March 5th, 2013
It’s a Landlord & Tenant Board Hearing to decide on the approval of an above guideline increase, otherwise known as an AGI.
It’s also become a showdown between the corporate owners and hundreds of angry seniors in London, Ontario.
How can a landlord increase the rent above the annual guideline?
According to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board
Generally, a landlord can only increase the rent by the rent increase guideline. However, under certain circumstances a landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board, (the Board) for a rent increase that is above the guideline amount.
What are some of the circumstances?
In this case, the rules allow a landlord to apply for an AGI for
The landlord did extraordinary or significant renovations, repairs, replacements or new additions to the building or to individual units. This type of work is called a “capital expenditure”.
Who is the corporate landlord involved?
The landlord is Minto Properties Ltd. who purchased the apartment campus in question in March, 2011.
How much does Minto want to raise the rent?
Minto Properties has applied for an AGI to increase the rent for the 2,023 units in the complex by another 3.25 percent in 2013. This is 3/4 more than the 2013 rent increase guideline, which is capped at 2.5%.
Why do they want an above guideline increase?
Blair Spencer is the director of property operations in Londong, Ontario for Minto.
Mr. Spencer claims Minot has done a lot of improvements after buying it.
-improving the complex boilers
-upgrading the elevators
-working hard to bring all the buildings in the complex up the local bylaw codes
-the creation of a new, free of charge, fitness center
Has Minto clearly communicated this to the tenants there?
Minto says the information to back up the AGI is all on a CD. It’s can be bought by the renters (or anyone else) for only five dollars.
Why is the Ontario 2013 allowable rent increase so low?
The rent increase was capped at 2.5% no matter how much landlord costs went up by the Liberal government.
How does this low rate compare to other provinces?
In Alberta there isn’t a guideline. Landlords can raise the rent as much as they want with proper notice.
Why are the tenants unhappy? After all the buildings have been improved.
According to a tenant there who requests to be anonymous, most tenants in the complex are on fixed incomes. Many have lived there without major increases for decades.Tenant Michael Drabick has lived in the complex for over twenty years. He says Minto should have included their costs when buying the property. He says they should have discounted their fees when buying instead of slamming the current tenants.
The tenants are very upset!
Yes, this shows the difference between corporate landlords and small, residential landlords.
What do you mean?
Most small, residential landlords only have a tenant or two. They rely on those tenants to pay their rent on time so the landlord can pay their mortgage and/or other expenses each month.
If a small, residential landlord did something to anger their tenants it could lead to a financial disaster for them.
Furthermore, most small residential landlords will try to avoid the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) at all costs.
Why is that?
For a variety of reasons
1. Small landlords usually have full-time employment other than being a landlord. A trip to the LTB means a day off work.
2. Tenants can get free legal help at the Landlord Tenant Board. Wealthy corporate landlords can easily hire their own lawyers. Small landlords try to represent themselves, or often get tricked into spending very large fees for some sort of representation.
3. Even if you get an eviction notice, it will take weeks for the tenant to finally be evicted. This can lead to real tension between the tenant and the small landlord. This is illustrated by a recent tenant assault against a Barrie, Ontario landlord.
4. Many tenants with evictions notices still refuse to move. This means the landlord must wait, and then hire the Sheriff to evict the tenant. This costs over $300. Small change for a corporate landlord, but a huge expense for most small landlords.