Posts Tagged ‘tenant screening’

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.

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Ontario Landlords: Tenant Screening and Tenant Credit Checks

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

 January 17th, 2014

Ontario landlords association tenant credit check 2014

What Are the Rules For Ontario Landlords to Do a Tenant Credit Check the Right Way?

(And What Happens If You Don’t? Because Tenants Are Complaining So Be Careful)

Landlords know the importance of renting to good tenants.

We have written about this before to warn Ontario landlords.

There are a lot of good tenants all over the province and they want to rent from you.

These tenants pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Landlords big and small are seeking these tenants who follow the rules and cooperate with their landlords for a win-win situation.

It’s especially important since the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline is only 0.8% as a recent Toronto Sun report explained.

Bad Tenants

There is also a large group of bad tenants out there.

Whether you are an Ottawa landlord, a Toronto landlord, own properties a bit north and are a Barrie landlord or anywhere else in the province you have surely heard about the damage bad tenants can do to landlords in Ontario.

These bad tenants know how to manipulate the system and will end up costing you thousands of dollars in losses and months of stress and frustration.

A Supreme Court Justice even said there are too many opportunities for bad tenants to take advantage of good landlords in Ontario. You can read what the judge said at the excellent column by our friend Bob Aaron at the Toronto Star.

Tenant Credit Checks

The Ontario Landlords Association has introduced tenant credit checks and their importance in a professional tenant screening system to thousands of landlords across the province.

We have excellent partners such as Equifax, TVS, and GARDA.

They are authorized to conduct tenant credit checks and look into your potential tenant’s financial history.

These companies provide tools for landlords to succeed with their rental businesses by helping you rent to good tenants.

Are Some Landlords Doing It Wrong?

Yes, some are.

And you need to be careful.

We have received lots of emails from tenants who are claiming some landlords are obtaining their credit data in a fraudulent manner.

The tenants say their privacy rights have been stomped on by small landlords.

There have also been posts about this from tenants on the Ontario Landlords Forum.

For example a tenant wrote:

I’m looking for some advice on how to deal with a serious situation.

I take great care of my credit profile and my privacy. This year I was forced to look to rent a property near my work. After finding a property I was interested in the landlord said they would do an employment check, reference check and a credit check on me to see if I was qualified. I agreed they could.

Fast forward and I recently checked my credit report. At the time of my application there is now a ‘credit hit’ from a mortgage and real estate agent on my credit score. I did not apply for a mortgage or to buy a house! It is the only ‘credit hit’ for that time period.

I never agreed for a credit check from a mortgage or real estate agent. I never applied for a mortgage or to purchase a house. This will lead future creditors/landlords/anyone to think I wanted to buy my own place and applied for a mortgage. It will also lead to people mistakenly thinking I was refused a mortgage and failed to buy a place of my own.

I only authorized the landlord to do a credit check for the purpose of renting. I would like to know my options because this is a breach of my privacy rights.

With so many emails and an increasing number of tenant posts passionately explaining their serious concerns we decided to contact our partner Equifax Canada.

It seems some landlords are using friends or relatives who are Realtors or mortgage agents or insurance agents to get credit checks done on prospective tenants.

equifax ontario landlords

Our Interview With Equifax Canada

We contacted our partner Equifax Canada and spoke with them about the ‘right way’ for landlords to conduct tenant credit checks.

Here are our questions and the answers that follow:

1. Can I Call my Relative or Friend To Do the Credit Check For My Potential Tenant?

If the landlord uses a mortgage agent, Realtor, etc. to access potential tenants credit data for them, and the tenant didn’t agree and these tenants contact Equifax what will happen?

What are the penalties that could occur?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

No.

Given the nature of the existing credit reporting/privacy legislation and the terms of use (agreement) by the Equifax member, the consumer can report this type of unacceptable activity to the Ministry of Consumer Services, who will then investigate.

Any inappropriate use or breach of contract could lead to termination of membership with Equifax.

 2. Mortgage Agents, Realtors, Insurance Agents, Car Dealerships

Several landlords say they have used friends who are mortgage agents, Realtors, etc. for years to access tenant credit data and nothing happened and there is nothing wrong using this method to obtain credit data on potential tenants.

What is the best response to their claims?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

See above and below for more details.

Equifax must disclose the actual entity that received the file.

3. What About Third Parties to Obtain Credit Data?

Some landlords have a waiver on their application form saying they will use a “third party” to obtain credit data on a potential tenant (they don’t say who will do the check, only that it will be a third party).

They then contact a friend who is a mortgage agent, Realtor, insurance broker, someone who works at a car dealership, etc. to do the credit check on the potential tenant for them. 

They wonder if the waiver clause allows them to use a ‘friend’ is okay.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

The service agreement signed by EACH of our members clearly articulates that they will not “share” a credit file with another entity: the credit file is for their exclusive use ONLY.

Any entity that does share is in violation of this agreement.

4. Tenants Complaining About Unauthorized Credit Checks

Some tenants complain they have a ‘credit hit’ on their credit reports from mortgage agents, insurance agents, etc. which they never agreed to (as they only wanted to rent an apartment). 

How can tenants get these unauthorized credit hits off their records?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Due to privacy legislation, once Equifax delivers a file to a member, we MUST post an inquiry (by law).

As such, we do not remove these inquiries as they are factual and the consumer has a legal right to know their file has been disclosed.

5. What Can Tenants Do?

Some tenants who have credit hits from people they never authorized have asked if they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services to make formal complaints that their credit data was obtained fraudulently. They would like advice on this.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Yes, they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services who will launch an investigation.

They can reach also reach Equifax directly at the following telephone numbers to lodge a complaint and we will do an investigation:

English: 1-866-828-5961

French: 1-877-323-2598

Ontario Landlords And Tenant Screening 2014

Let’s work together to make 2014 the most successful year ever for landlords across Ontario.

Tenant screening is an essential part of being a successful landlord.

Make sure you follow the rules and find great tenants for your rental properties.

High quality tenant credit companies such as Equifax, TVS, and GARDA are waiting to assist you.

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.

Ontario Landlords Warning: Tenants and Fake Credit Checks

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

 December 1st, 2013Ontario Landlords Tenant Credit Checks

With More Landlords Demanding Tenant Credit Checks Some Tenants Are Ready With Their Fraudulent Reports!

There are a lot of wonderful tenants out there.

No matter where you are in Ontario, landlords know that with an attractive property at the right price, and with proper tenant screening, you can find good tenants are there.

There are also not-so-good tenants as well.

These tenants can make a your life miserable and cost you a fortune.

These are tenants who lead many landlords to give up and sell their rental properties.

Smart Landlords Screen Tenants Carefully

More and more Ontario Landlords and landlords across the province are doing very careful tenant screening these days.

Landlords from Ottawa, Toronto and Scarborough know tenant screening is key.

This tenant screening approach always includes tenant credit checks.

Good Tenants Appreciate Professional Landlords

Most tenants are reasonable and will understand you want to know who you are renting to.

They will respect your screening process.

If your rental is a multi-unit property they will appreciate the time and effort you take to find their future neighbours.

If a potential tenant has bruised credit, it’s a chance for you to discuss it and still rent to them.

Some Tenants Are Adapting and Finding New Ways to Rip Off Small Landlords

Now let’s get back to those bad tenants.

The post on the Ontario Landlords Association forum was about a tenant who seemed to know more and more landlords were demanding tenant credit checks and was ready.

The post began with the landlord saying:

“I’ve been reading here for over a year when I started looking for my first investment property. I purchased a duplex and began looking for renters earlier this month.”

The Landlord had a couple who came to see the rental property and wanted to rent from him.

He said that the couple both came with letters of employment and offered them to him

One of the employment letters didn’t look real.

The interested tenants also offered an Equifax Tenant Credit Report

The interested tenant said she knew landlords wanted tenant credit reports.

She handed him a some papers saying this was proof she was financially responsible and a good tenant…and enough evidence the landlord should rent to them.

The Landlords describes what happened next:

“She spoke about how good her credit score was and that is important. She showed it to me and the score was over 720.

The problem…it didn’t have her name on it only the Equifax logo and the score.

Everything else looked like it can been covered and photocopied. No name, no anything except the logo and the score.”

The Landlord Didn’t Fall For It

“I told her I would do my own check once they filled out the application I downloaded here. You should have seen the look on their faces.

They took the application and haven’t emailed it to me or called back. These types of people are out there.”

Equifax Tenant Screening Credit Checks

We Called Our Partner Equifax Canada To Learn How To Deal With This And Protect Landlords

Paul Le Vevre is the Director of Operations for Equifax Canada.

Here Paul’s advice for landlords.

1.Credit Reports Always Have the Name and Address of the Person

Firstly, I can confirm that when a consumer either obtains a copy of their credit file (either on line or in person from Equifax), the file copy ALWAYS contains the name/address (plus date of birth and SIN if available) of the consumer.

Personal identification is an integral portion of the file, without exception.

2. Landlords Need To Do Their Own Credit Checks

The only method to ensure the credit file contains true/authentic data is to have the landlord access directly from Equifax (either the file or related products such as Tenant Selector).

Copies of files provided by the consumer are not to be considered valid due to the specific examples you cited.

Experienced Ontario landlords know tenant screening, including credit checks, are an essential part of their success.

Make sure you stay ahead of the game and in control by conducting your own credit checks and making sure you find the good tenants you and your rental property deserve.

Tenant Screening for Ontario Landlords: Tenant Credit Checks and Tenant Criminal Checks

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

 Ontario landlords Tenant Credit Checks Tenant Criminal Checks

Lots of Good Tenants Are Out There, Make Sure You You Find Them With A Tenant Credit Check

The Ontario Landlords Association continues to stress the importance of tenant screening to landlords across Ontario.

We’ve seen far too many ‘Tenant from Hell’ nightmarish situations landlords have faced this year.

The cases are broad and reveal a huge variety of abuse of landlords and their income properties their hard-earned money allowed them to buy.

This abuse includes everything from non-payment of rent, to damages,and more.

We Demand More Respect for Small Business Landlords

Small landlords in Ontario are an important provider of high quality, affordable housing for tenants.

We are an important part of the Ontario social and financial system.

Most Ontario landlords are decent, hard-working people who have risked thousands of dollars to create rental property businesses.

They took a risk, invested lots of money, and hope for a decent return on their investment.

They also expect a fair system for landlord and tenant disputes.

The Landlord and Tenant Board Is Unfair to Small Landlords

Landlords across Ontario face bad tenants who abuse the Landlord and Tenant Board regularly.

We have seen numerous cases where landlords have been abused by their bad tenants and the system in 2013.

We are calling for changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and major reform to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

We are also calling for a new joint tenant-landlord oversight of the Tenant Duty Counsel program which many landlords believe is not serving it’s original purpose.

The Globe and Mail also says bad tenants are the reason so many landlords decide to leave the industry and sell their income property.

How Can I Be a Successful Landlord in Ontario?

There are lots of good tenants out there. You need to find them to avoid the anti-landlords system in Ontario.

Good tenants will always pay the rent. They will also show consideration to the landlord and not damage the rental property.

The problem is there is a minority of bad tenants who are often very aggressive.

You need to make sure to avoid renting to these bad tenants and make your rental business open to all the good tenants out there who want to find a great rental property and a professional and courteous landlord.

How Can I Find Good Tenants?

According to the Toronto Star, bad tenants can be avoided with proper tenant screening.

You need to make sure you know who you are renting to before you sit down to sign the lease, take first and last, and hand over the keys.

Tenant Credit Checks

A tenant check is absolutely essential for Ontario landlords.

A tenant check doesn’t lie.

It provides you with a comprehensive financial history of the person who wants to rent your property.

What you will see may amaze you.

You can find out if your potential tenant pays (or doesn’t pay) their bills.

You will see if your potential tenant has mistreated past landlords and received judgments.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

A tenant credit check allows you to really get to know the person (tenant) you are doing business with (renting out your property too).

The Ontario Landlords Association works with the highest quality of companies to give you the services you need to succeed.

For a one time member fee we offer you affordable costs on tenant credit checks and other services.

Take your rental business seriously and aim for success by screening your tenants carefully and finding one of the many good tenants out there!