Posts Tagged ‘Landlord Forum’

Alberta Landlords – Is Rent Control Coming?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

December 15, 2013

Alberta landlords rent control

Is rent control coming to Alberta? According to an editorial in the Whitecourt Star it should be.

Rent control is when the government caps the amount of rent a landlord can charge. The Star believes it’s the solution to the low vacancy rate in Alberta.

Low Vacancy Rate

The vacancy rate is, in fact, very low and tenants are scrambling to find rental apartments.

According to the Canada Housing and Mortage Corp. (CMHC) not only are vacancy rates in Alberta decline, rents are also rising.

The Whitecourt Star’s Argument for Rent Control in Alberta

The Star sent a reporter to look into the rental market in Whitecourt in 2012.

The reporter found there were a lot of tenants in the city looking for rental housing. The report stated there were not enough affordable rental units available and there was a long list of tenants waiting to find a place to rent “at any price.”

The Star editorial stated the Alberta economy was booming and more workers were coming to the province. Despite these jobs there are thousands of homeless living on the street because Calgary and Edmonton landlords won’t rent to them.

While investors and landlords have the right to profit from their rental businesses the Star argues people have the right to a place to live.

According to the Whitecourt Star ‘rent control’ is a way the government “can make this happen.

Rent Control Doesn’t Mean More Affordable Rental Units

The Whitecourt Star argument is wrong. Rent control doesn’t equal more affordable housing.

Other Canadian provinces have rent control

For example, British Columbia landlords can only increase the rent by 2.2% in 2014. Yet tenants there are still complaining rents are too high and something needs to be done.

And even better example is Ontario.

In 2014 Ontario Landlords can only raise the rent a measly 0.8% for their current tenants.

While the Ontario Rent Increase Guideline is tied to the CPI Index rent increases are ‘capped’ at a maximum of 2.5% no matter how high inflation gets.

With rent control and rent increases capped there should be a ton of rental available and rents should be low. 

Except there isn’t.

With so much government control many investors simply avoid investing in residential rental property in Ontario.

The vacancy rates in Ontario are nearly as low as in Alberta.

And there is a huge waiting list for affordable housing in Ontario.

Rent Control Is Not the Answer

Alberta landlords already know rent control is not the way forward for Alberta.

Anyone can see from what is happening in British Columbia and Ontario that rent control only hurts tenants.

Furthermore, landlords in Alberta are already facing increasing challenges.

We hope the Whitecourt Star editorial board thinks more carefully next time.

Have a Secondary Suite? Make It Legal and Make It Safe

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

June 1st, 2013

Lethbridge alberta landlords illegal suites

According to a report in the Lethbridge Herald some tenants are being evicted because their rental home is a fire hazard. Instead of being legal and safe, the secondary suite violates fire codes, municipal zoning regulations and provincial health and safety laws.  And once the renters are gone, there’s little the city can do to make sure other prospective tenants don’t fall victim to the same kind of illicit accommodations.

We know there is political pressure in our province to make secondary suites legal and safe. The problem is the majority of renters who are heading to illegal properties know that they aren’t lawful right from the start. 

Groundhog Day

At the moment, it is very difficult to keep tabs on illegal suites.

The same property owners are being caught time and time again as they need to rent in order to cover the costs of owning a property. This is because once a person has been evicted, the inspectors will return to check the property to ensure nobody is living there.

However the inspectors return only once.This leads to some property owners to start all over again and re-rent until they receive the next complaint. The whole situation repeats itself. It is only in the most extreme circumstances that any landlord is actually fined under the Public Health Act.

Delayed Evictions

At the moment, inspectors are taking the stance where people are not going to be evicted straight away. In fact, many are willing to work with the landlords to bring the property up to scratch. Only if there is an immediate risk will somebody get evicted.

With the lack of affordable rental housing many tenants living in these rental apartments face homelessness if they let word get out. Instead, they are keeping quiet and not complaining. At the moment, there is one new illegal suite being discovered every two weeks, which means that a lot of people’s life are currently in danger as a result.

Tenants unwilling to find themselves homeless are less likely to report their illegal living situations, thus, the real number of illegal suites in Lethbridge remains unknown. 

Fire Prevention Officer

According to fire prevention officer Doug Braodhead, “There’s kind of a catch-22 in that situation, that if they come to me and say that ‘I live in an illegal suite,’ then there’s certain options. One is that they might get kicked out, because that’s the option that we give the owners – they have to vacate the suite. So they might be putting themselves in a bad situation,” by making a complaint.

Broadhead estimated he inspects at least one unregistered suite every two weeks. He says “The thing is, when they get caught is when they have a fire, and that’s when they’re really in trouble,” he said. “That’s the risk they’re taking by putting someone back in there month after month. In the long run, it’s better to just upgrade your suite, make it legal, make it safe. And then if there is a fire they’re not held liable for it.”

The system isn’t broken like other provinces, it’s up to individual landlords to invest back into their properties.

To discuss this and other landlord and tenant issues go to the Alberta Landlord Forum.

Landlord Tips from the Terminator!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Tenants are lying about not receiving the N4

What do I do if a tenant I’m serving an N4 to just says they didn’t get it? Even though I mailed or just put it in the mailbox like the Landlord and Tenant Board website says I should.
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