According to Ontario Landlords Association Members It’s Time to Change the Residential Tenancies Act
There was a an important report for Ontario landlords in a report from one of the nations leading real estate publications. The report in Canadian Real Estate Wealth magazine was called ‘Time to Update the Landlord and Tenants Act?‘
Some municipal government want to change the laws to require residential landlords get a license in order to own and operate a rental property.
For example, there is an Ottawa councillor who wants to license all the small landlords who have rentals in an area that predominantly houses students. He says the area has experienced both pollution and noise complaints from neighbours and he believes a ‘landlord license’ would solve the problem.
How Would Landlord Licensing Solve Tenant Noise and Pollution Issues?
Some politicians, including this Ottawa councillor, want to put the burden of tenant behaviour on to the back of the landlord / property owner. If a neighbour complains about noise from a rental property the landlord will have to solve the issue or they will lose their license.
What Happens If a Landlord Loses Their License?
If they lose their landlord license they will not be able to rent out the property again. They will lose their ability to rent out the property.
Are Any Other Ontario Cities Thinking of Licensing Landlords?
Besides Ottawa, there have been moves to require small residential landlords to get a license in cities such as Windsor, Guelph, and Hamilton.
Do Any Ontario Cities Have Landlord Licensing Laws?
Yes. There are licensing schemes in Waterloos, Oshawa and London. In 2014 the city of Mississauga started charging landlords with basement suites $500 annually. If you own a duplex it’s $1000 per year to be legal and be allowed to run your rental business.
What About In Other Canadian Provinces?
The calls for this type of scheme are primarily in Ontario.
Ontario Landlords Association Advocates for Landlord Rights
The Canada Real Estate Wealth team reached out to Ontario Landlords Association (OLA) members for their opinions on the subject.
After all the Ontario Landlords Association is recognized by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as an important voice for private small residential landlords in Ontario.
The OLA does not approve of landlord licensing. In large part this is because the idea of punishing landlords for their tenants’ behaviour is unreasonable and shows a lack of understanding of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.
Residential Tenancies Act (Ontario) and Reality
The Ontario Landlords Association wants to change the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). As of now it is not fair and balanced. Landlords don’t have enough power or legal rights, especially when tenants don’t pay rent, damage the unit, bother other tenants or bother neighbours.
If tenants make noise and the landlord tells them to quiet down under the RTA tenants can file against the landlord for ‘harassment.’
Landlord Licensing Hurts Good Landlords and Good Tenants
Good landlords don’t want to rent to tenants who cause problems for neighbours. The problem is if their tenants are doing this there is little the landlord can do about it.
Tenants in Ontario have the right to their ‘reasonable enjoyment’ and that means landlords must be careful to avoid being perceived to harass tenants or how they live their lives. Tenants don’t want, and won’t accept, landlords acting like their parents on issues such as noise.
Ontario Landlords Association: Change the Residential Tenancies Act
Small landlords need more power to maintain their rental properties. With more legal power, small landlords will be able to ensure their properties are well run and don’t bother others. This also helps good tenants because the landlord will be able to handle the ‘bad apple’ tenants who are causing issues for others in a quick and effective manner.
Landlord licensing is a simplistic non-solution that will only cause more problems.