Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Capital Expenditures’ Category

Many high-rise apartment buildings around the GTA are currently undergoing major renovations and repairs of balconies. Most balconies tend to be made of metal with concrete slabs and are subject to wear and tear and rusting. Landlords and property owners deem these renovations and repairs are necessary to maintain the infrastructure and revitalize the appearance of the buildings. Hence these renovations are deemed ‘capital expenditure work’ under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Refer to: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb-december-19-2016-new-approach-applications-rent-increase-guideline/

Given that the Above Guideline Increase regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) deem renovation of balconies as ‘capital expenditure work’, the landlord has rights to renovate their property. The landlord will incur substantial costs from these renovations and the upshot is that the landlord can apply for an Above Guideline Increase and pass these costs on to their tenants. Are those balcony renovations necessary, essential or cosmetic?

Although elegant and attractive balconies improve the overall appearance of the building there are some downsides to the balcony renovation project:

  • Tenants have to endure excessive noise and disruption as workers dismantle the existing balcony railings. It is a noisy, dusty and disruptive process, therefore a great inconvenience for tenants, especially those who have night jobs as well as families with young children. Further, curtains and drapes on windows facing the balcony must be closed during the day for months at a time, to ensure privacy when workers pass by on scaffolding.
  • Balconies are barricaded and access to certain locations of their building is limited. Of course, the safety of tenants during the renovation work is a priority. Yet that lack of access to the balcony, including removal of window air conditioners during the hot summer months, certainly interferes with the tenants’ enjoyment of their unit. This can be seen as a ‘loss of service’ and tenants may be able to file an application for an abatement of rent at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
  • Renovating balconies is a major construction project that can take a much longer time to complete as predicted as the work can be prolonged well beyond the targeted completion date. Tenants can be inconvenienced for an extended period of time.
  • As part of the preparation for the balcony renovations tenants are instructed to remove any items stored on their balcony. Lockers are no longer made available in many high-rise buildings so tenants tend to store valued or bulky items on their balcony. Tenants are not always told that any items not removed are permanently ‘disposed of’ by the workers which is a lack of clear communication by the landlord.  Have those ‘disposed’ items been dumped in the garbage or have been set aside by someone who view those items as having value? Since there is no recourse to recover those missing items removed from balconies it would benefit tenants if landlords make arrangements/agreements with the workers on how to dispose of items, i.e. leave those items in a designated area for tenants to retrieve them.
  • Tenants in older buildings have complained that there are dealing with an infestation (or migration) of cockroaches and other pests to their unit.

Despite many inconveniences, the most important and troubling concern of tenants is what the Above Guideline Increase will be after the renovations have been completed

In recent years there has been a crisis of affordable rental housing due to low vacancy rate. It has mostly to do with ‘supply and demand’. Developers are more focussed on building condos as the condo market is thriving. That has diminished the availability of a much needed supply of affordable rental housing and also contributed to a very low vacancy rate in rental housing. The outcome has been huge increases in rental costs for tenants. Renovating apartment buildings and being able to claim those costs as ‘capital expenditures’ is of significant financial benefit to landlords as those costs are covered by the Above Guideline Increase regulations. The question remains ….. Are those balcony renovations necessary, essential or cosmetic?

Tenants are encouraged to become more informed about the Above Guideline Increase rules outlined by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Moreover, it could be in the best interest of tenants to get organized and engage in activism to address attempts by landlords to inflate rents as a result of balcony renovations.

____________________

NOTE – Refer to these links for rules and regulation of the Above Guideline increases outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act:

Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17:
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17

July 1, 2019 e-Laws currency date
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/about-e-laws#ccl

In the absence of tenant associations tenants should check out the Federation of Metro Tenants Association (FMTA) organization.  FMTA has produced a Guide to Renovations publication that contains extensive information on regulations related to renovations.

Refer to this link for details:
Federation of Metro Tenants Association (FMTA) document https://torontotenants.org/

 

Read Full Post »

In recent months there has been a noticeable increase of renovation and retrofitting activities in apartment buildings in the GTA. Most of these renovations are related to upgrades to promote energy conservation. Renovations include fixes to faulty plumbing and heating systems, installing smart sub-meters, and replacement of ageing balcony doors and windows for more energy efficient ones. While general repairs and renovations are long overdue in older buildings there are other newer buildings  undergoing (more…)

Read Full Post »

The Annual Rent Increase Guideline and the Above Guideline Increase for 2010 have been announced. Much to no one’s surprise both rent increase guidelines are greater than those of 2009. The Annual Rent Increase Guideline has been raised from 1.8% to 2.1% and applies to a rent increase that begins any time between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. This annual increase is intended to cover the (more…)

Read Full Post »

By I. Aagaard, Guest Contributor

A recent article (Smart sub-meters) on the EYTG web site made references to an issue that’s been popping up recently:  Smart Sub-Meters in apartment buildings.

 I agree fundamentally with the notion of this “Pay Per Use” way of holding each of us responsible for our consumption of non-renewable resources, such as electricity. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has issued a ‘Decision and Order’ that will allow landlords to install ‘smart sub-metering systems’ for individual rental units. Smart sub-meters’ are devices that can be installed in individual apartments to monitor a tenant’s use of energy thereby allowing individual billing.
(Refer to this link for more details:  http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-23859.pdf

The main reason behind this ‘Decision and Order’ is that landlords/ property owners have been installing ‘smart meters’ in residential and commercial complexes in the absence of regulations. Ostensibly the purpose of these ‘smart meters’ is to monitor the (more…)

Read Full Post »

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Many tenants in Beaches-East York have relayed frustrating experiences with ‘problem landlords’ and property managers when requesting needed repairs to their apartment or when they complain about poor building maintenance. Unresolved complaints for outstanding repairs and building maintenance issues seem to be the bane of the existence of many tenants in the City of Toronto. Although your rental agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord, some landlords and property managers do not comply with the regulations set out in the “RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT” 

Here is what tenants have been telling us:

  •   Absence of tenant associations – The most common concern is the challenges faced when attempting to establish a tenants association in order to help tenants resolve complaints and violations. Tenants tell us landlords do not encourage this activity and that landlords remove any notices related to organizing tenants from the communal notice board. The security guards are also instructed to remove any pamphlets and flyers related to this activity. It was suggested that since the security guards remove these while doing their rounds between 4:00 pm and midnight the tenants should deliver the flyers either after midnight or around 6:00 am and that flyers should be inserted carefully so that they are not visible from outside the doors. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 clearly states that: “It is an offence to try to prevent a tenant from forming a tenants’ association or taking part in one.”  
  • Violations by landlords and property managers – Tenants are confused by the longwinded process in place to resolve offences and/or violations committed by landlords. They feel helpless about the delaying tactics used by landlords when needed repairs are requested. (more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: