Posts Tagged ‘ontario landlords’

Ontario’s Bedbug Solution: Penalize Landlords

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

No doubt something has to be done about the bedbug pandemic.  Landlords who encounter the pests suffer from unhappy tenants and others are stepping up inspections and cleaning efforts to reduce outbreaks.

Yet, when it comes to eradicating bedbugs all eyes seem to turn to landlords as the enforcers.  Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo is proposing that any landlord who wishes to renew a rental license obtain a bedbug inspection on the rental property.  DiNovo refers to this solution as “self-funded” because landlords will pay a fee for every inspection.

Many feel Ontario landlords are already overburdened with regulation, and that they are among the victims of this troubling issue.

While landlords have a duty to provide a safe, healthy environment for tenants, which implies a unit free from pest infestations, many experts are blaming the sudden surge in bedbugs on the government’s banning of the pesticides used to control them in the first place.

Ontario Property Manager Vincent Shanahan points out, “If the banning of pesticides is the major contributor to the problem, and landlords are forced to clean up the infestations, then there should be a fund established by the government for landlords to turn to for compensation.”

It is impossible to trace how bedbugs get into a particular rental unit.  The bugs can travel easily from one unit to the next, and have also been know to remain dormant for over a year – the time it takes for a tenant to come to the end of their lease agreement and move on. While the proposed law requires accountability on the part of landlords, there is no corresponding requirement that a tenant report to their new landlord that they found bedbugs in the same furnishings they are about to introduce into another building.

Shanahan points out another problem: a landlord faces an almost impossible task when treating bedbugs, because the unit has to be adequately prepared for the pest control treatment.  This is work that the tenant must perform.  But when it comes time for treating an outbreak, Shanahan finds that the tenants are never ready. “When you can’t force the tenants to do their part properly, how can a landlord ensure successful remediation?” he asks.  Shanahan finds that the LTB system moves slowly and is too tenant-friendly to be of any use in resolving the situation.

In addition, the newest pesticides don’t seem to work.  DDT was a major deterrent to bedbugs in the past, but was found too toxic for widespread use.  At that time, however, bedbug populations had been severely reduced. As a result, few manufacturers focused on an alternative to DDT in treating bedbugs.  Landlords are now faced with paying for costly treatments that may have a minimal affect on the bugs.  Leaving any adults alive to breed or eggs to hatch literally guarantees a re-infestation.

Still, Shanahan attempts to manage any potential threat of bedbugs in his properties.  “I have distributed information sheets to my tenants concerning the bedbug infestation in North America, and how to recognize and treat infestations. However, try posting all that information in the common lobbies, etc., and see how many new tenants you will obtain!”

Vincent G. Shanahan is President of Alpha Omega Property Managementin Barrie, Ontario, providing expert property management and consulting services for landlords.  Mr. Shanahan was invited to appear on the television program “Inside Toronto Real Estate”, and is an advocate for landlord rights throughout Ontario.

A Cautionary Tale For Landlords in Ontario

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The devastation in this video should have been avoided. The tenants responsible for this destruction have done this before. Too many times. Their victims: small, residential landlords who were vulnerable, unsuspecting and could ill afford what would happen to their investment properties.

The victims: Tyler and Lisa Sage, Amatal Wadood, Gary and Nancy Woodley, Judin and Anne Xavier, Lois Debeaucamp. There are more.

The story is the same for each of them. The tenants pose as a responsible and financially responsible couple, seeking a nice home in a lovely neighbourhood. They express a sincere desire to raise their little girl in a safe area, and are planning to purchase their own home one day soon. Landlords love their story, they appear to be excellent prospective tenants.

Soon after they move in, the games begin. Bounced cheques, emails full of excuses and lies. The moment the landlords begin to stand up to them, the truth is realized. They lied from the beginning. They know the system. They threaten, and hold property hostage while the system governing evictions grinds along. All the while, the conditions inside and outside the homes deteriorates. When it’s over, the rent arrears are significant, the damage is unbelievable. Instead of being ashamed or remorseful, however, they file applications against their landlords for harassment, and file Claims in the higher courts for the heaps of belongings they leave behind.

These tenants do not face any exposure or consequence before the Landlord and Tenant Board, and they are empowered to do it over and over and over again. It’s time to ask WHY.

A Free Professional Ontario Lease from the OLA!!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

When you become an OLA Member you get access to the RENTAL KIT of helpful and realistic documents.

Here’s an example of the documents to help YOU SUCCEED!!

Tenant screening

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Tenant Screening: Tips for Verifying Applicant’s Income

by Chris on July 5, 2010

While performing a tenant background check, it’s important to keep the focus on profitability.  Does this candidate possess the potential to pay rent for the entire term of the lease?

Tenant Screening for the Traditional Applicant

The majority of rental applicants will have traditional employment.  An employer reference is a crucial part of your tenant background check.

Be certain that the company you are seeking a reference from is a legitimate business concern,  not a fiction or a business wholely owned by the applicant.

Some employers are reluctant to discuss an employee over the phone, or may insist they do not offer employee references.

There are two ways to handle that situation:

First, you could offer to fax a copy of the verification statement from the application to the employer to show the employee’s authorization to release information.

Alternatively, you may place the onus on the applicant to ask their personnel office to release the information you need.  Be persistent and do not move forward with the applicant until you are able to verify the applicant’s employment history and salary.
Tenant Screening of Self-Employed Tenants

Many entreprenuers prefer self-employment to a standard job.  Today, self employment is a popular alternative to unemployment; however, more than half of these businesses will fail within the first four years.

When verifying income of the self-employed candidate, job history becomes a crucial part of the tenant screening process.  A candidate who has chosen self-employment as a way of life is probably more suited for the business world than someone who is scrambling to recover after a job layoff.

The self-employed applicant may not keep payroll records, although that may be required to properly assess taxes.  Indeed, the payment of taxes – or rather the incorrect payment of taxes and fees, may be what puts the business under.  Perhaps the biggest risk a landlord faces when renting to a self-employed tenant is having a business  creditor garnish the income.

Successful candidates will have banking and tax records to verify income.

Tenant credit reports are indispensible in showing if the self-employed candidate is overspending, or struggling to fund a business venture.

When conducting a tenant background check on the self-employed, look for:

  • Appropriate licensing
  • Listings in local business directories
  • Banking statements
  • Corporate records
  • Client references

If you find little evidence of the self-employed business outside of the rental application, you may have cause to worry about this tenant’s  potential.

Once you have collected the income information you need:

Decide if the applicant’s  income is enough to justify the rental price of your property.  Typically, rent should not exceed one-third to one-half of overall income.

Determine whether the applicant has a steady work history.  Bouncing between jobs is a sign this candidate may not possess the commitment needed to be a good renter.  Periods of unemployment foreshadow bills going unpaid.

Also, look for clues that  the applicant is spending beyond their means.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada)

The OLA Brochure! Print it Out, Post it, Spread the Word!

Monday, March 29th, 2010