Time to update the Landlord and Tenants Act?

As some municipal governments call for ‘landlord licensing’ and other bylaw changes, the industry says the Landlord and Tenants Act needs to change to help both landlords and tenants.

“There are still a lot of needed changes to help both good landlords and good tenants,” says a representative of the Ontario Landlords Association, which lobbies the government on behalf of small residential landlords in the province.

“By creating more protections for landlords, more good people who want to be great landlords with safe and affordable rentals will invest in the industry.”

Last week, CREW wrote about a proposal by a councillor in Ottawa that would see ‘landlord licensing’ in a neighbourhood that has experienced increase noise and pollution complaints. A similar nuisance bylaw is under debate in Wolfville, NS, advocating that landlords face fines if their tenants routinely ignore noise and liquor laws.

This obvious slant towards placing the blame on landlords has raised the calls for a change to the LTA. “In the Landlord Tenant Act it clearly states that the tenant is entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property which means that the landlord should not be breathing down their necks, acting like their parents or the police,” wrote a commentator on the CREW Forum.

These types of bylaws lead to many landlords selling their income property and getting out of the market, said one OLA member.

“It hurts good landlords because they cannot charge a damage deposit and this means many good people who decide to buy an income property get burned when tenants move out leaving damages or big messes.”

On the flipside, good tenants can be penalized as well. “It hurts good tenants because experienced landlords know they are not protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act and have to screen tenants incredibly careful and decline renting to tenants who don't screen out perfectly,” said another OLA member. 

“This means a lot of good tenants who might not have a good credit score or detailed rental history have a hard time finding a good apartment.

"It's not that the landlords don't want to rent to them, but the lack of legislative protection means many small landlords simply can't afford the risk.”

Share your views about this topic on the CREW Forum

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  • by Randy 2015-04-23 4:53:51 PM

    Frankly, I agree with the fine to the landlord ... IF the Landlord and Tenant Board recognizes it as justification for an eviction through an N5 notification. For me, with month to month rentals in older neighbourhoods, other tenants or neighbours simply won't testify at LTB court for fear of retribution by a bad tenant.

    A legal document naming the apartment and address can help me evict an idiot and a potentially dangerous tenant once in a while for a small fee (otherwise known as a fine).

  • by JC 2015-04-26 10:04:55 AM

    Why does the word "update" or "reform" often mean taking something away from individuals, especially when landlords already have so much power?

    I have a close friend who's been fighting with a former landlord for more than a year over the return of a security deposit and not being paid interest on her last month's rent at the condo where she lived for a year. The landlord claimed she left the flat dirty and damaged, but he never did walkthroughs when she moved in or out, nor provided receipts for cleaning or any repairs on the supposed damage. She provided him with receipts showing that she had a cleaning service twice a month, including the day before she moved out.

    Now she is forced to go to the L&T Board's housing court. Because it doesn't take on-line filings, it meant going to the court to file, paying the filing fee, and taking a full day off work on the hearing date because the docket is so crowded that parties can sit all day waiting for their case to be called. How would the proposed changes improve her situation?

  • by MrZora 2015-04-26 6:47:28 PM

    I am a Landlord that considers and accepts Tenants on OW and ODSP.
    To accept one of the above mentioned Tenants, I require that the housing portion of their benefit comes directly to me as rent. Even if agreed to in writing, the Tenant can arbitrarily cancel this as soon as they move in, and they frequently do.
    I feel that once agreed to, this should not be something that the Tenant can unilaterally decide to cancel.
    The Landlord and Tenant Board is heavily slanted in favour of the tenant period, and does nothing to help in this situation and will not enforce this agreement, even when it has been agreed to in writing (ie. the lease).

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