Posts Tagged ‘landlord advice’

Lots of hearings cancelled tomorrow (Wed. Feb. 2, 2011) at LTB

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
Due to extreme weather conditions LTB hearings scheduled for Wednesday February 2nd, 2011 at the following locations have been cancelled and will be re-scheduled:

Simcoe:
Best western Little River Inn
203 Queens Way West,Simcoe, ON,N3Y 2M9

Brantford:
Best Western Alexander Graham Bell Room
19 Holiday Drive Hwy,(403 and Gretzky Pkwy),Brantford, ON, N3T 5W5

Owen Sound:
ServiceOntario, Boardroom – Main Floor,1400 1st Avenue West, Owen Sound, ON,N4K 6Z9

Cobourg:
Best Western Inn & Convention Centre, 930 Burnham Street, Cobourg, ON, K9A 2X9

For up to date information regarding hearing cancellations please contact our Call Centre 416-645-8080 or Toll-free 1-888-332-3234

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

Must See Landlord TV: RyersonianTV News OLA Interview

Monday, September 27th, 2010

An important report on the bedbug problem in Toronto.

http://www.ryersonian.ca/tv/9354/

The OLA comments at 4:20

Landlords Burned by Internet Scammers

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Recently a Newfoundland landlord found himself in a controversy regarding a rental ad he posted on Kijiji.ca.

After advertising his condo rental, the landlord was contacted by a potential tenant who referred to an ad for the same                                                                    

property on another Internet classified site, Craigslist.

Suspicious, the landlord researched Craigslist and indeed found his property advertised by an impostor.

The fake landlord was asking half the rent, and allowing both smoking and pets on the property, which the actual landlord had restricted.

The local police found there was nothing they could do to stop the fraud.  Craigslist also failed to pull the ad or warn potential victims of the fraud, so the landlord took matters into his own hands.  He contacted the fraudsters directly, and posed as a tenant to gain more information.

He was told to send a deposit, and upon receipt of the funds, the “landlord” would ship the keys.  He was invited to view the apartment on his own.  Eventually, the scammers became suspicious of the real landlord’s probing inquiry, and pulled the ad.

In a related incident, a RCMP officer went undercover to bust an Internet rental scam in Kelowna, B.C.  In this case, a teenager and her 21-year old friend posted an ad for a rental on Castanet. The 17-year old posed as the landlord’s daughter.  A victim deposited some money in the “landlord’s” bank account without becoming suspicious of the scam. The victim believed that the property could not be shown at that time because it was currently occupied. A few days later, another victim posted a warning on the Internet regarding that ad.  That prompted a call to the police.

The fraudsters made the mistake of continuing to communicate with their victim and demanded the rest of the agreed-upon payment. But instead of meeting with the victim, the cons met an undercover officer.  Both were arrested and charged with fraud.

In the U.S., landlords have been warned by the F.B.I. of a rash on similar Internet scams.  Perhaps the most notorious was a couple who moved across country to an Arizona home offered for rent in Craigslist.  The family of nine could not believe the luck of finding a large house with a swimming pool for such low rent and immediately sent a deposit to hold the property.  In this case, the tenants were given access, and actually started moving into the property before the real owner returned from vacation to find the  family in her home.

In an act of great kindness, the owner allowed the victimized tenants to remain for some time until they could find another place to live.

While some of these frauds may seen obvious to landlords, who understand the normal rental process, they are not so obvious to renters.  It is estimated that scammers often net thousands of dollars from each of these fake ads.

Some landlords are becoming skeptical of posting Internet ads, and relying instead upon rental signs, or newspaper classifieds. Others post warning within their own ads, for instance, advising that all applicants must meet with the landlord personally, and the approved applicant will undergo a credit check before they will be asked to pay a deposit.

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), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).


“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