Ontario Landlords Association

When kindness doesn’t pay (Reflections and Analysis)

It’s over now.  Some advice for new landlords in Ontario

September 3, 2011

The house has now been sold.  I couldn’t be happier. This whole experience has only made me stronger!  I’m better than ever before and feeling great!  What a great learning lesson.

It’s just not worth it to be a landlord in Ontario in 2011 with the current McGuinty Liberal government in power.  Bad tenants are not only enabled, they are encouraged to create havoc for the landlord.

Looking back and reflecting, I hope I can offer some good advice to new landlords.

We have had many OW/ODSP tenants in the past, and still have some as a matter of fact.

We have had some good welfare tenants, but generally they make for bad tenants….here is why……

1. they are ungarnishable- their welfare cheques are protected from being garnished

2. welfare tenants have too much control over their cheques even though they have a caseworker

3.one of the big problems is that case workers move around in their departments….so if a welfare tenant who has a pay-direct arrangement in place because they are irresponsible in paying their bills, they can have the pay-direct arangement stopped with one phone call…now perhaps if they had the same case worker who knew about their spotted history, it wouldnt be so easy to stop the pay-direct chq but a new case worker may not have this info

4. the tenants we just had thumbed their nose at the law in every way they possibly could ie. unpaid parking tickets and traffic offenses, unpaid utility bills, and being known to cops for unlawful behaviour (it is very sad when you have an initial conversation with a police officer and they say “oh yeah I know T…”)

5. if you do a credit rating and it comes up ZERO- then pass on this person….sorry to say this because it wrecks things for those who dont yet have a credit rating…but a zero is as bad as a 500-600 score

6. the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished” is very true in the rental business…some of these people become very good actors….perhaps they get a rush when they suck people dry

7. listen to your gut feeling- if you get a bad sense BEFORE they move in- then cancel the contract- give them their money back- dont let them in because as a landlord in Ontario, you truly have NO protection

8. a landlord in Ontario has all cards stacked against them, we have the OHRC looking to stick it to us, we have tenant activist groups looking to stick it to us, and we have ill-informed, biased politicians looking to stick it to us SO the key is be ultra careful in renting to anyone- take your time- dont let any tenant pressure you into making a decision….it is very hard to lose a months rent by letting a unit sit vacant, but if necessary do it until you feel comfortable about letting someone in….

9. if possible try to see the unit they are living in before they take your place because a credit check doesn’t screen for cleanliness

10.  bottom line- these are our properties that we worked very hard to obtain- do not ever let any tenant, tenant activist, politician, LTB tribunal Member tell you what you can or cannot do…research things yourself, become a member of www.ontariolandlords.ca and be aware of who might be coming in and out of your property- NO one else cares except you!

Discuss this in the Landlord Politics forum here

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