Watch the news any week, and you’ll see that government enables criminals to live rent-free while labeling landlords as the enemy. Obviously, landlord/tenant legislation is in dire need of reform, a daunting task for anyone. The only remedy is for landlords to unite.
The Ontario Landlords Watch (OLW) conference on October 1, 2022, dealt with the issue head-on. The OLW conference is run by landlords for landlords and is the brainchild of Kayla Andrade, administrator of OLW and a real estate rental investor/landlord since the ripe old age of 18.
Canada’s Affordable Housing Crisis
Every day we hear Canada has an affordable housing crisis that will only worsen over time, yet the government doesn’t seem to understand how to connect the dots.
Landlords get Screwed with the Government’s Blessing
Ontario landlords and tenants are frequently in the news because the landlord/tenant legislation allows non-paying tenants to bankrupt landlords. Without consequences. Landlord/tenant legislation skews in favor of tenants, the courts are backlogged and inefficient, and the adjudicators are woefully uneducated/unqualified and unaccountable.
Theft is a criminal offense in every other vendor situation. Why government allows tenants to rob landlords with no legal or financial ramifications – is mind-boggling.
Adding insult to injury, the Ontario government imposes rent controls that don’t keep up with the inflation set by the government.
Rent controls previously unheard of in Alberta are a threat for Alberta landlords too.
In response to the absence of governmental support, many Canadian landlords have sold their properties and moved their assets south of the border to the USA or to other parts of the world that are more landlord friendly.
According to Statistics Canada, Landlord Nation: Over 1 In 6 Canadian Homeowners Own Multiple Properties, with 40% of the Canadian housing stock owned by investors. If the landlord exodus continues, Canada’s housing crisis will become a housing tsunami.
OLW Conference Theme- how to lobby
OLW’s conference focused on housing legislation, specifically what landlords can do to lobby the government to change the legislation.
Speakers; Zac Killam (Frontlobby), Asquith Allen (Federation of Rental Housing Providers of Ontario), Caitlin McIntyre (lawyer), Varun Sriskanda (lawyer, landlord, realtor), Melissa Dupuis (real estate investor), Sarah Larbi (Sarah Larbi Developments), Felix Vortsman (Cloud9life.ca), Andrew Choubeta (paralegal), and Samantha Glass (SFG Paralegal Services) shared their insights into actions and solutions.
Some of the possible solutions discussed included;
- Make RTDRS adjudicators accountable to answer to a higher legislative body
- Ensure RTDRS adjudicators are educated with landlord/tenant laws and mandated to qualify for their positions
- Have faster dates for RTDRS trials and use government-owned commercial buildings to hold trials
- Have case management hearings with an officer and a mediator, allowing the case manager to write orders
- Join regional Chamber of Commerce as landlords, since this organization advocates, and lobbies for members
- Take nonpayment of rent away from the LTB and RTA and put it under sellers/vendors law. Treat it as a criminal offense
- Talk to your mayor- if they attend the big city mayor’s meetings, they carry weight with legislation
Bad Tenant Alerts
Accessibility to listings of bad tenants has also been an issue. Although landlords can access the Canadian Legal Information Institute (Canlii) to view tenant charges, updated information is months behind.
“Many landlords have resorted to posting alerts on private Facebook groups. Scott Sibbald, a spokesman for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPCA), said in an email that creating or managing a database or list on social media for blacklisting tenants is “likely against the law
“Several privacy issues arise, including ensuring accuracy of personal information and getting consent,” he wrote.
Landlords in Alberta must follow rules in the Personal Information Protection Act, according to the commissioner’s office. This means they can collect, use, and disclose personal information only for reasonable purposes. Searching prospective tenants on social media would likely require their consent, he said.” Edmonton landlords run ‘do not rent’ list with hundreds of tenants in private Facebook group, The Edmonton Journal, June 21, 2022.
Credit Bureaus and Rent Reporting
Organizations such as Frontlobby have combatted this problem by working with Credit Bureaus to make rent reporting, credit building, debt reporting, and tenant screening accessible and affordable for everyone.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Ontario property managers have witnessed a shift in the tenant landscape; over the past year, there is a trend for agencies representing high risk clients to alter rental application information to an acceptable standard for admission. Once the tenant is in, the problems begin, and the broken cycle continues.
Raising the Roof
It’s not all doom and gloom. Raising the Roof, a non-profit organization that provides national leadership on long-term solutions to homelessness has worked tirelessly for 26 years. To date, they have raised 9 million through their homelessness prevention program in Canada with their toque campaign and created full-time trades employment for over 158 people. Through the Reside program, in partnership with social enterprise contractors and local housing providers, Reside, renovates vacant/under-utilized spaces into energy-efficient affordable housing.
Streamlining Landlording Processes
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, think the current landlord issues are insurmountable and don’t believe you can make a difference, I’d like to share this quote.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa, missionary.
To take advantage of helpful tips, tools, and educational resources for DIY landlords, sign up for a membership for Landlord Fundamentals 101. To save even more time and money, combine Landlord Fundamentals 101 with one-on-one coaching to qualify for the Canada Alberta Job Grant. Contact me today to find out how [email protected]
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