Time to update the Landlord and Tenants Act?

by Jennifer Paterson23 Apr 2015
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.”

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