Posts Tagged ‘guide to the residential tenancy act’

Ontario’s landlord and tenant process is broken

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Ottawa Citizen November 22, 2010

Re: The Shame Of St. Patrick St., Nov. 14.

I am the owner of Landlord Legal, a small firm in Barrie, working to keep up with landlords in need.

Thank you for your efforts in exposing the reality of the eviction process.

So often, landlords bring these applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board and lack witnesses because of fear of retaliation. Police can’t assist in matters that are still “open investigations.”

Lacking witnesses and police records, the applications fail, or we must instead find other, safer applications to the board such as rent arrears or damages to the unit, instead of the biggest reason: the rental unit is a crack house, and other tenants are disrupted and endangered.

It is incredibly difficult to terminate tenancies in this province. The Landlord is held to an onerous burden of proof. The tenant is often enabled and in fact encouraged to drag things out.

These stories are taking place all over Ontario, every day. The Landlord and Tenant Board is profiting from the misfortune of the residential landlord, and turns a blind eye to repeat offender tenants, who make a mockery of the process.

Right out of the gate, the landlord loses. It costs $170 to bring a tenant to the board, while tenants pay $45 to bring a landlord to the board.

Affordable housing in this province will continue to decline as private residential landlords realize they have bitten off more than they intended to chew.

C. April Stewart, Landlord Legal

Results from the Bedbug Summit

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The OLA was the official voice of “small business landlords” at MPP Colle’s helpful and important “Bedbug Summit” at Queen’s Park in September.

We would like to thank Mr. Colle and his helpful staff for organizing the Summit.

By all accounts small business landlords were well represented. Our speech created such a strong impression, MPP Colle spoke about her in his closing comments. The other OLA members present made a huge impact, even confronting Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito and educating him about the difference between REIT corporate landlords and small business landlords. Thank you Skitter. Thank you BigFoot.

For the first time in years, small business landlords were on the stage, in the spot-light, and making their voices… YOUR VOICE…heard!! The OLA for small business landlords is a non-profit, education organization created to help small business landlords in Ontario. Everyone involved is a landlord in Ontario…just like you.

Monday, November 22nd, 2010


M.P.P. to Release Recommendations to Province
Arising from Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park

On Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence, will release his recommendations to the Province of Ontario, arising out of the Bed Bug Summit hosted at Queen’s Park on September 29th, 2010.

“Bed Bug infestation is not just a Toronto problem. We need a comprehensive provincial strategy to help deal with this scourge.” said MPP Mike Colle, who has led the fight to bring the issue forward at Queen’s Park.

“It is imperative that all sectors of society, along with all levels of government, engage in a comprehensive and co-operative effort to fight Bed Bug infestation,” said Colle.

Key stakeholders and community advocates involved in the front line efforts in fighting the Bed Bug infestation were invited to the Bed Bug Summit at Queen’s Park to share their best practices in dealing with Bed Bugs, and offer solutions on how to best control infestations.

MPP Colle is hoping that key recommendations will be adopted and implemented by all levels of government, and everyone dealing with infestation.


Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Queen’s Park – Media Studio
Main Legislative Building
Room 139

For additional information, please contact:

Nancy Caetano
Executive Assistant
Office of Mike Colle, M.P.P.
Tel: 416-325-4091

Yet Another Day at the Landlord and Tenant Board

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Today I paid a visit to the local Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) office here in my new hometown of Mississauga, I began filing my applications at this office having just moved to the area.

From my handful of trips to the Mississauga office I have encountered many new generation Canadians. I know however thru my conversations with some while waiting in line that many here are small time landlords much like the ones that make up the core membership of the Ontario Landlord Association. Inevitably I end up helping out landlords who have questions. Many of the landlords are new to the game. I shutter to think how exposed they are in their limited knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act. What chance would they have in dealing with problem tenants like the ones I was there to deal with? A N8 application for 6 months of late payments, a N5 for moving in a washer and dryer into a small 2 bedroom unit which that refuse to get rid off.

The common small scale landlord does not stand a chance against professional tenants, their free duty council and a system designed to keep tenants from being quickly evicted while the landlord foots the bill.

I arrived shortly after 12 pm, perfect, lunchtime. One window was open with one staff member manning her computer. Luckily there is not much of a crowd waiting and I am here for a simple application. Here is where the experience gets rocky. As I am being served I tell the administrator who is processing my application that I have an L2 application due to an N5. The admin does her job and asks me a few questions such as “is this a first or second N5? did they didn’t correct the problem?”. Those of you who are familiar with the application process will know about the section where you must state the rent on deposit for Last Month’s Rent (LMR), when the deposit was taken, when was the last time interest was paid. I informed her that I just apply the interest to LMR which will also increase by the exact same amount, essentially it’s a wash. She informed me that I must write them a cheque and they must in turn write me a cheque back for the exact same amount or I could be charged with a provincial offense. She then told me that the fines were really high and handed me a pamphlet “The residential tenancies act offenses” listing all the infractions that person could be charged with, in the pamphlet it states “It is an offense to fail to pay the tenant interest on the rent deposit when required”. While the statement may be true, crediting the tenant’s LRM is also an allowable form of payment however she insisted I was to give the tenant an cheque for the interest amount and it was then up to the tenant to pay that amount back into LMR “some tenants will and others won’t then you can charge them for it when they move out”.

According to her theory, Landlords are to pay interest out, while the tenant may or may not repay that amount back to the Landlord to top up LMR and it will be up to the Landlord to file either a $170 LTB application against a tenant who is vacating a unit most likely before a hearing date occurs. Or they can choose to file a smalls claims court suit keeping in mind the tenant will most likely not provide a forwarding address. All this for most likely less then $50 in interest, but $50 that was rightfully owed to the Landlord.

Yet another blunder when I informed her that this was a second L2 application the first was for a N8 notice because the tenant has persistently paid rent late over the last 7 months. She questioned why I was filing this second L2 as my hearing on Nov 4 would evict them for persistently paying rent late. I informed her that this is not the case. As some of you might know a first time application for persistently paying rent rarely leads to an eviction. She told me that she has never heard of that being the case and that wasn’t her experience, all the while shaking her head and continuing to type. Thanks for the information Landlord and Tenant Board!

Luckily I’ve had some experience and a great resource, The Ontario Landlord Association. I truly feel sorry for the little guys who are swimming with sharks, they must feel like they are alone on an island with nowhere to turn for help. This is why we must get the OLA name out there.

Ken S

Canada’s Landlord Associations: Finding Strength in Numbers

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Forming a community with other landlords is paramount to success in the rental property business.

Jane Schweitzer, the Assistant Moderator for Ontario Landlords Association, points to one of the most crucial reasons for joining a landlord association: strength in numbers.

“Unfortunately, landlords are caught in the political crossfire in Ontario, and many of us are fighting for basic rights, as well as keeping our heads above water in a difficult legislative environment,” she says.  “By joining together we can further our cause.”

Ms. Schweitzer points out that Ontario landlords badly need to reform the Landlord and Tenant Board and OLA has been in contact with the Ontario Ombudsman to take up that cause. “All the support we can garner from members is crucial to making this happen,” she says. The OLA is also a regular contributor to news organizations around Ontario to make sure that the rights of landlords are not forgotten.

In Alberta, Directors of the Edmonton Apartment Association participated in committee to review and revamp the new Residential Tenancies Act, Ministerial Regulations and Code of Practice.  In addition, the EAA collaborated with the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations on federal tax issues.

The voice of landlords in British Columbia, the British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association, was instrumental in eliminating the Provincial portion of HST on energy costs for landlords, and has made strides to obtain economic incentives for landlords.  Government lobbying is BCAOMA’s most important benefit – lobbying for their members with one strong, well-respected voice. BCAOMA develops and maintains key relationships and monitors municipal and provincial government officials who are critical in ensuring the success of the rental housing industry.

Small landlords can find a loud voice by joining with others who share the same economic interests and concerns.

Property Management Advice

Landlords can turn to their associations to offer tips and a forum to discuss everyday issues.  For instance, the Ontario Landlords Association landlord forum has over 30,000 posts in a year.

Edmonton landlords can participate in a number of networking and social functions and swap stories with other landlords.  In addition, the EAA website tracks market trends and offers notifications of changes in the tenancy laws.

BCAOMA offers a number of networking opportunities, as well as its Best Practices for Landlords 101 and 102, seminars that cover tenancies from tenant screening through eviction and dispute resolution.  BCAOMA hosts industry related meetings and seminars on a regular basis with a focus on important topics to assist landlords in making important decisions to secure a good return on their investment. Topics have included maintaining your property, attracting and keeping good tenants and understanding the provincial and municipal laws around apartment ownership.  BCAOMA members also have exclusive use of over 30 types of professionally-drafted tenancy forms, including applications, agreements and condition inspection reports.

Access to Landlord Services

Landlord Associations list trades persons and suppliers who support the rental industry.  From tenant credit checks to eviction assistance, the suppliers listed with landlord associations have been found to be excellent companies and are approved by other landlords.

In many cases, these companies offer the best pricing and many offer special discounts to association member landlords.

BCAOMA vows to increase a landlord’s net income on rental properties if landlords take advantage of the discounts it has brokered with trades and suppliers.

There are a number of Canadian landlord associations that offer landlords valuable benefits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities offered, find your voice, and profit in your rental business.


Tenant Screening Advice from the Debt Collector Who Tracks Them Down

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

By Kristen Fraser, TVS Staff Writer

Collecting tenant debts is an unfortunate aspect of renting.

Having the proper tenant screening information will save you time and money.

Michael Tinant, an employee at Wiggins Adjustments, a long time established collection agency in Vancouver, explains that the “more information given on a rental application, the easier it is to track down renters.”

He recommends that landlords, Realtors, and property managers keep a file of all tenants’:

* Social Insurance Numbers
* Dates of birth
* Previous addresses
* Employers
* Personal references

Having such information on file can also act as a deterrent for tenants considering delinquent behaviors.

Collecting tenant debt can be stress free with the help of a tenant debt collection agency. Most agencies only require payment from the landlord when payment is collected from the tenant. Generally, collection agencies charge around 35% of the money collected. Be careful to read the small print as many agencies charges increase if the collection is less than $250. Individual agencies vary, make sure to research different agencies and choose the service that best suits you.

To minimize the risk of tenant debt, it is strongly recommended that landlords, Realtors and property managers have the prospective tenant read and sign a Notice to Tenant form available from Tenant Verification Service alerting the tenant that bad habits will be reported to TVS, a tenant credit reporting agency.

These forms make a very strong impact statement and will reduce the risk of tenant debt and of late rent payments.

A Cautionary Tale For Landlords in Ontario

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The devastation in this video should have been avoided. The tenants responsible for this destruction have done this before. Too many times. Their victims: small, residential landlords who were vulnerable, unsuspecting and could ill afford what would happen to their investment properties.

The victims: Tyler and Lisa Sage, Amatal Wadood, Gary and Nancy Woodley, Judin and Anne Xavier, Lois Debeaucamp. There are more.

The story is the same for each of them. The tenants pose as a responsible and financially responsible couple, seeking a nice home in a lovely neighbourhood. They express a sincere desire to raise their little girl in a safe area, and are planning to purchase their own home one day soon. Landlords love their story, they appear to be excellent prospective tenants.

Soon after they move in, the games begin. Bounced cheques, emails full of excuses and lies. The moment the landlords begin to stand up to them, the truth is realized. They lied from the beginning. They know the system. They threaten, and hold property hostage while the system governing evictions grinds along. All the while, the conditions inside and outside the homes deteriorates. When it’s over, the rent arrears are significant, the damage is unbelievable. Instead of being ashamed or remorseful, however, they file applications against their landlords for harassment, and file Claims in the higher courts for the heaps of belongings they leave behind.

These tenants do not face any exposure or consequence before the Landlord and Tenant Board, and they are empowered to do it over and over and over again. It’s time to ask WHY.

“Ontario may just have the strictest legal requirements for landlords in North America.”

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Being a Landlord in Ontario

I received in the mail yesterday my real estate broker’s regular newsletter.  In it there is an article entitled “Becoming a Landlord – Do Your Homework”.  The first sentence of the article is “Ontario may just have the strictest legal requirements for landlords in North America.”

In my opinion, the article ought to be re-titled “Becoming a Landlord – Have Your Head Examined.”  I don’t know if it’s fair to say that Ontario has the strictest landlord laws, but I think it is very fair to say that the Landlord and Tenant Act is extremely tenant-friendly.  My criticism is NOT with the existence of the LTA’s terms, rather it is with the inflexibility of the system.  I will be the first to recognize that the legislation was put in place in response to actual examples of what slum-lords have done to tenants.  I will also be the first to recognized that even with this legislation in place there are still slum-lords operating in Toronto and throughout the province (thankfully, none of them are my clients).  I should also say that in the past I have represented both landlords and tenants in various matters and I do not have a bias in favour of one or the other.  The difficulty is that the legislation which was enacted to avoid the abuses by landlords years ago swung the pendulum way over to the other side and now permits abuses by tenants.  There is no fair balance.  Some will say, “yes, that’s true, but it’s a policy decision made by the legislature that it is entitled to make.”  I agree.  But that doesn’t make it right and it is ultimately, then, a choice between two evils.

I should also point out that I am dealing with residential tenancies here, not commercial tenancies.  So, this will affect small businesses, for example, where they purchase a building that has a main floor store front or office space and then an apartment or apartments in the floor(s) above.

The Ontario legislature’s desire to protect tenants from slum-lords the legislation has turned into a nightmare for decent landlords to get rid of problem tenants.  Let’s give a few examples.  The first area is rent.  If the tenant fails to pay rent on January 1, the landlord must give a notice, if the notice is ignored, the landlord can bring an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to have the tenancy terminated for non-payment of rent.  The Board hearing might not be scheduled until April 1.  At any point up until the start of the hearing, the tenant can pay the rent – and remember, we are only talking about January’s rent.  If the tenant has failed to pay February and March rent by that time, a new application (or applications) must be filed.  So, if a tenant wanted to be perpetually late, the landlord has to bring a series of applications and if the tenant pays at the last second, the landlord is precluded from kicking the tenant out.  The legislation was put in place to avoid slum-lords from using the slightest delay in rental payment as an excuse to kick out a rent-controlled tenant and replace him or her with a higher paying tenant.  The problem is that it is now open to abuse by tenants.

Another example, I have a client who is a superintendant at an apartment building.  The client has a dispute with one of the tenants.  One day, my client alleges and I personally believe him but it has never been fully decided at the LTB or in court, the tenant decided to throw a 4 litre bottle of oil off the tenant’s balcony and narrowly missed my client working many stories below.  This type of conduct is completely reprehensible and ought to be a justification for immediate eviction of the tenant.  An application for this relief was brought to the tribunal.  The application was dismissed.  Why?  Because it was not a “continuing” event.  The provision in the legislation was clearly aimed at situations such as tenants who play their music loudly or have parties all the time.  The result is that the tenant would have to keep doing acts which endangered my client’s health or amounted to a nuisance for an uninterrupted period of seven days before the tenant could be evicted.  Perversely enough, if the tenant does whatever the problem is for six days in a row, then takes a day off, and then goes another six days, then takes another day off, etc., etc. there is little that a landlord can do.  Again, a provision in the legislation that is open for abuse by tenants.

A third example, in the most recent round of legislative reform landlords were precluded from being able to request that tenants permit the landlords to directly debit the tenants’ bank accounts for the rental payments.  This is joined with the existing provision that landlords cannot ask for post-dated cheques.  The only guaranteed obligation of a tenant, regardless of the nature of the tenancy, is that the tenant pays rent.  Direct debits permit the landlord to more cost-effectively get paid.  The argument against direct debits is that sometimes the tenant doesn’t have the money on the first.  If that’s the case then (a) the tenant is in breach of the lease and that’s the tenant’s problem; and (b) if the tenant writes a cheque on January 1 hoping that it will be deposited on January 2 at the landlord’s bank and that by the time it makes it over to the tenant’s bank on January 3 there will be money to cover the cheque, the tenant is engaged in “cheque kiting” which is illegal – and something the law should not be encouraging.

I could go on.  Suffice it to say, over the years I have had opportunities with friends and otherwise to invest in real estate which would make me a landlord, either directly or indirectly.  In light of Ontario’s legislation, I have steadfastly refused.  Those who are landlords are either braver souls than I, or maybe they should have their heads examined.

courtesy of Christoper A.L. Caruana