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Hoarders? What can a landlord do?

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

“Our hands are really tied under the Residential Tenancies Act.”

 July 2011

Like a lot of residential property investors in Ontario are doing these days, the Toronto Star asked:  The threat from hoarders is real, but do property managers have the power they need to get access to apartments and protect their tenants? 

According to the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act landlords must seek the permission of their tenants to enter their rental units. Gaining access is often difficult. However, following the terrible fire at 200 Wellesley St. E. last September, the fire marshal’s office is now asking landlords to be vigilant about reducing risk to other tenants from the problems caused by hoarding, and to notify local fire departments if they see instances that are of concern.

What can landlords do?  Two members of the Ontario Landlords Association Andrew Ganguly and April Stewart of Landlord Legal were interviewed to help provide advice and guidance.

Ganguly explained “The problem we have is that our hands are really tied under the Residential Tenancies Act.”

“If I serve the required 24-hour notice to inspect a unit and the tenant refuses entry I’m stuck — the tenant doesn’t have to let me in. It causes a lot of anxiety because you want to keep an eye on it because you know you will be the one to be blamed but you can’t do anything about it.”

Stewart gave background information on Section 15 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 which allows a fire official to enter a premises “without a warrant or other authorization for the purpose of removing or reducing the threat.”

In one of Stewart’s cases, the tenant had piled up so much debris gathered outside and inside the house  the fire department issued such as order.

Stewart explained the landlord had not managed to get the Landlord and Tenant Board to issue an eviction notice. While the fire department is now asking the landlord to get rid of all the debris left by the tenant, the landlord knows that under the law he can’t do so as the tenant was not legally evicted.

Stewart said “Now the landlord is in a bad position, left in limbo with the status of the tenant because the landlord tried previously to get rid of the tenant but didn’t win the eviction case.”

Read more at the Toronto Star.

Discuss the article in the Ontario Landlord Forums.