Savoline, the Progressive Conservatives’ housing and municipal affairs critic, said the swift defeat of her private member’s bill on February 24, which would have given landlords the ability to collect small damage deposits from tenants, further demonstrates that the balance between the interests of tenants and landlords in Ontario is way out of whack.
“It should never be weighted all the way to one side or all the way to the other. There needs to be a balance struck and that balance is way, way gone,” she said.
Savoline’s proposal in Bill 145 would have permitted landlords to collect a deposit of no more than 25% of one month’s rent for a damage deposit.
Currently, Ontario landlords cannot collect deposits at all, while other provinces, such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and those in the Maritimes, can collect as much as one month’s rent for a damage deposit.
As more Ontario municipalities move to roll out extensive licensing and regulation programs – something which was permitted by the province when the Ontario Municipal Act was amended – Savoline said she fears the lack of incentives for landlords may drive many real estate investors right out of the province.
“Small business landlords can’t afford to do the types of things that the Landlord and Tenancy Act expects them to do. And so little by little, these folks are getting out of the business and the big risk is the vulnerability of the rental market and especially for those who need affordable housing because landlords provide affordable housing.”
Savoline said she remains committed to the cause of Ontario’s landlords and will continue to raise their concerns at Queen’s Park, but when asked about her position on the province’s decision in 2007 to lift restrictions preventing municipalities from enforcing licensing programs, Savloine said she can’t specify what her caucus will do until the election is decided.
“We’re not going to get into the type of detail that you’re talking about. That will be work for us when we take government Oct. 7, after the election,” she said. “I don’t think there will be that type of detail in platform with the municipalities being able to license, that’s detail.”
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