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The Canada Landlords Association is a leading organization for small residential landlords across Canada. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect residential landlord interests to national and local government. We provide a unified voice for private landlords and promote and protect landlord interests to national and local government.

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British Columbia Landlords: Rent Increase Guideline 2014

January 1st, 2014

BC landlords British Columbia landlords Rent 2014

BC Landlords Are Asking “How Much Can I Raise the Rent In 2014?”

It’s news from the Residential Tenancies Branch that landlords all over the province are interested in.

Each year the government announces how much BC landlords can raise the rent for their tenants.

British Columbia Has Rent Control

Lots of new people who invest in residential rental properties in British Columbia are unaware we have what is called ‘Rent Control’ in this province.

This means the provincial government interferes with the rental market and controls how landlords run their rental businesses.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Vancouver landlord or if your properties are in Surrey or elsewhere, you have to obey whatever the government thinks is right when it comes to rent increases for the new year.

We are in a similar situation to what Ontario landlords face each year.

And those landlords aren’t happy with it.

Go check out the Ottawa Landlords blog to see what they face and they feel about their tiny 0.8% allowable rent increase.

How Much Can British Columbia Landlords Raise the Rent in 2014?

BC landlords can raise the rent 2.2% in 2014.

The Rent Increase for 2014 at 2.2%… It Just Feels Far Too Low!

We’ve received lots of emails already from landlords who feel the same way.

After all, the Rent Increase Guideline for BC landlords was 3.8%.

And many landlords don’t think their increased costs are lower than what we faced in 2013.

A Kelowna landlord emailed us the following message:

Property taxes go up. Hydro costs go up. Heck, even water bills are going through the roof!

Does the government really want people to invest in rental properties? Because it sure doesn’t seem like it.

I thought we decided against the NDP!

Why can’t we have the same rules as what Alberta landlords get?  My cousin is a landlord in Calgary and she is going to raise the rent over $100 for her $900 rental apartment.

That’s where the government keeps their Big Brother/Big Sister ideas away from good landlords who just want to make a profit of some sort by providing great properties to good tenants??

BC Landlords and Getting Good Results in 2014

As we have read, BC landlords faced a lot of challenges in 2013.

With a low rent increase for the new year landlords must be extra careful who they rent to.

Make sure you do proper tenant screening and don’t rent to someone who will not only give you a headache, they can stay in your property and enjoy very small rent increases for years on end.

To discuss this and other landlord matters go to the BC landlords forum.

Investing In British Columbia: Landlords Can Take Advantage of a Growing Tenant Pool

Converting Prospects to Customers - Sales Doorway

As Home Prices Rise the Pool of Good Tenants Grows for BC Landlords

In our last blog post we discussed how BC landlords can enhance our chances to rent to good tenants with proper tenant screening techniques.

With proper tenant screening, including credit checks, you improve your chances of renting to good tenants who respect you, respect your rental property, and pay the rent on time.

Some potential investors have emailed us asking “are there any good tenants in BC?”

It’s a valid question considering the media attention on so many ‘tenants from hell.”

Opportunities for British Columbia Landlords

Let’s focus on the positives of investing and becoming a landlord in BC.

According to a report in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine buying a home is becoming increasingly difficult.

Difficulties in getting a mortgage are only one obstacle for new buyers. Prices are rising.

You also have to service the home.  Utilities costs and taxes are rising.

An RBC report shows buying a house is simply not affordable for many renters.

The reports states that in 2013 a house owner will have to spend over 40% of household pre-tax income just to buy a small bungalow.

Owning Investment Properties Is a Business

A successful business has lots of good, paying customers and clients.

With the increasing costs of home ownership, it means many people who plan to buy a home will:

1. If they are currently renting they will hold and continue renting

2. Non-renters will decide to rent for a period of time before buying

The Pool Of Good Tenants Is Growing More people renting means the tenant pool grows.

This isn’t only happening in Vancouver.

Landlords in places like Surrey and Kelowna will also have more opportunities to rent to good tenants.

Reminder: There are Still Bad Tenants Out There

It’s important for landlords to use the proper tools and services to find good tenants.

Whenever you get the feeling of renting to tenants on your ‘gut feeling’ read this story about a Victoria landlord who is out more than $20,000 in lost rent, for fixing damages, and having to clean up the mess her tenants left.

Remember, lots of good tenants are looking for a good landlord…they are looking to rent from YOU

Make sure you screen your tenants carefully at all times.

Know what questions to ask.

Employment and tenant credit checks are a must.

Succeeding Is Now Up To You There are lots of good tenants out there.

Make sure you find them, and help them find you!

Tenant Screening British Columbia: Fast and Affordable Tenant Credit Checks

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We’re heard about a lot about the challenges British Columbia landlords faced this year.

Most of them involved residential landlords renting to tenants who didn’t pay their rent.

Or tenants who moved in and left leaving thousands of dollars in damages. It also included tenants who harassed their landlords.

Some tenants brag they feel justified in taking these actions because they claim landlords are ‘greedy.’

Tenant Screening

It’s essential landlords conduct proper tenant screening on prospective tenants.

In this day and age renting to someone based on a good conversation or a call to a previous landlord usually isn’t enough.

We’ve heard the stories.

Some of the worst “tenants from hell” were very charming when the landlord first met them.

Some had lots of personal references.This included glowing letters from ‘former landlords’ and ’employers’ and filled with promises to treat your rental property ‘as if it was their own.’

It is easy for landlords to find any kind of tenant for their rental property.  It is much more difficult to find the right tenant who will not pose a risk to your investment. 

There are lots of great tenants out there and you want to make sure you rent to them.

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How Can I Find Good Tenants?

Garda Background Screening Services is proud to partner with the the CLA to help owners screen prospective tenants using our secure online technology – available in French and English – with results available in as little as 24 hours.

Gardas customized suite of services includes a tenant credit check can help provide a snapshot of a renter’s financial history.

Fast and Efficient Tool For BC Landlords

Time-pressed landlords need a tenant screening process that is simple and easy to use. 

Potential renters need only to complete a  consent form. 

The consent form and two pieces of identification are faxed in toll free or emailed into a designated mailbox. 

Get our services and receive special rates.

Should you have any questions, our dedicated account representatives are here to help.

Payment is quick and easy.  Landlords can use a credit card.There are no account set up fees and no contracts to sign. 

British Columbia Landlords only pay for the services they use. 

Results of the checks are emailed to the landlord’s inbox in as little as one business day.

Let Garda help protect your investment and help ensure you find the right tenant.   

Garda is are the country’s largest Canadian-owned background screening company. Garda clients count on us to provide them with the tools to manage risk, reduce losses, and enhance security in a cost effective and timely manner.

Protect Your Investment

Landlords all over British Columbia are being careful who they rent to.

Join the our group and start doing premium credit checks with Canada’s leading background screening company.

B.C. Landlords Ask: How Much Can I Raise the Rent in 2014?

October 13, 2013

How much can i raise the rent in 2014

B.C. Landlords Can Raise the Rent 2.2% in 2014

More and more B.C. homeowners are creating secondary suites in their homes and becoming landlords.

There are lots of things new landlords need to learn to become successful. One of these is making sure you keep your rental property maintained. 

Maintaining Your Rental Property Is Important

Keep your property up can be costly. Some repairs are urgent and obvious. A water pipe might break. A toilet might need to be replaced.

Others might be upgrades to keep your current tenants happy or to make the property attractive to new prospective renters.

How Much Can I Raise The Rent In 2014?

Rent increases are an important part of being a landlord. In 2013 B.C. landlords are allowed to raise the rent 3.8 percent.

In 2014 B.C. landlords can raise the rent by only 2.2 percent.

Why only 2.2%?

In British Columbia the allowable rent increase is based on inflation plus 2 percent.

According to the BC Residential Tenancy Act website:

Annual rent increase

22 (1)  In this section, “inflation rate” means the 12 month average percent change in the all-items Consumer Price Index for British Columbia ending in the July that is most recently available for the calendar year for which a rent increase takes effect.

(2)  For the purposes of section 43 (1) (a) of the Act [amount of rent increase], a landlord may impose a rent increase that is no greater than the percentage amount calculated as follows:

percentage amount = inflation rate + 2%

How Does The B.C. Rent Increase Compare to Other Provinces?

While the rate is low compared to past Rent Increase Guidelines, we are actually getting a pretty good deal in B.C. compared to some other provinces.

Many B.C. landlords aren’t aware that while our Rent Increase Guideline is inflation plus 2 percent most other provinces are only based on the inflation rate.

For example in Ontario landlords can only raise the rent 0.8% in 2014.

In Manitoba landlords can only raise the rent by 2.0% in 2014.

For Landlords From Vancouver to Surrey, To Discuss the 2014 Rent Increase Guideline and Other Landlord Issues Take a Look at the B.C. Landlords Forum

Latest Craiglist Scam has BC Landlords and Tenants Angry

 October 6th, 2013

Craigslist and Kijiji rental scam

Landlords are looking for good tenants.

Tenants are looking for good landlords.

(Of course there are some bad landlords and some bad tenants out there so let them have fun dealing with each other.)

So how can landlords and tenants who both want to meet, rent out a property, and create a mutually beneficial, respectful and lawful relationship meet?

Some people use the local newspaper. More and more landlords and tenants are using Kijiji. Others are using Craigslist.

Craiglist Scam (and Kijiji too!)

This is what makes the latest Craigslist scam even more annoying and making many good landlords upset. Landlords and tenants rely on sites like Craigslist and Kijiji to meet.

We’ve seen these types of scams all over Canada. 

In fact this scam is very similar to what happened to a tenant in Newmarket and hurt a lot of people who wanted rent cottages last summer.

According to CBC News a Kamloops, B.C. landlord  says she is the victim of a fraudster on the internet.

Landlord Nicky Plato says she found out this past summer someone took information from her personal online rental listing on Kijiji.ca

What Did They Do With The Information?

Wait for it…they took the information from the Kijiji ad and created a fake ad with it on Craigslist!

What a Scam!

Yes. On a regular Sunday night Plato answered her door and met a woman who showed up at her door. It was a pizza delivery man, it was a tenant expecting to move in to her property.

According to landlord Plato this ‘tenant’ believed that it was her house and she would begin renting on September 1st.

More Details Please

The woman pointed her to the Craigslist ad.

In the ad tenants were asked for a $450 deposit to be wired to, ahem, secure the lease.

Landlord Plato Fights Back

Plato decided to fight back. She contacted the scammer. She did this by posing as a renter interested in the property.

She was absolutely astonished when the scammer sent her copies of photos of the place. The photos even included one of her in her home.

Plato said: “Literally, the hair on my arms stood up. I really didn’t think that my information would be that vulnerable when I am renting online to local people in Kamloops on Kijiji. I never thought it would be that vulnerable.”

She added “He has my address, my licence plate number, my name, my picture….everything!”

She repeated ‘flagged’ the ad according to Craiglists’ policies for this type of fraud.

It hasn’t worked and the fake landlord keeps posting it.

She even called the fake landlord and demanded he stop it. He won’t.

The RCMP said there isn’t much the force can do because it appears the scammers really are in Africa.

Plato says she just wants it to stop.

To Discuss This And Other Landlord and Tenant Issues Go To the B.C. Landlord Forum

Big Landlord and Tenant Dispute at a Downtown Eastside building

September 2nd, 2013

 BC landlord and tenant dispute

Vancouver readers we have a big dispute between a landlord and tenants (and tenants and poverty activists).

The issue is over rooms at 259 Powell.

What Is the Problem?

According to the Province the Downtown Eastside activists says the landlord has evicted a couple of people without following the rules.

They also claim the landlord has ‘bribed’ some tenants to move and speak well of the landlord to counter what the tenants say.

What’s Happening?

We have posts about bad landlords and bad tenants.

This time the issue is a little different. The conflict is about the debate over gentrification of the Downtown Eastside.

What Does the Landlord Say?

Geoffrey Howes, of Living Balance, said the company recently succeeded in legally evicting a tenant who was a “major drug dealer.”

Howes said there have been two legal evictions in the building, adding: “We have had ongoing problems with rampant drug dealing in the building.”

Howes said dealers would leave the alleyway door propped open, and threaten caretakers and other tenants. “We had strangers lining up in the hallway at all hours, needles everywhere.”

“We got support from the tenancy branch to evict the primary dealer,” he said, offering documentation from the branch.

“The fact is, the only people we evict from any properties are for nonpayment of rent or illegal activities.”

Howes said seven other tenants have left the building for other reasons.

What Do the Tenants and their Representatives Say?

At a press conference called by Pivot Legal Society on Thursday, anti-poverty activist Wendy Pederson blinked back tears and accused Living Balance owner Steven Lippman of “harassment and intimidation.”

Pivot housing lawyer DJ Larkin said: “What is happening to the residents of the York Rooms is a violation of human rights.”

Larkin added: “It is a crisis and something needs to be done now.”

To discuss this and other Vancouver landlord and tenant issues go to the BC landlord forum.

Landlords Make Sure Your Tenants Realize The Importance (and low cost) of Tenant Insurance

August 4, 2013

 Tenant Insurance

Be a Pro-Active Landlord And Protect Your Tenants and Your Properties

With summer half over and many tenancies beginning in September it’s a great time for B.C. Landlords to remind their new tenants and current tenants the importance of getting Tenant Insurance and check on the fire safety of your rental properties.

Let’s go back to April when there was a horrible fire at a Langley, B.C. housing complex that led to tragedy.

Twelve people were taken to hospital and three were in critical condition.Sadly, one person died. 

More than one hundred seniors faced loss and an uncertain future that still is ongoing.

The housing complex was at 203 Street and 54 Avenue. The fire broke out in the 2nd floor.

Tenant Margaret Mitcham was one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

When the fire broke out she saw the smoke and managed to grab her purse and escape without any injuries.

Investigators still don’t know how the fire started, but fire officials have confirmed there was no sprinkler system in the 30-year-old building, which was constructed before sprinklers were a safety requirement.

The president of the B.C. Seniors Living Association is Dave Sinclair.  Mr. Sinclair stated he thinks the government should upgrade the buildings with sprinkler systems.

Tenant / Content Insurance

Margaret Mitcham also has tenant insurance. This means she will be compensated for anything damaged not only by the fire but by the water used to battle it.

She says it is pure luck she has content insurance.

Mitcham says many of those who lived in the building don’t have insurance.

“It’s low rental here, you know, and some of them don’t have content insurance.”

Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesman Serge Corbeil says many renters routinely ignore advice to get rental insurance because they falsely believe they don’t have anything worth insuring.

“Sadly, it’s when you lose everything you realize how much you had. That type of insurance will allow you replace that,” said Corbeil.

He said policies run for as low as $20 a month. The policy will cover living expenses if your home is destroyed by a fire.

“It will also help you pay for those additional living expenses, so if you can’t live in the building you occupy before for awhile, your insurance will help you cover the cost of putting you in a hotel for some time.”

He estimates up to half of all renters don’t carry fire insurance.

B.C. Landlords Make Sure Your Tenants Are Aware of the Importance of Tenant Insurance

B.C. Activists Want to Copy The Ontario Landlord and Tenant System

July 2nd, 2013

B.C. landlord and tenant rules Ontario 

Do B.C. Landlords and Tenants Really Want To Follow the Failed Ontario Landlord and Tenant System?

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun  a coalition of legal and tenant’s rights groups want to change the rules for landlords and tenants in British Columbia.

They want to put emphasis on the need to enhance the provincial laws protecting renters.

Because B.C. landlords have it so easy, right?

Not quite

Several groups recommend to make modifications to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act that governs the renters and landlords relations.

It was pointed out that the B.C. law hasn’t been changed for years and the tenant’s protection has plunged after other provinces like Ontario.

Yes, Ontario.

Where small landlords are struggling to keep afloat and losing thousands of dollars is common.

Where landlords don’t have the tools to deal with serious problems.

Proposed changed to B.C.’s residential tenancy system are as follows:

1.      Putting Off Landlord Retaliation

Supposedly tenants have no defense against their landlord’s retaliation for exercising their rights, like getting their landlord to the Residential Tenancy Branch.

2.      The Right of First Refusal

When tenants are removed from their units for renovation, they should be permitted to return to their units at the previous rental rate. This is the case in other provinces like in Ontario.

3.      Increased Amount of Compensation

When the unit is under repair, the amount of compensation for eviction should be higher from the present one month’s rent to three months, just like in Ontario.

4.      Reinforce Rent Controls

The most permissible rental increase is base on the annual rate of inflation with additional 2%. According to the coalition, the permissible increase is either the inflation rate or a maximum of 2.5%, if the inflation rate is lesser.

5.      Increased Grace Period for Delayed Rent

The eviction notice for nonpayment can be cancelled if the tenants are able to pay their rent and utilities in 5 days. The coalition proposed giving tenants 10 days instead.

Fortunately the NDP lost the recent election. We are calling on the government to start focusing on helping small landlords succeed.

Successful small landlords means more high quality, affordable housing for good tenants. If this is the goal of our provincial government, Ontario is the last place to look for true solutions.

To discuss this and other B.C. landlord and tenant rules and issues go to the B.C. landlord forum

B.C. Supreme Court Favours Landlord in Email Dispute with Renter

June 1st, 2013

 Bc landlords tenant email

 

Tenants thinking of using email to harass their landlords should think again

We thought we had heard all the issues BC landlords face before. And if we haven’t heard it in British Columbia, we thought it must have happened before in the rest of Canada.

This is a new one: email harassment.

According to a report in Straight.com, a B.C. Supreme Court ruling sends a very clear message for tenants who bombard their landlords with emails.

The tenant filed an application for a judicial review of a Residential Tenancy Branch decision ending their tenancy.

In February of 2012, one tenant put up an advertisement for a roommate to help pay the rent for the unit they were living in.

A potential tenant saw the ad, replied and paid two months of rent plus a security deposit. On April 19th, 2012 the first and this new roommate got into an argument.

The landlord is Commonwealth Holding Co. Ltd. They issued an eviction notice.

A Residential Tenancy Branch dispute-resolution officer upheld the order in part because the first tenant “had unreasonably disturbed the landlord with a large volume of emails”.

Also included as grounds were “Subletting the unit and interfering with other tenants’ enjoyment of the building.”

Justice Miriam Gropper dismissed the first tenants application for a judicial review of a Residential Tenancy Branch decision ending their tenancy.

In dismissing her appeal, Gropper wrote, “I find the DRO’s conclusion that the volume and tone of the tenants e-mails to the landlord constituted an unreasonable disturbance of the landlord reasonable.”

To discuss this and other landlord and tenant issues go the the British Columbia landlord forum

Thinking of Becoming a Landlord? Secondary Suites May Be The Answer

May 1st, 2013

BC landlord secondary suite

Living on the North Shore may be desirable, but it is incredibly expensive. For this very reason, many people are looking into becoming a landlord by incorporating a secondary suite into their home in order to cover a little bit of mortgage, while also providing a small bit of profit.

Being a landlord can be challenging and there are potential challenges ahead, the rules and laws in British Columbia are very fair for landlords compared to other provinces such as Ontario, as this Barrie, Ontario landlord story shows.

The definition of a secondary suite in a building is a dwelling which is completely separate from the main dwelling. For example, this could mean a basement suite, which is perhaps the most popular on the North Shore.

If you are planning to incorporate a secondary suite into your home then it is important that you follow a few rules and regulations to ensure that you are not only acting legally, but also to ensure that you will not be putting anybodys life in danger. Follow these rules, and you should be fairly fine, and may be able to even turn a profit if you have a bit of space to rent out.

1.     It doesn’t matter how much space you have in your property, the law currently states that you can only have one secondary suite in a single-family building. You are also unable to divide this and sell it out. You can only rent it.

2.     The owner of the property must live in the property. They are either allowed to occupy the primary dwelling or the secondary suite.

3.     The secondary suite cannot cover an area more than 40 per cent of the entire area of the property. However, it can only be a maximum of 969 square feet.

4.     The secondary suite must have its own exit to the exterior of the property. You cannot exit through the primary dwelling.

5.     There must be an off-street space to park a car for those that will be residing in the secondary suite.

6.     All of the floors and walls within the suites and any corridors need to be fire rated to ensure they are not a hazard to the residents in the event of a fire.

7.     There must be an electrical sub-panel especially for the use of those that live within the secondary suite.

8.    The minimum height of the ceiling has to be six feet and eight inches. This needs to be everywhere within the secondary unit.

9.     Both the primary and the secondary suite should have their own separate heating and ventilation system.

If you want to get the most value out of your property then it does make sense financially to add a secondary suite to the building, even if you do have to carry out a couple of modifications. You may want to get in touch with the local building inspectors to check if you are doing it right, after all, this will help avoid fines and any other penalties in the future.

To discuss this and other landlord issues and opportunities for people in British Columbia go to the free BC Landlord Forum , the #1 landlord forum in BC.

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