Archive for the ‘Landlord and Tenant News’ Category

Small Landlords Campaign To Make Sure Our Tenants “BEAT THE HEAT”

Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Experienced and successful small Ontario landlords know how important it is to rent to good long term tenants.

How Do You Keep Your Tenants Renting From You?

The key is to have a great property at an affordable price and then take care of your tenants and treat them like the 5 star clients they are.

Our members were shocked reading a story about how some corporate landlords were trying to evict their long term tenants just because they wanted a comfortable living environment and wanted to keep their air conditioners.

This is not how the landlord-tenant relationship should work

Unlike some corporate landlords who want to evict their tenants due to having air conditioners, we want to help our tenants “beat the heat” and be as comfortable in the summer as they are in winter. Many small landlords used to rent and we want to give our tenants what we always wanted.

Our Members are discussing this and already some great advice has popped up. For example:

“I make sure my windows are large and wide and with screens to keep out the mosquitos. My tenants appreciate the wind and breeze and it keeps them comfy and happy.”

“I own a single family home with central air. The tenants pay for their own usage and it’s been a win-win situation for years. Having central air is very attractive to prospective tenants.”

“Having efficient air conditioners in my units has led lots of great applicants wanting to rent from me.  Who wants to rent from a place that is too hot? That would suck!”

“I rented for years before buying my property and know how much I appreciated my landlord supplying an a/c when I couldn’t even afford one. Awesome landlord! I am now that Awesome landlord and making sure my tenants are happy!”

“I make sure my tenants know they can contact me whenever they want if they have any problems. If it’s too hot and the a/c is not working I make it a priority to get it fixed. Who can sleep when the whole world is getting hotter due to climate change!”

Working With Your Tenants Is Essential

By working together on all issues seeking win-win results small landlords can be very successful. While corporate landlords are often rigid, realizing that our tenants are human beings and our five-star clients and working together is the way to make your small “mom and pop” rental properties a success.

Join Our Community And Become A Successful Landlord

Join us in helping tenants “Beat The Heat” as small ‘mom and pop’ landlords in our community continue to lead the way to improve the rental industry for landlord-tenant fair relationships.

Let’s All Go To Tenant School! (It’s Free)

Friday, August 5th, 2022

This is Cassandra from the forums. I’ve submitted this and hope lots of people read it.

Tenants only want to follow the rules and protect our rights under the law.

But what if you are busy working multiple jobs just to pay the rent and put food on the table for your children?

Meanwhile, you landlord is trying to do something you think is wrong but how can you fight back?

There is now a terrific way for Tenants learn more about our rights!

This will be informative and fun and teach you about your rights and how to protect yourself. Good landlords will appreciate you knowing about the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) so both sides are equal partners when it comes to understanding the system.

Here is the information:

Come to our August Tenant School – for free!
Register for the FMTA’s Tenant School program

You can now register for the FMTA’s Tenant School program which provides training to tenants and tenant association leaders about your rights under the law and how you can organize with your neighbours.

Some workshops will be over Zoom and others will be held in person at Christie Pits Park (across from Christie subway stop on the Bloor line).

Here is the schedule of workshops:

On Zoom:

Tuesday, August 9, 7-8:30 pm: Introduction to Landlord-Tenant Law

Wednesday, August 10, 7-8:30 pm: Human Rights and Housing

Thursday, August 11, 7-8:30 pm: City Hall 101

At Christie Pits:

Sunday, August 14, 11:30 am – 4:30 pm:

*Getting Repairs Done

*Community Organizing and Tenant Associations

Read more here: Come to our August Tenant School – for free! – FMTA (torontotenants.org)

 

LTB News To Help You Succeed: Tribunals Ontario Portal – Update

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

TO:                 Landlord and Tenant Board Stakeholders

FROM:           Dawn Sullivan, Acting Associate Chair

                       Lindiwe Bridgewater, Acting Registrar

DATE:            August 3, 2022

RE:                 Tribunals Ontario Portal – Update

We are writing to share an update on the Tribunals Ontario Portal.

New process for receiving documents

Over the past two years, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has made significant progress in modernizing its services at a time where people expect user-friendly and convenient electronic options for interacting with government services.

To that end, we have added a button to the file summary page of the Tribunals Ontario Portal that allows parties to provide consent to receive documents from the LTB via the portal. By default, once a party logs into the portal the button is checked to indicate their consent. A user can uncheck the box if they want to receive communication from the LTB via regular mail. A user can also change their mind at any time about how they want to receive documents from the LTB by logging back into the portal and checking/unchecking the consent button.

If a user never logs on to the portal, they will continue to receive all correspondence from the LTB by regular mail.

Sending all correspondence by email and through the portal has benefits for both the LTB and the parties accessing LTB services. Parties will receive documents faster. The administrative burden is also reduced for LTB staff who track, print and mail out documents. This will allow them to focus on other areas that need attention to improve our service delivery.

We thank you for your continued patience as we actively work to improve our service timelines.

Sincerely,

Dawn Sullivan                                              Lindiwe Bridgewater

Acting Associate Chair                               Acting Registrar

volunteers

Friday, July 29th, 2022

 

 

For the Ontario Landlords Association, the announcement of a 2.5 per cent cap is said to be not enough to maintain rental properties and keep tenants safe.

“Successful small landlords know the importance of win-win relationship with our tenants. We do not want to raise rents in an unfair fashion. However, it’s important for us to have a reasonable rent increase guidelines and 2.5 per cent is too low,” it said.

“We believe the cap should be raised to a more reasonable level when inflation is so high.”

Price Index, a monthly measure of inflation, which suggested 5.3 per cent. But the government said the 2.5 per cent cap — it does not apply to vacant units, community housing, long-term care, commercial properties or rental units occupied after Nov. 15, 2018 — stops tenants from experiencing “significant rent increases.”

Miles Slauson, emergency bed worker with The Hope Centre in Welland, said that number, when broken down into living costs, will have a negative impact on people and families trying to survive as utilities bills, food costs and gas prices continue to rise.

For a one-bedroom apartment in Niagara, at an average price of $1,500 a month, tenants will see rent increase to $1,537.50, said Slauson. Over a year, that’s an additional $450.

For a two-bedroom unit at $1,800 a month, the price can climb to $1,845 a month, an added $540 per year.

“It’s not going to help people that are renting,” said Slauson, noting Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program payments have been unchanged for years.

“We are still looking at many different classes of people being priced out of the rental market. We are looking at the next three to five years of having difficult times for people that are low income and working class.”

 

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens said evictions are at “an all-time high,” and families are struggling to find affordable housing. For the province to impose any rent hike “is the last thing, I think, tenants need at this time.”

“The cost of living right now is unrealistic for an average person, or even an average family,” said Stevens. “It’s getting harder and harder and harder for everyone in the Niagara region, in St. Catharines, to live.”

Reiterating the NDP’s stance, Stevens pushed for a rent stabilization law that would ban unlimited increases in between tenants, as well as rent controls on all homes in Ontario.

She also spoke about the need — as did Slauson — for the return of the basic income pilot project, which temporarily gave a fixed income to people with low or no incomes (the provincial government cancelled the program in 2018). Stevens said that additional money would allow residents to “afford their day-to-day living.”

Because as the cost of living increases, the government assistance programs have remained the same.

“They can’t afford these rent hikes. There’s skyrocketing food, there’s medical costs, we’re probably going to see an increase in local transportation. Everything is going up except the guaranteed income,” said Stevens.

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news/niagara-region/2022/07/06/rent-cap-not-going-to-help-niagara-families.html

 

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/employment-social-support/housing-support/financial-support-for-renters/toronto-rent-bank/

Group takes Landlord and Tenant board to Human Rights Tribunal over ‘digital first’ system

Monday, July 4th, 2022

Legal clinics that support renters have banded together to file human rights complaints against Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board alleging its “digital first” strategy has discriminated against tenants based on age, family status and disability.

For the first time in its history, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario is bringing applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against the LTB and its parent organization, Tribunals Ontario, that call into question the entire method of holding hearings, alleging that “digital first” has created systemic discrimination that puts Ontarians’ human rights last.

“When you do a single system with a service delivery mode that’s digital, there’s a generation of people that didn’t grow up with computers,” said Mairghread Knought, a community legal worker with the Nipissing Community Legal Clinic who has attempted to help people from all over the province who have struggled to have their cases heard in the often chaotic online hearings. “Putting a justice system online where housing is at stake – this isn’t renewing your licence – there’s a customer service aspect really missing here.”

At issue is a decision made in 2020 by Tribunals Ontario and the LTB to no longer hold hearings in person and focus on doing its work online or over the telephone. Officially, in-person hearings remained possible, but examples of it happening were virtually non-existent until recent months. Initially the move was said to be necessitated by pandemic restrictions, but even as other courts have opened up and begun taking in-person hearings, the LTB has signalled its intent to stay “digital first” for good.

ACTO’s lead lawyer on the file said that the Tribunal’s attempts to prioritize speed have not only failed to eliminated massive backlogs and wait times for hearings, but have been detrimental to a large group of tenants.

“No one can deny it works for a lot of people, and for some people it might be better than before,” said Ryan Hardy, staff lawyer at ACTO, referring mainly to landlords seeking evictions. “Clearly if you sacrifice procedural protections, or sacrifice access to duty council, and sacrifice a lot of the rules of evidence, I’ve seen an application for an eviction disposed of in under two minutes.

“If you do that it’s probably more mathematically efficient, but at what cost? How many people got evicted who might not have been evicted under a fairer system?”

Lorraine Peever, 77, is the complainant in one of the first HRTO cases ACTO is bringing. In 2019, she tried to file a tenants application for compensation after her building – a District of Nipissing Housing Services seniors residence in North Bay with 106 apartments – was infested with bed bugs.

“I had to put on extra pants, and tuck the pants inside the socks. My arms were bitten; I put extra-long socks on my arms, a sweater. I had a towel around my neck, a fancy scarf on my head: That’s how I went to bed,” said Ms. Peever. As the bug issues continued to plague the building well into 2020, Ms. Peever grew increasingly irate at the costs borne by her and other tenants. At one point she was told to put everything she wanted to save in three plastic boxes, which meant throwing away almost everything else, including gowns she had for dancing. But on several occasions she was unable to join the new all-digital hearings on her phone.

“The things going on in this building are not right. I was getting fed up. It bothered me really, really bad,” said Ms. Peever, who eventually contacted her local legal clinic for help. “We’re all seniors and nobody wants to talk up or nothing … we’re not all bright and have computers.”

Ms. Knought’s office has fought twice now to get Ms. Peever’s case heard. Ms. Peever is still waiting to find out whether the LTB will hear her application. She missed her most recent hearing after being badly injured in a winter storm, ending up in a rehabilitation hospital with three broken vertebrae.

“No one wants to have to do a human rights complaint,” said Ms. Knought. “It’s sad that no one seems to be listening.” ACTO runs the provincially funded Tenant Duty Counsel program that puts a trained lawyer in every hearing room – once physical, now all digital – to advise tenants who are allowed to represent themselves at the Tribunal but often need guidance on how to do so. Ms. Knought has worked with the legal clinic on and off for two decades and has advised tenants in hundreds of digital hearings since COVID-19 began.

“It was a Band-Aid solution and it hasn’t been done well,” said Ms. Knought. “What we see is individuals who struggle with mute and unmute.”

In Northern Ontario, in-person hearings were rare prepandemic, she said; about twice a month the Tribunal would set up temporary shop in a Best Western hotel, but at least tenants had a chance to be heard. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. … I’ve never worked anywhere where the ability to communicate with a government body has been so bad.”

Even though the LTB has hired more adjudicators in recent months and scheduled more hearings, Ms. Knought said there are more adjournments than ever – and even if there is a hearing, the relative inexperience of many of the new adjudicators means there have been lengthening delays in getting written verdicts.

“The Attorney-General must ensure the LTB’s digital hearings are fast, fair, and easy to use for all, and guarantee an in-person hearing if a tenant or landlord requests one,” said Jessica Bell, NDP MPP and critic on the housing file, who has spoken out for months about service problems at the LTB.

Tribunals Ontario did not respond to a request for comment.

“I’m hoping the government will wake up,” Ms. Peever said. “It’s been dragging on and nothing’s been settled.”