible when it comes to my career.
The days of getting a good education, landing an entry level job and then staying at the job for decades are over. These days young people are constantly jumping from one job to another not out of choice, but out of necessity.
For example, I was hired at a new start-up that looked like it had a good future. With some good funding and a good business plan and dynamic goals the company looked like a place for me to grow and prosper. This led to a move to a new city and the search for a new rental apartment and a fixed term lease.
The problem with these companies is they aren’t stable and after 15 months the company was bleeding money and people where either given less hours and salary or asked to leave. It wasn’t the quality of the employees as we had a wonderful, top-notch team like myself. The problem was the hyper competitive space we were in and how many new companies don’t last longer than a year or two.
So while I was eventually unemployed I was still locked into a fixed term lease with my landlord for the remaining months. I was forced to spend most of my meager savings paying those months of rent when I should have been looking for work in another location. Spending money on rent is not productive for our economy and just a waste.
My Landlord Refused To Let Me Out Of the Fixed Term Lease When I Really, Really Needed A Break!
I explained the situation to my landlord and requested to break the lease. I was honest and upfront about it and hoped beyond all hope the landlord would be understanding and agree with my demand.
I was what you would call ‘a great tenant’ and was barely ever even home with all the overtime put in at work. Rent was paid by e-transfer and the property was kept in great situation as my cats and I created a really nice space.
Instead he told me “a lease is a lease” and that “you signed it” and he refused to let me out of it. His tone was one of moral superiority as he mansplained his misguided and outdated ideas that simply don’t fit the modern economy.
Before you agree with him, let me tell you that with low vacancy rates I had to sign a fixed term lease because that’s all that was being offered! If I had refused to sign it I would not have been able to find a home and would not have been able to begin my employment.
Landlords Dehumanizing Tenants and Weaponizing Leases!
His lecturing me on being irresponsible didn’t set well with me at all and it was a hard lesson on how landlords view tenants. But I was left with little choice but to stay there when other attractive job opportunities were in other cities and I was stuck with long drives and bus trips for job interviews while being “locked in” by an uncaring landlord.
Landlords have so many tenants to choose from and it’s so easy to re-rent and keep the money flowing
All he had to do was let me go and put an ad up and he would have found a new tenant within days, if not hours. No this was personal.
He wanted to use the system to keep me penned in and under his control.
The idea of sub-letting didn’t make sense because then I would be doing the work of the landlord in finding a tenant and be responsible for the rent of the sub-letter when I’m not even a landlord and don’t know their tricks of trade. Why should I have to do this extra work and take on the risks of find a bad sub-letter?
I was trapped.
While my landlord was getting rich off my back my future was quickly slipping away. I was stuck and saw my future getting cremated.
Tenants In This Era Need Maximum Mobility And Landlords Need To Be Aware Of This
I continue to get landlords demanding a fixed term lease. With such low vacancy rates in Toronto and all over Ontario tenants are really stuck in a difficult situation with all the economic uncertainty we face.
It’s not just a problem for me, but for thousands of other hard working young people beginning our careers and hoping to survive and thrive. Landlords simply are not understanding and seem to view tenants as ‘rent checks’ instead of the human beings we are.
New Rules For Landlords and Some Justice for Tenants
There have been some important changes to the rules of landlords and tenants this year. Some of the changes are really helpful for tenants. For example, rent control on all rentals will help people who need a long term place to stay.
Another really helpful change for tenants is something most tenants are NOT aware of and this is why I’m emailing this in to you. While landlords are always networking and sharing your bad tenant lists and other illegal things, tenants are simply too busy working to earn money (a lot of which pays rent!) to have any time to organize and educate each other.
The reality is Ontario tenants get no help, no support and we are on our own in a landlord-friendly system.
Ontario Tenants Can Now Easily Break the Lease…And This Is A Good Thing!
The fixed term lease issue really caused me a big problem when I already had enough problems. Even though rent was always paid and the place was basically empty most of the time, when I needed a break my landlord scolded me and basically told me to get screwed.
It was a horrible experience and one I won’t ever forget when times were so tough and trips to the food bank were part of my regular routine to survive.
If you need to break a lease first of all talk to your landlord. Maybe you will have better luck than me. I’m sure there are lots of caring people out there who will understand your situation and you can work something out together. This is the ideal situation. Who knows you might find someone fair and with an education level higher than the average landlord (grade 10 high school drop out would be my guess as the average education level).
But in my case I basically got a slap on the face when I requested a break. So if you are in the horrific situation I faced with a cold hearted landlord who treats you like meat while you can barely afford to live and are going to the food bank to survive…well this is what you can do.
How Can Ontario Tenants Easily Break A Fixed Term Lease If Your Landlord Disrespects You?
Last April we saw the provincial government finally listen to our concerns and they created the Rental Fairness Act which made changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
Now landlords can’t collect arrears for rent due once Tenants receive a “Termination Notice”.
You can see in the Residential Tenancies Act, Section 37, that states that once the landlord gives the Tenant a notice of termination, the tenancy ends of that date of termination the landlord put in the notice.
With the Rental Fairness Act we finally get some real clear facts on once the Tenant gets the termination date, you break your lease and you are off the hook!:
134(1.1) No landlord shall, directly or indirectly, with respect to any rental unit, collect or require or attempt to collect or require from a former tenant of the rental unit any amount of money purporting to be rent in respect of,
(a) any period after the tenancy has terminated and the tenant has vacated the rental unit; or
(b) any period after the tenant’s interest in the tenancy has terminated and the tenant has vacated the rental unit. 2017, c. 13, s. 24 (2).
How Can Tenants Break a Fixed Term Lease Under the New Rules?
Remember, if the landlord gives you a notice with a “termination date” which basically means “Do this or the tenancy ends” you can just “don’t do what they say” and break the lease. After all the N4 and N5 says “move out” so you can just move.
You are then free of the lease.
So How Does This Work To Save Tenants in Real Life Situations Like I Faced With A Horrible Landlord Who Treated Me Like Crap?
If the landlord has a problem with you then have to go to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website and serve you a document.
In the most common cases this “notice” will tell you either to “pay the rent” or “fix your behaviour” or move out. Before there was confusion on what happened if tenants just “moved out”.
All the Old Confusion Has Now Been Clarified: You Get an N Form, You Can Just Leave With No Penalties!
For example, maybe you just moved in and signed a one year fixed term lease. Then you lost your job after two months and wanted to move even though you had 10 months left on your lease. So you don’t pay rent.
The landlord would serve you “notice” such an N4 and even if you moved out there was confusion that maybe even though you moved out the landlord could chase you for the 10 months remaining on fixed term lease. It wasn’t clear and we even used to argue this on the old FMTA forum and some tenants said we would still owe the 10 months!
Now it’s clear, YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY AND ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE AS YOUR LANDLORD TOLD YOU TO MOVE!
Things Are Clear Now – If The Landlord Gives You a Termination Date and You Move the Tenancy Is Over!
This is really a great change for tenants. And it makes sense because if you don’t pay rent or do something that the landlord disapproves of they will tell you to pay the rent or stop doing something or move out. So now you can just move out.
How Does This Work in The Real World?
Like I wrote before if you have a non-exploitative landlord you will probably be able to work something out together. I’m sure there are lots of good landlords out there who are will to treat tenants with respect and understanding. This is the best option.
The problem is there are lots of bad landlords out there too. These are people who see you as a monthly rent check and don’t realize that housing is a Human Right and tenants are human beings.
So here’s what you can do if you face these types of landlords.
Sure it’s a little bit sneaky but tenants have to do what have to do to survive in this unfair situation.
So How Can Ontario Tenants Break a Lease?
I wish I knew this before. I don’t what anyone to suffer like I did.
(1) Just Don’t Pay Rent!
The Landlord Gives You a Form “N4 – Notice To End A Tenancy Early For Non-Payment of Rent“
Probably the easiest way to break the lease under the new rules is just don’t pay rent.
If you don’t pay the rent when it is due the landlord will give you a form N4. This is notice to end a tenancy early for non-payment of rent. On the N4 the landlord will have to provide a “termination date”. If you pay the rent monthly the landlord will usually give you 14 days to pay the rent or leave. Let’s look at the instructions for the N4 from the Landlord and Tenant Board itself:
If You Want To Break A Fixed Term Lease Just Don’t Pay the Rent
As you can see the landlord will serve you notice to pay or move. So just move! You are only following the demands of your landlord and then you can find a cheaper apartment or move somewhere for job seeking.
Let’s go through these steps to make it clear:
Step 1 – Rent is Due
Step 2 – You Don’t Pay Rent
Step 3 – The landlord wants your money so will give you N4 Notice to End The Tenancy For Non-Payment of Rent
Step 4 – The N4 says: “Pay this amount by _____ (This is called the termination date) or Move Out By the Termination Date”
Step 5 – Just move out at the termination date and the lease is broken and you are home free!!
(2) Make Some Disturbances Make Disturbances Suck As Bothering Other Tenants or Do Damages
Do The Things And The Landlord Will Serve you an N5 Notice to End Your Tenancy for Interfering With Others, Damage, or Overcrowding
This is another good option to get out of your lease.
Right on the top of this form N5 the landlord has to say “I am giving you this notice because I want to end your tenancy. I want you to move out of your rental unit by the following termination date” That’s great…you just move out when they say they want you to move out and the tenancy is over and you are free from any obligations!
Let’s break this down:
Step 1: Make Noise, Damages or Overcrowd the rental
Step 2: The Landlord Will Give You an N5 Notice to End Your Tenancy for Interfering With Other, or Overcrowding
Step 3: The N5 Will Have A Termination Date. The N5 will say “I am giving you this notice because I want to end your tenancy. I want you to move out of your rental unit by the following termination date __________”
Step 4: On or Before the Termination Date……….just move out by the termination date and you are home free!!
Try not to bother other tenants so much, but noise, smoking or these types of things will lead to an N5 and then you can leave free and in peace for a better, cheaper apartment.
Try to talk with other tenants so if you are making noise or going to smoke or flood the place, they can complain quickly to the landlord get get the N5 process going fast without really creating any trouble for your fellow tenants.
Always respect other tenants in your building as they are hard working people paying huge rents, often to cold hearted landlords who treat us like dirt like my former landlord did when I needed to break a lease agreement.
Being Able To Break Fixed Term Leases Easily Is the First Step in Creating a Better Rental Industry
Things are still really unfair. But I want to make sure tenants are at least aware how the new rules make it okay to break fixed term leases.
I’ll write more later on and hope other Tenants and fair-minded landlords can make positive contributions here. Make sure you contact a local legal aid centre for any advice you might have as I’m just providing a general, helpful, model for everyone.
Ontario Tenants Have No Rights And Are Held Hostage By Heartless Money Grubbing Landlords…So We Must Work Together To Survive in This Era of Low Vacancy Rates
I paid my rent on time and there is no way anyone could say I wasn’t a great tenant. But when I needed a break after losing my job my landlord dehumanized me and used the lease as a weapon to harm me.
This is why I’m happy there is now an easy way “out” for tenants. I hope many of you reading will be helped by first contribution and there will be many more to come because it’s time for fairness and making sure good tenants aren’t hurt.
Tenant Lives Matter And Tenants Can Break Free From The Bondage and Humiliation of Leases!
You are not a slave you are free (please put the picture I sent because we are like slaves as tenants). I would also like to take this opportunity to send a massive F*** Y** to my former landlord who enslaved me and hurt my life. I hate you and am cursing you and your family every day for the rest of my life!
Ontario Tenants Can Now Easily Break Your Lease…And This Is A Good Thing!
Tenants in Ontario are at the mercy of landlords. We have no support, no help and the rules are biased against us. I hope this helps other who have faced the same horrific conditions I did. If you want to discuss this and other topics I will be in the Ontario Tenant Forum.
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’s rent hike lowest in 35 years
By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Last Updated: January 2, 2011 5:20pm
Ontario rents will be allowed to edge up by only 0.7% in 2011.
It is the lowest increase in the 35-year history of the province’s rent guideline — the maximum annual rent increase allowable without seeking special approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board for a heftier hike.
“The McGuinty government is providing real protection for tenants by linking the rent increase guideline to the Ontario Consumer Price Index which prevents routine rent increases above the rate of inflation while ensuring landlords can recover increases in their costs,” said Liberal cabinet minister Jim Bradley.
Stuart Henderson, a moderator with the Ontario Landlords Association, which typically represents property owners with less than five units for rent, said the tiny increase has many of the group’s members wondering if they can afford to stay in the business.
“We’re the ones that are paying all these new costs — the price of gas, hydro, the HST — and then we kind of get kicked in the stomach with a 0.7% increase,” he said. “It leaves kind of the worst landlords in the market, people who are renting out fire traps, illegal places.”
The next provincial election will be held in October, and Henderson said the McGuinty government is clearly currying favour with tenants.
“It’s political opportunism,” he charged. “We feel that the McGuinty government is trying to protect against a backlash from tenants in Toronto.”
Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, said landlords may be complaining now but they weren’t protesting when the province allowed yearly increases in the range of 5% in the 1990s.
The recession has been very hard on many tenants, and unemployment in Toronto continues to hover at about 10%, he said.
”It’s not renting out a movie at Blockbusters — it’s people’s housing,” Dent said. “Any increase right now during this difficult time is hard for any tenant.”
Also, Ontario does not have “real” rent control because the landlord is only obliged to follow the guideline for an existing tenant, he said.
“If you move into a unit, though, a landlord can charge you whatever he wants,” Dent said. “The last tenant could have been paying $500 a month and they can charge you $2,000.”