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.

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

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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.

Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) Fees Are Going Up in 2017

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Ontario Landlords Filing Applications at the LTB Will See Fees Rise in 2017

Experienced Ontario landlords know one of the keys to success in this industry is having strong, mutually respectful relationships with your tenants.

You provide a terrific, safe, fairly priced rental property to your tenants. You are a service-oriented landlord and that means when things need fixing or issues arise, you make it a priority and get things fixed fast. When you fix these issues you cooperate with your tenant to make sure both sides are satisfied with the solution.

Great Tenants

In return your tenants take care of the rental home and pay their rent on time. When they want to move out to buy their own home or move to another area they provide proper notice and allow showings according to the Residential Tenancies Act. When you do the showings the tenants are cooperative and keep the place clean. (Many of our most successful members even have tenants recommend their rentals to new prospective tenants during showings).

It’s a win-win situation and it’s what everyone wants.

In Reality Sometimes Things Go Wrong

It happens.

Let’s face it, the LTB is very busy and this is why it can take such a long time to get a Hearing date.

Some landlords don’t fulfill their responsibilities. Important repairs are neglected and safety issues not taken as seriously as they need to be taken.

Other times your tenants don’t fulfill their end of the deal.

We’ve had landlords write about rent being consistently paid late. Or sometimes they don’t get paid at all by their tenants.  There are even examples of tenants who make big damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

One of the most common complaints our members have discussed recently have been from landlords owning multiplex units. They have to deal with tenants arguing with other tenants in the building and get drawn into it.

Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

When these type of issues happen landlords and tenants can go to the LTB to try to resolve the issues.

We’ve written before about the Landlord and Tenant Board and the longer you are a landlord the greater the chance that at some point you will need to go to a Hearing.

Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) Application Fees Are Increasing January 16, 2017

There are going to be some higher prices for landlords filing applications beginning on January 16, 2017. There are also going to be some increases for a couple of tenant applications.

The LTB wants it to be known that fees are going up around 10% and haven’t been increased since back in 2009. You can see the new 2017 fees versus the older ones here.

Fee Waivers For Those On a Low Income

If you are on a low income you can make a request for a ‘fee waiver’.  The threshold to get this fee waiver has increased and you can find more information here.

Discounts With E-Filing

Four of the most common landlord and tenant applications can be filed through the LTB e-filing system.  These forms make up about eighty percent of the applications filed. 

These applications are:

(a) Form L1 – Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-Payment of Rent and to Collect the Rent the Tenant Owes

(b) Form L2 – Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant

(c) Form T2 – Application about Tenant Rights

(d) Form T6 – Tenant Application about Maintenance

Be aware of the discount if you are e-filing one of these.

Landlords and the Landlord Tenant Board 2017

Successful Ontario landlords know the importance of choosing good tenants and developing a mutually respectful relationship. Just as good landlords appreciate good tenants, good tenants also are looking for professional and knowledgeable landlords.

If you do go to the LTB make sure you are aware of the process and that includes knowing how much the fees are.

Ontario Rent Increase Guideline 2017 Set at 1.5%

Ontario Rent Increase Guideline 2017 is 1.5%

Ontario Landlords Can Raise The Rent By 1.5% in 2017

Experienced and successful landlords know the importance of owning safe, attractive, well-maintained rental properties. With great properties landlords can attract good tenants and are on your way to running a successful rental business.

Maintaining and improving properties can be costly. The prices of contractors, plumbers, electricians and building materials keep rising. Purchasing things to make your tenants happy can also add up. Improvements such as replacing windows and doors to help save heating costs, adding new outside lights to create a more secure environment, and buying the latest energy efficient appliances can be a challenge for small landlords on a tight budget.

How Much Can Landlords Raise the Rent in 2017?

According to the Ministry of Housing, the province of Ontario has set the 2017 rent increase guideline at 1.5%

What is the Rent Increase Guideline?

This is a question many new landlords ask us. The rent increase guideline is the maximum amount of money a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent. If you want to raise it more than the guideline you have to get approved by an adjudicator at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

How is the Rent Increase Guideline Calculated?

It is created with information contained in the Ontario Consumer Price Index.Most of the information is gathered by Statistics Canada which measures inflation.

What Was the Rent Increase Guideline for 2016?

In 2016 Ontario landlords could raise the rent by 2.0%

Are All Ontario Rental Properties Subject to the Rent Increase Guideline?

No, not all. For example you are not covered by it if your rental property is vacant, is social housing, was first occupied after November 1st, 1991 or is a commercial unit.

Ontario Landlords Can Raise the Rent by 1.5% in 2017

Are you going to raise the rent? Remember to follow the Landlord and Tenant Board rules if you are which includes using proper forms and giving proper notice.

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) Has Changed

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Keeping Ontario Landlords Informed: Tenants who are the victims of sexual and domestic violence can now end their tenancy in 28 days 

Successful Ontario landlords know the importance of following the rules and laws for running a successful rental businesses. We also know to follow the rules you need to be aware of them.

Sometimes that can be a challenge. Most small residential Ontario landlords have full-time jobs.  Our members aren’t large corporations with full-time staff and stocks and bonds.

We have members who are nurses, teachers, Toronto fire-fighters, carpenters, plumbers, professional athletes (including some famous ones), lawyers, doctors, electricians, full time Mums and Dads, receptionists, dentists, and investors who don’t even live in Canada (but have invested a lot of money, hired property managers and created terrific rentals.)

With such busy lives it can be hard to keep track of changes that are important for our professional and service-oriented landlords.

This is another way the OLA helps out because we reach a huge audience of small landlords across Ontario and let them know about important changes. For example, we still have Mississauga landlords thanking us for letting them know about the changes to the landlord licensing system in that city.

At first glance the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) can look very complicated and even intimidating. The reality is the RTA is complicated and can be a bit scary for new landlords (and even for some vets).

Over the years we’ve had thousands of small residential landlords from across the province contact us for help and assistance.

This is one of the reasons why the OLA has been asking the government to improve the Residential Tenancies Act to help small landlords and encourage more investment in rental properties in Ontario.

The RTA Has Changed in 2016

There has been a change in the RTA recently.  It’s a change to help victims of sexual and domestic violence be able to escape bad situations.

Many of our landlord members were tenants at one point in our lives. Or they have relatives or friends who rent now.  They recognize this is a positive changes to help tenants in trouble and our membership agrees with helping tenants who are honestly in abusive and  dangerous situations.

Our members want to rent out high quality, legal rental units, to all the good tenants out there and be great landlords. We encourage rule changes, to help good tenants and to help good landlords.

New Notice Allows Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence To End Tenancy in 28 Days

There has been a change is section 47.1 of the Residential Tenancies Act. Tenants who are the victims of sexual or domestic violence can now end their tenancy in just 28 days if they think they or a child living with them might be harmed or even injured if they don’t get out of the rental property.

Tenants in this type of situation can give notice at any time during the duration of their tenants.In order to do this the tenant must give the landlord 2 documents.

(a) Tenants Notice to End Tenancy because of Fear of Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse (Form N15)

Landlords (and all the tenants who read here) can get more information here.

(b) Tenant’s Statement about Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse.

Landlords and tenants can get more information here.

(c) Court Order

Tenants can also give the landlord a copy of the court order. For example, they can give you a copy of a peace bond or a restraining order).

Successful Ontario Landlords Know The Rules and Follow Them

Make sure you are aware and follow the laws and rules for landlords in Ontario. We encourage and welcome changes to help tenants.  We also want to encourage some changes to help all the good landlords in this province.

The OLA is the voice of small residential landlords so if you have any ideas for change to your business and encourage other to invest in rentals in Ontario please let us know and we will present it to the Ministry.

We all have the goal to create rules and procedures that promotes and protects both good tenants and good landlords and improves the residential rental industry in Ontario.

Let’s continue to make positive and important changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for both tenants and small residential landlords.

Tips For Renting To Students from University of Toronto Housing Services

 

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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.