Posts Tagged ‘tenant problems’

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

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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

Vancouver Tenant – Get Rid of the Pigeon Poop

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

November 16th, 2012


A tenant in North Vancouver Says His No One Is Taking His Concern Over Pigeon Poop Seriously

What’s the Situation?

A tenant living in a rental property in North Vancouver states his landlord is not dealing with the inches of poop lying outside of his window from pigeons.

How Bad Is It?

The tenant, Michael Ravenscroft, says it has now become more than three inches deep.  And it’s right outside of his window.

What’s Ravenscroft Done to Fix The Situation?

He complained to the property management firm running his building.  He says they did nothing to help.

What Next?

He sent a complaint fo the health department.  For over a month no one even contacted him.

According to Ravenscroft, no one is taking his issue over the pigeon poop seriously enough. This isn’t an issue about pets, he said.  Instead is a biohazard issue.

When Did He Fist Become Concerned?

Ravenscroft said he originally smelled a foul smell outside of his apartment. The problem was that no matter how hard he cleaned the smell wouldn’t go away.

When Did He Find Out the Cause of the Odour?

Eventually, he saw outside his window there were some shafts. In those shafts were a huge coating of not only pigeon feces, but also decomposing bones.

Is This Common?


Pigeons find building an ideal place to make their nests. And they are also know to carry some diseases which can be picked up by people. While it’s not commons pigeon poop can carry serious diseases spread simply by breathing in the odours.

What Does The Government Say?

The Health Officer for Environment matter said there is more risk for people when cleaning the feces rather than only living beside the mess.

The Health Officer met with the property management company and he was assured the mess would be cleaned up, thus avoiding any conflict with the tenant.

What Does the Property Management Company Say?

The property management company is called Living Balance. They are aware of the problem and preparing to clean up the problem. It’s important property management companies offer professional landlord services.

Is This A Common Problem in Vancouver?

According to a company that protects buildings from birds, it’s a common problem.


Landlords And Property Managers, It’s Important To Be Ready For Everything!


Do you have questions about the Landlord and Tenant Board? How to evict a tenant? Your tenant hasn’t paid rent? Do you need Landlord help?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

There are questions Landlords ask everyday in Ontario:

1. I need help with the Landlord and Tenant Board

2. How do I evict a tenant?

3. My tenant hasn’t paid rent?

4. I need landlord help

Welcome to the Ontario Landlord Association HELP forums!!

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

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.

“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