December 20, 2013
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?
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.