Bill 184 Has Passed And It Helps Protect Small Landlords
Many small “mom and pop” landlords have faced huge challenges the last four months. This includes our own personal challenges due to the pandemic.
It’s been a very stressful period but there is some good news that will help us run our rental businesses in more efficient manner. It also helps tenants deal with some of the ‘bad apple’ investors out there.
Win-Win For Good Landlords and Good Tenants
It is a Bill to improve the Residential Tenancies Act. This included changes we’ve told the government need to happen to protect small hard-working landlords across Ontario and avoid a mass sell-off!
These are difficult times for everyone. So many people are out of work and many have even been fired from their jobs. We know this and the new changes work to help everyone.
Bill 184 Is Called “The Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act 2020”
Despite the name, this bill makes some positive changes for landlords.
For small landlords the the three most important changes are:
1. No More “Trial By Ambush”
Before this change in the law tenants were able to raise repair issues at eviction hearings without notifying the landlord of any problems first.
They didn’t need proof, they just had to bring up issues to get the Hearing cancelled and a new Hearing set for a later…usually many months later that many tenants still didn’t pay rent!
Many of our members faced unscrupulous and dirty tenant reps. who used what was intended to protect tenants instead to be a trick and legal weapon.
We have small landlords who even said dirty “reps” warned landlords “no house is perfect!” (meaning “I can ambush you to delay evictions!”) as a negotiating tactic to get landlords to pay money for tenants to move or they would use this to delay the eviction by months!
Now that Bill 184 passed, tenants need to give notice in writing of these complaints before a hearing occurs. This will allow good landlords to make the repairs needed.
We have had thousands of reports of the years of tenant representatives bringing up imaginary “problems” with the rental property as a tactic to delay an eviction.
This has now ended and this dirty legal trick has been eliminated.
2. Allows Landlords To Pursue Tenants For Rent and Utilities Arrears Through the LTB, Instead of Small Claims Court
This is helpful because small claims court can take a lot of time to get a court date (up to a year or more) and you have to find your tenants to serve them.
Again, this will mostly help the large REIT corporate landlords who have their own legal teams. But it can help small landlords, especially when it comes to unpaid utilities.
3. Tenants Who Don’t Fulfill Their Payment Plans Get Evicted With No Hearing (which can take months)
When landlords apply to evict tenants for late rent, the tribunal can help mediate “payment plans” between the landlord and the tenant.
That sounds great. Not really. The problem is the mediation happens when the landlord finally gets a Hearing date at the landlord and tenant board.
Even before the corona virus, landlords had to wait months to get a Hearing date because of so many cases and too few LTB “adjudicators” (judges).
Under the new law, landlords and tenants can make their own “payment plans” together without having to wait months for an LTB Hearing.
If tenants are unable to fulfill the repayment agreements, landlords would not necessarily have to go back to the tribunal for an eviction hearing with the tenant.
And tenants who tried to work with their landlord will get special consideration if it does go to a hearing versus tenants who simply refused to pay rent.
What About Helping Good Tenants?
There are changes that won’t impact good landlords but will help tenants deal with ‘bad apple’ investors.
For example, if you want to evict someone for your own use you have to give up your privacy rights and tell the LTB if you have done this before in the past couple years.
Since small landlords only use this option if they have children who need a place, or they sell their own property and move in to their rental to live, it won’t be an issue.
And fines for bad faith actions like”renovictions” have increased.
Most bad faith ‘renovictions” are from corporate landlords not from small landlords.
Good landlords want to cooperate with good tenants!
These new changes just strengthen this relationship by allowing landlords to act fast to deal with tenants who didn’t fulfill their side of the deal.
It also allows tenants more rights to fight against landlords trying to abuse the system.
This is a positive ‘first step’ in balancing the unbalanced pro-bad tenant policies create by the Liberals under McGuinty and Wynne.
New Laws Are Good, But Landlords Still Need More Changes
For example, the ability to charge damage deposits, shorter time frames for evictions for non payment and laws to protect landlords and tenants from those who are violent or abusive.