We Turned Our Failing, Depressing Ontario Rental Business Into A Huge Success By Getting A Year Of Rent Up-Front, Along With Pet Deposits and Damage Deposits
It’s Changed Everything For Us…And You Can Do It Too! Learn How!
As part of our “Let’s Improve the Ontario Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the Ontario Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the Ontario rental industry.
I’ve been a small residential landlord with some condos and a small building in Ontario. I decided to share my story to help other landlords out there who might be down in the dumps like we were before.
This is only my story and I’m only sharing it to help the huge Ontario landlord community reading here. I hope those reading learn how we changed our entire rental business from one of misery and lost money into a huge success.
We are so successful now we have bought several more elite condos in the past 18 months.
Over the past four years we have guaranteed our financial future and look forward to not only buying more properties, we want to travel the world and eventually do volunteer work in 3rd world nations.
Why We Became Landlords In Ontario
My partner and I are both employed in the public sector and invested in the rental properties to create equity and help us be safe for our retirement.
With properties prices rising about ten years ago we decided to invest in Ontario rentals. I must admit we didn’t really do a ton of research. We thought it would easy to be landlords as long as we had nice properties and worked hard to be great landlords.
Our Biggest Mistake: We Thought All Tenants Would Be Like Us
We were both renters before and would never even dream of not paying rent or damaging our landlord’s property.
My partner spent years studying in different universities and rented. My partner always left the rental better than when they first rented it!
For me growing up as an immigrant family we didn’t have enough money to buy a house and rented for years. We treated our landlord like a ‘partner.’ We paid the rent and took care of the property and the landlord fixed things when needed, and didn’t bother us.
With our rentals we found out we were wrong.
While we respected our landlords, we found many people didn’t. We had people yell at us “I’m paying the rent and paying your mortgage” and “there’s nothing you can do!” and more.
Our Second Biggest Mistake: We Thought The Rules Would Be Fair
We thought the rules would be fair for both landlords and tenants. No matter if you were a landlord or a tenant, if you followed the rules you would be treated right.
We were wrong again. The Ontario rules are not fair for landlords at all.
Landlord and Tenant Board Is Unfair, Biased, Unprofessional and They Should Be Ashamed
When a renter didn’t pay we took her to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). She had a lease and didn’t pay rent, so the result should be obvious and fast, right?
First of all it took months to even get our LTB court date so that one one month of not paying rent turned in three months.
When we finally got our LTB date we showed up and so did the tenant (who was living rent free).
When it was our turn to plead our case the tenant was not alone. There was some dumpy looking, overweight guy who needed his mustache trimmed with her.
And when it was time for her to speak, he spoke. I didn’t even know who he was!
He and the adjudicator seemed to know each other and were very friendly. This guy, who I later learned was the free legal rep all tenants get, accused me of being a slumlord (gasp!) and the hearing was adjourned because of “all the problems, such as mold, unsafe appliances, etc.”…these were all lies!
The property was excellent…but this dumpy guy managed to delay everything for another two months And more months of no rent.
Being an Ontario Landlord Can Be Stressful and Even Lead To Divorce and Health Problems
We dealt with lots of problematic tenants for years and it was really stressful for us and even led to some serious marital stress and even led me to starting drinking to try to “chill out”. We had so much of our saving invested in our rentals and selling would mean huge losses
My drinking started out as once a week, but it soon became a problem as I needed a few shots every night to put the latest problems out of my head. I got into gin.
My partner was also stressed as Hell and began drinking wine. At first just a glass a night but it soon became a bottle.
Our arguing started to become a regular occurrence
The rules are unfair and allow bad tenants to rip off good landlords. Many non-landlords or new landlords reading will not understand the stress that renting to bad tenants can bring.
We know several couples who have divorced as their marriages simply couldn’t last with losing thousands of dollars, harassment and huge damages.
My Partner & I Were Depressed and Scared…and Everything Changed in 2014!
We were reading the Ontario Landlords Association site and came across an interesting article from the Toronto Star that has really changed our landlord experience.
It’s helped so much that we have had great tenants, no worries about rent, no worries about late payment for years.
This along with our buildings going up in value by 50% has meant we are now millionaires.
If we didn’t have the Ontario Landlords Association and didn’t see what we could do back in 2014 we probably would have sold our rentals and lost out on millions of price appreciation!
As a show of respect and appreciation to the OLA we want to help others in the Ontario landlord community succeed.
The reality is if we had sold four years ago because of bad tenants we would have lost millions of dollars in equity.
The OLA saved us, saved our financial future, saved our retirement and even likely saved our marriage.
Ontario Landlords Are Plagued With Late Rent, No Rent and No Damage Deposits: But Most Don’t Know About This Game-Changer!
I saw this first at the Ontario Landlords Site directing me to an article in the Toronto Star called It was really a game-changer for me. It was about a Toronto Star story that told about some court cases that impacted small landlords like us.
Many Landlords & Property Managers Are Taking Advantage Of Tenants Offer Rent Up Front & Pet Deposits
Many knowledgeable Ontario landlords and property managers are taking advantage of this loophole and collecting a lot of rent up-front. But they don’t really want others landlords to know what they are doing. This is why I don’t want to “hide” my “secrets of success” and want to share it with others.
If Tenants Volunteer to Pay Rent Upfront, Pet Deposits, Damage Deposits You Can Take Them!
The article I saw linked can be found here: “Toronto Star: Ontario Tenants Can Offer Rent Up Front” from April 2014
Here is the “nitty gritty” written by a famous Toronto lawyer and the case law is here:
Alison Corvers agreed to rent a home from Tanveer Bumbia in Mississauga from May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014 for $7,500 per month. Bumbia initially refused Corvers’ rental application because Corvers was from the UK, was here on a visitor’s visa and was hoping to extend her time here by getting a work visa, according to her lawyer. Bumbia was concerned as to whether she would maintain the payments.
Corvers then paid one years’ rent in advance, $90,000, to demonstrate her good faith. Bumbia accepted this. Corvers also paid a security deposit of $7,500 up front to cover potential damages to the unit. The problem is that under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord cannot request more than first and last month’s rent before a tenant moves into the property. The Act also states that anything in a lease that violates the Act is void. As such, after moving in, Corvers brought an application to court to pay the extra months’ rent and the security deposit back to her, as she claimed that this was all demanded by the landlord. In an original decision dated October 7, 2013, Judge Kofi Barnes of the Superior Court of Ontario looked at a text sent by the tenant’s real estate agent to the landlord’s agent that said “Alison will pay 12 month’s rent up front.”
Based on that, he decided that since the tenant offered the money up-front, it was legal. However, since the security deposit was not offered by the tenant, this amount had to be paid back.
The case was appealed and in a decision dated February 12, 2014, Superior Court judge Frank Marrocco agreed with Justice Barnes and explained that while a landlord could not require a tenant to pay more than first and last month’s rent as a condition of the tenancy, if the tenant offered to pay more money in advance and the landlord accepted the payment, then it would be legal. In addition, the court held that interest on the entire prepayment of rent had to be paid by the landlord, in accordance with the rate prescribed under the Act, which was 2.5 per cent in 2013 and .8 per cent in 2014.
Barnes cited a decision in 2009 of Royal Bank v MacPherson in support of this position. In the MacPherson case, the tenant prepaid a year’s rent of $24,000 to the landlord and then the landlord lost the property to the bank after defaulting on his mortgage. The tenant said he did not owe any rent as he had prepaid it for a year. The bank argued that since the payment was illegal, it should not be binding. The court disagreed, and said that the bank must step into the shoes of the landlord and be bound by the prepayment. It would be unfair to penalize the tenant by not recognizing the prepayment.
Here are the lessons to be learned from these cases:
Landlords cannot advertise that they will require more than first and last month’s rent in advance of the tenant moving in. This includes any security deposit.
If the tenant offers to pay extra money up front, make sure that it is clear that the offer is coming from the tenant. This could include a deposit to cover any damages or clean the unit when the tenant wants to bring a pet.
Tenants need to keep a receipt for the payment as proof that the amount was paid, in case it is ever challenged later by anyone.
Here’s How I Am Succeeding…And You Can Too!
First of all you need to have attractive properties. You need properties people want to rent and it’s even better if you several tenants wanting to rent from you.
Second, I inform the applicants that I have other tenants renting my places who have volunteered to offer 6 months or 1 or 2 years of rent upfront, a damage deposit, and a pet deposit (just in case they bring in pets which can cause lots of expensive clean up costs).
I make sure to inform them this is not a requirement to rent from me but others have done this to get the apartments they want. It’s up to them.
Good Tenants Who Want Your Place Will Pay!
The reality is good tenants are reasonable and if they really want the place they will volunteer to pay
1. 3 months to 6 months to 1 year to 2 years to 3 years of rent up front
2. If they have pets they will volunteer to pay a pet deposit
3. Pay a damage deposit voluntarily (which they will get back by simply leaving the rental in decent shape when the move)
My Rental Business Has Changed…And So Has My Life
The past four years have been terrific.
No more lost rent, no more paying thousands to clean cat pee, replace appliances, and fix mold and flooring! You can do it too.
I’m now an OLA member and will be happy to discuss this with fellow members in the Ontario Landlords Private Member forum.
Thank you for reading and wishing you all great success. See you in Hawaii!