Archive for the ‘Landlord and Tenant Board’ Category

Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) which will take effect on September 1, 2021

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Ontario Landlords Association Members have been very, very active making our voices heard since the Covid pandemic hit Ontario.

Whether it’s defending landlords in major media, countering arguments by the NDP and some Tenant activist groups, or being in regular contact with MPPs and the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, we were there.

By defending small landlords in a professional, mature and sophisticated manner that destroyed the negative stereotype of the ‘typical small landlord’ we are starting to see important changes that will help small landlords across Ontario succeed. We did it and the best is yet to come.

Please see some of the changes coming on September 1st, 2021 below.

This is a good start, but we’ve still got a lot more to go!

If you have questions or need help join our Ontario Landlord Advice Forums to network with experienced and successful Ontario landlords.

TO:                 Ontario Landlords Association Stakeholders

FROM:          Karen Restoule, Associate Chair, Lynn Dicaire, Registrar

RE:                 September 1 Amendments to the RTA – What to Expect

In response to amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) which will take effect on September 1, 2021, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) consulted on changes and additions to its forms and instructions, interpretation guidelines and Rules of Procedure.

Consultations were open from January 19 to February 5, 2021. During the consultation period, the LTB received 24 written responses from landlord organizations, tenant organizations, legal representatives and individuals.

We read and carefully considered all the submissions. The feedback we received has helped us to make changes that better meet the needs of tenants, landlords and their representatives. We have captured those changes in a “What We Heard” document, now posted to the Consultations page of the Tribunals Ontario website.

We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the changes to expect on September 1, 2021. The backgrounder September 1, 2021 Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, provides an overview of those changes.

Here at the LTB, we are preparing to post new and revised materials stemming from the amendments:

New materials:

  • Form L10: Application to Collect Money a Former Tenant Owes and Instructions
  • Brochure: Collecting Money a Formal Tenant Owes
  • Certificate of Service, Post-Tenancy
  • Request to Use Alternative Service Form
  • Brochure: How to Serve a Landlord or Tenant with Documents

Revised materials:

  • Rules 3,4,5
  • Guideline 11: Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
  • Guideline 12: Eviction for Personal Use, Demolition, Repairs and Conversion
  • Form L2: Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant and Form Instructions
  • Form T5: Landlord Gave a Notice of Termination in Bad Faith and Form Instructions

The LTB will accept the current versions of the L2 and T5 forms until September 30, 2021. Beginning October 1, only the new versions of the forms will be accepted.

We will be back in touch on Wednesday, September 1 to provide links to these new materials.

The LTB would like to thank everyone who provided comments and suggestions during our consultation process. While we may not have addressed all concerns or implemented all suggestions that have been submitted, we remain committed to providing fair, effective and timely dispute resolution services to the people of Ontario.

Sincerely,

Karen Restoule                    Lynn Dicaire

Associate Chair                    Registrar

How To Speed Up Getting Your Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB) Hearing

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Covid hit the province of Ontario hard. This led to the closings of courts and tribunals in 2020 leading to a huge backlog in cases.

While the LTB has made some important changes to help landlords in the past year, we are still faced with these long delays in getting an LTB Hearing. Many small landlords have gone for months not receiving any rent while their non-paying tenants remain in the property.

Small landlords need quicker access to justice. Fortunately the LTB has listened to our members comments and has created a way for small landlords to shorten the time to get a Hearing.

Join our expert discussion on this and other important topics in our landlord forums.

 

TO:                 Ontario Landlord Association Stakeholders

FROM:           Karen Restoule, Associate Chair, Lynn Dicaire, Registrar

RE:                 New Guideline and Updated Form

As discussed during our stakeholder meetings over the past months, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) created Interpretation Guideline 22 regarding Covid-19 Issues, and updated its Request to Extend or Shorten Time form and accompanying instructions.

Interpretation Guideline 22 – Covid-19 Issues

This is a temporary Guideline that addresses issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be revoked on a date to be determined by the LTB.

Interpretation Guidelines are intended to assist parties in understanding the LTB’s usual interpretation of the law, to provide guidance to members and promote consistency in decision-making. However, a member is not required to follow a Guideline and may make a different decision depending on the facts of the case.

Interpretation Guideline 22, and all LTB guidelines, can be found on our Rules, Practice Direction, Guidelines webpage.

Request to Shorten Time 

The LTB’s Request to Extend or Shorten Time form and accompanying instructions have been updated to make clearer the criteria adjudicators consider when deciding these requests.

The Request to Extend or Shorten Time form and instructions can be found on our Forms webpage.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with the LTB. These changes are a result of the many discussions that we have had with stakeholders about improving the user experience for LTB parties.

Karen Restoule                    Lynn Dicaire

Associate Chair                    Registrar

The Landlord and Tenant Board Listened To The OLA To Help & Protect Good Landlords and Tenants

Friday, June 11th, 2021

The LTB Has Changed The Law To Ensure Fair LTB Hearings

Over recent months some individuals and some organized groups have attempted to disrupt Landlord and Tenant Board Hearings in an obtrusive manner.

This included recording Hearings, posting recordings online and harassing landlords and adjudicators.

Many small Ontario landlords who have had a Hearing have commented that these disruptions severely interfered with integrity and fairness of the LTB proceedings.

As important stake-holders we reached out to the LTB with a fair and strong message, as we have done for over a decade.

Our recommended changes have now been made into law!

It’s important to note that this amendment does not restrict or change the ability of members of the public to observe hearings. So it’s fair.

Observers are not permitted to disrupt the hearing in any way, and the LTB has the authority to issue directions or orders necessary to control the hearing process.

The OLA is happy our advice have been made into law and actions have been taken to protect both good landlords and good tenants.

It’s also stopped bad people from both sides from obstructing justice.

 

DATE:            June 8, 2021

TO:                 Ontario Landlord Association Stakeholders

FROM:           Karen Restoule, Associate Chair and Lynn Dicaire, Registrar

RE:                 SPPA Amendments

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is committed to delivering administrative justice in a manner that is transparent, fair, independent, and accessible in accordance with the open court principle.

As you may know, there have been incidents of individuals and some organized groups recording LTB hearings without permission and posting the recordings on social media.

Effective June 3, 2021, a new section 29 has been added to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act making it an offence to record or publish a tribunal hearing unless an exception applies. Exceptions include unobtrusive recordings made by a party, representative or member of the media if authorized by the tribunal. The amendment was included in the Ontario government’s Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, 2021.

This provision is similar to restrictions on recording court proceedings contained in the Courts of Justice Act. This amendment will help Tribunals Ontario ensure the integrity and fairness of its proceedings.

It’s important to note that this amendment does not restrict or change the ability of members of the public to observe hearings. LTB hearings are open to the public, unless an LTB adjudicator has determined that a specific hearing should be closed to the public in accordance with the LTB Rules of Procedure.  Observers are not permitted to disrupt the hearing in any way, and the LTB has the authority to issue directions or orders necessary to control the hearing process.

Sincerely,

Karen Restoule                    Lynn Dicaire

Associate Chair                    Registrar

CREDIT CHECKS FOR ONLY $9.95 (SCORES/NO ANNUAL FEE) FROM THE LEADING BACKGROUND CHECK PROVIDER IN CANADA: TRITON!

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Join the Ontario Landlords Association for a One-Time Registration Fee. Get Credit Checks for Only $9.95/Check With The Leading Background Screening Company in Canada

It used to be you could rely on a handshake or a good chat with your potential tenant and decide to rent to them. The harsh reality is those days are over.

It’s essential every small landlord runs a credit check to make sure they know who they are renting to.

It’s now also essential landlords understand the need to use the most professional companies to run these checks and avoid scams.

You Can Stand Out To Great Tenants As A Professional Win-Win Oriented Landlord By Using Services From the Leading Background Check Provider In Canada

Recently there have been a lot of shady small start-up companies that are offering “services” for small landlords.

These companies have upset good tenants because of things like secretly adding them to illegal “bad tenant lists”, allowing defamatory comments on their sites and even not even requiring tenants to consent for their information being used.

There are already investigations, disputes, and lawsuits starting and lots of negative media and reports.

It’s a ticking time-bomb that you need to avoid.

Let’s face it- the best tenants are going to avoid landlords who use shady services and want to rent from landlords who use the best!.

If you were a great tenant you would want a landlord who runs credit checks with the leading background check company in Canada (With Your Privacy Protected)!

You and your rental property will stand out when you partner with TRITON to find great tenants. Using TRITON means you are a pro and tenants love it.

1. TRITON CREDIT CHECKS HELP LANDLORDS

TRITON credit checks provide all the information a landlord needs and more more. You get scores, employment info., addresses, bankruptcy info and more…everything you need to choose whether to rent to someone or not.

2. TENANTS CAN TRUST TRITON (Unlike shady start ups)

Tenants can trust TRITON! In carrying out its business, Triton gathers personal information about individuals from individual clients or from employer clients. Triton is committed to excellence in protecting the privacy of personal information. Triton continually reviews and updates its procedures to protect the privacy of individuals.

TRITON provides information to landlords, but also doesn’t defame or ‘play games’ with tenants who agree to run a credit check.

TRITON has clear rules for accountability, the purpose of the credit check, requiring tenants consent, limiting the information sent to only what is needed, limiting use, disclosure and retention of personal data, accuracy of data, safeguards, openness,  individual access, and a clear complaints process if tenants think their data has been misused.

Tenants can trust landlords who use TRITON for their background checks.

3. TRITON IS THE CANADIAN LEADER IN FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS HIRED BY TOP CANADIAN COMPANIES.

Let your potential tenants know you are a professional landlords who avoids shady start up companies and your partner TRITON is the leading background check company in Canada!

-TRITON has been running checks in Canada for over 50 years.

-The company runs criminal checks with the RCMP

-TRITON credit checks are based on real data from Transunion that you can trust not phony “AI” and defamatory comments.

-TRITON is the leading background check company in Canada and also provides checks for:

The Ontario government

The Canadian Olympic Committee

Bell Canada

McDonald’s Canada

Uber

Take Control Of Your Rental Business and Succeed!

Tenants respect landlords who are professional and use the best services. They feel confident in you and will rent from you over other landlords who are not as professional.

Become an OLA member and the savings is incredible when you run a premium TRITON credit check on your potential tenants.

Non-Member Price: $24.95 per check (+$75.00 Set Up Fee)

OLA Members Price: $9.95 per check (No Set Up Fee)

Join the Ontario Landlords Association for a One-Time Registration Fee. Get Credit Checks for Only $9.95/Check With The Leading Background Screening Company in Canada!

Click Here To Join The OLA As We Work For Professionalism and Win-Win Outcomes Between Landlords and Tenants: Find Great Tenants

‘Free benefit’ or blacklisted? Hamilton tenants and landlords clash over private information

Monday, March 29th, 2021

‘Free benefit’ or blacklisted? Hamilton tenants and landlords clash over private information

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Seven tenants of a Hamilton apartment building say their personal information — including their names and rent payment histories — was taken by their landlord and submitted to a company without their consent.

The landlord, Live Well Property Management Ltd., entered the information into a database run by the Landlord Credit Bureau (LCB), a newly-licensed consumer reporting agency that boasts over 30,000 landlord and tenant users across North America.

The LCB tracks tenants’ payment habits and then transfers that data to Equifax, a multinational credit reporting agency which — through the information provided by the LCB — can either boost or lower a tenant’s credit score based on how promptly they pay their rent.

While some residents say their privacy has been breached, others worry about the consequences.

Dave Pace-Bonello and his partner Joey Nicole and their son Julian. They have lived at the building -- 94 East Ave. S. -- for 20 years.

The LCB database keeps a list of individual tenant records which — besides a name, email, address and rent history, among other pieces of data — contains reviews written by landlords detailing their experiences with a given tenant.

“If we paid our rent late because our paycheque didn’t land on the first of the month, what would that do to our credit?” asked Dave Pace-Bonello, who has lived in three-storey building at 94 East Ave. S. for the past two decades.

“If our landlord writes a bad review about us just because he doesn’t like us, and another landlord sees that, what does that do to our chances of finding another home?”

The residents at 94 East were informed they had been registered to the service through emails sent to them by the LCB within the past year.

The emails framed the bureau as a “free benefit” for tenants and an opportunity for them to get “an advantage over other applicants” on future lease applications.

Residents who are late with rent, leave without proper notice or cause damages “will likely find it more difficult to obtain tenancy and credit in the future as this information is shared with other landlords and credit bureaus,” the emails say.

Zachary Killam, president and CEO of the LCB, told The Spectator consent is not always required to collect a tenant’s data.

He said the company’s standing as a consumer reporting agency gives it the lawful right to gather information without consent insofar as a debt is owed or an agreement has been breached.

Ann Cavoukian, a former Ontario privacy commissioner, called the collection of information without consent an “appalling” practice.

While she sympathizes with landlords who want a resource to recoup late rent payments, she said such a resource can’t be created at the expense of tenants who are unaware their personal information is being shared.

“Everything has to be totally upfront with people understanding what they’re getting into,” said Cavoukian.

According to the LCB’s privacy policy, it can collect all sorts of data about tenants in addition to outstanding rent and landlord reviews, including IP addresses, passport and driver’s licence numbers, social insurance and security numbers, marital status and job history.

Killam said the LCB “does not currently collect all of those,” but did not specify what information is collected or how.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has launched an investigation into alleged privacy breaches committed by the LCB.

Spokesperson Vito Pilieci couldn’t comment on the status of the probe, but said federal legislation typically requires “meaningful consent” for the collection, use or disclosure of information.

Dave Pace-Bonello, his partner Joey Nicol and their son Julian in their apartment at 94 East Ave. S., where the family has lived for two decades. Pace-Bonello warned neighbours private information was taken by their landlord and submitted to a consumer reporting agency without their consent.

‘You have no reason to be worried’

Pace-Bonello and his longtime partner, Joey Nicol, asked Live Well management several times to remove their information off the LCB.

All but one request went unheeded.

In one email exchange dated March 24, 2020, Nicol asked her landlord, Matt Christie, why the couple’s information was taken without consent and to remove it from the LCB database.

“You have no reason to be worried,” replied Christie, who is listed as a director of Live Well in corporate records. “(You) always pay your rent on time and when you log in to LCB you will see that’s what has been recorded for you.”

A back-and-forth ensued.

“Consent is not required,” wrote Christie in a May 1 text to Pace-Bonello after Pace-Bonello again said he did not consent to the couple’s information being taken.

“I sent your request to the landlord. I’ll let you know the response once I have it,” he added.

“… and consent is 100 per cent not required.”

An excerpt of a text exchange between 94 East Ave. S. tenant Dave Pace-Bonello and his landlord, Matt Christie, who is a director of Live Well Property Management Ltd. Christie refuses to take Pace-Bonello's tenant information off the LCB database and says consent was not required to collect it.

By July 9, Christie agreed to remove the couple’s record from the LCB database, which included their names, move-in dates, email addresses, rent amount and address. He told them in an email that if rent ever went unpaid in the future, Live Well might reopen their record.

The ordeal left the couple deflated.

“It made me not trust our landlord anymore,” said Nicol of Christie. “I didn’t understand why he was so invested in the LCB but not in us, his tenants. He knew our concerns and he still didn’t address them, and he made me feel combative for sticking up for our family.”

Another tenant at 94 East, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution from Live Well, said she also struggled to remove her information off the LCB.

In one email with Marv Steier, a co-founder of the LCB who is no longer with the company, the tenant asked why she had to provide her SIN if the LCB reports to her credit agency.

“Your landlord is reporting your rent payments for your benefit,” wrote Steier in the email in late April 2020.

“I don’t want this ‘free benefit,’” the tenant replied. “My credit score has been over 800 for years, how would this benefit me?”

The tenant told The Spectator she didn’t consent to have her information collected and asked both the LCB and Live Well to have it removed. She said she never got a clear answer as to whether her record was deleted.

The Spectator posed several questions to Christie concerning the allegations that Live Well took tenants’ information without consent.

He responded with a statement about Pace-Bonello and Nicol.

“We’ve worked hard and considerably improved the standard of the building they live in and assisted them as needed, yet been subject to ongoing derogatory, rude and bullying behaviour from them towards our team,” Christie said via email.

Is the LCB impartial?

Ontario’s Consumer Reporting Act states if a credit agency collects negative or unfavourable information about an individual, there must be some form of effort on the part of the agency to corroborate that information.

The LCB said it does not accept anonymous information on its database and users’ identifications are verified prior to posts. They added landlord and tenant reviews are vetted by staff to ensure foul language and personal attacks are omitted.

“We do not allow false or vindictive reporting,” said Killam, the CEO, who noted consent from tenants is also required before a future landlord can look at their records.

However, it’s difficult to differentiate unfavourable information from fact if that information is subjective, argued Benjamin Reis, a housing lawyer with Downtown Legal Services at the University of Toronto.

“Information put into a consumer report must be based on the best available evidence,” said Reis. “Asking, ‘Tell me what you think about this tenant?’ is not what I think would be best evidence.

“What if we found out that the reason a landlord said, ‘Yes, I have a problem with this person,’ is because the landlord has a problem with people of colour? That’s quite possible.”

Killam said users are contractually bound to be non-discriminatory on the LCB platform. He also said tenants can access their own records and dispute them.

But a section of the LCB’s tenant record form — where landlords are asked six ‘yes or no’ questions about a person’s tenancy — puts that claim of impartial access under scrutiny.

A screenshot of a tenant's record form on the LCB database that is shared with landlord but not tenants.

“This information is NOT SHARED with the tenants but is shared with other landlords who search this tenant,” reads a disclaimer atop the questions, which range from whether the tenant paid rent late or were tried at court for breaching a lease agreement, to property damages or noise complaints.

Reis argued a company can’t claim to be impartial if it allows access to information to one set of users but not the other.

“This idea of a secret list where tenants don’t know if they’re on it, don’t know what was said about them or by who, that’s what most people think about when they think about a blacklist,” said Reis, adding “yes or no” questions also point to the LCB’s lack of due diligence.

“Instead of asking ‘yes or no’ whether the tenant was taken to court, why not include a copy of the decision so people get the facts?”

Douglas Kwan, director of advocacy and legal services of Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, echoed similar remarks about the LCB allowing landlord reviews.

“If you’re solely interested in a tenant’s ability to pay the rent, which is what their website says, what is the purpose of these reviews?” asked Kwan. “A landlord can make lots of comments that really have no place or doesn’t speak to whether a tenant can pay their rent.”

Both Reis and Kwan took issue with what they consider to be a conflict of interest in the LCB’s leadership.

According to corporate records obtained by The Spectator, Killam is one two directors at Live Well Property Management Ltd., which owns several properties in Hamilton and the GTA.

Killam said he hasn’t been actively involved with Live Well since 2018.

“There has never been a conflict of interest,” he said. “LCB is impartial and judicious in its operations and services.”

Reis argued the connection raises questions about neutrality, particularly with respect to consumer reporting agencies.

“Credit agencies like Equifax and TransUnion are institutions people are supposed to trust. But what if they were owned by someone who is also a director at a credit card company?” Reis asked.

“If Bell or Rogers claimed I owed a bill that I didn’t actually owe, I would expect that Equifax not be owned by Bell or Rogers.”

The LCB sues critical tenants

Killam and the LCB sued Pace-Bonello and Nicol for defamation and copyright infringement on Jan. 14.

According to a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia — a province where the LCB is listed under a different name than the corporation number registered in Ontario — the couple “sought to damage the business and reputation of the LCB and their directors” by creating a website that contains information about the agency.

The website is alleged to have accused the LCB of unlawful and unethical conduct, the claim states, and infringed the trademark and copyright of the LCB.

The agency is seeking a permanent injunction restraining the couple from ever writing or publishing information about the LCB that it believes to be defamatory.

Pace-Bonello, who plans to defend himself at the hearing, said he created the website in June after months of haggling with Live Well to remove his information from the LCB.

It was intended to be a resource for tenants at 94 East who received the same unprompted LCB registration email as the couple did.

“We thought about how many of our neighbours also received that email and had no clue what was going on,” he said.

Dave Pace-Bonello, his partner Joey Nicol and their son Julian. The family has lived at 94 East Ave. S. for 20 years.

The website contains detailed information about the LCB, its terms of service, and what rights tenants have related to consent. There is a disclaimer at the end of each post noting the website is not legal advice and for “community educational” purposes.

It received plenty of traction from neighbours, Pace-Bonello said.

One tenant at 94 East, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution from Live Well, said the site helped give context to that initial email from the LCB.

“If it weren’t for Dave and Joey, we wouldn’t know what (the LCB) was or why we should care or what our rights were,” said the tenant, who has lived in the building for three decades.

Pace-Bonello said he can understand why the LCB isn’t happy with the website — but he can’t understand why they are trying to silence him.

“They’re entitled to respond, absolutely. But to respond in a way that no further conversation can ever happen again, that doesn’t make any sense to me as a Canadian,” he said.

“When you see that someone wants to go to that length with you, rather than answer some of these questions and address these concerns in public, it’s shocking and it’s scary. It’s like the whole bottom falls out.”

For further reading click on Landlord Credit Bureau Facts.