Posts Tagged ‘tenant screening’

How To Get Landlords To Rent To You

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Tenants Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry

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.

With Vacancy Rates So Low Tenants Have To Do Whatever It Takes To Find A Home

First of all I want to make it clear there are a lot of great landlords out there.  I’m not part of the majority of tenants who think all landlords are ripping us off and making money out of thin air. 

My parents rented some rooms in our house when times were tough in the 1990s recession. I know what they went through with people being noisy late and night and not always washing their dishes daily. It was tough on my Mom and Dad but they needed the money.

Most landlords are like my parents. Friendly and law-abiding.

Bad Landlords Out There Are Taking Advantage Of The Rental Shortage

As someone who was looking for a place to live this year it was shocking to find there are landlords who didn’t have the ethics of my parents. 

When I went to see an apartment many landlords demanded a ridiculous amount of personal information about me for a simple credit check.

(Which I have reported these landlords to the Privacy Commissioner and the landlords are being investigated as you read this, as are the companies involved). 

Not only that but many demanded a lot of rent up front in order to rent to me.

Some wanted 3 or 4 months of rent, but most wanted a 6 months or even a year! Some landlords even wanted 2 or 3 years!

Others wanted a deposit of 1 – 6 months equivalent rent in case I made “damages” LOL! What did they expect me to do? Blow up the building?!

We Are In The Middle Of A Housing Crisis

The rental scene really unfair for people looking to rent.  A recent VICE article was really helpful and illustrated how unfair it is for people simply looking for a home.

Vacancy rates in Toronto are under two percent. This is the worst it’s been in nearly twenty years. The average monthly rent for a tiny one-bedroom apartment is $2,200/month.

Jump Doggy, Jump

Landlords are making tenants jump through hoops and part of these hoops is illegal behaviour.  VICE reported a new immigrant was required to pay 3 years up front to rent some dump in Scarborough. That’s right, “Scarberia!”

Landlords Cannot Demand A Damage Deposit Or Months Of Rent Up-Front. It’s Illegal!

Ontario landlords cannot charge you any type of “damage” or “Security” deposit. Nothing, Nada, Zippo.

Landlords can only ask for “first and last”. This is payment for the first month of rent and for the last month of rent you are staying the property. The “last” is only for your last month living there.

This “last month” cannot be used for anything other than last month rent according to the Residential Tenancies Act.

I Refused To Pay Multiple Months Of Rent Up-Front And A Damage Deposit

Not only did I refuse I told the landlords they were undertaking an illegal act, I educated them.

I told the landlords I met to sit down and I made sure to lecture them not only about how they were undertaking criminal acts, they also were lapsing morally and ethically.

Was I being strident refusing to leave before getting my point across?

Was I being aggressive in making the landlords read the Residential Tenancies Act in my handouts? 

Sure.

But we are nation of laws and we must educate and uphold these laws as part of our democracy.

Nice People Finish Last

What was the result from my honest and ethical stand?

No one rented to me.

Simply because I demanded the landlords followed the LAW I was shunned. I was an outcast. I was without a home when a high paying I.T. job was about to start.

I Had To Be More Sneaky Than The Sneaky Landlords I Was Dealing With

There is a saying “When in Rome Do What The Romans Do.”  I realized the Ontario rental market if full of law breakers (not everyone, but many). My honesty and demanding the laws be followed were mocked at by these landlords.

I Made A Difficult Decision To Adapt And Get My New Home No Matter What It Took

I needed a place.

I needed a place near public transportation and at the lowest rent possible. I tried to be up front and honest and the landlords spat in my face!

Here’s What I Did – I Used Their Own Greed To Work Against Them

I decided to agree with landlords who wanted 6 months of rent up front.  I would say things such as:

“Yes, I agree you landlords need to protect yourself from all the bad tenants out there.” 

“It’s only natural you need 6 months of rent upfront after you worked so hard to buy this apartment.”

“It’s crazy the law says you can’t charge me a damage deposit”

The landlords were super happy to hear this and I was instantly treated with respect and put on the top of their list!

I Pushed It To The Limit!

Since I had gone over to the ‘Dark Side’ as these landlords had I decided ‘hey, if you go to the Dark Side you might as well go all the way!’ Darth Vader style.

So if the landlord said they wanted 6 months of rent up-front I said “why not a year?” 

So if the landlord wanted a 1 month damage deposit I said “why not 3 months?”

So if the landlord demanded post-dated checks I said “why don’t I pay cash?”

Sure I was lying but they were asking for illegal things so it was okay.

The Replies Poured In…Everyone Wanted To Rent To Me (and on long-term leases!)

All the talk of credit checks, reference checks, etc. went out the window.  The texts rolled in and so did the emails. 

Some landlords were so exited they called me and wanted to sign a lease right away!

Got The Best Apartment And A Discount On Rent

From being the ugly loser I was suddenly treated like a virgin princess ready to put out.  I had my choice of properties and played several landlords off against each other to find the best apartment at the best price.

Since I was willing to pay the money up-front and the deposit I managed to negotiate a lower rent.

All they really wanted was a big huge stack of money in their hands.

After I Signed The Lease And Moved In I Filed At the Landlord and Tenant Board And Got All My Money Back!

It’s very easy to file at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board and get all your money back!

The LTB form is called the T1. 

You can read about it here!

After I moved in I filed at the LTB.  It was easy and simple. 

Avoid Landlord Texts And Calls (And Record Them As Harassment)

After I filed the texts came flying “oh, you agreed” the landlord whined like little bitches from hell who got caught by a righteous and good person (me) who used their evil Luciferian greed against them.

The messages in my mailbox:

“You are a cheater” and after a few days “we will kick you out.”

It all hilarious because this was just adding my ability to punish these illegal landlords at the LTB.

LTB Hearing Took 15 Minutes To Get My Money Back

I spoke with Legal Aid at the LTB Hearing room. This is really, really helpful. And it’s free!

This is free legal help for tenants and they were with me as I made my case. 

Very nice people and they are often on a first name basis with the adjudicator/judge at the LTB so you get instant credibility.

EASY WIN TO GET ALL THE MONEY BACK 

I also made sure the adjudicator was aware of the threats and harassment from the landlord and the landlord was fined.

The landlord was also warned against harassing me further and to stop demanding illegal money.

TENANTS MUST BE AS SNEAKY AS THE BAD LL’S ARE TO SURVIVE

In this era of super low vacancy rates the bad landlords are possessed with greed and acting unlawful. 

Since they are so sneaky tenants need to be sneaky.

I hope my story will help all the great tenants out there find great rental properties. I’m in a great apartment at a low rent and got all my money back. The landlord is also scared of me because they know I’m a pro and they were already warned by the Landlord Tenant Board judge! 

Good landlords have nothing to worry about and thank you for being legal.

Toronto Star – Join A Group Such As The Ontario Landlords Association To Avoid Bad Tenants

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Toronto Star Ontario Landlords Use Credit Checks To Avoid Bad Tenants

Toronto Star – “Join a group such as the Ontario Landlords Association  where after becoming a member, you can do a credit check for as low as $10, and use their supporting materials to assist you.”

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Ontario Tenants – Our Landlord Community Wants To Hear From You (And Work Together For Mutual Success!)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

ola landlord and tenant win win campaign

Renting Should Be a Win-Win Situation. Ontario Landlords Want to Rent to Good Tenants and Ontario Tenants Want To Find Good Landlords and Great Rental Properties. We Want To Help Make It Happen

With property prices increasing in Ontario over the past few years and rents rising, rental properties (and the landlords and investors who own them) have been in the news a lot recently. 

We have also had the new Rental Fairness Act which makes changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Many small landlords were expecting some important changes to balance the playing field. By adding urgently needed protections for small landlords it would keep a lot of good people in the rental industry and encourage more investment, more rentals, and more affordable options for tenants.

Bad Landlord Alert…or not

While the media seems to focus on the “bad landlords out there” the reality is these are rare cases and not representative of the larger Ontario rental market.

There are a lot of great people who are landlords (or want to invest in residential properties) and we need to make sure there is a fair regulatory environment to protect them. These landlords are huge corporations with unlimited resources. 

In reality many landlords are teachers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, electricians, plumbers, contractors and people working hard for some cash flow and their retirement.

Changes need to be made to protect small landlords

We need to discuss important issues such as allowing damage deposits and pet deposits.  We need a healthy debate on allowing a fixed term lease to really mean the lease actually ends unless renewed by the landlord and the tenant.

It’s important for all stake-holders to make changes in how we can quickly evict tenants who don’t pay or abuse other tenants or their landlord.

Many Ontario Landlords area also greatly concerned about the legalization of marijuana and how this will impact rental properties. Many landlords are gravely concerned this will lead to many tenant vs. tenant challenges.

The Rental Fairness Act Isn’t Very Fair

Instead of dealing with important issues, there were policy changes such as expanding rent control and making it even harder and more expensive for family landlords to get control of their property for their own use. There were also punishing new rules for those who include utilities in the rent.

Alberta landlords are working hard to let the general public know how hard they work and how much they care and it’s time we did the same in Ontario.

Good Landlords Want Good Tenants…And Good Tenants Want To Find Great Landlords and Great Properties

Experienced and successful small Ontario landlords know we are running a business and our tenants are our “clients.”

As we usually own only one or two rental properties we usually do our own tenant screening. This means we are personally involved in the rental process.

Successful small residential landlords also know the key to a profitable rental business means we have to first attract some of the great tenants out there to rent from us, and then we need to work hard to ensure they love renting from us and want to stay. It’s hard work and it’s not easy.

Secrets and Tips From Successful Landlords

We asked our most successful members to share some tips to help other small landlords and investors on how to avoid problems and create a win-win situation between the landlord and your tenants.

(a) Screen your Tenants Yourself

With the excellent tools available landlords can take their business “into their own hands” and make sure they know who they are renting to. Make sure you know the rules and laws. 

For example: Getting a real estate agent friend to run credit checks for you can be illegal and cost your real estate friend their license with Equifax. If you are running credit checks make sure they are legal.

(b) This Is A Hands On Business

Get to know your tenants and get to know your rental property. Make sure you make the place safe and comfortable. 

One of our Ottawa landlords wrote: create a rental property that you would want to live in.

(c) Treat Your Tenants With Respect And Appreciate Them

You provide a terrific, safe, fairly priced rental property to your tenants. You are a service-oriented landlord and that means when things need fixing or issues arise, you make it a priority and get things fixed fast. When you fix these issues you cooperate with your tenant to make sure both sides are satisfied with the solution.

(d) Many Ontario Landlords Were Tenants Not So Long Ago

One OLA member wrote on the Ontario landlords forum:

“I rented for years when I was in university.  My first year was in residence and after dealing with the meal plan and a small room I couldn’t wait to get out and rent a property with my friends.”

“Looking back the experience renting a house wasn’t the best.  The landlord would didn’t ever make repairs.  When the basement flooded we were told just to ‘not go down there’ and the stove only had 2 burners that worked (and the oven was so weak it took what seemed like hours to cook french fries.)”

“Now I’m planning to buy an income property near a university.  Maintenance and dealing fast with any issues will be a priority.  But what else can we do to stand out from the crowd and offer a terrific housing experience for student renters?”

(e) What Would Lead You To Stay At A Rental For A Longer Period of Time?

Many landlords feel stressed out when looking for new tenants.  While there are a lot of great tenants out there, there are also people who know how to play the system and can lead to a lot of financial and emotional stress.

What are Tenants Looking For When Choosing a Rental Property and a Landlord?

Our members usually own one or maybe two properties. They aren’t large, huge corporations that don’t care about individual tenants and don’t care about vacancies.

Ontario Landlords Want To Hear From Ontario Tenants

The media keeps talking about “super high rents” and “bad landlords.”  They fail to differentiate between large corporate landlords and small landlords who are simply trying to run a rental business.

Here are some questions from small landlords to help us improve how we run our rental businesses:

 1. What Do Tenants Want In a Landlord?

2. What Type Of Features Are You Looking For In a Rental Property?

3. What is the Best Way To Advertise To Attract Good Tenants?

4. How Can Service-Oriented, Professional Small Landlords Show You Their Professionalism?

We Welcome Tenant Comments on Ontario Rental Industry

Are you a tenant now?  Are you looking to rent? Let us know your experience and your feelings. 

Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at landlordtenantsolutions@groupmail.com

(Please note you will not receive a reply upon emailing us)

Tell us what is happening and we’ll share it with landlords to help improve the Ontario rental industry!

While recent rules seem create a narrative of “landlords vs. tenants” the reality is good landlords want good tenants and good tenants are looking for professional landlords and great rental properties. Let’s work together to make this happen!

Ontario Landlords: Tenant Screening and Tenant Credit Checks

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

 January 17th, 2014

Ontario landlords association tenant credit check 2014

What Are the Rules For Ontario Landlords to Do a Tenant Credit Check the Right Way?

(And What Happens If You Don’t? Because Tenants Are Complaining So Be Careful)

Landlords know the importance of renting to good tenants.

We have written about this before to warn Ontario landlords.

There are a lot of good tenants all over the province and they want to rent from you.

These tenants pay the rent on time and respect you and your rental property.

Landlords big and small are seeking these tenants who follow the rules and cooperate with their landlords for a win-win situation.

It’s especially important since the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline is only 0.8% as a recent Toronto Sun report explained.

Bad Tenants

There is also a large group of bad tenants out there.

Whether you are an Ottawa landlord, a Toronto landlord, own properties a bit north and are a Barrie landlord or anywhere else in the province you have surely heard about the damage bad tenants can do to landlords in Ontario.

These bad tenants know how to manipulate the system and will end up costing you thousands of dollars in losses and months of stress and frustration.

A Supreme Court Justice even said there are too many opportunities for bad tenants to take advantage of good landlords in Ontario. You can read what the judge said at the excellent column by our friend Bob Aaron at the Toronto Star.

Tenant Credit Checks

The Ontario Landlords Association has introduced tenant credit checks and their importance in a professional tenant screening system to thousands of landlords across the province.

We have excellent partners such as Equifax and GARDA.

They are authorized to conduct tenant credit checks and look into your potential tenant’s financial history.

These companies provide tools for landlords to succeed with their rental businesses by helping you rent to good tenants.

Are Some Landlords Doing It Wrong?

Yes, some are.

And you need to be careful.

We have received lots of emails from tenants who are claiming some landlords are obtaining their credit data in a fraudulent manner.

The tenants say their privacy rights have been stomped on by small landlords.

There have also been posts about this from tenants on the Ontario Landlords Forum.

For example a tenant wrote:

I’m looking for some advice on how to deal with a serious situation.

I take great care of my credit profile and my privacy. This year I was forced to look to rent a property near my work. After finding a property I was interested in the landlord said they would do an employment check, reference check and a credit check on me to see if I was qualified. I agreed they could.

Fast forward and I recently checked my credit report. At the time of my application there is now a ‘credit hit’ from a mortgage and real estate agent on my credit score. I did not apply for a mortgage or to buy a house! It is the only ‘credit hit’ for that time period.

I never agreed for a credit check from a mortgage or real estate agent. I never applied for a mortgage or to purchase a house. This will lead future creditors/landlords/anyone to think I wanted to buy my own place and applied for a mortgage. It will also lead to people mistakenly thinking I was refused a mortgage and failed to buy a place of my own.

I only authorized the landlord to do a credit check for the purpose of renting. I would like to know my options because this is a breach of my privacy rights.

With so many emails and an increasing number of tenant posts passionately explaining their serious concerns we decided to contact our partner Equifax Canada.

It seems some landlords are using friends or relatives who are Realtors or mortgage agents or insurance agents to get credit checks done on prospective tenants.

equifax ontario landlords

Our Interview With Equifax Canada

We contacted our partner Equifax Canada and spoke with them about the ‘right way’ for landlords to conduct tenant credit checks.

Here are our questions and the answers that follow:

1. Can I Call my Relative or Friend To Do the Credit Check For My Potential Tenant?

If the landlord uses a mortgage agent, Realtor, etc. to access potential tenants credit data for them, and the tenant didn’t agree and these tenants contact Equifax what will happen?

What are the penalties that could occur?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

No.

Given the nature of the existing credit reporting/privacy legislation and the terms of use (agreement) by the Equifax member, the consumer can report this type of unacceptable activity to the Ministry of Consumer Services, who will then investigate.

Any inappropriate use or breach of contract could lead to termination of membership with Equifax.

 2. Mortgage Agents, Realtors, Insurance Agents, Car Dealerships

Several landlords say they have used friends who are mortgage agents, Realtors, etc. for years to access tenant credit data and nothing happened and there is nothing wrong using this method to obtain credit data on potential tenants.

What is the best response to their claims?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

See above and below for more details.

Equifax must disclose the actual entity that received the file.

3. What About Third Parties to Obtain Credit Data?

Some landlords have a waiver on their application form saying they will use a “third party” to obtain credit data on a potential tenant (they don’t say who will do the check, only that it will be a third party).

They then contact a friend who is a mortgage agent, Realtor, insurance broker, someone who works at a car dealership, etc. to do the credit check on the potential tenant for them. 

They wonder if the waiver clause allows them to use a ‘friend’ is okay.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

The service agreement signed by EACH of our members clearly articulates that they will not “share” a credit file with another entity: the credit file is for their exclusive use ONLY.

Any entity that does share is in violation of this agreement.

4. Tenants Complaining About Unauthorized Credit Checks

Some tenants complain they have a ‘credit hit’ on their credit reports from mortgage agents, insurance agents, etc. which they never agreed to (as they only wanted to rent an apartment). 

How can tenants get these unauthorized credit hits off their records?

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Due to privacy legislation, once Equifax delivers a file to a member, we MUST post an inquiry (by law).

As such, we do not remove these inquiries as they are factual and the consumer has a legal right to know their file has been disclosed.

5. What Can Tenants Do?

Some tenants who have credit hits from people they never authorized have asked if they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services to make formal complaints that their credit data was obtained fraudulently. They would like advice on this.

ANSWER FROM EQUIFAX

Yes, they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services who will launch an investigation.

They can reach also reach Equifax directly at the following telephone numbers to lodge a complaint and we will do an investigation:

English: 1-866-828-5961

French: 1-877-323-2598

Ontario Landlords And Tenant Screening 2014

Let’s work together to make 2014 the most successful year ever for landlords across Ontario.

Tenant screening is an essential part of being a successful landlord.

Make sure you follow the rules and find great tenants for your rental properties.

High quality tenant credit companies such as Equifax and GARDA are waiting to assist you.

Ontario Landlords 2014: Landlord Licensing in Windsor?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

 December 20, 2013Ontario Landlords Association 2014 Landlord Licensing Windsor landlords

The new year is an important one for Ontario Landlords and we are upbeat.

Despite a very low Rent Increase Guideline of only 0.8% in 2014 more and more landlords are doing proper tenant screening and renting to all the good tenants out there (and avoiding the pro tenants who are out there and ready to prey on unsuspecting landlords).

There are still going to be challenges.

For example, we’ve received hundreds of emails from Windsor landlords concerned about landlord licensing.

The rumours all over the internet that landlords would require a license to operate in 2014 spread fast around the landlord and residential property investor community in October.

After all, Windsor landlords are looking forward to a positive and successful new year.

The vacancy rate keeps getting lower and more and more good tenants are choosing our city as their new home.

With proper tenant screening landlords all over the city can expect to find tenants who pay rent on time and are take care of the property they are renting.

The idea of landlords having to get license is upsetting because it’s the wrong type of policy for our city.

What Is Landlord Licensing?

This is a government policy that exists for Oshawa landlords and Waterloo landlords renting to students.

It means the government requires landlords to pay a fee and apply to get a license to be a residential landlord.

There are also annual inspections, new rules for how many rooms which can be in a rental unit and lots more. (In some cases it even requires small landlords to get a criminal check!)

Starting in January 2014 Mississauga landlords will need to get a license. The rules are strict and the fees are high. 

Earlier this year the City of Hamilton wanted to license landlords who owned properties with six rooms or less.

Hamilton landlords fought back! They were united and made a strong case about why licensing, which they called a ‘tenant tax’ was a bad policy option.

The government decided to move in another direction.

The hard work of Hamilton landlords paid off and good landlords and good tenants all over the city were rewarded for their courage and hard work!

What’s The Truth about Windsor Landlord Licensing?

The Ontario Landlords Association contacted the Windsor government to get some answers.

Mr. Michael Chantler, the Supervisor of Licencing & Deputy Licence Commissioner at the Office of the City Clerk for the City of Windsor was very helpful in replying to the questions on the minds of many Windsor landlords.

Mr. Chantler believes rumours of landlord licensing deal with the City of Windsor’s “Residential Rental Housing” report which is still in the developmental phase.

Here are some of the answers to the OLA’s questions:

1. Will Windsor License landlords in 2014?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction by Council to license landlords in 2014.

2. Is there any plan to license landlords in the future?

The Licensing Department has not been given direction to license landlords at any time in the future.

3. When will the report to City council be submitted and discussed regarding landlord fees, licenses, etc.?

There is a report being prepared regarding “Rental Housing” that is very complex and takes into account more than just a Licensing component. There are several different departments involved including, but not limited to, Fire, Planning, Licensing and Building. There is no firm date set for the report, but I believe it will probably go to Council in 2014.

4. Is there a way Windsor landlords can express their opinions to the government?

As with any major public issue, citizens can call 311, send a letter or call their Councillor/Mayor’s Office directly to provide their opinion.

However, you must keep in mind that the Members of Council don’t have a report before them to discuss at this time.

Some multiple property owners have already sent written submissions to Administration in Licensing.

If/when a report on this item does go forward: there will be opportunities for a delegation to appear at a City Council meeting.

Let’s Say NO to Landlord Licensing in Windsor and Other Cities in Ontario

Windsor landlords, like all landlords in Ontario are facing challenges from governments who don’t value the services small landlords provide and the important role we play in providing high quality, affordable housing to tenants all over the province.

Landlords need to be proactive in getting information about government plans and make our voice heard.

The Ontario Landlords Association and our thousands of members will continue to fight to make a difference in 2014.