Posts Tagged ‘ottawa landlords’

Will There Be An End To The Rent Exemption That Removes Rent Control From Nearly All Rental Units Built After 1991?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

OLA campaign 1

We Want To Hear From The Small Landlord Community. The Ontario Landlords Association Will Be Making a Submission to the Ministry Sharing Your Thoughts & Concerns on a Bill Which Could End the Exemption That Allows Rental Properties To Avoid Rent Control If The property Was Built After 1991

Real estate prices have appreciated greatly in Toronto and the GTA over the past several years. And it looks like property prices will continue rising in 2017.

With these rising property prices, many areas have also seen rising rents. This has led to politicians looking to make changes in how the residential landlord-tenant system works in Ontario.

Why are rents rising?

It’s because most of the new rentals on the market are due to the investments of hard working and risk taking small landlords and investors. These are often working people who invest in a “income property” as a nest egg to help their financial future.

With costs rising these small landlords need to charge rents that cover their costs of owning the property. With prices rising, they also have to spend more buy the property. As they are also small business people they have invested with the goal of attaining at least some sort of profit.

Who are these Ontario landlords?

Many of these investors/landlords are people like you reading here. They are people who have jobs and are working very hard to build for their retirement.

They save their money, and invest…taking a risk to provide high quality rental properties for tenants with the hopes of a fair and decent return.

These investors/landlords include teachers, fire-fighters, police officers, dentists, contractors, secretaries, nurses, truck drivers, small business owners, retirees, etc.  These are the people who make up the OLA community.

These investors and landlords are not rich corporations hoping to build their share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

What changes are being proposed?

An NDP member has put forward a private member’s bill that will end the rent control exemption for rental properties that were built after 1991. The NDP claims this exemption puts tenants at risk and is putting many people who rent in a difficult situation.

What is the 1991 exemption all about?

We have written about the 1991 rent exemption before. In fact, before the OLA began discussing this it was rarely mentioned in the media and few people even knew about it. As with so many aspects of the rental business in Ontario after the OLA began discussing the issue it became well-known and a “hot issue”.

Why is this such a hot issue now?

It’s because rents are increasing. A Global News report said the average rent for a Toronto condo is now over $2000/month. So many tenants are justifiably concerned about rent increases and being able to afford being able to stay in their rental property.

What Do OLA Members Say?

Our landlord community consists of landlords all over Ontario.  And we have owners of all types of rentals.  These range from condos to basement apartment rentals to duplexes and even larger buildings.

The issue of rent control has been a big issue for our community for years. When this latest development was announced landlords were quick to begin to share their thoughts and concerns.

Here are some of the thoughts and points of discussion in our busy member forum.

(1) This is a Business And I Need To Keep Up With Costs

Many landlords worry about being able to cover their costs. They aren’t out to “gouge” tenants (as successful landlords know how valuable good tenants are). If rents can’t be raised to cover costs it will lead to financial hardship, especially for small landlords.

Others stated that landlords take a risk when buying a property to rent out and our investments are important to the Ontario economy. As they are running a “business” they need some flexibility in how they operate.

An Ottawa landlord said investors like her  fund the construction industry and the building trades. We hire property managers and provide business to real estate agents.

We are also the people who are providing new rental accommodations. Changing the rules for rent control will impact jobs and the entire Ontario economy.

(2) I Bought My New Build Rental Property Because of the 1991 Exemption

Many new landlords who bought condos are shocked at the news that they may be covered by rent control.

One new condo investor wrote that if the exemption is stopped she will never ever trust this government again.

(3) My Rentals Aren’t in Downtown Toronto and If I Raise Rents Too High Tenants Will Just Move

Some landlords think the government is too focused on the situation in Toronto and not aware of how things work in the rest of Ontario where real vacancy rates are not that low. A Barrie landlord said while having the freedom to cover costs is important, if she raises rents too high her tenants will simply move.

(4) The 1991 Exemption Is Unfair To Landlords With Older Rental Properties Because The Rent Increase Guideline is Far Too Low

Many members of our Ontario landlord community own older homes. A Newmarket landlord said he buys older homes, invests his hard earned money to fix them, renovates them, makes them attractive, and then rents them out. He wonders why are these landlords punished with an extremely low annual rent increase guideline that is capped?

(5) Let’s Get Rid of Rent Control for All Rental Properties in Ontario Whatever the ‘Age’ of the Property

Some members of our community believe the real solution is to end rent control for all Ontario rental properties. This would lead to a lot more investment into rentals. This would give tenants more options and good landlords with great rental properties would be able to invest more with confidence.

Proposal To End the Rent Control Exemption on Properties Built After 1991

It seems so simple at first glance. The headlines are all about tenants who are being priced out of their rental property as rents rise.

In reality it’s more complicated.

The issue of rent control and rental properties requires serious research and the input of all stake-holders.

And small landlords are key stake-holders and our voices need be heard.

The Concerns From Tenant About Ridiculous Rent Increases Is a Serious Issue

Many of our members rented before and are concerned about the challenges tenants can face with a ridiculously high rent increase.  The problem is legislation covering both large corporate landlords and small landlords will hurt the ‘small players’ who take tenant concerns seriously.

For example one of our members wrote “Good tenants are the key to success as a landlord and investor.  I haven’t even raised rents on my good tenants for the past three years because I value them!”

Another landlord said: “Okay, make it fair for all rentals of all ages but make the annual rent increase more reasonable because now it’s far too low!”

Improving the Ontario Rental Industry to Benefit Landlords and Tenants

The stakes are high as any knee jerk media friendly policies could seriously impact the Ontario rental industry in a very negative way.  This will hurt both good landlords and good tenants.

Bad policy decisions based on media click-bait stories can lead to very bad results for landlords and for tenants. It’s important the government meets with all stake-holders before such an important policy decision is made.

We will make a submission to the province and want to hear your landlord and tenant concerns about rent control.  Contact us at landlordfairness@lobbyist.com.

We will make sure your voices are heard.

Any new policies regarding rent control need to be part of a much larger overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board. Let’s improve the Ontario rental industry for tenants and small landlords who have invested in properties.

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.

Toronto Star – Join A Group Such As The Ontario Landlords Association To Avoid Bad Tenants

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Toronto Star  Ontario Landlords Use Credit Checks To Avoid Bad Tenants

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.”

It’s a situation landlords all over face when renting out a property.

Everyone wants to rent to good tenants who pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Successful landlords rent to good tenants (and avoid the pro tenants out there who want to rip you off for thousands of dollars!)

This is especially important considering costs for landlords are rising and we can only raise the rent 1.6% in 2015.

Toronto Star Advice For Ontario Landlords 

There is an excellent column for landlords in the Toronto Star called “How Ontario landlords can avoid bad tenants.”

It’s written by Mark Weisleder who writes regularly for The Star.

Mr. Weisleder’s columns are very helpful for real estate investors and landlords and highly recommended.

(more…)

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!

Renting To Students in Ontario

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

March 1st, 2014

Tips On How Can You Become a Successful Student From University of Toronto Housing Services

Tips On How Can You Become a Successful Student Landlord From University of Toronto Housing Services

Residential landlords in Ontario face a lot of challenges.

Whether it’s professional tenants manipulating the system to avoid paying rent or the government 2014 guideline allowing you to raise the rent only 0.8%, the challenges are real and daunting.

(Although you might be exempt and can raise the rent above the guideline if you own new buildings!)

Many existing landlords and new investors have written in with questions regarding renting to students.

After all, students are usually less jaded than older folks and have worked hard to gain entry into university.

With a heavy load of studies and busy social lives they are less inclined to think of ways to bring their landlord to the Landlord and Tenant Board and ‘play the system’.

Examples of students causing major (and expensive) problems for their landlords exist.

Take a look at this story from the Peterborough Examiner.

However, it seems renting to students attending colleges and universities is a profitable and safer way for you to invest in residential rental properties in Ontario.

Many landlords who rent to students have positive things to say about their investment choice on the Ontario Landlords Forum:

“I like renting to students. My houses are downtown near 3 universities in Toronto, so most of my tenants have been students.

Rent is secure, as they usually have OSAP or parental income to cover the rent.

I have indeed had students ask me to change their lightbulbs but I just tell them it is up to them to do that, offer them a ladder, and it isn’t an issue …

The dormitories at school usually only take first year students, and for second year the students have to find their own place (due to lack of space in the dorms to house everyone), so if you can get a group of second year students, you’ve got tenants for 3 more years and then they usually move out.

Best of all…No professional tenants among students…!”

Are You Interested In Renting To Students Yet?

We contacted the University of Toronto for help on getting some tips and advice on what students want from their landlords.

The Manager of Housing Services for the University of Toronto is Jennifer Radley. 

Jennifer provided answers to our questions and we appreciate her assistance. 

10 Tips On How To Be a Successful Student Landlord

Here are some of our questions to Jennifer and her tips.

 #1 What are student tenants looking for in a rental property?

Students are looking for a place that is either close to campus or along a transit line and close to amenities. Ideally, the monthly rent would be within the average rates already listed in our registry and would include utilities. If renting a basement apartment, students look for adequate lighting and windows. Above all, students want a safe, reasonably-maintained rental unit, and a good landlord. 

#2 What are most student tenants looking for when they say they want a “good landlord”?

To students, a good landlord is someone who:

  o     Follows the law (eg. Human Rights Code and Residential Tenancies Act)

  o     Offers affordable rental rates

  o     Repairs and maintains the property as required, in a timely manner 

 #3 What is the most common complaint from U of T students about off-campus landlords?

The most common complaint is landlords not repairing and/or maintaining the property in a timely manner.

The issues brought forward include everything from appliance and plumbing issues to pests and fire/water damage.

#4 Is it a good idea for a landlord to get involved in student tenant vs. student  tenant issues?

We recommend landlords follow the RTA and/or get advice on tenant vs. tenant issues from the Landlord Self-Help Centre and/or the Landlord and Tenant Board.

#5  How can a landlord improve a property to make it more “user friendly” for students?

Based on feedback we receive, the most appealing features are:

 o     Have utilities included in the rental rate (utilities can be quite intimidating to a student,  especially if international)

 o     Bright space/windows

 o     If shared accommodation, should have locks on the bedroom doors

 o     If private, a separate entrance

 o     Bike storage

 o     Pet-friendly

#6  Any tips on how a private landlord can communicate and cooperate with   university housing? (As not all housing services are as cool as the U of T one)

Yes – and thank you! Landlords can visit http://housing.utoronto.ca/Landlords.htm to learn more about our service, subscribe to our bi-annual LandlordNews newsletter, and to register/place an ad.

We are also available via phone 416-978-8045 and email (housing.services@utoronto.ca) during regular office hours to answer questions.

Let other landlords know about our service. 

#7  We hear student tenants are more and more concerned about safety. How can a private off-campus landlord accommodate that? Are things like security cameras a good idea or will student thinks it’s too invasive?

Things such as alarm systems, security cameras (more common in apartment buildings), bolt-locks (rather than doorknob locks), window locks, and good outdoor lighting (eg. motion-sensored) are some ways a landlord can make their property feel safer.

#8 Many of our landlord members are hands-on and not absentee landlords. Do students like landlords who come and do regular safety inspections (with proper notice) or do they prefer landlords stay away?

I think this depends on how often, how much notice is given, and how invasive the inspection is. No tenant, including students, want their landlord entering their room/unit all the time. I believe, however, safety inspections are typically done on an annual basis (unless there is adequate reason for another). In which case, with proper notice, I wouldn’t see that being a problem. This is based on the individual’s preference.  

#9 Should landlords encourage tenants to get insurance?

Yes. We also encourage students to get tenant’s insurance.

#10 Where can landlords who rent to students learn more to become better landlords and have better relations with their student tenants?

U of T Housing Services is a great place to start!

Where Is a Good Place To Invest In Student Rental Properties?

There are a lot of good colleges and universities in Ontario.

For example, Toronto landlords have, as our OLA member wrote, three universities and numerous colleges in the city.

Ottawa landlords have a market of students going to the University of Ottawa and Carleton. 

Hamilton landlords often rent properties out to students at McMaster University.

We will discuss this more thoroughly in future blogs.

Landlords – Is Renting to Students Right For you?

To Discuss This and Other Landlord Topics Welcome to the Ontario Landlords Forum