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.