RHB’s forum for rental housing associations to share news, events and industry information
Hot Topics: HDAA addresses the COVID-19 situation in Hamilton, including new instructions from Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health for buildings of 12 storeys or more, the status of licensing, and a proposal for a City of Hamilton tax on vacant homes to try to address housing affordability. pg. 45 LPMA notes the beginning of the term of its new President, Shane Haskell, and discusses tenant insurance, including obtaining proof, different kinds of coverage, coverage for alternate accommodation, and the positive impact of insurance in municipalities with Fees and Charges by-laws. pg. 49 EOLO addresses RTA/LTB changes in claiming against tenants for utility arrears and in claiming against former tenants, as well as reporting on the requirements of the City of Ottawa Rental Housing Property Management By-law, listed in time priority order. pg. 53 WRAMA reports on water efficiency subsidy programs in the Waterloo region, WRAMA’s plans for upcoming programs, major changes in the information needed in applications for termination for renovations, demolitions or personal use, and a new mandatory L2 form from the LTB applicable across Ontario. pg. 57
The Member Associations
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Summer is in full swing here in Ontario, which is a great reprieve from the long winter months in lockdown. Ontario is now in stage 3 of its reopening plan with most things open, although some restrictions are still in place and masks are still required. COVID-19 numbers are down significantly and vaccination numbers have reached the target thresholds. Things are looking positive in Ontario and in Hamilton, with many hoping that this means a gradual return to a more normal pre-COVID-19 life. Still, we look to many other parts of the world that are experiencing fourth waves of the virus, and hope we have done enough in Ontario to prevent the same from happening to us, but we will surely see how it unfolds as we draw closer to fall and winter. Hamilton has been weathering the storm but the effect of the pandemic is still being felt. Although the LTB is now open in Ontario, the backlog of hearings to be heard has still been quite detrimental to the rental environment. - Tina Novak, President, HDAA
Hamilton COVID-19 update The City of Hamilton continues to fight the pandemic, but we are doing well. We are currently averaging around 16 new daily cases with just under 140 active cases in the City, and approximately 60 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated. The trends are positive and hopefully we are in a position that will allow us to avoid any future waves. The LTB in Ontario is once again open but the backlog of hearings means many landlords still have significant waits before a resolution occurs. Currently, the average wait time for a hearing date is approximately six months, which is debilitating for many small landlords. The LTB is implementing new strategies to decrease these wait times by prioritizing mediation, putting measures in place to reduce delays, and improving the quality of dispute resolution. They are also working on ensuring that sameday mediation services are available, as well as dispute resolution services. They have also added more adjudicators. Although these are all positive measures, they should have been implemented many years ago. It is easy to blame
the pandemic for these delays, but as we know the LTB was already facing significant backlogs before the pandemic. Of course, all changes take time to be felt. Hopefully these new measures have the intended results soon. The City of Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health has recently released a Letter of Instruction, which mandates COVID-19 measures in highrise apartments and condominiums that are 12 storeys or higher. It includes requirements that certain cleanliness measures be followed to prevent the spread of the virus and mandates that a COVID-19 safety plan be in place. The requirements encompass everything from cleaning requirements to availability of sanitation stations to HVAC system requirements. The timing of this is somewhat peculiar, as we are a year and a half into the pandemic. While many large rental providers were taking many or all of the measures all along, this information would have been very helpful to other housing providers earlier in the pandemic when many things were uncertain, but any information from the City in these times is helpful.
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Licensing update The plan for deciding on landlord licensing in Hamilton has been very uncertain. The licensing issue, which is to be brought before the Planning Committee, has been delayed for several months and is currently due to be discussed in August, but it may be delayed yet again. The HDAA continues to prepare our submissions and delegations, alongside many of our sister associations who have joined us in our fight, with regard to the licensing issue. We will continue our fight against it. The HDAA has also created a petition against licensing that we have circulated to our members and on social media. You should find it on Change.org if you search “Hamilton Licensing”. If you would like to participate in delegations or provide submissions, please reach out to us.
Supply issues & vacant homes tax In an effort to help ease the current housing supply issues, the City of Hamilton is looking to draft a bylaw for City Council to approve to bring a vacant home tax to Hamilton. With the lack of affordability and lack of supply in the City, the City is looking at ways to help solve the issue and it seems this is the next avenue they wish to explore. The supply and affordability issues have indeed been quite alarming. Hamilton was declared the third least affordable housing market in North America when comparing income to housing prices, which is shocking, and points to a lack of planning, proper policies, encouragement of development, and overall poor foresight of future issues. The housing supply in Hamilton is certainly not meeting demand, as this was an issue before the pandemic, and it became much more apparent as many people from Toronto flocked to “more affordable” markets, making the problem much worse and raising prices to all-time highs. This has also trickled into the rental market with rents rising higher due to greater demand for the limited supply. The rising home prices have exacerbated the issue as many rental units are being converted to single-family homes due to landlords, who have struggled throughout the pandemic, wanting to take advantage of rising home prices and get out from under the landlord-tenant legislation that is increasingly skewed against landlords This issue is not going to go away anytime soon, as housing inventory is at the lowest point it has been in decades. As long as the pandemic continues, many will be hesitant to make a move or downsize and put their homes on the market. This same mentality applies to the rental market with many tenants staying where they are to avoid the hassle of moving during a pandemic when facing a lack of better options. It is no surprise then that the City is looking at a vacant homes tax as an avenue to help with these issues. Currently, the City does require owners of vacant properties to register them on a city register, with a cost of $297 to register and $840 for yearly inspections. This has made the City aware of 221 vacant residential properties. The City is considering implementing a mandatory property declaration as well to obtain a more accurate number by identifying more properties. Depending on the tax rate implemented, the City hopes to generate between $800K to $1.6M in revenue through the vacant homes tax and put more supply on the market, either for sale or for rent. Whether this bylaw will have the intended results in Hamilton remains to be seen, but there are examples of other cities that have already implemented a similar program, as well as other cities that are considering doing the same. Vancouver implemented their vacant homes tax in 2017 and has apparently generated significant revenues and reduced the number of
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vacant properties from approximately 2,500 to 1,900. Toronto has already approved a home tax plan with a planning start date of 2022, while Ottawa has also approved moving forward with a vacant residential unit tax in principle, although the design is still to be determined. Anything that complicates the housing market or adds an additional cost is not positive on its face, but with the issues surrounding supply and affordability it is no surprise that more cities are considering such a tax. Whether their efforts should be more concentrated on actually providing more supply and making development easier is perhaps an issue for another edition.
With the City of Hamilton once again discussing the Licensing regime and whether it should be implemented, it is important that we continue the fight against licensing and form a united front to prevent its implementation. The HDAA will continue to keep our members informed and updated on developments on licensing.
The Letter of Instruction requires all persons responsible for high-rise apartment buildings and high-rise condominium buildings, with 12 or more storeys in the City of Hamilton, to adhere to certain COVID-19 safety requirement to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including having a COVID-19 safety plan in place by July 17, 2021.
June 22 – Licensing Town Hall The HDAA held a Licensing Town Hall to provide updates on landlord licensing to our members, as well as provide members the opportunity to ask questions and learn how they can become more involved. Tina Novak, HDAA President, provided a brief history of landlord licensing and the outcome of our past efforts in the fight against it. The Town Hall was well attended, with many great insights from our members on their current struggles and suggestions on how things can be improved.
T: 416.250.7200 E: email@example.com
July 27 – Letter of Instruction for High-rise Buildings The HDAA and Hamilton Public Health Services hosted an information session on the recent Letter of Instruction released by Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health and its requirements and enforcement framework.
The information session was aimed at supporting operators with implementing their COVID-19 safety plan requirements. The session was very well attended. Great suggestions were provided on how to continue to keep tenants safe, what strategies housing providers should implement to make adherence easier, and what the City of Hamilton’s bylaw officers would be focusing on.
Mechanical Electrical Energy Reviews Code Consulting Plus Much More
Serving the GTA & area for over 40 years rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 47
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Shane Haskell takes the helm as LPMA president Welcome everyone! I’d like to introduce myself as LPMA’s new president, a position I’m looking forward to holding for the next two years. COVID-19 has been a whirlwind, but it has also created opportunities for change in how we do business. My goal is to streamline processes and implement new ways of doing things administratively while adding value to everyone’s membership. I’m also excited to announce that LPMA is planning a revamped website. The marketing committee is establishing a wish list of new features that will improve the website’s appearance and functionality. We hope to have it ready by the end of this year.
Our famous LPMA golf tournament is back and is scheduled for September 13 at Firerock Golf Club. Watch for registration details and sponsorship opportunities. See you there! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to communicating with everyone through LinkedIn or by email. Best wishes until my next update.
- Shane Haskell, President, LPMA T E N A N T I N S U R A N C E I S T O O I M P O R TA N T T O F O R G O — FOR LANDLORDS AND TENANTS In the rush to pack and engage a mover, some tenants leave loose ends, including applying for tenant insurance. Others may be thinking of saving a little money each month. Either way, renters who don’t have insurance could jeopardize their savings — and their housing — if they accidentally cause a fire or flood, experts say. London lawyer Joe Hoffer said when tenants have tenant insurance, the cost of a claim may be spread out over both the landlord’s and the tenant’s insurance companies. If a tenant accidentally caused a fire, for example, the landlord’s insurance company would cover the damage to the affected units and the building. The insurer would then pursue the tenant’s insurance company to recover those costs. Hoffer said a Divisional Court decision shows that not having tenant insurance interferes with landlords’ legal interests and could constitute grounds for eviction. And if tenants are held responsible for accidentally causing a fire or flood, they can be sued. “They can be sued personally for negligence and,
without insurance, it can be financially devastating for them,” Hoffer said. However, tenant insurance protects renters from lawsuits if they unintentionally cause damage to the building, covers the cost of replacing their possessions, and accommodates them elsewhere while their unit is being repaired.
Hoffer recalled one case in which a tenant unintentionally caused a fire. “This tenant didn’t have insurance so the landlord incurred $34,000 of expense,” he noted. While the unit was being repaired, the renter was obligated to continue paying rent even though he wasn’t able to live in the apartment. Costs mounted and, without tenant insurance to cover them, an eviction notice was served requiring the tenant to pay the cost of the damage.
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Hoffer said the Divisional Court decision supported the issuance of the N5 notice to terminate the tenancy. “We had evidence and satisfied the Landlord and Tenant Board that it does interfere with the landlord’s interest where a tenant fails to have insurance in place,” he said. “The other risk for tenants is they could lose their housing.”
Confirming proof of insurance The LPMA lease requires tenants to have adequate tenant insurance. Hoffer advises landlords to confirm that renters have insurance before they give them the keys to their unit. Landlords should also request that tenants have relocation costs covered in their policy in case they need to temporarily vacate their unit. Although landlords can’t stipulate that tenants use a particular insurance company without being in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act, they can make it easy for them by suggesting two or three options. Hoffer also suggests that landlords tell existing tenants that they’re going to enforce the tenant insurance provision of the lease, even if they don’t already. Landlords should point to the term of the lease that states they must have tenant insurance and that they must also show the landlord that they have it. Some tenants may complain that the landlord hasn’t previously enforced the provision. However, a no-waiver clause in the LPMA lease states that even if landlords haven’t enforced a provision of the lease in the past, they aren’t precluded from enforcing it in the future, Hoffer said.
Fees and Charges bylaw Another consideration is the Fees and Charges bylaw, which industry professionals believe will spread to municipalities beyond the GTA. The Toronto bylaw encompasses three conditions: a “substantial portion” of the building must be declared uninhabitable by the appropriate regulatory authorities because of vital service disruptions; the building must be three or more storeys in height or have 10 or more units; and the landlord does not provide alternate accommodations for tenants. Hoffer recommends that landlords have an emergency management plan in municipalities where the Fees and Charges bylaw exists to ensure they move as quickly as possible to re-house tenants, even if the accommodations are in a hotel or a colleague’s apartment building. “It really turns on the circumstances because if the landlord does that then that part of the Fees and Charges bylaw can’t kick in if that condition hasn’t been met,” Hoffer said. Landlords can recover their costs by requiring tenants to cover the bill for their accommodations. Renters who have tenant insurance most likely have relocation coverage included. Those who don’t have tenant insurance should have it, Hoffer said.
Components of tenant insurance coverage Michael Sroka, an insurance agent with Desjardins Insurance, said tenant insurance is reasonably priced. Many factors affect the rate but an average policy, which covers insured perils (including fire, theft, wind, and water) ranges from $25 to $35 per month. A minimum of $15,000 in personal contents coverage is available without a maximum, along with a $2 million liability limit. Tenant insurance includes three main components.
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Michael Sroka is an insurance agent at Desjardins Insurance
Legal liability coverage protects tenants from lawsuits if they unintentionally cause damage to their rental unit or to the building due to an insured peril. Tenants are also covered if a visitor is accidentally injured in the tenant’s unit, Sroka said.
Rebecca Werden is sales manager at Desjardins Insurance
Additional living expenses coverage pays to accommodate tenants in a hotel or another rental unit while their apartment is being repaired. Without tenant insurance, renters would have to find their own accommodations. It also covers other needs, such as food.
Personal contents coverage pays to replace a tenant’s personal property, including clothing, furniture, and electronics. Rebecca Werden, sales manager at Desjardins Insurance, said it’s important for tenants to insure the replacement value of their belongings instead of their current value. Affordability is often the sticking point for tenants who don’t apply for tenant insurance. Some view it as an additional expense or don’t believe that anything unfortunate will happen to them, Werden said. Others assume their landlord’s building insurance will pay for the loss of their possessions when it’s the tenant’s policy that covers them. “It’s lack of understanding and lack of knowledge of who’s responsible for what,” Werden said. “I think landlords need to make it really clear what their policy covers and what the tenant’s policy covers, and the importance of it.” Generally, only one or two per cent of clients cancel their tenant insurance after they move into their unit. “It helps them if they have car insurance and we bundle it so it gives them a bigger discount,” said Sroka, adding that the contents of a vehicle are covered in a tenant insurance policy. “It’s a bigger win that way for them.”
Werden said landlords should ask tenants annually for confirmation of tenant insurance. It lowers their liability and reduces risk for the insurance company that provides coverage for their building, although that doesn’t always translate into a substantially lower premium for landlords.
Finding alternate accommodations for tenants Coverage to temporarily relocate renters helps to simplify the events that follow a fire or flood. Hoffer recalled an incident in downtown London that occurred when a valve broke on the top floor of a new high-rise. The valve controlled the water that supplied the fire system and, when it failed, water poured out and ran down more than 20 floors. Many tenants, who had to be moved out of the building and into temporary accommodations, proceeded to make claims against the landlord. The Board has made it clear that if the landlord isn’t in breach of its repair obligations under the lease, tenants won’t receive any damages. In this case, the landlord wasn’t liable because it didn’t cause the flood, Hoffer said. In other situations involving insured perils, renters who have tenant insurance don’t need to apply to the Board to seek to recover their costs to repair or replace their damaged property, and cover the costs they incur, such as money for meals and a place to stay, since their insurance covers those costs. “That’s an example of where having tenant insurance in place would look after the needs of the tenant and would look after the costs that they’ve incurred,” Hoffer said. “It makes their lives a lot simpler.” When tenants have tenant insurance, the situation can be resolved expeditiously. The alternative involves undergoing a lengthy litigation process, Hoffer said. While waiting for a hearing, tenants pay for expenses with money they may not have. But if they have insurance, the money to help them is available.
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 Rebecca David. Ph: 519-672-6999 Web: www.LPMA.ca
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Chair’s message The City of Ottawa Rental Housing Property Management By-law is to come into force on August 31, 2021. EOLO has provided extensive information and detailed templates for our members. On the following two pages, we provide all readers with information and references to the City of Ottawa’s templates, in the priority order in which we recommend rental housing providers address any outstanding issues to comply with the new by-law. While work is required, rental providers should remember that, in Ottawa, we avoided licensing fees and licensing applications. In addition, the information requirements are much less extensive and intrusive than the requirements in Toronto, Oshawa, and several other Ontario cities. As a separate matter, a number of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act will be brought into force on September 1, 2021. See the article below and the article on pages 58 and 59. - John Dickie, EOLO Chair
RTA/LTB changes effective September 1 A number of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will be brought into force on September 1, 2021. The following summary covers significant amendments involving claims against current and former tenants.
Claims against current tenants for City fines or utility arrears As of September 1, rental housing providers can seek compensation for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that arise from the conduct of tenants, occupants or guests, where they substantially interfere with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment or other lawful right, privilege or interest. This will cover items such as City fines for excess noise or garbage by-law violations. To claim compensation for expenses because of a tenant’s failure to pay utility charges, rental housing providers will be required to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), instead of having to proceed in Small Claims Court.
Claims against former tenants at LTB, not Small Claims Court If a rental housing provider wants to enforce a claim against a former tenant who vacated a rental unit on or after September 1, 2021, they need to apply to the LTB rather than Small Claims Court. The LTB has created a new form, L10, for this purpose. Applications can be made for the following reasons:
• Rent arrears • Compensation for use of the rental unit after a tenancy is terminated • Compensation for undue damage caused by a former tenant, guest or occupant • Compensation for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to conduct by a former tenant or others they are responsible for • Compensation for expenses incurred due to a former tenant’s failure to pay utilities. Landlords can no longer claim against former tenants in Small Claims Court. Instead, landlords must apply to the LTB. The landlord is responsible for serving (i.e., delivering) applications and notices of hearing naming former tenants. The landlord must also use specified methods of service. If an applicant is unable to serve by an approved method, they can apply to the LTB for approval of alternate means of service. Rental providers need to collect tenants’ email addresses, and follow best practices for seeking a former tenant’s new address.
Renovations, demolition or personal use For changes in the rules about terminating tenancies for renovations, demolition or personal use, see the section on pages 58 and 59.
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City of Ottawa requirements for rental housing The City of Ottawa’s new Rental Housing Property Management By-law comes into effect on August 31. EOLO has provided several webinars and e-Newsletters explaining the new requirements. This article lists the key City requirements and the templates available from the City. ALL residential landlords (from one unit and up) in the City of Ottawa are required to comply with all requirements except for the capital maintenance plan. (See below for the exception to that requirement for some small landlords.) There are five new requirements. They are listed below in priority order. It is advisable to review and act on this information and the template addressing each topic separately. Taken separately, each requirement is manageable. Taken all together, they can easily seem overwhelming.
General information The City’s templates, a link to the by-law, and many other resources can be found at www.Ottawa.ca/landlords. The City’s templates can only be downloaded from the City’s website in PDF form. However, the City has provided EOLO with the City’s templates as Word or Excel files. Anyone can download those versions from the EOLO website, www. eolo.ca. On each requirement, EOLO is providing its members with EOLO’s own template, EOLO’s slide deck, and a recording of EOLO’s webinar.
URGENT FOR AUGUST 31 (and potentially obvious if it is not done) Tenant information letters When signing a lease with any new tenant on or after August 31 for a rental unit in the City of Ottawa, the landlord is required to give them an information letter specific to the unit they are renting. The City has created a template that covers the eight required areas of information, specified in the By-law. Similar tenant information letters must be delivered to all tenants by November 30. Pest control As of August 31, all Ottawa landlords are required to have an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan. For many landlords, IPM is no more expensive than reactive measures because pest infestations are prevented, or found at an earlier stage, when they are easier to address. The City has created a template IPM Plan. According to the by-law, the Plan must include a schedule for a proactive pest inspection for each rental unit. EOLO suggests that you schedule your proactive pest inspections with your annual maintenance inspections. Then, after dealing with the other aspects of the by-law, you should evaluate whether to advance or delay the proactive inspections for particular buildings or units. The IPM Plan also needs to include “standing pest treatment plans”. In practical terms, that means having on hand the information sheets that pest control contractors provide landlords to direct tenants on the preparation they need to do before treatments for the various pests occur. If you do not have them already, pest control contractors can probably help you with the preparation sheets you need. You are also required to post a notice in the lobby when you do any pest treatment in a common area accessible to tenants, and to keep a copy of the notice to give to a by-law officer on request.
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As part of their work, pest control contractors may agree to post that notice and send you a copy (either when they post it or with their bill for the treatment).
REQUIRED FOR AUGUST 31 (but less apparent if you are still working on it) Tenant service records (and tenant support registry) All Ottawa landlords are required to have a process for addressing tenant service requests, and to keep a record of tenant service requests, which includes certain data points. Property management software tracks most of the data points, but not necessarily all the required data points. If you are using property management software, check that the system records all of the required data points, and add any other required data points. An easy way to do that is to compare your unit service reports with either the City’s template or the EOLO template. If you do not currently use property management software, then adopt the City’s template and amend your records to comply. Even better, EOLO members can adopt the EOLO template or compare their current records with the EOLO template. The tenant support registry is new. All landlords should create a record following either the City’s template or the EOLO template. Capital maintenance plan The requirement for a capital maintenance plan (CMP) only applies to the owner or manager of any “apartment building”, which is defined as “a structure, other than a townhouse or rowhouse, that contains multiple rental units and is three or more storeys in height or contains 10 or more rental units.” By the definition, single family home rentals are exempt from the CMP.
Buildings that are divided vertically (and not horizontally) are considered townhouses, and are exempt from the CMP even if they are three or more storeys, or contain 10 or more units. However, triplexes are covered, along with duplexes and stacked townhouses with three storeys or more. Condo rentals are exempt from the CMP by subsection 41 (2) of the by-law. That exemption applies not only to the rental of a few condo units by an investor, but also to rental buildings held in condo title. The CMP consists mostly of a list of when building elements were last inspected. If the element is in good or adequate condition, that is all that must be noted. If the building element is defective, then a projected repair or replacement date must be noted. The City has created a template. All the foregoing records are to be in place by August 31, 2021.
REQUIRED BY NOVEMBER 2021 Delivering the tenant information letters Tenant information letters specific to each rental unit are to be delivered to each tenant (other than tenants who received the letter on move in). Under the by-law, you need to deliver a copy and ask the tenant to sign a copy for you to keep on file. If the tenant refuses, you can then record the fact that the tenant received the letter in a statutory declaration, or send them another copy by registered mail, or courier, keeping proof of doing that. As a concession to the pandemic, and until they give further notice, the City will accept distribution by registered mail or courier without a previous in-person request for a signature, provided there is proof of delivery. Likewise, email can be used provided there is proof of receipt.
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 all 6 annual issues of RHB Magazine 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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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE It’s hard to believe that the first half of the year is now behind us. As we start to reopen the economy, evictions are now being enforced, which will help get rents paid, and vaccination rates are soaring. Good things are yet to come for the rest of 2021. To close out our first half of the year in WRAMA’s virtual meetings, we had the pleasure of welcoming the Region of Waterloo Water Services. They provided an overview of the many programs being offered by the Region to help conserve water, upgrade old fixtures, and ultimately save more money. Further details on the meeting can be found below. I am hopeful that many have had an opportunity to enjoy some downtime this summer as we close out the year. The board is busy planning fall virtual meeting topics. However, we always welcome member meeting ideas from both our associate and regular members. Don’t be afraid to let us know if you have an idea for a future meeting. The WRAMA board is always looking for volunteers and potential board members (elections are in November). If you have an interest in supporting WRAMA, don’t hesitate to reach out and note your interest.
Lastly, we look forward to starting a slow transition back to in-person member meetings. We are likely still some time away from that. I touch on some thoughts as more restrictions are lifted from Public Heath. I look forward to seeing you again in September. Stay well and heathy!
- James Craig, WRAMA President firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership updates The Membee system is designed to renew memberships on a calendar anniversary system. This means that memberships renew throughout the year rather then all going out at the beginning of the calendar year. Historically, they were sent out this way and we wanted to let you know of the change. If you receive your renewal and have any questions or concerns, please ensure that you reach out to email@example.com. We always encourage you to pay online through the WRAMA website, as it is the fastest way to ensure that you have paid and your status stays active. However, if you mailed a cheque, let us know to watch for it and ensure that your membership remains active.
June’s Member event The last event for the first half of the year was a great presentation from the Region of Waterloo’s water team. Joining us for a presentation we had Sedona Cluett and Wayne Brabazon, explaining the many different programs and grants available. The need to conserve water is in everyone’s best interest as the cost of water continues
to rise. Almost all the Region’s water comes from groundwater sources, which is a limited supply. The most common areas with low water use efficiency include toilets, toilet flappers, showerheads, and tap aerators. Rebates and funding are available to upgrade these areas of your building, which will also help to reduce water consumption.
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The above program is part of the multi-residential toilet flapper and fixture replacement program. For larger buildings, the Region also offers multi-residential high-rise funding program, which entails building-wide replacement of toilets, showerheads, and tap aerators. In this program, the rebates are tied to the total project cost and water savings. The Region also offers programs to help sub-meter water consumption, and ultimately put the cost of water onto the tenants. In this process, the Region will share the cost of a third-party water audit and the cost of sub-metering. Water softening programs also are offered to provide alternatives to salt-based systems. Those changes are useful in larger buildings with boilers, among others. If you would like further information, you can reach out to Sedona at scluett@ regionofwaterloo.ca (519-741-6894) or Wayne at wbrabazon@regionofwaterloo. ca (519-588-8796).
Upcoming expert panel - September Member event For many years, September’s Member meeting has always been around the experts in the field of apartment ownership, management, legal, sales, and operation. In continuing with this tradition, we are now finalizing a field of experts who will provide context in their field. In one of the strangest years in recent memory, many changes and new practices have now been implemented across the board. From virtual board meetings to enhanced cleaning protocols, COVID-19 has changed the way we operate on several fronts. If there is a specific topic that you would like to hear about, or have a question to be answered, feel free to reach out to president@wrama. com to let me know what is on your mind.
Return to Fall programing As mentioned in my opening, we are working to bring back meetings to some extent as more and more restrictions are lifted. The goal is to find a way to be able to live stream the meetings (using Zoom), so that if you are unable to join in person, a virtual option will exist. We will likely try this a couple of times to see if it is utilized, and what the user experience looks like. Over the coming weeks, we will seek out locations to host future events. If you have any ideas of a great place to host an event, please feel free to reach out and let us know. Ideally, we want to be in our general area (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge or Guelph). A location that has good access, and works for both members and presenters, would be best.
Changes to the RTA effective September 1 Various amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will take effect on September 1, 2021. Property owners should plan now to adapt to the changes.
Conduct-based applications A new L2 application form is to be required for all conduct-based grounds for terminating a tenancy and evicting a tenant (e.g., persistent late payment of rent, illegal acts, impaired safety). If a rental property owner uses the old L2 form on or after October 1 to apply for termination and eviction on conduct-based grounds, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) could reject the application for failure to use the correct form.
Applications against former tenants See page 53 for important changes to the rule about claiming against former tenants, and claiming unpaid utility bills.
Termination for renovations, demolitions or personal use Major changes to the RTA will affect the processing of N12 and N13 notices. If a rental property owner files an application to terminate for renovations, demolitions, conversions to a non-residential use, or personal or family use after September 1, they must include a statement about whether they have previously served an N12 or N13 on a tenant for any of their rental units within two years of filing the application. If that is the case, the owner will have to include the date any former notice was given, and the address it was given for. If the former notice
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was given for personal or family use, the name of the persons who were to move in are also to be stated. The LTB is to refuse to accept the filing of an application that does not include that information (section 71.1). Before the hearing of an application for renovations, a rental property owner is also to provide tenants and the LTB with any applicable building permits, although they would want to anyway, to establish the need for a building permit, which has been part of the law for decades. The LTB is to consider the prior use of these no-fault grounds of termination in determining whether to allow or reject the current application. Tenants will be better able to defend claims by landlords who use personal or family use often, but do not follow through with genuine personal or family use. Similar issues will apply if a rental property owner has terminated tenancies for major renovations or demolition. If another building slated for demolition has not been demolished, but rather has been re-rented at a higher rent, then a current application for termination to allow the demolition of another building may well not be granted. On the other hand, if a landlord has a history of following through with major renovations or demolitions, then the new requirements should not be a significant barrier.
If the LTB believes the rental property owner used the N12 and N13 forms wrongly, or “too often”, during the two-year period before the current application, the LTB could well find that the current application has been made in bad faith, and dismiss it. Being prepared with evidence of good faith will help to improve the chances of having the current application approved. Tenant remedies have been enhanced in the situations where a tenant has vacated a rental unit in response to an N12 or N13 notice given in bad faith. In tenant applications filed on or after September 1, the LTB can award a former tenant an amount up to 12 months of the last rent charged, as well as the current possible remedies, which include compensation for all or any portion of the increased rent the tenant is paying, and reasonable out-of-pocket moving, storage, and other similar expenses. As well, if a landlord fails to provide a tenant the right of first refusal (which the tenant has duly claimed), then the tenant can apply for a remedy for up to two years after the bad faith termination. Tenants can apply even if a previous application was dismissed for having been filed beyond the existing one-year limitation period. Those changes have been made to respond to the accusations of tenant advocates that landlords use false claims to evict tenants. Landlords with valid claims should not fear being prevented from gaining possession, but everyone must use the new forms and comply with the new procedures.
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