Ontario Landlords Association


Welcome to the OLA for Small Business Landlords

The Ontario Landlords Association (OLA) and its sister organization The Canada Landlords Association (CLA) are leading provincial and national organizations for private small residential landlords. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect landlord interests to national and local government.

  • Network with top professionals
  • Get advice from experienced landlords
  • Learn how the Landlord and Tenant Board works
  • Meet our recommended partners
  • Take part in landlord activities, social events.
  • A chance to "get involved!"

Tips For Renting To Students from University of Toronto Housing Services

 

ontario-landlords-university-of-toronto-housing

Do You Want to Become a Successful Student Housing Landlord? 

We continue to get a lot of messages and comments from people who want to rent to students. OLA members have written how much they appreciated our previous posts on the topic and want more. In fact, our interview with the U of T Housing Services team received tremendous feedback and helped many small landlords succeed in renting to students so we asked them for more tips for 2016.

Many new investors and future landlords were student tenants themselves at one point and remember their time renting. They remember how they were looking for safe and attractive rental properties run by a great landlord.

Some say they never found the type of property or landlord they really hoped for during their uni or college days, and want to provide a terrific rental experience for the students of today. They remember how they followed the rules, always fulfilled their lease obligations and paid the rent on time. They were great tenants and now would like to rent to great tenants.

Even small residential landlords who aren’t near colleges or universities are also becoming very interested in buying a student rental property. They know they can apply their skills and knowledge as experienced, professional, service-oriented landlords to create rental properties for students who are looking for high quality rentals.

In order to help people interested in getting into student housing we interviewed the University of Toronto’s Housing Services team. They are a terrific resource for both landlords and tenants.

Here are some of our questions and terrific tips:

Many of our members have spoken about your helpful tips for landlords on Twitter.  When did the U of T team start using twitters to get the message out?

We starting actively using Twitter in late 2015. It’s been a great way for us to stay connected with our landlords and the housing community!

How does your service help landlords in 2016?

We offer a site where landlords can advertise their rental unit whether it be short- or long-term, private or shared accommodation.  Our site averages 13,000+ visitors each month including U of T, George Brown, OCAD, and ESL school students,  U of T staff and faculty, and students of other post-secondary institutions.

We offer various pricing options, insider tips on topics such as creating more attractive ads for students, average rental rates in the area, and current legislation.

Your ad will be visible to our users 24/7, you can track how many times your ad has been viewed, include extensive details such a floors plans and other photos.

Has anything about your services changed for 2016?

Yes! We are pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new and improved Off-Campus Housing website. The new site is mobile-friendly and has many new enhancements requested by our users. As a result of the enhancements, it is now more frequently used by faculty and staff, and is promoted by the University’s Faculty Relocation Office.

With property prices appreciating fast are there more options for tenants this year?

We have seen a slight increase in ads so far this summer – our improved service has attracted new landlords whom have never listed with us before.

We have many new members who have invested in student housing. What tips can you provide to help them attract good tenants?

Good landlords attract good tenants. A good landlord is someone who follows the guidelines of the RTA and stands by their responsibilities to maintain their unit accordingly.

Being such a large institution, our users are diverse: undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty, as well as students attending other post-secondary schools who are looking for housing in the Toronto/Scarborough/Mississauga.

Our users are looking for places that are fairly close to our three campuses (or near a major transit line), offer competitive rental rates, include utilities, and where possible, a flexible lease agreement (i.e. month-to-month, 8-month leases, or ability to sublet in the summer). We encourage your members to include in their ad any amenities and features that might be attractive to our users such as laundry facilities, dishwasher, a backyard or patio, natural light, air conditioning, or WIFI.

What kinds of things are students looking for in choosing one rental over another?

Move-in date, budget, and location are the key factors, but students are definitely attracted to places that offers some of the amenities and features mentioned above (laundry facilities, dishwasher, a backyard or patio, natural light, air conditioning, or WIFI).

Do you have any tips on how new landlords renting to students can ‘start off right’ for the coming academic year?

To start the tenancy off right, ensure the place is in good condition when the student moves in, so they can focus on getting settled and starting classes without the added stress of trying to sort out maintenance and repair issues.

If the landlord shares a place with the student, it’s important to respect their privacy and remember that a student’s schedule can be very hectic depending on their program. They may have early mornings and late-night study sessions. We encourage our students to be involved on campus, so they need a supportive home environment to make that possible.

Are there anything about rentals that you hear students don’t like and wish landlords would change about rental properties?

The most frequently raised concern is that many landlords want a 12 month lease agreement. This can be a deterrent for students who do not live in Toronto for the summer and need to worry about finding a sublet. We do our best to educate and offer advice on the process of finding a sublet, but it is still something that many students are worried about (especially during their exam period in April).

During the academic year, we hear more about maintenance and repair issues. It would be helpful if landlords provided information at the start of the tenancy on how to request repairs, and promptly resolved maintenance and repair issues when they are brought to their attention.

Tips For Renting To Students

Are you thinking of becoming a student housing landlord? If you are make sure you do a lot of research and you can join a growing community of successful student landlords.

Landlord Advocacy- Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get A License

OLA positive change

Mississauga Landlords No Longer Need To Get a License (You Still Need To Make Sure Your Rental Property is Registered, and Safe and Secure For Tenants)

When the City of Mississauga announced a plan to license landlords, it led to a lot of concerns from our Mississauga landlord members and a ton of posts in our Members Forum.

Many Mississauga landlords were confused about how the program would be run.

Others were concerned about what would happen to their current tenants in their unlicensed units.

Many more told us they were worried the extra costs involved would lead them to have to give up being a small residential landlord.

As we represent thousands of small residential landlords across Ontario our expert team was quick to act. We began looking into the issue carefully and contacting people in the City government to get answers.

We then helped inform landlords what the rules and laws are for Mississauga landlords to operate a rental property and publicized the issue and lobbied for landlord rights.

We would like to point out the people we spoke with at the City of Mississauga were extremely professional and helpful and were a great resource for us to get the city’s message out to landlords and residential rental property investors.

The Ontario Landlords Association Doesn’t Believe Licensing Landlords Is The Answer

We are a group made up of hard working small residential landlords. We appreciate and agree with the goals of governments and tenant activists to ‘protect tenants.’

After all, as small business people most of the people in the OLA have rented before (and some of us had to deal with unprofessional landlords!) and have friends and relatives who rent  now.

We understand the need the for safe, high quality and affordable housing.

Based on our experiences as small landlords, we feel that the costs involved with landlord licensing makes other options (such as landlord education and well-trained By-law officers) more effective ways to protect tenants while also recognizing the hard work and investment of all the good landlords out there.

Due to the high costs of getting a license we had many Mississauga landlords tell us they were selling and other planned to invest in other areas where there were no licensing schemes, such as investing in cities as Ottawa or Newmarket.

The Ontario Landlords Association has been a reasonable, yet firm and strong voice, for small landlords and against expensive landlord licensing schemes that will only raise rents on tenants and drive good people out of the rental providing industry.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required to Get a Landlord License

This has been huge news and the response from our Mississauga landlord members has been overwhelming!

To help clear up the issue and education landlords we interviewed Mickey Frost, the Director of Enforcement for Bylaws in the City of Mississauga. Mr. Frost has been incredibly helpful over the years and we thank him. Mr. Frost is a true professional.

1. What is the current situation regarding the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

The City has repealed the current licensing process and will now require that houses containing a second unit be registered. As part of the registration process, the City of Mississauga requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law.

Registration is free of charge. Homeowners will no longer need to purchase or renew a license. Existing second unit license holders will be automatically registered.

2. When did these changes happen?

The Second Unit Licensing By-law was repealed by Council on March 30, 2016. The Second Unit Registration By-law was enacted on June 8, 2016.

3. Can landlords who applied previously to get a license get a refund?

Although there is no legal requirement to provide a refund, it was identified that refunds would mitigate some of the inconvenience experienced by property owners who have taken the necessary steps to complete the licensing process within months of the Second Unit Licensing By-law being repealed.

Refunds for the cost of a second unit license were provided to license holders, as approved by City Council.

Property owners that have submitted an initial application or renewal application in 2016 will be provided with a full refund and property owners whose application was process between September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 will be provided with a partial refund representing 50% of the cost of a license.

Refunds have been dispersed to all eligible applicants that paid by debit, cash or cheque. All eligible applicants that paid by credit card have been contacted and advised to obtain their refund in person at our Compliance and Licensing Enforcement office.

4. Are there any plans for more changes to the Second Unit Licensing By-law in the near future?

The City has repealed the Second Unit Licensing By-law. A Registration By-law was passed by City Council on June 8, 2016, which requires that houses containing a second unit comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law. There are no further changes proposed at this time.

5. Where can residential landlords get more information on developments on the Second Unit Licensing By-law?

Further information is available on the Second Units website at http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/housingchoicessecondunits. For further information on the Second Unit Registration process, please contact the Citizen Contact Centre by dialing 3-1-1.

Mississauga Landlords Are No Longer Required To Get a Landlord License

This is great news for all the landlords who voiced their concerns to us. Make sure you register your second unit according to the new By-law.

Ontario Landlord Advocacy

This is also an important lesson for good small landlords who want to help create a fair playing field for landlords and tenants. Make sure your voice is heard in a positive and constructive manner and change can happen.

Ontario Landlords – Let’s Improve the Residential Tenancies Act

OLA campaign 1

The Ontario Landlords Association Wants The System To Be Improved For Small Residential Landlords. A Better System Will Lead To More Investment and Better High Quality, Affordable Housing For Tenants!

According to a report by CBC News called Ontario mulls changes to rental rules, prompting concern from tenants groups the Ontario Liberal government wants to make it easier for small residential landlords to evict problem tenants.

After listening to small landlords and far-reaching and passionate landlord groups such as the Ontario Landlords Association and our hard working members, the government realizes there is a need to improve the system to help small landlords. This will lead to more investment, more rentals and more affordable housing in the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is a former Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister. At that time, the Premier made it clear to the Ontario Landlords Association the Ministry took our concerns seriously. The Ministry wants to help both good landlords and good tenants by making the rules fair which would lead to more high quality rental units (and more investment by professional, service-oriented residential landlords).

On Monday, March 14th, 2016 the government announced the details of an important update to the Ontario Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

This updated strategy would be both bold and transformative to support the challenge of chronic homelessness in Ontario within a decade. As part of the update, the government has floated some proposals to improve the Residential Tenancies Act and improve the law and rules.

These proposed changes are very important to help small residential landlords in Ontario succeed and to encourage more investment in the residential rental sector in Ontario. Some of the ideas proposed include:

1. Eviction for Smoking

Tenants can be evicted if they smoke in a “smoke free building”. 

2. Pets

Landlords will be able to prohibit pets in their rental units if the landlord lives in the same building.

3. Fixing the Rent Increase Guideline

The government proposes to examine whether or not the Rent Increase Guideline accurately calculates the true costs for landlords in a given year. The system for BC landlords is something to look at carefully.

The Ontario Landlords Association has made the government aware of these and other important issues for small residential landlords. Your voice has been heard.

Also in the report the current Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, stated the Liberal government is still in the phase of getting more ideas. The goal is to encourage more small residential landlords to invest in rental properties and to rent out part of their properties.

Let’s Improve the Residential Tenancies Act

The Ontario Landlords has voiced the concerns of small residential landlords in Ontario to both the government and the media regarding the problems in the Residential Tenancies Act. Our tens of thousands of landlord members in every corner of Ontario know things need to change and welcome the provincial government also seeing this need.

We Have Lots Of Recommendations How To Improve the Rules For Ontario Landlords!

The Ontario Landlords Association has sent our proposed changes to the government. These proposals are from our members who want to create a better system in Ontario to help good landlords invest in and run safe, affordable rentals for tenants.

Send Your Experiences, Suggestions and Ideas to Us

The Ontario Landlords Association wants to hear from YOU!

Tell us about your experiences as a small landlord and your suggestions and ideas at landlordvoice@lobbyist.com.

Let’s make it happen, together

By making important changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board, both landlords and tenants will helped. Some groups want to create a  “landlord vs. tenant” system. This is what we have now and it hurts both parties.

Let’s make Ontario a world leader in encouraging excellent, safe, affordable housing. Together we are strong.

Ontario Landlords Association Launches Fire Safety Campaign!

Ontario Landlords Association Fire Safety Campaign Rental Property

Successful Ontario landlords know how important fire safety is for their rental business!

Providing safe rental properties is a key part of your rental property business. Fire departments across Ontario are making sure Fines laid for smoke alarm violations .

Safe rentals are also a great way to let all the good tenants out there know you are a responsible and professional landlord who takes being a landlord seriously.  Successful landlords know good tenants want to rent from responsible landlords who rent out safe and well maintained rental housing units.

The Ontario Landlords Association has launched our Fire Safety Campaign to make sure residential landlords across the province are aware of their responsibilities for owning rental properties.

We also want to help all the great landlords who have safe properties to work with their tenants to make sure it’s a “win-win” situation for everyone.

We want every small residential landlord in Ontario to make sure their rental property is safe for tenant In order to help education our Ontario Landlord Community we have reached out to fire professionals for assistance. Whether you are an Ottawa landlord or a Toronto landlord, we want to help!

The great news for landlords is our provincial fire departments have been extremely helpful and share our goal for better and for safer residential rental properties across Ontario.

The issue of safety in residential rental properties is often in the media in St Catharines, Ontario. So the OLA reached out to the Chief Fire Prevention Officer of St Catharines. 

The Chief is Frank Donati and he was happy to help and cares deeply about fire safety. We thank Chief Donati for his time and for helping us get this important message out to residential landlords across the province.

1. What are the responsibilities of private residential landlords when it comes to fire safety in our rental properties?

Landlords are responsible for their property to comply with all applicable requirements of the Ontario Fire Code. Under the Ontario Fire Code, it is the owner’s responsibility to comply with the provisions of the Code, in the case of a rental suite the landlord shall be considered to be the owner (Division B, Article 2.13.1.1. and Article 6.3.3.2., O. Reg 213/07 as amended).

2. What are the rules in St Catharines for rental properties regarding making the property fire safe?

St Catharines requires the same level of conformity as the rest of the municipalities in Ontario – comply with the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code and all referenced Standards.

3. Are these rules the same in the rest of Ontario?

The Ontario Fire Code is applicable throughout the Province as the minimum fire and life safety requirements. Some municipalities or jurisdictions may have more stringent requirements in some cases – always contact your local Fire Prevention department for specific requirements in your area.

4. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to smoke alarms?

It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every story and outside all sleeping areas in each dwelling unit. Landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the law. Specifically, a landlord is responsible for installing smoke alarms and keeping them in working condition, including testing, repairs and replacement if necessary. Furthermore, the landlord of each rental suite shall give the tenant a copy of the smoke alarm manufacturer’s maintenance instructions or approved alternative maintenance instructions. A landlord must also act to correct any problem or concern reported about the operation of an installed smoke alarm.

5. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to carbon monoxide alarms?

As with smoke alarms, landlords are responsible for the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide alarms. The landlord is also responsible for providing the tenant with carbon monoxide alarm maintenance instructions. Testing of the carbon monoxide alarms and providing the tenant with carbon monoxide alarm maintenance instructions is also the responsibility of the landlord.

6. Regarding enforcement of the laws, what type of fines can landlords face if they are not following the laws?

Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements could result in a ticket up to $295.00 + surcharges or a fine up to $50,000.00 for individuals and $100,000.00 for corporations may be imposed by the court upon conviction of an offence.

7. What can tenants do if they worry their rental home isn’t safe?

If a tenant is concerned about the safety of their rental unit, they should contact the Fire Prevention Division with their concerns and request an inspection. Ontario Fire departments are required to respond to complaints or requests for inspections under Ontario Regulation 365/13 -Mandatory Assessment of Complaints and Requests for Approval.

8 What happens if a tenant disables a smoke alarm in St Catharines? Can they be fined?

Intentional disabling of a smoke or carbon monoxide are both violations of the Ontario Fire Code (Division B, Article 6.3.3.4. and 6.3.4.6. respectively of O.Reg 213/07 as amended) and could result up to $295.00 + surcharges or a fine of up to $50,000.00 may be imposed by the court upon conviction of an offence that the tenant has disabled the alarm. Landlords are reminded to ensure they retain documentation that they have provide working alarms, instructions, and maintenance records upon request by the Fire Prevention Office.

9. Are there any great resources you recommend for residential landlords to learn more about their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety?

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management has a wealth of information for residential landlords located at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.ca.ca/english/FireMarshal/OFM_main.html You can also find information and contact numbers at the St Catharines Fire Services website at https://ww.stcatharines.ca/en/livin/Fire.asp

10. St Catharines is becoming know by people all over Ontario that your fire department takes fire safety and the safety of tenants extremely seriously. We have members who admire your actions and with their own local cities were like your team. What is the goal of your fire department and why are you acting so diligently on this?

St Catharines Fire Services strives to serve and protect all citizens of and visitors to St Catharines from the ravages of fire. Through education and proactive programs St Catharines Fire continues to work towards our goal of no fire related loss of persons or property and continued high quality of life through knowledge of fire and life safety.

The Ontario Landlords Association has launched our Fire Safety Campaign.  Landlords make sure you know the rules and regulations and make your property safe for your tenants.

Mississauga Landlord Licensing 2016 – Make Sure Your Rental Is Licensed

Mississauga landlords and landlord license

Mississauga Landlords and Landlord Licensing 2016

We continue to have lots of Mississauga landlords contact us for information regarding landlord licensing in their city.

We wrote about this when City of Mississauga and Landlord Licensing, and now it’s 2016 and we have more advice from the always helpful Mickey Frost, Director of Enforcement, City of Mississauga.

We would again like to thank Mr. Frost for his cooperation helping us educate landlords in the city.

Has Anything Changed for the Mississauga Landlords in 2016 Regarding the Bylaw?

The requirements for obtaining a second unit licence have not changed under the Second Unit Licensing Bylaw 204-13, as amended. The licensing fees as listed in Schedule 1 of this bylaw will remain in effect for 2016.

How Many Units Have Been Licensed So Far?

As of December 21, 2015, a total of 121 second unit licences (97 Owner Occupied and 24 Investment Dwellings) have been issued and approximately 129 applications (107 Owner Occupied and 22 Investment Dwellings) are currently pending at various stages in the process. A list of licensed second units can be downloaded and viewed on Mississauga Data. Information on licensed second units is updated weekly (last update: December 18, 2015).

Tenants can report safety concerns or unlicensed second units by calling our Citizen Contact Centre at 3-1-1 (if within City limits) or 905-615-4311 (if outside City limits), Monday to Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. or by email at bylaw.enforcement@mississauga.ca. Please note that City offices will be closed on December 24th at noon to January 3, 2016 inclusive.

Should you require additional information or assistance on this matter, please contact Mr. Douglas Meehan, Manager of Compliance and Licensing Enforcement, by telephone at (905) 615-3200, ext. 5676 or by email at douglas.meehan@mississauga.ca.

Here are some questions from landlords on the Ontario Landlords Association forum:

1.”I want to buy a house in Mississauga with an existing bsmt apartment. What happens if the Tenant moves in, doesn’t want to pay and reports the apartment to the City as illegal. ? Do I go to jail? Do I Pay fine?”

All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.  To avoid penalties apply for and obtain a Second Unit Licence before the tenant moves in.

2. “As far as I know there was only 1 Licence issued in 2014 but almost every second house in Mississauga has illegal bsmt apt. Is this bylaw serious or just a joke? Am I stupid to obey this or just wasting my money when they don’t really care about basement apartments!”

All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.  The City of Mississauga takes the licensing of second units very seriously.  Property owners who fail to obtain a licence will be charged and if found guilty may be subject to a fine of $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.  Currently the City of Mississauga is processing approximately 250 properties seeking a licence.

3.”Mississauga needs affordable housing. Is the City after penalty or they treat the landlord with respect and work to help him make the second unit affordable and safe ?”

The City’s priority is to ensure that second units meet the health and safety regulations in the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code.  The licensing system was designed to do this so that second units may provide a safe housing option for the public.  City staff are committed to working with property owners to assist them through the process of obtaining a licence to help make these homes safe.

4.”Can I apply for Licence while tenant lives in the apartment ?”

Yes, if there is a tenant in place the tenant may remain while the property owner is actively engaged in obtaining a licence.  To avoid penalties apply for and obtain a Second Unit Licence before the tenant moves in.  All residential properties that contain a second unit are required to be licensed.  If a property owner is found to be operating an unlicensed second unit for which they refuse to obtain a licence they will be charged with a Provincial Offence and may be subject to a fine upon conviction.

5. “Why is the fee so high?”

The fees for licences are based upon cost recovery.  The process through which second units are licensed is labor intensive and involves initial and ongoing periodic inspections, processing of applications, maintenance of records related to the second units, and the investigation of complaints related to both licensed and unlicensed second units.

Mississauga landlords is your rental property licensed?

Make sure you follow the laws and make your rental unit safe and legal in 2016.

And make sure you get the services and tools you need to make sure you rent to good tenants in 2016.