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Top 5 tenant gripes about condo landlords

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Guest | 06 Nov 2012, 10:15 PM Agree 0

According to Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations (FMTA), condos are unique in terms of residential tenancy law and landlords often fail tenants when condo-specific conundrums crop up. Here are five investor missteps that can leave tenants out in the cold and send even the best renters running for purpose-built rental units.

The Problem: Raising Rent
How Landlords Fail: Jacking it Up – Too Much
“You see this in condos built after 1991,” says Dent. “None of those condos are subject to rent control, so landlords can increase rent whatever they want, which often results in us seeing condo rents 40% higher than in other buildings.” Driving rents up can drive great tenants out, and if the new rent price is unmanageable, this can also lead to a prolonged vacancy thereafter.

The Problem: Repairs
How Landlords Fail: Skirting the issue
Tenants are supposed to go to landlords with repair issues, who in turn are supposed to go to the condominium board. According to Dent, all too often landlords send tenants directly to the condo board, but failing to follow procedure can cause even more issues. “The board may ask the tenant to pay for the repairs even though it’s against provincial law, then there may be fees associated with that, that the landlord has to pay,” he says.
The Problem: Communications with the Condo Board
How Landlords Fail: Misleading Tenants about “Rules and Regs”
Every condo board has different regulations surrounding use of facilities, renting moving elevators, numbers of guests allowed and other guidelines for tenants. However, when a landlord doesn’t set up proper communications to inform the tenant of these regulations, it can lead to trouble. For example, landlords can keep quiet about the fact that landlords are supposed to pay for specific deposits, and end up passing on these deposits or fees to tenants illegally.
The Problem: Pets in Units
How Landlords Fail: Ignoring Tenant Rights
“Usually condo boards will have some provisions that will allow for some kind of pet scenario - maybe if the landlord paid a deposit, or a small fine, then some kinds of pets are allowed in the unit” says Dent. However, landlords often skip paying this and instead, issue a blanket “no pet” clause, denying the tenants legal right to a pet. “Many landlords fail to help their tenants in this way,” he says.

The Problem: Emergencies
How Landlords Fail: Not Being Adequately Prepared
Flooding is one of the most common emergencies reported in condos, especially from units above. “Legally as a landlord you’re supposed to do those emergency repairs, but often landlords leave tenants high and dry - or in the case of a flood, low and wet,” says Dent. Tenants can be stuck in mouldy, damaged units if a landlord isn’t quick to react to a flood or a fire. “Being a landlord is a business; you should have an ample capital reserve to deal with an emergency situation,” he says.
  • Ed Novak, Broker | 08 Nov 2012, 07:13 PM Agree 0
    All are valid points. As a realtor who works with investors and handle plenty of leases, I ensure that (a) landlord provides rules and regs to the tenant on occupancy; (b) cover off typical eventualities in the agreement to lease; and (c) when I represent the tenants, I educate them about their responsibilities, as well. It all comes down doing our job as realtors in a professional manner, being educated, knowing laws and helping your clients. All one has to do is keep in mind that an investor will keep using your services if they see that you have their interests at heart, and the same applies to tenants. After all, sooner or later, tenants will buy. That's how we make our money.

    Having said that, we can't force landlords to be prompt and responsible, just as we can't force tenants to be the same. We are dealing with people here. Many condo landlords have other jobs/businesses and for them to deal with the board and the tenants beyond the lease, becomes a headache. Not to say that tenants are saints...
  • Malki | 09 Nov 2012, 10:51 PM Agree 0
    Although the article raises realistic points about rental increases on condos built after 1991
    all landlords and tenants should strive to be knowledgable before renting. And that means learning about the rules that enforce the condominium rental like the Residential Tenancies Act and Condominium Act. and ask the questions that need to be asked before deciding to rent
    Your writer should e. go back and confirm your points especially where it relates to deposits re a pet deposit.which to my understanding is not allowed by the RTA.

    And yes rental buildings as a rule do have a tenure
    for a tenant if they are interested in a longer term lease and more acceptance re a pet. However a condo owner for their own reasons may decide not to want to rent to a tenant with a pet
    i think it is the Tenant's responsibility to ask questions and be knowledgable Having said that sometimes events happen and have to be treated in a common sense way.
    That is the reason why people get insurance.
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