Posts Tagged ‘Ontario landlord advocacy’

Ontario Landlords Can Now Access Landlord & Tenant Board Information Via F.O.I. Requests!

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Since May 1, 2019 The Rules For Accessing Information Have Changed. This Can Help Landlords Avoid “Tenants From Hell”

I’m a long-time landlord.  I bought my first rental in the late 1990s.  After some major (and expensive) mistakes I put a huge amount of my energy on screening my tenants.

I found that one of the keys to success as a landlord is to make sure you rent to good tenants and avoid the “game players” who abuse the system to rip off landlords. Sadly, there are a lot of “game players” out there.

As a long time Ontario Landlords Association member I learned a lot of great tips and tricks on weeding out “Tenants From Hell”. 

Tenant Screening Only Goes So Far In Ontario

The problem I kept facing is that in Ontario is was impossible to thoroughly screen potential tenants.  This meant that every person I rented to was a huge potential risk for me and my family. 

And what a risk renting to a bad tenant is!

In Ontario is is almost impossible to evict crafty tenants.  The process takes months/years and even if you get them out they can destroy your rental property and you can lose thousands of dollars. Even an Ontario superior court judge says the rules for landlords are unfair and ridiculous.

The problem is we had no access to Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) cases. So we were blind to whether or not a potential tenant had a history of issues with the LTB.

When I joined the OLA in 2009 I found I wasn’t the only one who wanted this changed.

Thousands of other landlords also wanted access and for years the the Ontario Landlords Association has worked relentlessly contacting MPPs (and the current Premier) to make changes.

Why is this access important?

1) Credit Checks Do Not Tell The Whole Story

The truth is credit checks don’t really tell you who will be a good tenant. High credit scores can be people who simply pay their Rogers or Telus bills every month.

A credit score has nothing to do with rent and is basically useless!

Since non-payment of rent can’t be reported, that “super applicant” with a high credit score might have ripped off their last 10 landlords!

2) Landlord References Are Often Dishonest

In the beginning I relied on the honesty of other landlords. But I quickly found out that the most glowing references were often from landlords who wanted to get their tenants to move out because they were trouble makers!

Some landlords who didn’t give references but the tenants wrote them down in their application were also bad. 

I called them for a reference and when the landlord found out their tenants were looking to move they offered their good tenants rent discounts and other goodies to keep them!

3) So-Called “A.I” Is Nothing But Shameful and Shady Marketing

Just like ‘blockchains’, A.I. or ‘artificial intelligence’ is a fad these days. But it is a gimmick and just shady marketing.

How can you get a “pet risk score” by asking a tenant applicant to send in a picture of their dog?  And they say “the cuter the picture, the higher the score”.  It’s a bad joke and in my opinion it’s fraud that hurts both landlords and good tenants.

No wonder their are lots of Privacy Commission investigations going on as tenants rightfully complain.

4) Employment References Are Limited

Someone can be a great employee and a bad tenant. Sure, it’s important to find out someone works to pay the rent, but that’s where it ends.

5) Criminal Checks Only Check Tell One Story

These are really helpful but they only screen out criminals and in Ontario not paying rent or damaging property is not a criminal offense (it’s common and accepted!)

6) Face To Face Interviews Are Risky

Ask the landlords who rented to Nina WillisShe had a great story and a charming personality…then made her landlords lives a living nightmare.

Landlords Can Now Access Landlord and Tenant Board Records!

Fellow Ontario Landlords Association Members…We Did It! 

Years of lobbying and explaining and supporting court challenges as why this needed to be done, thousands of phone calls, zillions of face to face meetings…and OLA members see the fruits of our labour!

Beginning on May 1st, 2019 Ontario tribunals are now more transparent, including the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

You can read the new rules here.

What Does This Mean For Small Landlords?

It means the LTB can no longer hide from landlords making a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to see if a potential tenant has been before the LTB before. 

We can check out tenant evictions and make sure our applicants aren’t “predatory Tenants from Hell!

50 “Hits” Showing This Potential Tenant Was A Serial Bad Tenant Who Ripped Off Lots Of Landlords

 Can you imagine renting to some who:

-Has Great Credit

-Has References From A Bunch Of Former Landlords

-Has A Good Job

-Has A High “A.I.” Score Because Their Dog Is Cute And They Are Cool On Facebook

-Has No Criminal Record

Sounds like an ideal tenant right?

Wrong.

This tenant applicant has been to the LTB 50 times! And many of those times was due to not paying rent.

Run A F.O.I (Freedom of Information) To Find Out About Your Potential Tenant

This is the gold standard for landlords to really do proper tenant screening!

Ontario Landlords Association Keeps The Pressure On To Help Good Landlords and Good Tenants!

We are landlords just like you. And we defend the rights of good tenants who don’t like to be smeared due to a group that wants to rip off landlords who they view has weak and vulnerable.

So we keep fighting and getting our message out to help both good landlords and good tenants.

We kept the pressure on for years about transparency at the LTB and now we finally got it. 

This is a great start, and we are not finished. Now we need a damage deposit and more. 

How Can I Do An F.O.I. Request To See My Potential Tenants LTB Records?

Join us in the Ontario landlord forum because this is a hot topic and we want every landlord to make sure you do it to protect yourself, your family and your rental property!

Landlords in Ontario – The Rent Increase Guideline For 2018 is 1.8%

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Ontario Landlords Association Membership Rent Increase Guideline for 2018

Our Province Wide Landlord Community Believes the Rent Increase is Too Low and We Need A Better Way to Calculate the Rent Increase Guideline To Help Small Landlords Cover Costs

Every year the Ministry of Housing publishes the Rent Increase Guideline.

Ontario has ‘rent control’ and this guideline informs residential landlords how much they can raise the rent in a given year.

The Ministry comes up with this annual guideline by looking at the Consumer Price Index. This index shows the level of inflation based on prices of such things as groceries and the cost of buying clothes.

How Much Can Ontario Landlords Raise the Rent in 2018?

Based on the Consumer Price Index the Ministry of Housing announced Ontario landlords can raise the rent by a maximum of 1.8% in 2018.

This maximum cap applies if you are going to raise the rent from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

How Does The Compare To Previous Years?

Ontario landlords can raise the rent up to 1.5% in 2017.

What If You Need To Raise The Rent At a Higher Rate To Cover Costs?

To do this you will have to go through the Landlord and Tenant Board process.

Many OLA members in the Ontario Landlords Association forum have shared their experiences regarding this process.

While some have succeeded, the consensus is that it is a complicated process and policies don’t have a true understanding of the real life financial challenges small residential landlords face.

What If You Face Higher Utility Costs?

Furthermore, with new rules for Ontario landlords coming this year you cannot apply to raise rents beyond the guideline for skyrocketing utility costs. This is one of the reasons more and more small landlords are not renting out inclusive of utilities.

Aren’t Newer Properties Exempt from Rent Control?

A lot of recent rental stock in Ontario has been created by small landlords investing in newer property such as condos. A common question these days in the Ontario Landlords Association forums is about rent control for new rental properties.

For example an Ottawa landlord wrote: “My rental property was built after 1991. Does this mean I don’t have to follow the government rent increase guideline or not?”

In years past, you were exempted but not anymore.

Previously rent control only covered rental properties that were built prior to November, 1991.  This exemption was a strategic decision made to encourage the creation of new rental buildings in the Ontario.

Things have changed this year with the Rental Fairness Act 2017. These new rules mean rent control has been extended to cover rental properties that were built prior to November, 1991.

The Guideline of 1.8% Is Too Low For Me To Keep Up With My Rising Costs

This is a common statement by OLA members.

The Ontario Landlords Association has lobbied for change in how the annual rent increase guideline is calculated. The guideline needs to put far greater weight on the price increases of good and services that impact small landlords.

After all, it costs money for good landlords to run safe, well-maintained rental properties.

Some OLA members suggest a good solution would be for the Ontario guideline to copy what BC landlords have. In British Columbia the guideline is the rate of inflation based on the consumer price index plus 2% (to account for the extra types of costs landlords have).

Landlords Can Raise The Rent 1.8% in 2018

With the importance of owning safe, well-maintained properties and costs rising it’s important for landlords to raise rents annually. We are faced with a very low cap on how much we can raise rents which creates even greater challenges for landlords.

It’s time for the the rent increase guideline to be changed to meet the real needs of residential landlords and to help us improve the quality of the rental stock in Ontario.

It’s time to stop bashing landlords and start working with us to help improve the entire rental industry. This will benefit both good landlords and good tenants.

Will There Be An End To The Rent Exemption That Removes Rent Control From Nearly All Rental Units Built After 1991?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

OLA campaign 1

We Want To Hear From The Small Landlord Community. The Ontario Landlords Association Will Be Making a Submission to the Ministry Sharing Your Thoughts & Concerns on a Bill Which Could End the Exemption That Allows Rental Properties To Avoid Rent Control If The property Was Built After 1991

Real estate prices have appreciated greatly in Toronto and the GTA over the past several years. And it looks like property prices will continue rising in 2017.

With these rising property prices, many areas have also seen rising rents. This has led to politicians looking to make changes in how the residential landlord-tenant system works in Ontario.

Why are rents rising?

It’s because most of the new rentals on the market are due to the investments of hard working and risk taking small landlords and investors. These are often working people who invest in a “income property” as a nest egg to help their financial future.

With costs rising these small landlords need to charge rents that cover their costs of owning the property. With prices rising, they also have to spend more buy the property. As they are also small business people they have invested with the goal of attaining at least some sort of profit.

Who are these Ontario landlords?

Many of these investors/landlords are people like you reading here. They are people who have jobs and are working very hard to build for their retirement.

They save their money, and invest…taking a risk to provide high quality rental properties for tenants with the hopes of a fair and decent return.

These investors/landlords include teachers, fire-fighters, police officers, dentists, contractors, secretaries, nurses, truck drivers, small business owners, retirees, etc.  These are the people who make up the OLA community.

These investors and landlords are not rich corporations hoping to build their share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

What changes are being proposed?

An NDP member has put forward a private member’s bill that will end the rent control exemption for rental properties that were built after 1991. The NDP claims this exemption puts tenants at risk and is putting many people who rent in a difficult situation.

What is the 1991 exemption all about?

We have written about the 1991 rent exemption before. In fact, before the OLA began discussing this it was rarely mentioned in the media and few people even knew about it. As with so many aspects of the rental business in Ontario after the OLA began discussing the issue it became well-known and a “hot issue”.

Why is this such a hot issue now?

It’s because rents are increasing. A Global News report said the average rent for a Toronto condo is now over $2000/month. So many tenants are justifiably concerned about rent increases and being able to afford being able to stay in their rental property.

What Do OLA Members Say?

Our landlord community consists of landlords all over Ontario.  And we have owners of all types of rentals.  These range from condos to basement apartment rentals to duplexes and even larger buildings.

The issue of rent control has been a big issue for our community for years. When this latest development was announced landlords were quick to begin to share their thoughts and concerns.

Here are some of the thoughts and points of discussion in our busy member forum.

(1) This is a Business And I Need To Keep Up With Costs

Many landlords worry about being able to cover their costs. They aren’t out to “gouge” tenants (as successful landlords know how valuable good tenants are). If rents can’t be raised to cover costs it will lead to financial hardship, especially for small landlords.

Others stated that landlords take a risk when buying a property to rent out and our investments are important to the Ontario economy. As they are running a “business” they need some flexibility in how they operate.

An Ottawa landlord said investors like her  fund the construction industry and the building trades. We hire property managers and provide business to real estate agents.

We are also the people who are providing new rental accommodations. Changing the rules for rent control will impact jobs and the entire Ontario economy.

(2) I Bought My New Build Rental Property Because of the 1991 Exemption

Many new landlords who bought condos are shocked at the news that they may be covered by rent control.

One new condo investor wrote that if the exemption is stopped she will never ever trust this government again.

(3) My Rentals Aren’t in Downtown Toronto and If I Raise Rents Too High Tenants Will Just Move

Some landlords think the government is too focused on the situation in Toronto and not aware of how things work in the rest of Ontario where real vacancy rates are not that low. A Barrie landlord said while having the freedom to cover costs is important, if she raises rents too high her tenants will simply move.

(4) The 1991 Exemption Is Unfair To Landlords With Older Rental Properties Because The Rent Increase Guideline is Far Too Low

Many members of our Ontario landlord community own older homes. A Newmarket landlord said he buys older homes, invests his hard earned money to fix them, renovates them, makes them attractive, and then rents them out. He wonders why are these landlords punished with an extremely low annual rent increase guideline that is capped?

(5) Let’s Get Rid of Rent Control for All Rental Properties in Ontario Whatever the ‘Age’ of the Property

Some members of our community believe the real solution is to end rent control for all Ontario rental properties. This would lead to a lot more investment into rentals. This would give tenants more options and good landlords with great rental properties would be able to invest more with confidence.

Proposal To End the Rent Control Exemption on Properties Built After 1991

It seems so simple at first glance. The headlines are all about tenants who are being priced out of their rental property as rents rise.

In reality it’s more complicated.

The issue of rent control and rental properties requires serious research and the input of all stake-holders.

And small landlords are key stake-holders and our voices need be heard.

The Concerns From Tenant About Ridiculous Rent Increases Is a Serious Issue

Many of our members rented before and are concerned about the challenges tenants can face with a ridiculously high rent increase.  The problem is legislation covering both large corporate landlords and small landlords will hurt the ‘small players’ who take tenant concerns seriously.

For example one of our members wrote “Good tenants are the key to success as a landlord and investor.  I haven’t even raised rents on my good tenants for the past three years because I value them!”

Another landlord said: “Okay, make it fair for all rentals of all ages but make the annual rent increase more reasonable because now it’s far too low!”

Improving the Ontario Rental Industry to Benefit Landlords and Tenants

The stakes are high as any knee jerk media friendly policies could seriously impact the Ontario rental industry in a very negative way.  This will hurt both good landlords and good tenants.

Bad policy decisions based on media click-bait stories can lead to very bad results for landlords and for tenants. It’s important the government meets with all stake-holders before such an important policy decision is made.

We will make a submission to the province and want to hear your landlord and tenant concerns about rent control.  Contact us at landlordfairness@lobbyist.com.

We will make sure your voices are heard.

Any new policies regarding rent control need to be part of a much larger overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board. Let’s improve the Ontario rental industry for tenants and small landlords who have invested in properties.