Canada is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, and celebrations abound across the nation. The representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada came together with British Parliament to build a “powerful, united, wealthy and free country that spanned a continent.” Today, that vision rings true, as Canada is regularly ranked as one of the best places to live in the world. One century after Confederation, the founding members of the London Property Management Association (LPMA) came together to create a forum in which to share information that would enable members to more effectively run their rental housing properties. Half a century later, the organization is still going strong, acting as the voice for its almost 600 members and lobbying various levels of government on issues that affect the rental housing industry. Fifty years is a milestone for any business, and even more so for a local industry association. LPMA has survived and thrived due to the willingness of its members to work together, share ideas, educate other members and focus on creating a better rental housing environment for everyone involved. “I feel that LPMA has succeeded as we have always had very dedicated Board members who meet once a month,” said Shirley Criger, Property Manager, Gateway Property Management Corporation. “We hold several seminars through the year as well as monthly meetings October through May.” Cont’d on page 26
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Looking back The founding members of LPMA—Sheldon Aaron, George Avola, Mike Arnsby and others— originally came together to discuss the costs involved in constructing new rental properties. Even though the landlords were competitors, sharing information on the price of electrical work, plumbing and other services made sense in running their respective businesses. Both large and small landlords benefited from these interactions, as they were able to learn about operating costs, dealing with tenants and addressing common issues in running their buildings. However, one central issue united the LPMA members and encouraged them to work together against a common cause. In 1975, the Ontario government introduced rent control legislation, which would affect every landlord in the province. As rent control was relatively new, there was a lot of confusion about how the legislation would affect different landlords. At the time, there was no provincial rental housing association, so LPMA took up the mantle to be at the forefront of lobbying the provincial government to ensure that the legislation treated landlords fairly. “There was no federal or provincial landlord association at the time, so the LPMA worked to get people involved to help fight for landlords’ rights at all levels of government,” said Sean McNally, Owner, MCI Properties (and LPMA Director). “Over the years, LPMA has helped to bring other associations into the fight against unfair rental housing practices. They’ve provided submissions to government on how to improve rent control, and educated its members on how the legislation affects them.” Rent control legislation has remained a challenge for all Ontario landlords, and LPMA has led the way in uniting other associations in lobbying the government to make the laws more equitable. Every LPMA president since its inception has
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had to deal with rent control in its various forms and the approaches of different governments to the legislation. For example, Barry Parker, who was president of LPMA from 1982 to 1984, chaired an ad hoc provincial landlord association (Committee of Concern) that represented landlords’ interests at a provincial inquiry into rent controls. Even today, LPMA continues to educate its members and lobby the government on making rent control legislation fairer to landlords. LPMA has also had to deal with a lot of local issues that affect its members in London, such as difficult tenants, the Ontario Fire Code, municipal taxation of rental properties and more. One central issue was landlord licensing, which would require landlords to pay a licensing fee to operate a rental property. LPMA challenged the issue at the local level and was deeply involved in changing the legislation to be fairer to its members. As it stands, only landlords with four or fewer units need to be licensed and must pay the licensing fees. Looking forward The more things change, the more they stay the same. Issues that have affected Ontario’s rental housing industry in the past continue to recur or pop up in different forms. For example, in April 2017, the Ontario government passed the Rental Fairness Act, which expands rent control legislation to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1, 1991. Landlord licensing has also become a growing issue of concern, as licensing fees continue to increase for owners of rental properties, with municipalities offloading fees that are passed on to landlords. Regardless of the challenge, new or old, LPMA plans to continue lobbying the various levels of government to make legislation fairer for landlords. The association has always been at the forefront of representing its members and the rental housing industry, as well as educating lawmakers and landlords. Education will continue to be central to LPMA’s mandate, as it will continue to educate members on making good decisions and offer seminars that spread knowledge to small and large landlords alike. “We want our landlords to learn and avoid making the same mistakes of past landlords,” said McNally. “We will also ensure that everyone knows what’s going on at municipal meetings and when they are occurring so that our members can attend and provide their input to ensure that the industry is properly represented.”
Conclusion LPMA has been at the forefront of representing landlords and owners of rental properties in Ontario since its inception. It has always focused on serving the interests of both small and large landlords, and has built its strength upon education and the willingness of its members to share information with each other. With a strong membership base, and the drive to continue fighting for landlords’ rights, LPMA will continue to represent the rental housing industry for years to come.
“I congratulate the London Property Management Association on its 50th anniversary,” said John Dickie, President, Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations. “A 50-year run makes LPMA one of the longest-standing landlord associations in Ontario and across Canada. As CFAA President, I work with many landlord associations across Canada. LPMA stands out as a sterling example of an engaged and active association.” — By David Gargaro, in collaboration with Sean McNally and Shirley Criger
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