We Need Changes To the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board to Protect Our Rental Properties From Marijuana Smoking and Plant Growing
Ontario residential landlords continue to face a lot of challenges. For years we have dealt with unfair rules that are biased against landlords and can cause us to face many sleepless nights. It can also lead us to lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Now we have a new challenge in 2018. It’s so important that one experienced and successful Ontario landlord said it is “one of the biggest issues for landlords in 20 years.”
Laws Are Already Unfair For Ontario Landlords
The rules are already out of whack for landlords across Ontario. For example, we can’t charge a damage deposit and as this Ottawa landlord found out it can lead to renters who move out leaving big, expensive damages behind.
Also, since 2017 just about every residential rental property is covered by rent control. Not only are we all covered, but the legal rent increase guideline was ‘capped’ at 2.5% for landlords no matter what the rate of inflation is.
An OLA member wrote on the Ontario Landlords Forum inflation is very high but landlords are stuck at a maximum rent increase of 2.5% no matter what. If it wasn’t for OLA lobbying the amount would have been even lower! And those who have tried to go for above the guideline rent increases know how difficult that is as most applications are rejected. You can’t even do it for the rising cost of utilities.
This is only a small sample of the issues we face as the previous Ontario government seemed to be trying to get ‘tenant votes’ instead of fixing the rental industry to help both good landlords and good Ontario tenants. But it didn’t work in the last election as good tenants are aware landlords need some power oversee their units (and protect tenants who ask for help).
Ontario Tenants Can Soon Smoke Weed and Grow Plants In Our Rental Properties
On top of everything else will soon have to deal with the issue of legal marijuana. While other provinces have made important changes to protect landlords this hasn’t happened in our province.
For example, did you know:
1. Tenants Without “No Smoking Clauses” Will Be Able to Smoke Marijuana
That’s right. They will be able to light up in your rental unit causing smells and other damages. Just imagine how this will negatively impact your rental business.
2. Tenants Will Be Able To Grow Marijuana Plants in Your Rental Property
Tenants will also be able to grow up to four plants in the rental unit. This will lead to mold, extra power usages and potential nightmares for landlords. As one OLA member wrote in the Ontario landlord forum: “tenants can say four plants but it could be a lot more as they have all the heating, lighting and other infrastructure set up! This will be a disaster!”
Even Good Tenants Might Cause Big Problems (And Think They Aren’t Doing Anything Wrong)
Imagine a long term tenant decides to smoke some weed. Even good tenants will tell their landlord “I’m just following the rules”. Meanwhile, their smoking can bother other tenants in the unit and damage the property.
And they can grow plants leading to dangerous humidity and extra power usage. Your tenant can say “what’s the problem, I’m growing some marijuana plants in the apartment and it’s legal.”
Why Do Ontario Landlords and Tenants Have These Ridiculous Laws?
The current rules regarding marijuana smoking in rental properties were provided by the now defeated Liberal government. So do not blame the PC government.
The Liberals who held power the past 15years constantly took the “tenants side of things” and often disregarded the serious concerns of small residential landlords and investors. They were nonchalant when we made it clear their policies not only hurt good landlords and good tenants it stopped many really good people from investing in Ontario rental properties.
Some members wrote the previous regime not only wanted tenant votes but they seemed to “disrespect” hard working small landlords. Furthermore, they refused to distinguish the important difference between small landlords and huge corporate landlords.
How can you compare a small time investor with a condo or renting their basement with big corporate landlords with scales of efficiency, millions of dollars in the bank, and their own legal teams?
If it wasn’t for the hard work of Ontario Landlords Association members the rules for landlords would have been even worse than they are now!
We Need New Rules To Protect Ontario Landlords From Legal Marijuana
We need urgent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. We wrote about marijuana before and received thousands of emails. Our members have a lot of great ideas of what is needed to protect landlords, encourage investors, and protect tenants.
It’s important that we get new laws and rules that are based on the experiences of real landlords who have ‘skin in game’ by investing their money and time in being landlords in Ontario.
These ideas include:
1. Blanket Bans On Smoking and Growing Marijuana in Rentals
Some of our members want new laws to prohibit smoking of any kind in rental properties. Growing marijuana plants would also be 100% prohibited.
2. No Smoking Clauses Be Put In The Leases Of All Existing Tenants
Currently current tenants without “no weed” clauses can smoke and grow plants. Some of our members want all current tenants be required to sign a new lease stating they are not allowed to smoke week or grow plants. Or even better, automatically all existing leases will have legal “no smoking clauses.”
3. Super Fast Evictions For Weed Smoking/Growing
Many landlords wrote that we need a new way to quickly evict a tenant who is smoking weed and/or growing plants.
Expert, veteran OLA members say an attempted eviction for even smoking cigarettes can take months (while the tenant still smokes during the long delay) and the eviction will even often fail. We need a fast and efficient way to evict people who break the rules.
This would require a new form where if you are smoking the landlord could apply for a quick eviction after 24 or 48 hours if the tenants don’t change their behavior. Let’s call it the W1 (Weed 1)…or even better the OLA-24 for 24 hour notice to stop smoking marijuana or automatically be evicted with no right to make up excuses!
4. A Legal Damage Deposit To Protect Us From Potential Damages.
It can cost over $5000 to get a rental professionally cleaned to get rid of the smell of marijuana . When a tenant wants to move we have to find a new tenant. And many new tenants will simply not rent a place that reeks of weed. There can also be mold and other damages from tenants growing plants.
OLA Action Led To A Historic Vote For A Legal Damage Deposit in 2011
Many people are unaware that in 2011 the OLA educated the PC party and the OLA got a damage deposit bill to a vote in the Ontario parliament. This was historic! (And the corporate landlords were no where to be found).
However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against it.
One NDP member told the OLA “there are lots of cheap apartments in Toronto so your arguments don’t make sense.”
Okay, how is the vacancy rate in Toronto now? Are the rents still “cheap?” We warned the Ontario government that if they didn’t make changes the vacancy rate would drop and rents would sky-rocket…and this was in 2011!
5. These Are Just Some Of The Ideas From Small Landlords Who Have “Skin in the Game” & Are Worried
There are many other ideas from not only long term landlords, but people from around the world who have come to Ontario and invested here. We all want to make Ontario “open for business” and that means protecting landlords, tenants and investors.
We Need Changes To Protect Ontario Landlords From Legal Marijuana Smoking & Growing
Marijuana Will Be Legal On October 17th, 2018. Tenants are renting and should not have the same rights as if they owned the property themselves. Tenants are paying to use a property owned by someone else and the owner has to protect their investment.
Property owners need rights too. If we don’t who will buy rental properties in Ontario?
This is not about landlords “wanting power to control tenants”. Many OLA members used to rent. We were great tenants and many of us dealt with great landlords (and some not so great) ourselves. This is about about protecting our rental investments and protecting other tenants. While other provinces are acting to protect landlords, Ontario has yet to act.
This is a key issue which will have dramatic consequences if the rules are not changed to protect landlords. Investment will drop and many current landlords will simply sell and leave the industry.
Let’s Take Action To Protect Ontario Landlords To Improve the Ontario Rental Industry!