RHBâ€™s forum for rental housing associations to share news, events and industry information
Hot topics: WRAMA had a capacity crowd for its meeting on March 14, 2018 pg. 45 LPMA helps to make standard lease easier for landlords to use pg. 49 Promoting Code Compliant, Affordable, Safe, Clean and Healthy Rental Housing discussion paper pg. 53 EOLO still believes that the multiresidential tax ratio should be reduced to 1.0, so that tenants pay the same tax rate as homeowners pg. 57
The Member Associations
In a single-family home, what is done usually affects only the occupants of the home. In an apartment building, what is done in one apartment often affects other tenants. Units are not hermetically sealed and the second-hand smoke and odours of budding plants will enter other apartments where the tenants do not want to smell them. - John Dickie, p. 47
President’s corner The annual WRAMA Trade Fair took place April 11, 2018 with many industry vendors connecting with landlords who are always looking at ways to improve their properties and business. Among the many exhibitors attending were representatives from the Region of Waterloo Public Health Department sharing information and resources for Smoke-Free Housing Ontario. More information about moving residential rentals to smoke-free status can be found at https://smokefreehousingon.ca/We are looking forward to the next WRAMA meeting on May 9, 2018, when we welcome guest George Dube, Partner, Canadian Tax CPA, CA at BDO Kitchener-Waterloo. On June 7, 2018, Ontario voters will head to the polls and cast their ballot for a new provincial government. My consistent response to landlords whose frustration is a result of ill-informed and poor provincial policy is to get informed and vote. Rent control, the provincial mandatory standardized lease, terrible experiences with the Landlord Tenant Board, lack of provincial planning in marijuana legalization, and continued demonization of landlords are all reasons why informed, strong leadership is needed to deal with the challenges that exist in rental housing provision. Mark the date on your calendar. – Andrew Macallum, President WRAMA MEETING WRAMA had a capacity crowd for its meeting on March 14, 2018, as two highly anticipated speakers joined us to present their expertise on the upcoming
WRAMA Trade Fair took place April 11, 2018
implementation of the Province of Ontario’s mandatory standardized lease (MSL) and the Canadian Federal Government’s impending legalization of marijuana this summer. As WRAMA’s mission is to actively and positively develop and sustain the integrity of its members’ business – the provision of private residential rental accommodation – in the Golden Triangle, this essential presentation of information will help rental housing providers to plan for and address the many challenges that will inevitably surface. WRAMA past-president Lars Sterne and administrator Sandy Knapp have been working feverishly to ensure that the new industry lease is available for WRAMA members. We’d like to offer them great thanks for spearheading this timely and important work. WRAMA members can find the most recent information about the industry lease and rental forms at www.wrama.com.
Mandatory standardized lease Joe Hoffer, lawyer and partner with Cohen Highley, provided insight and details about the MSL, resulting in even more questions from the standing-room-only audience. Audience members wanted to know the difference between the “provincial mandatory standardized lease” and an “industry lease.” The provincial MSL (numbering at 14 pages) provides standard agreements and terms and provides for additional terms. The industry lease provides additional support and is a key element of the MSL but takes the entire document to about 28 pages.
Smoke-Free Housing Ontario from the Public Health Department
Vendors and landlords abound at the WRAMA Trade Fair
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“Some of the provisions of the standard lease are positive for the landlord,” said Hoffer. “For example, the landlord can require that the tenant have insurance, and they can impose smoking rules.” On the question of where landlords could access the industry lease, Hoffer stated that apartment management associations, including Waterloo Region, London, Hamilton and Greater Toronto, have been working to ensure that landlords and property managers will have access to electronic and PDF versions of the industry lease for April 2018. Any landlord or property manager who is not a member of a local association should seriously consider becoming a member for further support. Attendees learned of the impact for landlords who fail to use or provide the prescribed lease: Tenant may demand “in writing” a signed copy from the landlord (only once during tenancy).
If no signed copy is given within 21 days, tenant may withhold rent “that becomes due” for up to one month. If landlord gives signed copy within 30 days of withheld rent, the tenant must pay the rent withheld.
If no copy provided, the withheld rent is no longer due to the landlord (giving the tenant a free month), but non-compliant lease is valid. If lease provided, tenant has 30 days to sign or refuse. If they refuse but stay, non-compliant lease is valid. Tenant has option to give 60 days’ notice to vacate if landlord does not comply within 21 days. The landlord’s exposure is the loss of one month’s rent and broken lease term but there is 60-day turnover. “The bottom line is that the tenant can break the lease on 60 days’ notice and, if the landlord is really disorganized, the tenant can then keep a maximum of one month’s rent,” said Hoffer.
If the landlord wants more information about the MSL, they can check with their local apartment management association. Landlords in Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and the surrounding townships should check for updates at www.wrama.com and follow on Twitter @WRAMAprez.
Impact of marijuana legalization John Dickie, President of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA), discussed changing marijuana legislation, corporate tax changes and the efforts that CFAA has been undertaking on behalf of landlords at a federal level. In its efforts to maintain consistent pressure on government bodies, CFAA submitted a paper (February 27, 2017) specifying many concerns about marijuana growth and use in apartment dwellings. The paper included a series of concerns and recommendations that reflected much of the discussion that occurred at the WRAMA meeting. Marijuana growing in apartments, or rented dwellings, raises a number of serious issues. First of all, there are various safety hazards, such as excess electricity usage (existing wiring was not designed for the power draws), the risk of mold due to increased humidity (which can damage window frames and walls), and the affect on air quality due to CO2 being used up. It can affect other tenants, due
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to the skunky smell, safety concerns, possible damage to the building and the potential for excess growing, which could draw criminal activity to the building. “As to the growing of marijuana in apartments, a major landlord concern is fire safety,” said Dickie. “Most apartments were built more than 40 years ago. The electrical systems are already under heavy loads due to the expansion of electronics. Growing marijuana in the winter months will invite tenants to use grow lamps, and grow lamps will produce heat and risk electrical overloads, raising the risk of accidental fires.” There is also potential liability for the landlord, as well as risk to tenants and the mortgage holder. There can be issues with municipal remediation bylaws, and insurance company practices. The potential cancellation of building insurance or the calling of a mortgage can have financially disastrous results for building owners. Due to all of those problems, the CFAA urges the government to prohibit all marijuana growing in multi-unit dwellings, and in rented dwellings of any size. CFAA agrees with the Task Force on Cannabis that the government should prohibit the processing of marijuana in multi-unit dwellings, and in rented dwellings of any size The CFAA made several recommendations that go contrary to the Task Force, or that vary or add to the recommendations of the Task Force: •
Educate the public that the legalization of marijuana does not mean that it can be smoked anywhere at any time.
Allow landlords to ban the smoking of tobacco or the smoking of marijuana. Prohibit marijuana growing in multi-unit dwellings, and in rented dwellings of any size.
“None of the Task Force, the government and the House of Commons Committee really understood what sets apartments off from single-family homes,” said Dickie. “In a single-family home, what is done usually affects only the occupants of the home. In an apartment building, what is done in one apartment often affects other tenants. Units are not hermetically sealed and the second-hand smoke and odours of budding plants will enter other apartments where the tenants do not want to smell them.” The CFAA agrees with the following Task Force recommendations: •
Prohibit the processing of marijuana in multi-unit dwellings, and in rented dwellings of any size.
Take measures to enhance public education about the harms and risks of marijuana consumption.
Implement measures to limit access to marijuana by persons under 18, subject to provincial legislation increasing the age limit to 19 to parallel the legal drinking age in provinces where that is 19.
Establish a strict system for the production and distribution of marijuana, thereby addressing concerns about the quality, safety and potency of marijuana legally available.
Continue enforcement of laws and sanctions against possession, production and distribution of marijuana outside the regulated legal framework.
Ban smoking marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco is banned. (The Task Force recommended the provinces and municipalities bring marijuana smoking under the rules which apply to smoking tobacco.)
Discover the benefits of being a member of our association The mission of the Waterloo Regional Apartment 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 managment resources we offer to our members, or to apply online go to http://wrama.com/, or contact WRAMA at 519-748-0703.
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President’s message — Looking back on a year of change
As I reflect on my first year as president of the London Property Management Association, I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most exciting. With the change to a government standard lease, LPMA amended its rental application and drafted terms and conditions that help to protect landlords if there is a dispute with tenants at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Many associations organized seminars to familiarize members with how to complete the lease and use it with the terms and conditions. Earlier this year, we held our annual trade show and we participated in the 19th Annual Spring Hope Food Drive, both of which were a great success. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in September at our golf tournament! Have a safe and sunny summer and thank you for supporting the LPMA. – Lisa Smith, President
LPMA helps to make standard lease easier for landlords to use When the province drafted its standard lease, one of its goals was to reduce disputes at the Landlord and Tenant Board. And yet, the opposite outcome could have occurred had it not been for the feedback of stakeholders. One stakeholder, LPMA, suggested changes to streamline the lease and make it easier for landlords to complete while decreasing their chances of committing errors that could lead to more disagreements with tenants at the Board. “The province, to its credit, agreed with that,” recalled London lawyer Joe Hoffer, who made submissions to the province on behalf of LPMA. Hoffer said that the province’s original draft had too many blank spaces that were left to landlords to complete and too much cumbersome language that could have made landlords vulnerable to making errors. Through LPMA’s recommendations, the province streamlined the document significantly. “Then, when it came to the details, they included
language that ultimately was of assistance to landlords,” Hoffer said. LPMA, through a 20-person committee, made four submissions in response to drafts the province released from early October to the end of November. “We wanted to make sure the province got it right,” said Lisa Smith, President, LPMA. The standard lease, which most private landlords in Ontario must use for new tenancies as of April 30, applies to single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, condos and secondary units such as basement apartments. One important change that LPMA recommended centred on asking the province to include an option requiring tenants to obtain liability insurance and to provide the landlord with proof of coverage. “That gives the landlord much more leverage to enforce the insurance requirement,” Hoffer said. That’s important, he adds, because when tenants don’t have insurance and they experience a loss, they believe their landlord or the landlord’s insurer should compensate them. In the past, landlords whose tenants cancelled their insurance had to serve tenants with a notice of termination and take them to the Board. “Ultimately, if you do have to go to the Board, you can say, ‘It’s right there in the province’s lease and the tenant’s failure to do these things is an interference and the tenancy will be terminated unless they comply,’” Hoffer said. LPMA also pressed the province to allow landlords to include terms and conditions to reflect their specific operations and clientele. An LPMA committee compared the standard lease to its own lease, which Hoffer originally drafted in the early 1990s, and created the terms and conditions using valuable information that wasn’t in the standard lease. For example, the standard lease states that landlords are responsible for maintenance without explaining that tenants must notify the landlord in writing if they need to schedule a maintenance call. LPMA addressed the omission in the terms and conditions.
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Shannon Kiekens, vice president of LPMA, said that a tenant might ask a building superintendent who is vacuuming the common area to deal with a dripping tap. If the superintendent forgot in the course of completing other duties, he or she could be found liable for not addressing the tenant’s concern. “The terms and conditions provide substantially more information and a lot more instructions to the parties on how this relationship, with these specific clauses, needs to be addressed,” Kiekens said. To further help landlords, LPMA retained Cohen Highley’s IT department to make the standard lease and the terms and conditions available as a PDF or electronically. For example, if landlords enter their name and the tenant’s name at the start of the lease, the program adds it at the bottom and in the terms and conditions. And if landlords add the rent for a partial term and the charges for parking and storage, the standard lease calculates the amount of the prorated rent automatically. “It just makes it easier for people who are filling out the lease electronically to ensure that the information they’re providing is consistent,” Hoffer said. Tenants can also sign the lease from their smartphones or tablets. The standard lease and the terms and conditions are part of a 27-page package that LPMA licenses to other landlord associations for their members’ use. The documents that can be signed and completed electronically include the assignment and sublet forms, amended rental application, guarantee form and a two-page notice that landlords must give to tenants. Smith said the scope of the project posed challenges. “We basically had a very short period of time to finalize the terms and conditions, and the rental application that goes along with it. It was a matter of putting it all together, ensuring we weren’t missing anything before we finalized it.”
Motivation helps determine new landlords’ success Small landlords who are just starting out usually fall into two categories: those who aim to build a portfolio of rental properties and others who hope to cash in after a few years of owning a property. It’s not difficult to predict which type of landlord will succeed. London lawyer Joe Hoffer says that the degree of preparation landlords take depends on their motivation. Landlords who are in it for the long haul assess the costs and the risk factors involved, and they seek legal advice so they’ll know which pieces of legislation they need to understand. Others charge rents below market value to attract tenants and erroneously look to the rent payments to cover their costs. “The vast majority of small landlords in my experience become landlords because they bought a property and they want to put a tenant in there to pay for the costs of that property. Ultimately, their return is based on the capital value of the property and not based on the rental income that they receive,” Hoffer notes.
Landlords need to conduct research so they know what the market will bear for their type of unit. However, Hoffer says one landlord based the rent for her new condo on the current condo budget and the amount of money she needed to pay the bills, including the mortgage, property taxes and utilities. The following year, the condo corporation revealed that the budget for the operating
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costs of the building had increased by 15 per cent. That’s not unusual if the budget for the first year is set too low by the builder and is passed on to all of the unit owners. “That’s happening throughout the GTA, it’s happening in London,” Hoffer says.
Landlords also need to have a working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act, the Ontario Fire Code and the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as municipal bylaws. If they don’t, they could mistakenly tell tenants they have to take care of their own maintenance. “They don’t realize that you can’t contract out of the maintenance obligations,” Hoffer says.
The condo owner was in a bind because she couldn’t cover the increase by raising the rent since landlords are limited by the guideline. “If the condo owner had understood how rent control works, and the limitations on your ability to increase rent from one year to the next, she wouldn’t have based the rent on what it’s going to cost to cover her expenses. She would have based it on what the true market price is for that unit,” Hoffer says. Screening prospective tenants carefully is critical and entails using a proper rental application and conducting credit and reference checks. Some landlords unwittingly attract professional tenants in a bid to fill their units quickly. “They’re the ones who need possession in a couple of weeks and who want a break on first and last month’s rent,” Hoffer says.
Landlords must also use the correct leasing documents and keep records for the inspections carried out in the unit, maintenance request forms and notices of rent increase, among others. Hoffer believes it’s in the best interests of new property owners to talk to other landlords through organizations such as LPMA, which offers monthly meetings with guest speakers and Property Management 101 seminars. “In Ontario, the laws and rules favour tenants so they had better learn what those rules are because if they’re offside on the rules, and they’re a small landlord, it can be devastating financially,” Hoffer says.
London Property Management Association (LPMA) is a non-profit organization, located in London, Ontario, Canada, that provides information and education to landlords. 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. Membership is open to landlords and property management professionals who own or manage one or more residential rental units.
Sign up online or call Brenda Davidson. Ph: 519-672-6999 Web: www.LPMA.ca
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President’s message We have been working hard to share the ideas from the “Promoting Code Compliant, Affordable, Safe, Clean and Healthy Rental Housing” discussion paper created through a round table discussion with a group of stakeholders in Hamilton, facilitated by Maple Leaf Strategies. This collaborative “Made in Hamilton” solution has 25 recommendations that we believe this is an alternate course to take instead of licensing housing providers. For those who have not read the paper, here are the 25 recommendations:
Rental housing amnesty program 1) That a 24-month amnesty period be adopted during which time no zoning and property standards enforcement action can be taken against non-conforming rental properties, provided the City inspector and the landlord agree to and sign a compliance agreement with an agreed upon timetable to correct any and all deficiencies 2) That no charges or fines can be laid if the landlord can reasonably demonstrate that the compliance agreement is on schedule
Safe, healthy rental housing financial support program 3) That a formalized financial assistance and emergency housing program be developed to assist tenants who are displaced due to safety issues or code enforcement 4) That a support program be developed to prevent displacement of tenants by providing emergency loans and discounted fees to landlords who voluntarily agree to bring their rental units into compliance
Streamline process for secondary units 8) That Hamilton eliminate the current policies requiring re-zoning applications for the conversion of a single-family home to include secondary units as a right 9) That the City adopt reasonable fees and building permit costs for conversions of single-family homes to include a secondary unit as a right
Secondary suites public awareness campaign 10) That Hamilton develop a public awareness campaign explaining the provincial policies for secondary suites and the positive impact such suites can have on the affordable housing deficit
Off-campus student housing 11) That Hamilton apply and enforce the Lodging Home By-law to include off-campus student housing, as rooming houses
Extend and expand proactive property standards enforcement 12) That Hamilton develop a permanent proactive property standards enforcement program for all classes of properties including owner-occupied homes, rental and commercial properties in all City wards 13) That Hamilton continue to resource the proactive property standards enforcement program through the general levy 14) That Hamilton monitor and report annually on the efficacy of the program and any change in property values in the subject properties
Secondary units, in-law suites, granny flats as a right
Reporting non-conforming rental housing
5) That Hamilton adopt policies and by-laws that match provincial policies to give each homeowner the legal right to include a secondary dwelling unit within their home without a rezoning requirement, provided building permits are acquired and any minor variances are approved by the Committee of Adjustment
15) That Hamilton remove any policies prohibiting anonymous tips and adopt a new process by which citizens can report a suspected unlicensed rooming house or off-campus student housing to by-law enforcement while protecting their privacy as per their rights under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Grandfathering of secondary units 6) That Hamilton grandfather all pre-existing secondary units provided they fully comply with the Fire Code, Building Code and any applicable property standard by-laws
Streamlined building permit process for secondary suites (Granny Flats) 7) That Hamilton adopt a one-stop shop service to streamline the process of obtaining a building permit for secondary suites and make it easier for rental unit owners to come to the City to legalize their units
16) That any complainant be advised that their identity is protected under MFIPPA
Merge the zoning by-laws of the former municipalities of the Hamilton-Wentworth Region 17) That Hamilton create one modern zoning by-law for the entire City providing reasonable and fair policies that treat all residents equally 18) Adopt a zoning by-law that is congruent with the Ontario Building Code (full details on this are in the paper)
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Tenantsâ€™ and landlordsâ€™ rights and responsibilities charter 19) That Hamilton, in consultation with rental housing stakeholders, develop a charter outlining rights and responsibilities for tenants and landlords including a complaint resolution protocol with progressive steps of action for the tenant 20) That Hamilton provide public education to encourage tenants and landlords to follow a suggested complaint protocol (full details on this are in the paper) 21) That Hamilton adopt a new program whereby tenants may request a free tenant safety inspection to identify safety concerns related to Ontario Building and Fire Code regulations 22) That Hamilton develop a public awareness campaign to inform the general public, tenants and landlords about the free tenant safety inspection 23) That Hamilton request local universities and colleges provide information about the free rental unit inspection to all students 24) That upon a tenant inspection request, Hamilton inspectors will identify themselves to the tenant and explain that the inspection is provided to identify any safety concerns related to Ontario building and fire code regulations (full details on this are in the paper)
Support the establishment of the Hamilton Rental Housing Roundtable 25) That Hamilton support the establishment of an independent communitybased Hamilton Rental Housing Roundtable (HRHR), consisting of a broad cross-section of rental housing stakeholders as an advisory/liaison committee to assist the City on all rental housing matters
Recent events The HDAA Charity team had their first event on March 28, they had a fantastic night Bowling for Kids. This is an annual charity event for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington. We are happy to announce we raised $880.00 and even won a pizza for our efforts.
Keynote speaker & trade show HDAA decided to do things differently this year; we moved the trade show to a new time and invited a few keynote speakers. HDAA suppliers who had booths at this yearâ€™s trade show gave out some great show prizes, information and promotional items. It was a two-hour opportunity for local housing providers to connect with local suppliers in the industry. Our speaker event was right before the trade show. We were honoured to have Brad Clark from Maple Leaf Strategies as our moderator and especially excited to have David Horwood (The Effort Trust Company), Kris Boyce (Greenwin) and Scott Topping (Homestead) as our keynote speakers. The discussion lasted only an hour but was full of interesting answers and outlined some issues that all housing providers are facing in Hamilton. Brad asked some interesting questions of the speakers, here are a few of their answers: CONTINUED ON PAGE
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Do you feel Hamilton is encouraging the development of rental housing? David Horwood: Hamilton is talking the talk; there is a lot of small well-meaning discussion, but very little in the development of the product that we need to build. There have been very successful incentive programs that the City planning department has implemented, which have become purpose-built rentals in the downtown core, but it won’t be enough. We need programs to encourage construction in the suburbs and less urban areas. The City can do that with tax increment financing in a tax increment positive way; it doesn’t need to be a draw on the municipal resources. What keeps you up at night? Kris Boyce: Development, construction, the planning, the RTA, all the unknowns – I don’t sleep at all. If we all had a crystal ball to know where we are going to be in a few years with the upcoming election... there could be a different mindset coming. After the election we will see if some of the promises are going to happen to help us make more informed decisions. Family owned vs corporate company: which is the better way to go in terms of being a property manager? Scott Topping: I have worked for both scenarios: being on the corporate side has a lot of resources, but it can be somewhat indecisive and bureaucratic with a lot of reporting. Repositioning can be difficult for them because they can’t wait out the time to get the value back out of some properties. On the family side I find them to be very decisive with a long-term approach and they can bid on those properties that take time to get the value out of.
The speakers also answered questions about gentrification, AGIs, the upcoming elections, how to deal with the media, how tenant groups have impacted their business and what some of the biggest changes will be. For more details on this and upcoming events, contact HDAA.
Upcoming events May 9 dinner meeting - Engaging the Media & the Public Guest Speaker: Laura Babcock, President, POWERGROUP Communications TOPIC: Laura will speak about how landlords can effectively engage the media and educate the public about the important issues facing housing providers and our community. Hamilton housing providers are in the spotlight right now and we should all understand how the media can work for and against us. May 23 education seminar - New Standard Lease Guest Instructor: Mark W. Melchers, Lawyer, Cohen Highley TOPIC: Mark will discuss the new prescribed lease mandated by the Province to be used for most residential tenancy agreements entered into on or after April 30, 2018. He will cover the contents of the prescribed form, including certain pitfalls to be aware of when filling it out, as well as key additional terms that can be added to the prescribed form, and the consequences of failing to use the prescribed lease. June 19, 2018 HDAA Annual Golf Tournament 11:30 am Century Pines Golf Course 592 Westover Road, Troy, ON. This annual event is always a great day on the green. 11:00 am - Check in & lunch, NOON - Shotgun start, 5:00 pm - Dinner & tournament prizes. All packages include green fees, lunch, electric cart & dinner. Contact us for details.
Hamilton and District Landlords Since 1960, the Hamilton and District Apartment Association has grown significantly. Our members manage over 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.
Interested? Call us or join online! Ph: 289-208-5445 Web: www.hamiltonapartmentassociation.ca
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Ottawa’s rental property taxes down slightly On April 11, City Council adopted the City staff report on property tax ratios as recommended by the Finance and Economic Development Committee. That means that in 2018 the multi-residential tax ratio will be reduced from 1.45 to about 1.42. EOLO still believes that the multi-residential tax ratio should be reduced to 1.0, so that tenants pay the same tax rate as homeowners, but small steps in the right direction are better than no steps in the right direction, and much better than any steps in the wrong direction. If the property taxes on a rental building went up in 2017, then the final taxes in 2018 can be expected to go up by a similar amount. If the property taxes went down in 2017, then in 2018, the taxes can be expected to go up by 0 to 1 per cent. That modest increase will be because of the reduced tax ratio, and the fact that assessment decreases flow through in the first year of each reassessment cycle, whereas increases are phased in over four years.
a standard lease, then the lease they use is valid, except that, once during their tenancy, the tenant can demand that the landlord provide a standard lease. Then if they choose, the tenant can end the tenancy early, on 60 days notice to the end of a month. EOLO members are well advised to take one of three courses of action, namely: 1. Obtain a new standard lease from the Federation of Rental Housing Providers (FRPO) 2. Go through their existing lease to identify terms the province’s standard lease does not cover, and create their own addendum 3. Add the one page addendum provided to them at the session John listed key provisions that should be included in the addendum, including • • •
Overall, the rental sector will pay the same city property tax increase percentage that homeowners pay, as per the City’s overall budget increase (net of the revenue from new development).
The new Ontario standard lease A major topic at the EOLO Education Event on April 18 was the new Ontario standard lease. Lawyer John Dickie explained the requirement to use the new lease, the consequences of not using it, and recommended an addendum to spell out important terms that the standard lease does not cover. Landlords are required to use the new lease for all ordinary residential tenancies in Ontario that are signed on or after April 30, 2018, not including subsidized housing. If the landlord does not use
A power to re-allocate parking spaces A requirement for written notices:
of a need for repairs of requests to sublet or assign their tenancy if the tenant wants to make alterations to the unit
Other useful terms address: • • • • •
The payment of rent by someone other than the tenant Insurance Not growing pot Taking photos to document unit conditions Preparing for pest control treatments
The standard lease has a section at which to insert smoking rules, if any. It also addresses tenant liability insurance in a helpful way, but provides that contents insurance is optional, whereas landlord lawyers believe landlords can require tenants to obtain that.
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Backflow prevention â€“ Updated info At the EOLO Education Event on April 18, a large turnout of landlords and managers heard from Eddy Milito about the new City of Ottawa backflow prevention program. Eddy cleared up a number of issues on which there had been some confusion. Earlier City documents had referred to the program applying to rental buildings of 6 units or more. In fact, the program applies to high rise buildings and any building that has more than three storeys or a foot print of more than 600 square meters. (Those are the same buildings that are required to meet the more stringent fire code requirements.) Over the next five years, the City will mail out notices to property owners on a staged basis. The first set of notice will go to buildings which represent a severe hazard, because of the nature of water use on the property, such as laboratories. The owners will have one year to complete a site survey, and then one year to install one or more backflow devices. Virtually all residential rental buildings are considered to be moderate risk. They will receive notices between the years 2020 and 2022. The owners of those buildings will have one year to complete a site survey, and then two years from the Cityâ€™s acknowledgment of the survey years to install one or more backflow devices. In the last issue of RAV, EOLO had reported the time lines as both running from the original notification date, but that is not the case. Landlords may want to address the requirement promptly now, because prices of the engineering work and the installation have not yet risen, but that may not last long. Properties scheduled for demolition within the implementation timelines may be exempt from the requirements. The site survey must be completed by a qualified person, such as a plumber licensed as a Certified Cross Connection Control Specialist under the Ontario Water Works Association, a professional engineer, or a certified engineering technologist under the direction of a professional engineer. (Additional people are qualified to install devices or to test them. See the Cityâ€™s website for more details.) The site survey is set up to be completed from a mobile device. There is no charge for the site survey, but once the device is installed an administration fee of $53 will be required for the filing of the first (and subsequent) test results. If a completed survey indicates the requirement for the installation of a new backflow device, replacement of a defective device or the relocation of an existing device, the owner or the contractor must obtain a building permit prior to the commencement of any work, for a fee of $80. Backflow devices must be tested at the time of installation and annually. Property owners will receive a reminder of their annual testing deadline 30 days in advance. Property owners with existing devices and test data are encouraged to submit their most recent information to https://www.bsionlinetracking.ca/.
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Ottawa water & sewer rates As reported earlier, the City of Ottawa is bringing in a new system for charging for water. The new system will apply as of sometime in 2018 or early 2019. While the current system sets the charges almost entirely on the water consumption at a property, the new system will include a base charge based on the pipe size, a per unit storm water service usage charge and a reduced volumetric charge for water consumption. In the creation of the new system, EOLO was able to establish that rental properties place less draw on the City’s storm water services than single-family homes. On an average per unit basis, apartments have less roof area and less paved driveway and parking area than single-family homes. Therefore, rental units (and apartment condos) are charged 50 per cent of the storm water rate charged to a single-family home. EOLO’s figures show the discount should be even more, but getting that 50 per cent discount was a significant government relations win for landlords and tenants. Overall, due to City infrastructure repair and replacement needs, water, sewer and storm water charges will likely be going up by about 5 per cent per year for the next 10 years, as compared with the 9 per cent increase in the rates that has occurred over the last decade.
Airbnb Pursuant to a City Council directive, City staff are reviewing whether the current bylaws give them sufficient tools to deal with Airbnb rental issues. That directive arose from complaints in ground-oriented condos in Ottawa’s south end. One or more condo units were rented on Airbnb to guests who decided to party, disturbing neighbouring residents with noise and beer bottles thrown over the unit’s fence. The City has engaged a consultant to report to Bylaw & Regulatory Services (BLRS) for it to create a report to Council. As a key stakeholder, EOLO will provide input to the consultant. We will then discuss the issues with BLRS staff, with whom we have an excellent, long-standing relationship. EOLO is monitoring this review closely, in part because City Airbnb regulations could lead to another look at the landlord licensing issue.
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 be able to: • Receive
prompt emails of relevant City rule changes
two networking receptions a year
two free education events a year
Receive EOLO’s newsletter with current developments, City and 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.
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