Posts Tagged ‘ontario landlords’

Welcome Saskatchewan Landlords and Manitoba Landlords!

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

July 7th, 2012

It’s very important for small private residential landlords to have a voice.

With vacancy rates dropping in Canada and house prices rising, it’s easy for governments to target small landlords and view us as the ‘problem’ to be over-regulated and taxed instead of what we really are: the solution. And to be respected.

We are private entrepreneurs using our valuable time and risking our money to create a majority of the high quality, economical rental units on the market.

As providers of the majority of high quality economic rental units throughout Canada, it’s important we stand up for our landlord rights and interests.

The BC Landlords Association warmly welcomes the Saskatchewan Landlords Association and the Manitoba Landlords Association and thanks the hundreds of volunteers who have put their time and energy into these associations.

We also thank the Ontario Landlords Association for leading the way in getting honest and truthful help for small landlords instead of the usual sales tale and “I”m protecting you!” B.S. from “gurus”, legal representatives and property managers who don’t always tell the whole story.

We also welcome the Nova Scotia Landlords Association in the East.

Things are changing and small business landlords are understanding how important we are in our provincial economies and that by creating a unified voice we will not longer be silent.

The Toronto Sun: Ontario Rent Hike Lowest in 35 Years

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Ontario’s rent hike lowest in 35 years

By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Last Updated: January 2, 2011 5:20pm

Ontario rents will be allowed to edge up by only 0.7% in 2011.

It is the lowest increase in the 35-year history of the province’s rent guideline — the maximum annual rent increase allowable without seeking special approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board for a heftier hike.

“The McGuinty government is providing real protection for tenants by linking the rent increase guideline to the Ontario Consumer Price Index which prevents routine rent increases above the rate of inflation while ensuring landlords can recover increases in their costs,” said Liberal cabinet minister Jim Bradley.

Stuart Henderson, a moderator with the Ontario Landlords Association, which typically represents property owners with less than five units for rent, said the tiny increase has many of the group’s members wondering if they can afford to stay in the business.

“We’re the ones that are paying all these new costs — the price of gas, hydro, the HST — and then we kind of get kicked in the stomach with a 0.7% increase,” he said. “It leaves kind of the worst landlords in the market, people who are renting out fire traps, illegal places.”

The next provincial election will be held in October, and Henderson said the McGuinty government is clearly currying favour with tenants.

“It’s political opportunism,” he charged. “We feel that the McGuinty government is trying to protect against a backlash from tenants in Toronto.”

Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, said landlords may be complaining now but they weren’t protesting when the province allowed yearly increases in the range of 5% in the 1990s.

The recession has been very hard on many tenants, and unemployment in Toronto continues to hover at about 10%, he said.

”It’s not renting out a movie at Blockbusters — it’s people’s housing,” Dent said. “Any increase right now during this difficult time is hard for any tenant.”

Also, Ontario does not have “real” rent control because the landlord is only obliged to follow the guideline for an existing tenant, he said.

“If you move into a unit, though, a landlord can charge you whatever he wants,” Dent said. “The last tenant could have been paying $500 a month and they can charge you $2,000.”

Landlords get a bad deal when it comes to bad tenants

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

By Hugh Adami, Ottawa Citizen December 19, 2010

Why would anyone want to be a small landlord when there is little protection in Ontario from bad tenants?

Take Mike and Cathy Clarmo, who live in the Osgoode community of Edwards. The only way they could get a tenant to leave their rental property was with a cash payout of $3,000. And that was after 4½ years of watching the house’s resale value plummet because of their tenants’ neglect.

Their problems all started because the Clarmos couldn’t say no to an acquaintance who wanted to rent the three-bedroom bungalow they purchased in 2004. The Clarmos had just finished renovating the house when the man — a childhood friend of one of their sons — showed up at their doorstep in the spring of 2005. The couple had been planning to sell the property, which was just down the street from their home, and hoping for a $20,000-to-$25,000 profit to put toward retirement. Mike explained their plans, but the man persisted. He needed a place for his wife and children.

Mike said OK, figuring he would make some of the investment back in rent, and sell later, when the house was sure to be worth more.

Instead, cracks started appearing in their nest egg soon after the family moved in. “It broke our hearts to see the condition of the house deteriorate as it did,” says Cathy.

Probably the worst thing was that the house constantly reeked of animal urine.

The family had a dog, cat and rabbit. Drywall and floors were damaged. The garage was so cluttered that the couple was sure there was a fire risk.

Photos they took also show the front yard of the home littered with junk, including car parts such as engines and tires. The woman, who drove a school bus, damaged the eavestroughing after backing the vehicle into the house, Mike says. Rent was often late.

The Clarmos decided to sell the property after a business deal went sour. In April 2009, they gave the tenants more than two months of notice to vacate.

The tenants offered to buy the house “as is” for a reduced price. The Clarmos agreed. But the tenants couldn’t get a mortgage. The Clarmos abandoned their plan to sell after the husband approached Mike and tearfully told him he couldn’t find another house to rent.

A year later, they planned again to sell the house. But the husband, whose wife was no longer living with him, told Mike he was now well versed in tenants’ rights. He wasn’t going to move, and if Mike wanted to terminate the tenancy, he would have to go before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Mike did so twice. He says he came away convinced that as the landlord, he was considered the bad guy.

At the first hearing, Mike spoke with a mediator, who suggested he allow his tenant to stay at the house rent-free for five months with the condition that he move by the end of this month. The man’s lawyer suggested that Mike could get him out by the end of October if he gave him a few thousand dollars on top of free rent for three months. Mike refused. He recalls the lawyer telling him that he would regret his decision as he was bound to lose the case.

Mike produced photos that he had taken of the house at the first hearing. The adjudicator joked about the one of the cluttered garage. “‘It looks like my garage,'” Mike recalls him saying. In his written decision, adjudicator Greg Joy dismisses or challenges every complaint made by the landlord.

The Clarmos found a prospective buyer for the home soon after and again applied to have the tenancy agreement terminated by Nov. 1, which was also the closing date of the sale.

The adjudicator in the second hearing reserved his decision, which allowed the tenant to stay put for at least the time being.

Mike’s lawyer suggested they give the tenant $2,000 to get out of the house. The tenant’s lawyer then came back with another figure — $3,000 — plus the demand that his client be allowed to stay until Nov. 15. Worried the board could rule in favour of the tenant and that the prospective buyers of the house would pull out of the deal, Mike agreed.

The former tenant would not return my calls.

The $3,000, which the couple feels was extortion, plus $1,400 in legal fees and $1,000 to refill the home’s oil tank are the smaller losses. The Clarmos did sell the house for $240,000 — about $25,000 more than what it cost them to buy and renovate the property in 2004. But the selling price was still a far cry from the $290,000 to $300,000 a real estate broker had told them the house would have been worth.

The Clarmos don’t know if they should be angrier with their tenants or the board.

They realize the board exists primarily to protect tenants, and with children, their tenant was bound to get even more sympathy. But, they say, their case illustrates the need for rules to protect the good landlords.

Ontario’s Bedbug Solution: Penalize Landlords

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

No doubt something has to be done about the bedbug pandemic.  Landlords who encounter the pests suffer from unhappy tenants and others are stepping up inspections and cleaning efforts to reduce outbreaks.

Yet, when it comes to eradicating bedbugs all eyes seem to turn to landlords as the enforcers.  Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo is proposing that any landlord who wishes to renew a rental license obtain a bedbug inspection on the rental property.  DiNovo refers to this solution as “self-funded” because landlords will pay a fee for every inspection.

Many feel Ontario landlords are already overburdened with regulation, and that they are among the victims of this troubling issue.

While landlords have a duty to provide a safe, healthy environment for tenants, which implies a unit free from pest infestations, many experts are blaming the sudden surge in bedbugs on the government’s banning of the pesticides used to control them in the first place.

Ontario Property Manager Vincent Shanahan points out, “If the banning of pesticides is the major contributor to the problem, and landlords are forced to clean up the infestations, then there should be a fund established by the government for landlords to turn to for compensation.”

It is impossible to trace how bedbugs get into a particular rental unit.  The bugs can travel easily from one unit to the next, and have also been know to remain dormant for over a year – the time it takes for a tenant to come to the end of their lease agreement and move on. While the proposed law requires accountability on the part of landlords, there is no corresponding requirement that a tenant report to their new landlord that they found bedbugs in the same furnishings they are about to introduce into another building.

Shanahan points out another problem: a landlord faces an almost impossible task when treating bedbugs, because the unit has to be adequately prepared for the pest control treatment.  This is work that the tenant must perform.  But when it comes time for treating an outbreak, Shanahan finds that the tenants are never ready. “When you can’t force the tenants to do their part properly, how can a landlord ensure successful remediation?” he asks.  Shanahan finds that the LTB system moves slowly and is too tenant-friendly to be of any use in resolving the situation.

In addition, the newest pesticides don’t seem to work.  DDT was a major deterrent to bedbugs in the past, but was found too toxic for widespread use.  At that time, however, bedbug populations had been severely reduced. As a result, few manufacturers focused on an alternative to DDT in treating bedbugs.  Landlords are now faced with paying for costly treatments that may have a minimal affect on the bugs.  Leaving any adults alive to breed or eggs to hatch literally guarantees a re-infestation.

Still, Shanahan attempts to manage any potential threat of bedbugs in his properties.  “I have distributed information sheets to my tenants concerning the bedbug infestation in North America, and how to recognize and treat infestations. However, try posting all that information in the common lobbies, etc., and see how many new tenants you will obtain!”

Vincent G. Shanahan is President of Alpha Omega Property Managementin Barrie, Ontario, providing expert property management and consulting services for landlords.  Mr. Shanahan was invited to appear on the television program “Inside Toronto Real Estate”, and is an advocate for landlord rights throughout Ontario.

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.

A Free Professional Ontario Lease from the OLA!!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

When you become an OLA Member you get access to the RENTAL KIT of helpful and realistic documents.

Here’s an example of the documents to help YOU SUCCEED!!

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Tenant Screening: Tips for Verifying Applicant’s Income

by Chris on July 5, 2010

While performing a tenant background check, it’s important to keep the focus on profitability.  Does this candidate possess the potential to pay rent for the entire term of the lease?

Tenant Screening for the Traditional Applicant

The majority of rental applicants will have traditional employment.  An employer reference is a crucial part of your tenant background check.

Be certain that the company you are seeking a reference from is a legitimate business concern,  not a fiction or a business wholely owned by the applicant.

Some employers are reluctant to discuss an employee over the phone, or may insist they do not offer employee references.

There are two ways to handle that situation:

First, you could offer to fax a copy of the verification statement from the application to the employer to show the employee’s authorization to release information.

Alternatively, you may place the onus on the applicant to ask their personnel office to release the information you need.  Be persistent and do not move forward with the applicant until you are able to verify the applicant’s employment history and salary.
Tenant Screening of Self-Employed Tenants

Many entreprenuers prefer self-employment to a standard job.  Today, self employment is a popular alternative to unemployment; however, more than half of these businesses will fail within the first four years.

When verifying income of the self-employed candidate, job history becomes a crucial part of the tenant screening process.  A candidate who has chosen self-employment as a way of life is probably more suited for the business world than someone who is scrambling to recover after a job layoff.

The self-employed applicant may not keep payroll records, although that may be required to properly assess taxes.  Indeed, the payment of taxes – or rather the incorrect payment of taxes and fees, may be what puts the business under.  Perhaps the biggest risk a landlord faces when renting to a self-employed tenant is having a business  creditor garnish the income.

Successful candidates will have banking and tax records to verify income.

Tenant credit reports are indispensible in showing if the self-employed candidate is overspending, or struggling to fund a business venture.

When conducting a tenant background check on the self-employed, look for:

  • Appropriate licensing
  • Listings in local business directories
  • Banking statements
  • Corporate records
  • Client references

If you find little evidence of the self-employed business outside of the rental application, you may have cause to worry about this tenant’s  potential.

Once you have collected the income information you need:

Decide if the applicant’s  income is enough to justify the rental price of your property.  Typically, rent should not exceed one-third to one-half of overall income.

Determine whether the applicant has a steady work history.  Bouncing between jobs is a sign this candidate may not possess the commitment needed to be a good renter.  Periods of unemployment foreshadow bills going unpaid.

Also, look for clues that  the applicant is spending beyond their means.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada)

The OLA Brochure! Print it Out, Post it, Spread the Word!

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Looking for the Best Mortgage Out there?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Not all mortgage professionals are created equal.  This is especially true if you are invested in, or want to invest in, rental properties. 

The Ontario Landlord Association recommends you connect with Mr. Kevin Boucher of INVIS.  He has years of successful experience helping landlords across the country.  Here’s Kevin:

“Invis is Canada’s largest mortgage brokerage firm. With offices from coast to coast, our strength and experience allows  us greater leverage in negotiating the best products and rates with over 70 lenders across the country. 

I work hard to provide maximum flexibility in financing options and deliver the most competitive and innovative products and services to suit your individual needs.”

Contact Kevin for all your mortgage needs.  He understands landlords! 

You’ll be amazed at his professionalism and level of knowledge.