Posts Tagged ‘landlord help’

Ontario Landlord Association and GTS-Global Tracing Solutions

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

You wouldn’t think how the experience of dealing with tenants (or for this article, ex-tenants) could be so close to the story of Cinderella but when I gave it a closer look, I was surprised to see the similarities. Things CAN change when the clock strikes midnight- especially if your tenant decides to do a midnight run. That beautiful and expensive carriage (vehicle)  that you thought they owned turns out was either borrowed or leased. The great references disappear quicker then the horses that were pulling the carriage. But remember there can be a happy ending if you take the rights steps.

Let’s look at the Prince (in this case it will be played by GTS-Global Tracing Solutions) he has a clue as to where “Cinderella”  (ex-tenant) could have gone. He starts with the glass slipper, well as most people don’t realize, they leave footprints wherever they go- Cinderella is no different. And in her case the Prince is lucky that there are also some digital footprints left behind as well. So the Prince starts to analyze the foot prints and pulls out some clues for him to follow.  With a few phone calls, more searching and some helpful “info fairies” along the way he is able to locate a different location. Where the peasant girl –Cinderella (the tenant that made the midnight move) now calls home (yes she too ended up back with her evil step mother) .

So it’s not exactly like that for a skip tracing company but in many ways it is. People pretend to be things they are not and provide an “image” and information to get what they need- in this case it’s a roof over their head. That is why it’s important to start off on the right foot (sort of speak) and make sure that you are using a thorough application and doing the checks on the information provided. NOW is the time at the beginning of the relationship to confirm and ask the questions that you need answered. Don’t have time – use a service like Tenant Verification Services. At least give US a chance to start on the right path , so we can give you the best chance to recover by locating a new address for service or a new phone number so you can start your collection process. It is hard to find someone when you are their last known address and there is nothing else to go on.

GTS-Global Tracing Solutions Ltd. is here to help you recover what is rightfully yours from those that are clearly not making the right decisions.    www.gtsglobaltracing.ca

If you could change 3 things about the current laws for Ontario Landlords…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

The Ontario Landlords Association for small business landlords has received a request to create a list (with follow-up explanations) of what changes should be made to the Residential Tenancy Act and to the Landlord  Tenant Board.

Here’s a chance to get your views to those who make the decisions. Please keep it to 3 main points, and if you can add an explanation or personal experience regarding the matter, please do so.

Please post in the HELP FORUM and get YOUR VIEWS HEARD!!

Is it better to rent with utilities included?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

By Dominique Jarry-Shore | Tue Feb 01 2011

With several cold snaps already behind us, renters may be wondering whether it’s better to have their heat and hydro included in the rent or pay it separately.

There are pros and cons to both.

When heat is included budgeting can be easier with set costs every month. This can be especially helpful where roommates are concerned since divvying up heating bills from month to month is an extra hassle. It also protects you from rising energy prices, since the amount of rent you pay will likely stay the same or rise by only a small amount, as set out by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

This year, the rent increase has been set at less than 1 per cent, and although landlords can apply for a rent increase over and above that amount .

If you’re planning on staying in your apartment for several years, it could be more advantageous to have the heat included because annual rent increases will likely be less than the increase in energy costs.

The drawback to having the heat included is that you have less control over how much you pay for it. If you’re someone who is good at saving on heat, and generally has a small heating bill, you could end up paying more than your consumption when it’s included in the rent.

Stuart Henderson is a member of the Ontario Landlord’s Association and a small-business landlord who owns about 50 rental units.

He says landlords will often adjust the amount of rent a tenant pays when the heat is included to account for a tenant who might waste energy. Even if you aren’t the type to leave the window open in the middle of winter, your landlord may have factored that kind of wastefulness into the price as a precaution.

Henderson says a more worrisome concern is rising energy costs and that uncertainty means many landlords are wary of including utilities in the rent.

He calls the 10 per rebate on hydro bills introduced by the McGuinty government a “very small help” and estimates costs for landlords have gone up 10 to 20 per cent in recent years due to a combination of factors, including the HST, the increase in the cost of energy, and in some areas, rising property taxes.

With the rent increase set at 0.7 per cent for 2011, Henderson says landlords are more and more willing to negotiate a rent that doesn’t include utilities.

This is where it can get interesting for renters.

By comparing similar units in the neighbourhood, renters may want to try bargaining for a lower rent in exchange for paying the heat themselves.

Here are some tips for negotiating a better deal on your rent where heat and utilities are concerned.

1) Compare apples to apples. Take some time to research the prices for similar units in the neighbourhood both with heat included, and excluded from the price. That way you’ll have a better starting point when bargaining. Craig’s List and other online housing sites can be a good place to start.

2) Find out how is consumption is measured. Sometimes heat is included in the rent because it’s not possible to determine the exact consumption in your unit. This is especially true in some older townhouses where one heating system may be used for a couple of units. Find out how exactly your consumption will be measured to make sure it’s fair. If this seems suspect, you might want to skip offering to pay your own utilities.

3) Check the energy efficiency of the apartment. Are the windows winterized? Which was does the apartment face? Keep in mind that a basement will cost more to hear than a top floor apartment.

4) Find out who you’re you dealing with. You’ll probably have more of a chance negotiating a rent with a small-business landlord as opposed to a large company-managed building where rules may be less flexible

Dominique Jarry-Shore is an editor with thestar.com. She lives in an apartment in downtown Toronto.

http://www.moneyville.ca/article/931309–is-it-better-to-rent-with-utilities-included?bn=1

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Whose Job Is It to Clear the Snow?

Whose job is it to clear the snow at a rental property? The tenant or the landlord?

A woman in London makes a case for a by-law requiring landlords to clear the snow from tenants’ walkways and driveways.

The OLA’s Jane Schweitzer called the idea of ignoring what is put in the lease ‘ridiculous.’

http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/2011/02/01/whose-job-is-it-to-clear-the-snow/

Waterloo the next city to license landlords

Friday, January 21st, 2011

WATERLOO — Waterloo proposes to become the first local city to regulate landlords who rent houses, charging them $1.2 million a year for rental licences.

Critics see it as a costly red-tape headache that will dissuade people from renting out bedrooms and houses.

“It’s really an attack on the Mom-and-Pop operation,” said Glenn Trachsel, of the Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association. He predicts it will lead to a housing shortage.

Proponents say rental regulation will improve property standards and tenant safety.

“We know we have lots of rentals and we want to make sure that they’re all safe,” said Jim Barry, director of bylaw enforcement. “And by safe, we want to make sure that they’re safe for the people renting, and for the neighbourhood around them.”

Landlords would be charged fees ranging from $501 to $819 to secure a rental housing licence. Annual renewals would cost $231 to $405. Fees would pay all costs for rental regulation.

Apartment buildings are excluded due to higher provincial safety codes. The target instead is an estimated 5,000 houses, townhouses, and duplexes where bedrooms are rented out. This includes owners who rent out bedrooms in a house they still occupy.

Rentals would be capped at three bedrooms to reduce the impact of large rentals on neighbourhoods.

Campus-area challenges are driving the proposed regulations, unveiled Thursday following public consultation. Some rented homes are decaying in student neighbourhoods. The city has also had trouble enforcing licences it currently requires for lodging houses, which allow more than three tenants.

Regulation could provide helpful clarity around rental standards, said George Patton, president of the Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Board. But there’s concern about the impact on landlords.

“Does this negatively impact whether or not people are prepared to invest?” Patton said. “If it does have a negative affect, it may have a ripple effect in terms of availability of accommodations for students.”

Regulation would require landlords to submit floor, maintenance and parking plans, provide proof of insurance and tenancy agreements, allow city staff to enter and inspect the units, and comply with codes and bylaws. Landlords could face $350 tickets for violating their licence.

Council could approve regulation in February after hearing delegations.

“We don’t want to jeopardize the business of rental housing,” Coun. Scott Witmer said. But tenant safety is also critical. “With that, sometimes there is a cost.”

Waterloo would be the first local city to license rental homes, following Oshawa, London and Mississauga. It’s a power municipalities received in 2007.

Licences for lodging houses would be phased out. Landlords could eventually secure licences for boarding houses, or drop down to three bedrooms.
http://www.therecord.com/news/local/art … l-licences

Stacking the deck against Ontario landlords

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Stacking the deck against Ontario landlords

Remember the early-’90’s thriller Pacific Heights? A young San Francisco couple buy their dream house and rent out a portion to help pay the mortgage. When slick Carter Hayes — played by an oddly menacing Michael Keaton — rolls up in a Porsche and fancy suit, he seems like the perfect tenant. Twenty minutes later, Hayes becomes a slippery cockroach-breeding con artist who changes the locks on his door and quickly becomes a domestic bête noire.

It’s a made-up Hollywood tale — yet an instructive one. Consider that if Carter Hayes took up residence in an Ontario apartment building, the province’s 2007 Residential Tenancies Act would make it very difficult for his landlord to kick him out. Who knows: He might even be able to claim his cockroaches as protected “pets.”

The law appears to have been drafted on the assumption that all landlords are rich and greedy. Under the Act, a tenant can allow anyone to move into his or her unit indefinitely. So after you sign a lease for, say, a one-bedroom apartment, you can invite your unemployed buddies to come stay with you — forever. The Act does not require you to give names, addresses or references to the landlord. Even if you decide to move out, the scrubs can stay behind until they are formally evicted, which requires a court order … which, in some cases, the landlord cannot obtain because he doesn’t even know what name to put on the eviction notice.

Oh, and if your tenants feel like trashing the apartment à la Charlie Sheen while they live there — or just before they leave — they can. Tenants in Ontario are not required to pay a damage deposit, so if a tenant damages the property and the landlord discovers this when (or just after) the lease is up, the landlord has to spend his own time and money taking them to Small Claims Court. However, since tenants don’t have to give a forwarding address, the landlord can’t serve them court papers. As a result, either new tenants pay for the damage through increased rents, or (as is more likely) the landlord pays out of his own pocket.

Unlike normal contracts, Ontario residential leases are fairly meaningless unless they mirror the specifications set out in the Residential Tenancies Act exactly. For example, many landlords understandably do not want tenants with pets. Even if this restriction is expressly written into the lease, the Act allows tenants to bring in as many pets as municipal regulations allow. Which is lot: The City of Toronto Municipal Code states that a person can keep up to six of any combination of dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits at any given time in their home.

The only thing worse than the Act is the Landlord and Tenant Board, which appears to be a body set up specifically to help tenants exploit their landlords. For example, even if a tenant just flatly refuses to pay rent, he/she is guaranteed a hearing under the Act. Further, if a tenant contacts the board and says he/she can’t make it to the hearing on the scheduled date, the hearing is postponed. This can happen repeatedly, and in the meantime the tenant continues to live rent-free in the property.

If the hearing ever happens, the tenant can completely blindside the landlord by bringing up random maintenance-deficiency claims. The claim does not have to be true or even make sense, and the tenant does not have to inform the landlord of the “deficiency” prior to the hearing. Nevertheless, on this basis, the board can award money to the tenant at the hearing — which often happens when landlords are trying to evict deadbeats.

Throughout all of this Kafkaesque ordeal, the landlord must play nice and be extra careful not to cause any offence. Repeatedly asking for the rent may be construed as “harassment” or “interference with reasonable enjoyment” of the property.

Roger Ebert called Pacific Heights “a horror film for yuppies.” But most Ontario landlords aren’t rich folks. They’re just small business people trying to get by. But thanks to the Residential Tenancies Act, they spend a lot of their time feeling as though they’re this close to …

Well, I’ll let you watch the movie.
Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/07/iman-sheikh-stacking-the-deck-against-ontario-landlords/#ixzz1813fKmLz


The shame of St. Patrick Street

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

It took months to evict the tenants of a crack house. The case highlights the frustration of a the long journey through the Landlord and Tenant Board

OTTAWA — The rental agreement was anything but ordinary.

On Aug. 18, before the Landlord and Tenant Board, Ottawa public housing agreed to let tenants of a crack house stay in the home for two more months so long as they didn’t threaten the neighbours, wreck the place more than they already had, stop leaving needles strewn in the common grounds and clean up dog feces inside and outside of 440 New St. Patrick St. in Lowertown.

They were finally evicted Monday, the agreed date, and two weeks after a 31-year-old mom and addict Melissa Glasner, was found hanging in the basement.

Someone in the home had cut her down from the rope, then called 911 at 6:23 p.m. on Oct. 16. She had been dead for hours and there was nothing paramedics or police could do. The death of Glasner was filed away as a suicide. There were others in the house, but they didn’t notice she was missing until it was too late.

The police know the public-housing unit well because they raided it this summer for drugs and charged a handful of people, but not the tenants, with drug trafficking.

It’s the end unit with the uninviting welcome mat that states: “Come back with a warrant.” (The police did in July).

Inside the public-housing unit, it’s even less welcoming, according to a government official, with dog feces smeared on the floors, holes in the walls and garbage strewn upstairs and down. Mattresses are propped up against the windows in the basement and in the bedrooms upstairs. The windows on the main floor are covered up with bed sheets and cardboard.

Outside, in the yard, there’s not a patch of grass or plants, just garbage — Vodka bottles, pop and beer tins, stolen bicycles — stripped of parts, broken lawn chairs and a derelict barbecue without a propane tank.

Ottawa housing first made an application to evict its tenants in June and got a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board in August. The application to evict the tenants of the crack house came after neighbours complained about threats.

It also came at a time when more than 15,000 people — including parents with young children — are on a waiting list for public housing.

Ottawa Community Housing CEO Jo-Anne Poirier said in an interview that the publicly funded corporation acted as quickly as possible to evict the tenants within the legal process. She said delays in the case — it took four months to evict — in part, had to do with the provincial board giving the tenants enough time to obtain legal representation. Once they did, they were allowed to stay an extra two months so long as they obeyed the rules set out in an agreement.

Poirier expressed sympathy for the neighbours of the crack house and said the housing corporation has to “balance the interests of individual tenants and the collective good.”

She says Ottawa housing has only one or two of these drug-house cases each year. A provincial official disputed that, saying it’s more like 15-20. Either way, all agree that one is too many.

And this case highlights the frustration with what appears to be a long journey through the Landlord and Tenant Board, with adjudicators letting a crackhouse stay open four months after Ottawa housing applied to evict, and two months after an adjudicator ruled in favour of the eviction.

Police keep public-housing projects on their radar and have enlisted community liaisons to keep the streets a little safer. But with 440 New St. Patrick St., also commonly known as St. Patrick Street to its residents and their correspondence, it seemed nothing could be done about the threats, noise, the screaming and fighting and the rampant drug use, and the discarded needles and smashed booze bottles in the complex’s common grounds.

So when police raided the drug house in July, some residents literally broke down in tears, and expressed relief and publicly thanked the police, who at the time said the eviction would be imminent.

The councillor for the ward, Georges Bédard, told the press at the time that when citizens report crime, the system works to root out the outlawed underbelly.

Still, the tenants were allowed to legally stay in the crack house until Monday, and long after the July drug raid. That decision had nothing to do with the police. That contract was agreed to by Ottawa housing and the tenants under the authority of Gerald Naud, a member of the Landlord and Tenant Board who signed the decision.

Months later, Melissa Glasner was found dead in the basement.

“Nobody that knows her thinks she had that in her, and nobody thinks she was the kind of person who would kill herself,” said aunt Fran Layton, 64.

“Addicts overdose, they don’t hang themselves. And there were all kinds of people in the house and nobody noticed she was missing?”

Layton described Melissa as a “good person” who cared about family and friends.

“Most addicts are always trying to rip people off, Melissa was always trying to help people,” Layton recalled.

Layton last spoke to Melissa a week before she was found hanging. She seemed in good spirits and gave no indication of any trouble.

The aunt also said Melissa didn’t leave a suicide note.

“If she was trying to get straight and clean, why would she do it? I find it difficult to believe she killed herself,” Layton said.

Melissa was living at a shelter at the time of her death, and friend Tabitha Morris described street life downtown as “Hell in four blocks.”

Melissa’s last moments in that life were spent in the dirty basement of a crack house in Lowertown.

The neighbours in the public-housing project thought the tenants of the drug house would have been gone after the summer’s police raid. No such luck.

In that time — three months — one neighbour was threatened by the tenants. Another neighbour told the Citizen she feared for her young child’s home life with the crack house customers next door “screaming and fighting all night long.” She expressed relief that they were finally evicted and said she wouldn’t miss all the nights the police and paramedics showed up next door.

The unusual conditions that allowed the tenants of the crack house to stay in the public-housing unit included a condition that they pay Ottawa housing $745 — more than half of which was for damages to the publicly-owned home. Other conditions included that the tenants, for the remaining two months before eviction, not “impair the safety on the residential complex of any person” or “remove any smoke detectors in the residential complex” or “dispose of any bottle, needle or syringe in the common area of the rental complex, including the yards.”

The night Melissa Glasner died in the basement of the crack house, neighbours in the project didn’t realize anyone had died next door.

They had seen ambulances at the crack house every other weekend for two years, and so on Oct. 16, when another ambulance pulled up, the neighbours paid little attention.

Gary Dimmock can be reached

at 613-291-2827 or gdimmock@ottawacitizen.com

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/shame … z15MjTA46F

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