President’s message The most recent market interference from the Ontario Liberal government reminds rental housing providers about the importance of engaging with local landlord and property manager associations. In addition to supporting each other through the challenges that come with property ownership, local associations provide an organized and systematic mechanism for providers to be heard. It is necessary for rental providers to voice their concerns about the bureaucratic nightmares and financial implications that result from short-sighted, knee-jerk legislation like the Rental Fairness Act (RFA). If you are not a member of a local association or FRPO, I encourage you to reach out to them.
Experience with the LTB In addition to advocacy, belonging to an association can provide support from other members through their experience and wisdom. While attending an Ontario Landlord Tenant Board tribunal in early September, I witnessed three cases where landlords were seeking rental arrears from tenants who had not paid rent for a myriad of reasons for anywhere from four to five months. I witnessed one case where the tenant had not been paying rent and had also likely vacated the premises without any communication to the landlord. My impression was that none of these housing providers had experience with the tribunal and were somewhat caught off guard by the process, venue and atmosphere influenced by the adjudicator. The conversations and contacts yielded through association membership would surely have helped these people.
License feedback The City of Waterloo opened an online form requesting feedback regarding the Residential Rental License Review. The licensing program in Waterloo began in 2012 and has been seen widely
as a duplication of existing public services, tax on tenants and cash grab. If you are a rental housing provider in the Waterloo Region and have missed the early-October deadline, contact the City of Waterloo Municipal Enforcement Services for more information.
Next meeting The next WRAMA general meeting is being held on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. We welcome Jim Murphy from the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO). With the ongoing fallout from the passing of the Rental Fairness Act (RFA), Mr. Murphy will provide the provincial perspective he has gained hearing from rental housing providers large and small who are trying to reconcile legislation that continues to diminish the residential tenant experience.
Annual panel discussion Every year, WRAMA gathers a number of experts from various fields to discuss what is happening in the rental housing market throughout the Waterloo Region. It’s an opportunity to review what has happened over the past year, and look ahead at potential trends. This year’s panelists include James Craig, Senior Sales Associate with CBRE Limited (who spoke about the sales and investing side of residential real estate); Adam Hoffman, President, Hoffaco Property Management (who spoke about the property manager’s perspective of rental accommodations, specifically student rentals); and Alex Oda, Licensed Paralegal, Cohen Highley Lawyers (who spoke about the legal side of the rental housing industry). The panelists began with a discussion of the issues, challenges and opportunities faced throughout their respective niches within the residential rental housing market in the Waterloo Region. Mr. Craig noted that the declining availability of rental properties (for tenants and investors) was one of the key issues facing real rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 45
estate sales professionals. He explained that residential real estate (particularly in the Waterloo Region) is a highly sought after asset class, and there is an inventory shortage due to the greater number of buyers compared to the number of sellers. “When properties do come to market, there is a lot of competition,” said Craig. “Buyers are very aggressive in their bidding. There is also a higher standard required for available product, so with shrinking vacancy rates, good product is hard to find.” Conversely, Mr. Hoffman found that there was a huge drop-off in the number of potential investors contacting his firm to purchase rental properties, and there were more rental property owners looking to sell than buy. This could be tied to his company’s focus on the student rental market, and expenses increasing at a faster rate than rental rates in Waterloo’s traditional student housing market. He also noted the change in customer psychology and perception of valuation and operating profit of rental properties in the future. Mr. Oda’s issues focused on his interactions with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) – specifically payment plans when tenants are in arrears and motions to set aside. Landlords will typically pursue an eviction when a tenant is in arrears of rent and breaches on their payment plan. Mr. Oda has found that tenants are taking advantage of the ability to file a Motion to Set Aside to stay the eviction order, even when it is not merited, and the result is a delay in payment that leads to delays in termination and much higher arrears for the landlord. “What this means for landlords, large and small, is to prepare for extended delays and start the process as early as possible,” said Oda. 46 | oct 2017
“Payment plans should be seen as a good option, but landlords need to be aware of the possible delays and ensure they act quickly when a breach has occurred.” Mr. Craig and Mr. Hoffman were in agreement that there are many opportunities for rental property owners to increase their rental income by upgrading their properties and units. They found that tenants – both families and students – were willing to pay higher rents for better amenities, upgraded features and condo-quality units. All of the panelists agreed that local building and construction, including improved transportation options via the LRT, would greatly benefit the Waterloo Region as a whole, as well as its rental housing industry, over the long term. Mr. Craig noted that there was very strong growth of new projects, from low rise to high rise, in both condominiums and rental properties. Due to low inventory and absorption, there are a lot of rental units coming available, yet decreasing vacancy rates. There are also more people looking for land to develop, with demand expected to increase. Mr. Hoffman added that the construction has made it more difficult to lease many student properties, as new supply has outpaced enrolment growth. New properties that have bigger units and more amenities are seeing demand with stable and increasing rents, but older properties that are further away from key areas are becoming more difficult to rent. For non-student properties, there is a lot of unmet demand for mid-priced properties, so rents are increasing. “The impact of the LRT has not been felt on renting,” said Hoffman. “It remains to be
seen if it provides a larger market for farther away student rental properties.â€? The Rental Fairness Act was another hot topic. Mr. Oda stated that the RFA would affect all landlords, especially those with buildings that were exempt from rent control. He thought that there would be fewer developers as a result of an increase in Above Guideline increases. He also believes that it will impact smaller landlords who want to move into their rental units, as there are strict requirements for evicting a tenant for Landlordâ€™s Own Use, so there might be more smaller landlords selling their units.
All the panelists voiced the sentiment that WRAMA had a positive influence on their business, and the rental housing industry in general. They stated that the association helps to keep landlords and others in the industry informed of trends, legislation and other important issues, and it helps them to be better in their respective businesses.
Mr. Hoffman stated that the RFA would result in delays or cancellations of planned rental projects. Fewer property owners would also be able to afford upgrades to their properties. Mr. Craig agreed, adding that development charge exemptions for new multi-family projects could help encourage growth. The panelists had different perspectives on the future of the rental housing industry in the Waterloo Region. Mr. Oda believed that the upcoming provincial election would have a significant impact on the market, and that the volume of cases before the LTB would continue to increase. Mr. Hoffman felt that there would a number of unintended consequences that would follow from the Rental Fairness Act, including fewer upgraded properties and higher rents for tenants. Mr. Craig believed that with more product being added to the space, and more condominium investors providing rental properties, that tenants would have more options of more affordable properties. rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 47
Renting options expand for landlords as London City Council approves granny flats After years of debate, London city council voted on July 25 to permit secondary dwelling units — also known as granny flats — across the city. Council’s 8-4 decision to amend its Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw creates investment opportunities for landlords, who will be able to operate two rental units in single detached and semi-detached homes, and street townhouses. The secondary dwelling units will include a kitchen, bathroom, and living and sleeping areas. They could be located anywhere in a home or in an accessory structure as long as the structure is on the same parcel of land. For tenants, a greater range of affordable rental housing will now be available in all areas of the city, including near Western University and Fanshawe College, in what the city refers to as the near-campus neighbourhoods. Municipalities across Ontario have long struggled to solve the acute shortage of affordable housing. The province enacted the Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011 which, among other things, required municipalities to enact Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw provisions to permit secondary dwelling units. The province recognized that these units are typically some of the most affordable on the rental market and are an efficient way to increase the stock of affordable housing in diverse areas of municipalities. Initially, London council had planned to enact amendments permitting secondary dwelling units across the city except in the near-campus neighbourhoods. In the summer of 2016, council decided to remove this restriction from the proposed amendments. However, the restriction made it back into the proposal by the summer of 2017, after the Ministry of Municipal Affairs
President’s message: Knowledge is the key to success With the frequent changes in the residential housing industry, it’s critical that property managers encourage their staff to stay up to date. LPMA helps by conducting Property Management 101, a two-part seminar taught by some of the best in the industry. The first seminar takes place November 7 and will deal with the basics of property management, including leasing and rent rules as well as maintenance and repair. The second seminar, which will be held on November 20, will focus on how to maintain cash flow. Topics will include enforcing the lease, dealing with problem tenants and rent arrears. Participants will receive a binder filled with valuable course material and a certificate for completing the course. These seminars are ideal for site staff, administrators and property managers. Register online at www.lpma.ca/calendar or call Brenda Davidson at the LPMA office, 519-672-6999. Lisa Smith, LPMA President and Housing approved the proposed Official Plan amendment with this restriction in place. (It had been submitted to the ministry for approval prior to council’s decision to make this change.) At a public participation meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee on July 17, city staff recommended that the committee leave the restriction in place. It also received numerous written and oral submissions from the public, both supporting and opposing the restriction. Members of the public who supported the near-campus restriction expressed concerns about the creation of student ghettos and numerous homes in concentrated areas being left unoccupied and unattended in summer rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 49
months when students leave. These concerns were intensified by the fact that, in approving the city’s proposed Official Plan amendment, the ministry removed a requirement that the primary dwelling unit be owner-occupied. Councillor Phil Squire steadfastly opposed the idea of permitting non-owner-occupied secondary dwelling units within near-campus neighbourhoods. He noted that there is already a high proportion of homes being used as student rental properties in these areas. Those opposed to the near-campus restriction highlighted the benefits of secondary dwelling units. The include assisting residents with the costs of home ownership; allowing elderly or ill people to house a family member or a live-in caregiver; integrating people of varying income levels; and increasing the city’s stock of affordable housing. Mayor Matt Brown opposed the near-campus restriction, expressing deep concerns about the current shortage of affordable housing throughout the city. Ultimately, the committee voted to put the proposed amendments before council with the near-campus restriction removed and council passed the amendments. The only restrictions will be reasonable ones; for example, there will be no basement units permitted in flood plain areas. Landlords should refer to the bylaw before investing in a property with the intention of establishing a secondary dwelling unit. There are certain technical requirements that need to be considered to ensure compliance with the bylaw. Mark Melchers is an associate lawyer with Cohen Highley LLP in London
50 | oct 2017
Tips for maintaining a healthy relationship with tenants When it comes to landlord-tenant relations, getting off to a good start is only half the battle. The other half centres on maintaining the relationship with a thorough knowledge of the appropriate legislation and a hefty dose of common sense. London lawyer Joe Hoffer says that it’s in landlords’ best interests to treat tenants with consideration. For example, he recommends that landlords conduct maintenance inspections in the first three months of a tenancy to determine how the tenant is treating the unit. One way of notifying tenants is to give them written notice at least 24 hours before the time of entry, specifying a window of time between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, the minimum requirement under the Residential Tenancies Act. Alternatively, the landlord could give the written notice several days ahead of time. “That typically gives the tenant a bit of a heads up so they don’t have to start cleaning the apartment right away,” Hoffer says. “I just think some common sense in terms of giving that notice goes a long way in communication.” In the case of bad tenants, Hoffer believes the individual likely won’t clean the unit in advance. Even if the tenant removed evidence of a grow-op, there would still be visible damage. “The key is to give them a heads up that you’re coming in and if there are problems, chances are you’ll see them,” Hoffer observes.
London Property Management Association (LPMA) is a non-profit organization, located in London, Ontario, Canada, that provides information and education to landlords.
Membership is open to landlords and property management professionals who own or manage one or more residential rental units.
LPMA represents the interests of both large and small property owners. The association has more than 400 landlord members representing approximately 35,000 rental units.
Sign up online www.LPMA.ca, or call Brenda Davidson at 519-672-6999 for more information.
During a tenancy, many small landlords get into trouble when they ignore one tenant’s complaints about another. Landlords have a legal obligation to investigate and to communicate with both parties as the arbiter. If the investigation revealed there was no merit, the landlord must let the complaining tenant know the results and that the landlord won’t pursue it, Hoffer says. However, if the grievance had merit, the landlord should send a letter to the subject of the complaint, outline its nature and ask the tenant to cease the behaviour. If the complaints continue, the landlord is obligated to serve an N5 notice of termination, which gives the tenant an opportunity to correct the problem. If the tenant fails to do so, Hoffer says the landlord can bring an application to evict. If the landlord didn’t investigate, the complaining tenant could bring an application against the landlord for interfering with the tenant’s reasonable enjoyment of the premises and for an abatement of rent. “Many small landlords end up trying to be the complete arbiter, the judge and jury and they can make a real mess of it,” Hoffer says, adding that the landlord can be perceived as the problem by both tenants. Rent arrears are another common issue during a tenancy. It’s best for landlords to act on them right away, Hoffer advises, although they don’t need to terminate a tenancy when a tenant is in arrears. “If it’s the first time ever, you start with a friendly reminder.” says Hoffer. “Within a few days if there’s no response, you either serve a
notice of termination, which is the N4 based on arrears of rent, or you serve an L9 application, which is an application for a judgment for arrears of rent only.” Sometimes tenants want a landlord to serve the N4 when they aim to leave before the one-year lease is up. That’s the best outcome for a landlord, Hoffer says, if a tenant has ongoing problems paying the rent. If tenants can pay, but aren’t making it a priority by the first of the month, the L9 is effective. The landlord must pay a $190 filing fee to the Board and the landlord is eligible for reimbursement by the tenant for the full amount of the arrears and the filing fee. “That usually gets tenants in line and makes sure that they’re paying the rent on time,” Hoffer says. “It’s really a judgment call by the landlord how they want to deal with it.” Operating a business professionally pays dividends for landlords, Hoffer says. “It ensures, in most cases, a good and respectful tenancy arrangement between the landlord and the tenant,” Hoffer says. “It can result in positive references from tenants to other prospective tenants. And if problems do arise, it puts the landlord in a much stronger position if they have to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board.” Operating a business professionally pays dividends for landlords. – Hoffer rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 51
President’s message The government released a Fair Housing plan that greatly impacts landlords. Our October dinner meeting covered details on the changes and how they affect you. We have also been concerned over the recent cities that have started licensing landlords or, like Toronto, have chosen a Landlord Registry. In an effort to stop the same thing from happening in Hamilton, HDAA has retained Maple Leaf Strategies to assist with our ongoing discussions and advocacy regarding the legalization of rental housing, and proactive property standards enforcement. We hope over the next few months to grow the membership and gather forces to ensure that landlords are not unnecessarily burdened with additional costs. Arun Pathak, HDAA President
Should landlords be tenant advocates? Over the last few years I have turned into a good tenant advocate. No, I am not boasting that I am good at being a tenant advocate. I am saying that I have been working hard at being an advocate for things that benefit good tenants. The list of things I am advocating for is quite long but I have given a few examples below. 1. Fair property taxes The multi-residential tax rate in most municipalities is higher than the residential rate. I am advocating for equalization of the tax rates. Any reduction in taxes of more than 2.49% has to be passed onto the tenants in a rent reduction. This could be a potential rent reduction of $100 or more a month. I support this because it will benefit tenants. Landlords could find they have lower bad debts, more timely rent collections, happier tenants and less competition from home ownership. The lower rents should also ease the pressure on the food banks and generally reduce poverty.
2. Adequate Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works Benefits These benefits should be at a level that the recipient can afford to pay a market price for their housing, usually rent. Governments are aware that these benefits are inadequate but chose to do nothing about them. This forces landlords to be the ones who subsidize the welfare system instead of the government taking full responsibility. The end result is a long-term deterioration in the housing stock because the funds are not available to upgrade buildings. 3. Rent paid by good tenants should not cover damages or unpaid rents from bad tenants It has generally been accepted by society that all shoppers pay for the losses from shoplifting; however, we have not applied that to rents. When a tenant in a multi-unit rental property does not pay his or her rent, that cost is distributed among the other tenants in the building. This happens either through a rent increase that may not have been needed or a lack of maintenance or upgrades to the building because of loss of revenue. Most tenants leave their apartment in good condition when they move; however, some leave a pile of garbage as well as damage to the unit. Good tenants should not have to pay for those repairs; a small damage deposit would eliminate most of those problems. Those landlords who do a budget always allow for bad debts and adjust other items to make the budget work. If the eviction process was quicker, then the amount of bad debts would be less and the repairs and maintenance budgets would be higher. 4. Good tenants should not have to put up with bad tenants Every now and then a tenant will move into a building and disturb or disrupt good tenants. In some cases, it is noise, parties, too many frequent visitors (drug trade), noisy pets, pet urine in hallways, etc. It takes too long to get rid rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 53
of problem tenants and good tenants have to put up with the problems for weeks and often months as the LTB gives the benefit of the doubt to the problem tenant. Good tenants also put themselves at risk of reprisals when they give evidence at the LTB. 5. Pet-free or smoke-free buildings Some people have allergies to pets; however, they cannot ask their landlord to make their building pet-free. The same goes with smoking; this also applies to the smell of marijuana coming from apartments into common areas of buildings. 6. Mental health issues There is often a lack of support for people with mental health issues and the landlord and neighbours are unable to find the best way to get support for them. In one case we had a man threatening and frightening young children. He was removed from the building by the police but taken to hospital instead of being arrested. He would leave the hospital and be back at the building within an hour or two. One tenant would phone the police up to 20 times a day to report his neighbour was being murdered. When we consider many of these issues, it is clear that the interests of the landlord and good tenants align and are different from those tenants who are disruptive or don’t pay their rent.
“Yes, landlords have to be tenant advocates. I would like to ask all members of the HDAA to recognize this and work toward becoming good tenant advocates. What is good for
good tenants is good for good landlords.” – Arun Pathak, HDAA President
Three wins with maintenance management software Maintenance is a crucial part of property management that is directly associated with the value of your assets and the satisfaction of residents. There is always something that needs to be updated, replaced or repaired. As a result, effective property maintenance takes time, effort and money. But the good news is you can make everything a little easier using modern maintenance management software. Automating maintenance will help you save time, increase onsite efficiency, and improve resident satisfaction and relations. Save time Online and mobile work orders make submitting and completing maintenance requests speedier – and not just for you and your staff; it’s more convenient for residents as well. Mobile work order capabilities save residents the time it would otherwise take to visit the office or place a call during business hours. Submitting maintenance requests online or using an app is easy for residents to do. Then you can quickly route those work orders to maintenance techs using a mobile device so they can get onsite, upload progress photos and complete tasks without delay. Using technology, you can approve and process maintenance requests faster and avoid time-consuming conversations with your residents or team. Mobile maintenance management cuts down on interruptions and
Hamilton and District Landlords Since 1960, the Hamilton and District Apartment Association has grown significantly. Our member landlords and property managers manage in excess of 30,000 units throughout Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Guelph, Mississauga, Oakville, St. Catharines and into the Niagara Peninsula. The association is a highly respected organization, sought out regularly by government, industry, media and the public. To join, submit the application form available at www.hamiltonapartmentassociation.ca, or contact HDAA at 289-208-5445. 54 | oct 2017
allows you to get to other tasks that require your attention. Increase property efficiency The efficiency of your team is crucial to your success. Maintenance management software will help make your properties more efficient too! Mobile apps for work orders and inspections can instantly record inspection data in real time. Well-designed solutions provide the ability to upload photos and videos, record voice messages during walk-throughs, and automatically generate work orders and initiate tasks. This kind of automation lets you be more proactive in your property care, rapidly responding to problems before they escalate. Making early repairs can stop small issues from growing into more serious situations, and you may be able to avoid breakdowns and keep your equipment and appliances working longer. Each building is different, but if you take the time to do a complete walk-through of your properties using your maintenance management software, you can create an action plan that ensures each one is running smoothly.
driver. Good property maintenance improves resident satisfaction. A study by SatisFacts showed that “quality of maintenance service provided” is one of the highest-ranking factors for an apartment resident’s lease renewal decision. When you can respond to resident work orders and other concerns more effectively, resident satisfaction increases. And that’s a win for everyone! In addition, well-maintained properties are easier to lease. Using maintenance software to keep your properties in top condition and provide excellent customer service will help you attract and convert more prospects. In fact, one renter preferences study showed that two of the top five factors influencing leasing decisions are “property appearance” and “community amenities.”
Improve occupancy and resident satisfaction
Considering the fast-paced world we live in, speed, agility, and the ability to adapt are crucial for customer satisfaction and retention. Fortunately, you can now automate your property maintenance tasks using technology. The efficiency that comes with automation results in smoother operations, happier residents and increased overall success for your property management business.
Resident satisfaction has been a hot topic in the past few months, with maintenance being a key
– Peter Altobelli, Vice President of Sales and General Manager, Yardi Canada Ltd.
September 13 – Dinner cruise: We had a fantastic night sailing around Hamilton Harbour. October 5 – Dinner meeting: Joe Hoffer, Cohen Highly: Bill 124 The Fair Housing Act
November 8 – Dinner meeting: Topic: Ask the board
November 22 – Morning education seminar: Superintendent training, Are they a good ambassador for your property?
rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 55
Update on the Rental Fairness Act For notices of termination for personal or family use issued in Ontario on or after September 1, 2017, new rules are in force under the amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) made by the Rental Fairness Act (RFA). First, the time period for which the landlord requires the property must be at least one year. A landlord can no longer evict a tenant to use their property for a university or college term or for a period of mere months until another property is ready for them. Second, the property needs to be owned at least in part by an individual, rather than being entirely owned by a corporation. (There might still be a grey area for trusts, or in situations where a human being landlord deals with tenants even though a corporation holds title, or where a corporation holds a property in trust for one or more human beings. That is because the RTA contemplates that there can be several landlords, not just the legal owner on title.) Third, the landlord is now obliged to pay the tenant one month’s rent as compensation for having to move. That payment is due by the termination date. Before the September changes, there was no compensation due for personal or family use, although compensation was generally due for termination for major repairs, renovations, demolition or conversions in residential complexes of five or more residential units. That new requirement seems harsh for landlords who have moved out of their residence, due to a foreign posting for example, and who want to move back into their previous home. We can hope that the next government will make allowances for small landlords in that situation. All landlords, realtors and property managers should note that certain actions between the time the landlord gives the notice and 12 months after the tenant vacates will create a presumption of bad faith, allowing the tenant remedies unless the landlord proves their good faith. The actions which create a presumption of bad faith are:
• • • • •
Any advertisement of the unit for rent Any rental of the unit Advertising the unit or the building for sale Demolishing the unit or the building Taking any step to convert the use of the unit or the building
The new rules “tie a landlord’s hands” if they terminate for personal use. If there is a problem with a tenant, it is now even more true that the best way to proceed is to address the problem directly, e.g., for interference with the landlord’s lawful rights and interests, or for persistent late payment of rent.
Other RFA changes and their status A consultation on the terms that will be included in the new, mandatory, standard lease consultation is proceeding. Other changes are not yet in force, and might not come into force, namely: •
AGI changes (preventing applications for utility cost increases) Elimination of the current tenant defense to a second N5 notice that the tenant has not voided the first N5 notice Penalties for not giving a right of first refusal, when the tenant is entitled to that right A ban on collecting rent said to be due after a termination
Note that rent due up to the date the tenant vacated can still be collected after a termination, but it will be clear that a landlord will not be able to collect rent after the tenant vacates pursuant to a notice of early termination. By John Dickie, Chair, Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization, and Partner, Dickie & Lyman, Lawyers LLP
rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 57
Pressures for landlord licensing in Ottawa Landlord licensing has been implemented in Oshawa, North Bay, London and Waterloo. In all cases, the pressure to bring in licensing arose from the reactions of long-standing residents to student renters. Homeowners objected to noise and disturbances coming from housing rented by students, and sometimes the students’ failure to deal properly with their garbage and to maintain the properties in a tidy condition. Except in the case of Waterloo, the requirement applied only to smaller properties, such as single-family homes or buildings of fewer than four or five units. In Waterloo, licensing applies to townhouse complexes as well. In none of those cities does landlord licensing apply to apartment buildings. However, a landlord registry is being rolled out in Toronto, where it will apply only to buildings of 10 or more units, on three or more storeys. In Ottawa, worrisome motivations for councillors to consider landlord licensing include the problems that long-standing residents face from students in Sandy Hill and around Algonquin College. ACORN is also pressing the city to introduce landlord licensing, but they see it as a way to make landlords perform better, especially for low-income renters, who ACORN sees as having less clout and fewer resources than middle-income and upper-income renters.
Preventing landlord licensing – what we can learn from Toronto At the Fall 2017, EOLO Networking and Education Event, EOLO members heard from Ted Whitehead, the Director of Certification at the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario. Ted gave an interesting and engaging account of how Toronto’s landlord registry came to be, and what we can do in Ottawa to prevent it happening here. Ted stressed the importance of being organized and ready for renewed pressure for licensing in Ottawa after the successful campaign in Toronto to impose their landlord registry. To successfully combat pressure for licensing, both advocates and landlords need to be building positive relationships with City councillors, tenants, staff and community members to get the word out that professional property managers are doing a great job and helping to build the community. Thankfully, as David Lyman, Vice-President of EOLO, pointed out in his Political Update, EOLO has been working hard to combat licensing in Ottawa. Efforts include improving relationships in Sandy Hill between tenants, landlords and community members from which much of the pressure for licensing arises.
BECOME AN EOLO MEMBER NOW! EOLO invites Ottawa area landlords to join the organization. Have your interests and concerns heard, and benefit from EOLO’s support. As an EOLO member, you will: • Receive prompt email notification of relevant City rule changes • Be able to attend two networking receptions each year • Be able to attend two free education events each year 58 | oct 2017
•R eceive EOLO’s newsletter with more information about new issues Banner Ad at the City and and developments in provincial funding programs and landlord-tenant laws. To apply for membership, go to www.eolo.ca, download the membership application form and send it to us at the contact info on that website.
In speaking with City councillors and other key stakeholders, EOLO and other opponents of landlord licensing make these points:
what is required is not a piece of paper in a City file cabinet, but rather the delivery of appropriate services.
Landlords are heavily regulated now, with tenants able to call in City property standards officers to issue work orders, and tenants able to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for orders or compensation for persistent maintenance or repair problems.
A licensing regime is not directed at the real problems (which exist in some few cases), but rather creates new requirements and offences.
The few landlords who ignore their obligations now are probably as likely to ignore licensing requirements, so that a licensing system will primarily impose new requirements and costs on people who are complying with the rules now. Licensing regimes require the landlord to file plans for maintenance and for garbage removal or for parking, when
Licensing would require a bureaucracy to administer, when the City is trying to contain staffing and operating costs.
Licensing would raise the cost of rental housing, which will tend to make rental housing more expensive.
Licensing would raise the hassle factor in operating rental housing, which will tend to reduce the supply, which will also tend to make rental housing more expensive.
In some cases, licensing smacks of age discrimination because its driving force is often to try to keep student-renters out of neighbourhoods.
Ted’s lessons for the landlord community are a good reminder for us to be on our guard and working to continually build positive relationships with our tenants, team members and community members.
The Toronto landlord registry bylaw requires: •
Names and contact information of all building owners
Names and contact information of the building operators
Specific information related to the building and related elements (i.e., materials used in construction, number of floors & units, accessibility features, availability of cooling spaces, heating & cooling systems, security features) Sub-metered electricity information including name of local distribution company/provider servicing
Information relating to specific management and maintenance practices, and information requirements for the following defined areas: • • • • • • • • •
Tenant service requests Tenant notifications Pest management Waste management plans & requirements Cleaning plan and requirements Licensed contractors for maintenance State of good repair capital plan Record keeping Not renting a unit to a new tenant where there is a property standards order related to the unit
rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 59