A busy few months It has been a busy few months, both with HDAA events and in the political arena. We would like to update you on what HDAA has done over the past few months to helping landlords in our area with education, lobbying, charity and social events. In March, the federal government announced that it was going to increase spending on housing in the budget. HDAA sent an “open letter to the Ontario Legislature” to all the MPPs, including the Minister of Finance, Minister of Housing and the Premier. The letter was based on the report that there were to be changes to the RTA, including actions in the budget to tackle the affordability of housing. We also had our annual Trade Show and VIP Reception. In April, the Ontario Government announced the Fair Housing Plan, which HDAA responded to with a media blast called “The Fair Housing Plan – Are you surprised?” It focused on the post-1991 rent control exemption. We also had the Spring Hope Food Drive and the Night at the Races social event. In May, we presented our objections to the changes in the RTA to the Standing Committee on General Government at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We also had our first “Team HDAA” charity event to raise money for the Kids Help Line. In addition, May was busy with another dinner meeting and morning education seminar. We are looking forward now to the June golf tournament and the next morning education seminar on the Human Rights Code. I hope you all have a wonderful summer; we have many more events planned starting back up in September. — Arun Pathak
Open letter to the Ontario Legislature The Hamilton and District Apartment Association would like to express some concerns on a few items recently in the news. We, as a landlord association, feel we have a unique perspective to share that is relevant to the rental housing industry. We have outlined a few key points on ways to ensure the industry will thrive and fulfil tomorrow’s rental housing needs. The recent announcement that the federal government is looking to increase its spending on housing is fantastic news and we hope they appreciate how portable housing subsidies are cost effective and produce speedy results. If there are going to be changes in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), we feel they should not be included in the Budget. We feel the only thing relevant to rental housing that could be in the Budget is a reduction in the multi-residential tax rate. Anything else related to rentals should be in separate legislation after consultations with groups like ours. We understand that the post-1991 exemption is under scrutiny. It is not a loophole as so many headlines claim. It is a policy that works and is creating new rental housing. Consultation with the industry should be held if this policy truly is on the table for change. Without proper industry consultation, the government runs the risk of creating long-term damage to the industry and serious contemplation should be considered before removing this policy.
The rent control guideline (which is currently set by the government at 1.5%) is insufficient to keep up with the rising costs of operating apartment buildings. The goal would be to have the market set the rent to ensure the industry can afford to make the necessary repairs and maintenance on older buildings. If the guideline is high enough, the market will set the rental level and encourage new building construction. The largest problem landlords face is the inequality in the RTA and at the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB). If the system was fair to landlords, more homeowners would be encouraged to rent out their basements or accessory apartments and more new construction would take place. This would undoubtedly increase the availability of affordable housing. Action is needed to reduce LTB waiting times and to prevent tenants from abusing the system that is geared to help tenants and not landlords. As you may know, licencing is a real threat to affordable housing. The combination of the added costs and loss of units that will occur if this comes into effect in Hamilton will be overwhelming. The building requirements in Hamilton are above and beyond the Ontario Building Code, making it difficult to create more units. The City of Hamilton is not taking to heart the spirit of allowing secondary suites as outlined in the Strong Communities Through Affordable Housing Act 2011.
— Hamilton and District Apartment Association
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March HDAA Trade Show & VIP reception on March 30 – This annual event brought in the crowds once again. The HDAA suppliers showcased their products and enjoyed some one on one time with local landlords and owners.
short-term impact of unexpected rent increases, then the knee jerk reaction would be to bring in rent control. If you instead take a long-term view of the industry (the way many companies view their investments), then you will see that rents in new buildings today are not enough to cover costs and the risks involved in development projects. The expenditures outweigh the income for many years during and after construction. The implementation of the exemption was an important driver for the development of new, badly needed, purpose-built rental housing. Hamilton was expecting to see several new buildings over the next few years, but that is now at risk. We feel the recent announcement will stop the construction of thousands of units over the next few decades. Today's new housing may be expensive but it will be the affordable housing 30 to 50 years down the road. We will be voicing our concerns on many more items in the Fair Housing Plan that affects landlords. Items like the proposed changes to the above-guideline increases and the development of a standard lease agreement will be addressed.
Spring Hope Food Drive on April 19 – We had an extremely successful food drive this year – double the number of buildings participated and collection of over 13,000 lb of food in the Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville areas!
The Fair Housing Plan – Are you surprised? The Ontario Government has announced their Fair Housing Plan. Parts of this announcement leave landlords surprised and unable to comprehend how it will change the rental housing industry for the better. There are many issues in the Fair Housing Plan for landlords to be concerned about. We plan on covering them all at a later date; for now, the most important is the 1991 rent control exemption. The government has expanded rent control to ALL private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991 effective April 20, 2017. This ensures increases in rents will only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above-guideline increases where permitted. The post-1991 rent control exemption that the government has removed was working. Removing rent control on all new buildings spurred more rental developments; new construction in Ontario is the result. Economists agree that rent control is not beneficial to tenants in the long run. If you are looking only at the
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Night at the Races on April 27 – It was another wonderful, relaxed Night at the Races. This annual event is fun and an excellent way for suppliers to have a casual night with local landlords. We all got a photo with the winning horse and most of us left with money still in our pockets.
May Walk so Kids can Talk on May 7 – Team HDAA attended their first Charity Event, and raised $550 to go to the Kids Help Line. We plan on making this an ongoing event as a way to help give back to the local community. Bill 124 on May 9 – Our president, Arun Pathak, presented to the standing committee on general government. He focused on how the RTA changes will negatively impact the housing supply. Dinner Meeting on May 10 – The speakers from DJB Chartered Professional Accountants spoke about landlord corporate structuring, succession, estate and tax planning. Their presentation was both informative and entertaining. Arun Pathak also presented about Association in Action, promoting the importance of having an association and how much they do for landlords. Morning Education Seminar: Landlords & Bedbugs on May 16 – The City of Hamilton did a fantastic job in providing practical information and useful tools to help landlords with their bedbug problem.
June June 13 – Golf Tournament – We are almost sold out again this year. It should be another excellent event, with a new “Best Hole Sponsor” Prize awarded on top of the annual “wine cellar” prize. June 28 – Morning Education Seminar: Human Rights Code – Book your spot today; this is a must for all landlords to attend. If you don’t know the code, how will you be able to know you are breaking it?
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Ontario’s Rental Fairness Act: The good, the bad and the ugly Early in 2017, the Wynne government was very unpopular. In a poll by Forum Research in late March, the Liberals had 19% support, compared with 43% for the PCs, 28% for the NDP and 8% for the Green Party. An election returning those popular vote totals would likely have resulted in 86 seats for the PCs, 29 for the NDP and 7 for the Liberals. The issues dragging down the Liberals were discontent over hydro rates, out-of-reach Toronto housing prices, and being seen as out of touch with people’s everyday concerns. At the same time, a young Toronto CBC reporter received a 30 or 40% rent increase notice in her rental condo built after 1991. With her colleagues she played up such large, but isolated, rent increases in an unrelenting, weekslong media campaign for the repeal of the post-91 exemption. From a public relations perspective, the last straw was when a receiver for a bankrupt condo developer issued notices of rent increase at 100% to drive out tenants to be able to sell the units they occupied at the best price by being able to give immediate vacant possession. To seek to restore their popularity, the Liberals addressed hydro rates and housing, and brought in a pharmacare plan in the Budget. In their Ontario Fair Housing Plan, they answered popular demands, but dealt a blow to rental housing development. In the Fair Housing Plan, the main measures are a tax on non-resident foreign buyers, empowering Toronto to impose a tax on vacant homes (and rental units in buildings of six units or less), and the following measures affecting rental units, which have been enacted in the Rental Fairness Act (RFA): • Extending rent control to buildings built after 1991 • Removing landlords’ ability to pass through utility cost increases by above guideline rent increases (AGIs) • Changing the AGI rules, including special rules about work orders relating to elevators
• Limiting the situations in which a landlord can obtain possession for personal use, and requiring compensation for a tenant • Imposing the use of a standard lease Rent control Rent control has been extended to buildings built after 1991. However, rent control is still based on the tenant, rather than the unit. (In other words, vacancy de-control/ re-control has not been changed.) That is the major good news in the RFA. The removal of vacancy de-control would have been a move back to the bad old days of disinvestment in rental housing, along with departing institutional owners, and the deterioration of rental housing. The NDP moved an amendment that would have removed vacancy decontrol, but the Liberals voted with the PCs to reject that proposed extension of the rules limiting rent increases. In its statements, the government has dismissed concerns about the impact of the removal of the post1991 exemption on new rental supply, but at the same time the Fair Housing Plan has brought in two new measures to encourage new supply. Across Ontario, the property tax rate on all new multi-residential buildings is to be similar to the rate on single-family homes (a tax ratio of between 1.0 and 1.1). That will be a major help to new development in Mississauga, Oakville, Halton, London and other cities where the tax ratio is now much higher, but not in Toronto, Ottawa or Waterloo, where the tax ratio for new rental buildings was already 1.0. The province is also going to provide rebates of a portion of the development cost charges on new rental construction. However, that will be limited so as not to include “luxury developments,” whereas most development takes place at the high end because only high rents will pay the cost of development. (Development charges vary by municipality with Mississauga being the highest at $54,000 per twobedroom apartment.)
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The move-up effect Even though new unsubsidized development typically produces units with high rents, those new units make rents more affordable throughout the rental market. Tenants move from mid-rent units into the high-rent units, making those mid-rent units available. Then tenants from low-rent units move into the mid-rent units, making low-rent units available for other tenants who want them. On the other hand, if little new development takes place, the move-up effect does not operate, and rents tend to rise throughout the rental spectrum due to increased demand at any rent level.
AGIs changes The RFA removes landlords’ ability to pass through utility cost increases by above guideline rent increases (AGIs). This change was likely triggered by the government’s desire to make landlords absorb any heating cost increases due to its planned carbon taxes. Just as in the sub-metering fiasco of a few years ago, the politics of catering to the Toronto tenant vote has trumped sensible energy conservation policy, under which the ultimate users need to pay cost increases to motivate reduced consumption. The RFA allows the government to make regulations providing that what would normally be an eligible capital expenditure is not eligible. This is apparently aimed at complaints of tenant advocates that cosmetic upgrades are being included within capex work, which is otherwise eligible because it is necessary work.
As part of an application for an AGI, the RFA requires landlords to include a summary of any item in a work order, or in an inspection order made by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), or any specified repairs or replacements or other work ordered by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), if the order relates to one or more elevators in the residential complex. This requirement applies regardless of whether the compliance period of the order has expired. The LTB is required to dismiss or delay an AGI application if the landlord has not completed a work order relating to an elevator within the compliance period. Terminations for personal use Currently, a landlord is allowed to give a termination notice if the landlord requires possession of the rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation by the landlord, a member of the landlord’s family or other specified persons. The RFA provides that the landlord
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 50 | may/june 2017
• Receive EOLO’s newsletter with more information about new issues and developments at the City and 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.
must require possession for the purpose of such residential occupation for at least one year, not for a shorter, temporary period of time, such as a school term or a season.
tenancy agreement will still be valid and enforceable (except to the extent that its terms are otherwise inconsistent with the Residential Tenancies Act, as is the case now.)
As well, to obtain possession for personal use, the landlord will have to compensate the tenant in an amount equal to one monthâ€™s rent, or offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to the tenant. The RFA enables the LTB to order a refund of the compensation paid if the LTB does not order termination under the personal use section or under the repair, demolition or conversion section.
Second N5 notices An N5 is the notice of termination used for substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord. A tenant has the right to remedy their behaviour and void the first notice, but not to remedy a second breach after the first notice has been voided. Currently, some landlords find that when they give a second N5 the tenant claims it was invalid because the first N5 was not voided. The RFA corrects that technical problem.
Only landlords who are individuals may use the personal use provision, not corporations. (However, under current case law there can be more than one landlord, and in some cases a human being may still be able to qualify even if the legal title to a unit is in the name of a corporation.) These new provisions will discourage people from investing in condos to rent, and from adding to the rental supply by creating accessory suites in their homes. However, for mid-size and large landlords the new requirements will not be detrimental, since most landlords do not want to move into their rental units. Standard lease to be required Under the RFA, the government can create a mandatory standard lease for particular classes of residential tenancies, such as care homes, mobile home parks or ordinary rental apartments. Tenancy agreements entered into before the in-force date would not be subject to the requirement for a standard form of lease. Similarly, if the standard form of lease is revised over time, landlords and tenants would not have to enter into a new standard form of lease each time the standard form changes.
Collecting rent or charges after a termination Under the RFA, a landlord is prohibited from collecting additional fees or penalties from former tenants, as well as from tenants or prospective tenants, as is now the case. In addition, several recent Small Claims Court decisions have held that a landlord is not allowed to collect rent from a former tenant for any period after the tenancy has been terminated. The RFA adopts that position. This change will allow tenants to break leases by not paying their rent or by holding a lease-breaking party to generate a notice of termination. Conclusion Some of the effects of the new legislation will depend on what regulations the government makes, and on how the LTB interprets the new sections. The extent of the disincentive to new construction, and to the supply of condos for rent and secondary suites, is also not clear. However, the direction of the effects is very clear, and exactly the opposite of what the province needs if new rental housing is to be provided to meet the growing demand from a growing population.
However, if the parties decide to enter into a new tenancy agreement (i.e., a new lease with new terms), the tenant would be able to demand the standard form lease. That right is to be enforced by giving a tenant the ability to withhold rent, or even to terminate the tenancy in some cases. Apart from that process, if the parties enter into a tenancy agreement, but fail to use the required standard form of lease, the
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WRAMA annual trade fair Part of WRAMAâ€™s purpose is to bring together residential rental property owners and managers with product and service providers who can assist them in operating their business. In addition to seeking out â€œSuite Dealâ€? discounts from suppliers for our members, WRAMA hosts an annual Trade Fair each April, which is open to WRAMA members and non-members as exhibitors or attendees. We invite over 500 area residential property managers, owners, and condo managers to the event featuring over 50 exhibitors. Free refreshments are provided on behalf of our event sponsors.
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The 2017 Trade Fair saw a lot of WRAMA members and guests attend and meeting vendors displaying their products and services that support the residential rental accommodation. Special thanks to Veronika Mitchell who spearheaded the organization of the event and her team who took care of details - Julie Popesku, Ginette Ethier, Lynn Nichol and Sandy Knapp. Photos Courtesy of WRAMA
Discover the benefits of being a member of our association: e mission of the Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association is to actively and positively develop and sustain the integrity of its members’ business – the provision of private residential rental accommodation – in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas. To view the full range of valuable property management resources we oﬀer our members, or to apply online go to http://wrama.com/, or contact WRAMA at 519-748-0703. 54 | may/june 2017
WRAMA held its third general meeting of 2017 on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Landlords, property managers and industry professionals can stay informed about events and the latest in news impacting the rental industry by following WRAMA on Twitter @WRAMAprez.
WRAMA welcomed Mark Melchers from the Kitchener office of Cohen Highley Lawyers. Mark practices administrative law. His practice areas include condominium law, municipal, expropriations, regulatory offences, human rights, residential tenancies and commercial tenancies. With his frequent experience attending the Landlord Tenant Tribunal and handling cases in Divisional Court, Mark provided perspective on the proposed changes to rent control and answered many questions from concerned audience members. Mr. Melchers helped the property managers and landlords understand some of the nuances of the proposed Rental Fairness Act. Points and questions that enveloped the evening included the following sentiments. The Liberal government successfully imposed rent control on all residential rentals in Ontario, with the Rental Fairness Act coming into effect this June 2017. Responding to media reports of unethical landlord practice in Toronto, Kathleen Wynne has effectively sentenced tenants throughout the province to an experience in public bureaucracy that is cumbersome and exhausting. This includes a standard provincial lease agreement, free accommodation to tenants whose landlord would like to move back into the house or apartment, and restrictions on rent increases. Concerns surrounding a standard provincial lease agreement raise more questions than answers. For instance, if a government document is used to create a
binding relationship between a landlord and a tenant, will the government ultimately take responsibility for the legal agreement? Will it provide a more timely and effective LTB hearing experience? Will taxpayers now take responsibility for the shortcomings and unforeseen consequences of legislation like this? In addition to providing notice to tenants when a homeowner has rented out their residence and would like to move back in, the Rental Fairness Act obligates the tenant to receive one month of free rent in the premises (Notice of Termination by Landlord Under Section 48). The reasoning for this is unclear and creates a hardship for anyone who is hoping to move back into their property. The Rental Fairness Act opens a dialogue but does not address issues that tenants and landlords experience, particularly in smaller rental buildings. Mental health, addiction, domestic abuse and criminal behaviour are just a few of the issues that tenants and landlords are confronted with every day. When a tenant disrupts the living experience and impacts other tenants in a negative way, the result ultimately compels good, respectful, hardworking families to find housing elsewhere. The LTB experience is a long, tedious, time consuming and expensive process that does not satisfactorily address these issues. It is a shame that the new Act fails to acknowledge this. â€” by Andrew Macallum
The next WRAMA meeting will be held in September 2017 - please visit wrama.com for details.
Photo Courtesy Cohen Highley
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Change is in the air I am honoured to have stepped into the role of President of LPMA. During the last 20-plus years, I have been part of many changes in the industry — some encouraging and others adverse. From rent control changes to rental licensing fees, ours will continually be an ever-changing industry. I am thrilled to be part of this association and working with a tremendous board of directors to educate and advocate for landlords throughout the London area. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shirley Criger for her hard work, dedication and contribution during her two-year term as President. Look for Shirley at the next LPMA Golf Tournament on September 11 at FireRock Golf Club; Ronald McDonald House is the charity chosen for 2017. Don’t miss out! It took only a few days to sell out last year.
LPMA is a valuable resource for small landlords Small landlords often need help navigating the complexities of Ontario’s landlord-tenant legislation and to keep up with ever-changing regulations. Many turn to the London Property Management Association (LPMA). The organization has been offering reliable information and mentoring to landlords since 1967. LPMA administrator Brenda Davidson is usually the first contact. She regularly fields questions that range from non-payment of rent to barking dogs. And while many of LPMA’s 560 members are large landlords, Davidson says more than 70 per cent own and manage 10 or fewer rental units. Michelle De Vlugt and her husband joined LPMA when they bought their first income property in 2013. The couple has added two more rental units to their portfolio and say that the association has helped them operate their business professionally. De Vlugt calls Davidson one of LPMA’s greatest assets. “Brenda is that calm voice on the other end of the phone," says De Vlugt. With more than 25 years of experience in property management, Davidson says she is able to answer most questions. Davidson is also able to direct landlords to LPMA’s website where they can download a copy of the Residential Tenancies Act or access information on rent increase guidelines, for example.
— Lisa Smith
“If it is something that I feel requires a legal opinion, which we don’t provide, I instruct them to contact a lawyer or a paralegal,” says Davidson.
In addition, LPMA members can access documents including rental applications, leases, guarantee forms, and incoming and outgoing inspection forms. London lawyer Joe Hoffer says that documents produced by LPMA are used by large landlords and organizations such as the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario and the Greater Toronto Apartment Association, but are particularly valuable for small landlords. Having the proper paperwork is one of the most important ways landlords can protect themselves from unscrupulous tenants, he says. Learning about best practices around tenant screenings and rental applications is another. “Some small landlords are in a rush to rent a unit so they fail to do a basic credit check or don’t collect the proper information and follow up with references,” says Hoffer. “Then they may not act quickly enough when there are defaults in the tenancy agreement, mainly nonpayment of rent. Professional tenants thrive on that sort of thing and small landlords are particularly vulnerable.” Fortunately, LPMA offers seminars such as Property Management 101 to help small landlords keep a tenancy running smoothly.
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“Being a landlord is not just about renting,” Hoffer says. “There is a whole array of legislation that affects a landlord’s operations with respect to things like the Ontario Fire Code, building code, public health and human rights.” LPMA also holds monthly meetings from October to May where experts address these and other issues. De Vlugt attends regularly and says sessions on fire code safety have been particularly helpful. “We’ve had two hoarders,” says De Vlugt. “One had straw all over the unit for her animals, which is clearly a fire hazard. But before I went to the sessions given by the fire department, I had no idea what resources were available.” Members also benefit from a list of trades and service providers who are LPMA associate members and they can find other helpful information through links from the organization’s website. In addition, LPMA advocates on behalf of large and small landlords at the municipal and provincial level. “I really like that they keep us informed about any changes that might affect our business,” says De Vlugt. “LPMA is a great resource. They have always provided very helpful advice. It’s well worth the membership.”
Fire inspections make good sense for landlords A fire inspection in a rental property is necessary in specific situations. But even when it’s not a legal requirement, an inspection can help prevent prospective buyers from going into a transaction without all of the facts and making a purchase they later regret. Dianne Lebold, assistant chief fire prevention officer for the City of London, says it’s not uncommon for investors to discover that the building they’ve just purchased has deficiencies in fire safety that will cost them tens of thousands of dollars to correct.
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“If you’re going to buy a rental unit, as part of your deal, I would suggest that you always get a fire inspection done,” Lebold notes. “You’re going to find out if the building is fire safe. It’s buyer beware so you want to be as informed as possible.”
An inspection ensures that a building meets the current standards of the Ontario Fire Code, an important consideration since landlords are tasked with ensuring the safety of tenants.
“Under the Residential Tenancies Act, you have a responsibility as an owner to provide a safe place for your tenants so you’re making sure that’s happening, as well (with an inspection),” Lebold says.
Lenders, such as a bank or a trust company, often request a fire inspection as part of their financing agreement. Building owners can also request an inspection to determine if they’ve placed their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the correct locations. And if the fire department receives a complaint, properties are inspected within 24 hours. Under the Fire Code, duplexes require an electrical inspection at the same time as a fire inspection if they haven't previously been inspected. Property owners are required to retain their documentation from the Electrical Safety Authority. “It ensures there are no electrical issues in that duplex,” Lebold says. Under the city’s Residential Rental Unit Licence program, owners of rental properties with four or fewer units are required to have a fire inspection. Shane Haskell, real
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. e 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.
estate sales representative with ReMax Advantage Realty Ltd. Brokerage and president and CEO of Lionheart Property Management, says that buyers of rental properties need to apply for a licence, which can’t be transferred from the seller. However, a fire inspection is valid for two years after it has been conducted. “They still have to go through the process themselves of actually getting the licence, but they have the peace of mind of knowing that the fire inspection can be carried forward and if it’s been completed, they don’t need to go and get another one,” he says. If the two-year limit is about to end, Haskell suggests that buyers make a fire inspection part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. That way, the offer would be conditional on the seller’s providing an acceptable inspection report. If problems are uncovered during the inspection, the seller will need to correct them and schedule a follow-up inspection before the deal closes.
“From the sales perspective, it’s important that realtors are protecting their clients so that clients aren’t surprised when they purchase a property that it doesn’t meet the codes,” Haskell says.
Lebold advises landlords to have an agreement, signed by the tenant moving into the property, that indicates the landlord has shown the tenant where the smoke and CO alarms are located and how to test them, and has explained the tenant is not allowed to disable them. Keeping a detailed log is also critical, Lebold says.
“Document when you put in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, when you’ve tested them, when you’ve put a battery in and when you’ve given tenants manufacturers’ instructions,” adds Lebold.
Lebold says not being able to provide documentation is a fire code violation. If an inspector enters a unit without a smoke alarm and the landlord says he or she provided the tenant with one, but doesn’t have proof, the fire department will charge the property owner.
“The more you can document, in case something happens, it’s going to cover you. Tenants can be charged for disabling a smoke alarm,” Lebold says.
Fire inspections can be scheduled two to four weeks after the request is made. The fee is $171 plus HST for a building up to 10,000 square feet. The fee for a follow-up inspection is $84.75. If repairs are required, the property owner is given 30 days to complete them for a general violation. An extension may be granted in extenuating circumstances. Lebold says common problems uncovered during inspections include doors wedged open in a hallway, lack of working smoke and CO alarms, and fire extinguishers that haven’t had an annual test. If a fire results, the fire department can charge the property owner under the Provincial Offences Act. The fines are up to $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a corporation. A year of incarceration could also apply to each. To arrange a fire inspection, property owners need to make their request in writing by email at email@example.com.
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