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Archive for the ‘Lease Agreement’ Category

The sub-meter industry has been collaborating with landlords to put a system in place where tenants are charged separately for electricity.  Landlords have allowed sub-meter companies to install sub-meters in rental units not only in new buildings but also for older buildings with sitting tenants.

Sub-meter companies are making huge profits from the collaboration. For example, according to a report in the CNW, the company Wyse Meter Solutions has made tremendous profits:

Wyse made the 2016 PROFIT 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 2,604%.
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/wyse-meter-solutions-inc-ranks-as-29th-fastest-growing-company-in-canada-593534801.html

Legislation by the Government of Ontario allows landlords to install sub-meter in rental units in existing and new buildings. The result is that lease conditions are changing related to electricity use. Landlords can require tenants pay for electricity separately from their rental cost based on the new rental contract. Refer to the Government of Ontario link for clarification on how you may be affected by the new legislation:

Tenants Guide to Suite Meters
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9087.aspx

Another section of the regulation provides clarification about tenant consent:
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9050.aspx

Quote:
      If a landlord chooses to install a suite meter, tenants will have the
      choice of paying for their electricity consumption separately from
      rent. If electricity is currently included in a tenant’s rent, landlords
      must lower the rent if a tenant chooses to pay for their own electricity
      using a suite meter.

CAUTION – Read your lease carefully and make sure you do NOT sign any contract that states you will pay separately for electricity when renewing your lease. You do not have to pay for electricity because this cost is included in your lease.  Refer to this this link below:
Appendix A –   Your landlord wants you to start paying for electricity – Be Careful!
http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-18103.pdf

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NOTE:
For more details you can check our earlier posts on the subject of Sub-Meter at these links:
Smart Sub-meters . . . Getting It Right!
https://eastyorktenantsgroup.com/2009/09/08/sub-meters-getting-it-right/

SMART SUB-METERS . . .
https://eastyorktenantsgroup.com/2009/08/29/smart-sub-meters/

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FMTA Response to Proposed Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

In April 2016, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released a consultation paper which discussed Proposals to Encourage Small Landlords to Provide Rental Housing.

FMTA was a core stakeholder in the process and provided feedback about proposals.  Although feedback on the proposals was originally due in late April, the government extended deadlines to June 30th in order to provide more time for feedback from tenants.

The FMTA Board is concerned that these proposals constitute the greatest attack on tenant rights since the Mike Harris government.  More importantly, there’s no evidence that these proposals will encourage small landlords to provide a single unit of housing.

Major Proposals:

1)      Require tenants to provide legal disclosure for any issues that they intend to raise at rental arrears eviction hearings to the landlord prior to the hearing.

2)      Explore whether any changes should be made to the process for tenants appealing decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board to the Divisional Court

3)      Explore whether to allow landlords to terminate a tenancy based on violation of no-smoking provisions in tenancy agreements

4)      Explore whether to allow landlords to prohibit pets in tenancy agreements in small buildings where the landlord also resides

Concerns:

1)      There is no evidence that these proposals will create a single unit.  The FMTA asked for any quantitative evidence (a study/survey) that showed that these proposals would “encourage small landlords to provide rental housing”.  The Ministry didn’t have any.  In fact the Ministry provided no estimate of the number of units they expect to be created by these proposals.

2)      These proposals will encourage eviction of tenants. Three of the most concerning proposals (pre-disclosure of evidence, allowing landlords to prohibit pets, allowing eviction due to breeching a lease) can already lead to an eviction.  These proposals simply make it easier for landlords to evict.

3)      Lack of Fairness. Applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board are already dominated by landlords – 91% of all applications.  These proposals will make it harder for tenants to bring up counter applications and appeal to Divisional Court.

Better Options:

1)      Zoning.  Provincial changes to the Planning Act for second units came into effect on January 1, 2012.  Did these changes encourage small landlords to provide rental housing?  Evidence-based analysis would provide an answer.

2)      Licensing.  Many small landlords receive no training on the requirements and difficulties for running a rental housing business.  Licensing could help better prepare them.

3)      Standardized leases.  Many new, small landlords are shocked to find they cannot ban pets or smoking outright or that some fees included in their leases are illegal.  Standardized leases would help train landlords to understand and follow the law.

4)      Better law enforcement.  While good landlords follow the law in terms of repairs, charges and tenant rights, they face similar difficulties and penalties to landlords that flagrantly break the law.  Providing appropriate punishments for landlords who break the law and incentives for those who follow it could help spur rental housing growth.

Contact the Ministry!
Concerned about these proposals? The full list of changes can be found on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website. Public feedback can be sent to residential.tenancies@ontario.ca.

SOURCE:  Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association
http://www.torontotenants.org

Important note
FMTA Annual General Meeting –  Join the FMTA for the 42nd Annual General Meeting on Saturday June 18th, 2016 at 1pm.
Location: 120 Carlton St – Party Room. Corner of Jarvis and Carlton St. Closest station is College Subway.
Refer to this link for more details on the 2016 FMTA Annual General Meeting:  http://www.torontotenants.org/news/fmta-annual-general-meeting-2016

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Landlords provide a variety of services to tenants in residential apartment buildings. One of the major services provided is ‘repairs and maintenance’. This particular service is defined in the lease document, which is a contractual agreement between the landlord and the tenant and is covered by the regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

While a variety services are provided by landlords, the one most frequently used by tenants tends to be ‘repairs and maintenance’. These services are provided by onsite staff except in unusual situations where major repairs would have to be done by licensed tradespeople. Other necessary services such as lawn care and snow removal are provided in compliance with municipal standards and bylaws whereas services such as ‘laundry facilities’ are outsourced by the landlord.

The inclusion of ‘laundry facilities’ is an essential service for most tenants. Tenants in residential apartment buildings expect to have laundry equipment available on site. For several years there has been a trend for laundromat services to be outsourced to outside contractors, not managed by the landlord. The outsourcer/contractor is allocated a space to set up the laundry equipment and is responsible for collection of monies and maintenance of the equipment. This is where some bothersome issues have surfaced for tenants using the laundry facilities. The laundry facility is not free as the machines are equipped for coin collection.  Alas, these washers and dryers malfunction fairly frequently and tenants are unable to receive the services for which they have paid.

Posters in laundry rooms display contact information in the event a tenant encounters problems with the machines. Tenants can also report that loss of service to their property manager or superintendent to obtain refunds for the money lost. It should be a simple matter to obtain a refund. Yet some tenants are finding it challenging to be reimbursed for the money lost on malfunctioning washers and dryers when they follow up with the property management. Tenants’ requests for reimbursement of lost money are not always dealt with promptly.

There appears to be an issue related to accountability and oversight. The laundry equipment should be approved for continuous use in residential apartment buildings. It is not for occasional use hence there is more wear and tear to the equipment due to the large number of users. Tenants have to pay for the use of the washers and dryers. The laundry equipment provided to tenants should meet a required level of performance and not be faulty and sub-standard.

Dissatisfaction with the faulty laundry machines, loss of money, overcrowding and wait times has driven some tenants to purchase their own laundry equipment without the knowledge or approval of the landlord. As a result some landlords have notified tenants who wish to install laundry appliances that their rental cost will increase due to increased hydro/utility costs for the entire building. Landlords have also attempted to apply similar rules to those who install air conditioning appliances.

Ultimately those tenants who install laundry appliances or air conditioners without approval are being subsidized by the other tenants in the building who have not installed that type of equipment in their units. For those tenants dependent on the laundry facilities and have lost money the outstanding issue would be for the landlord to address the lack of accountability and oversight for the services provided by the outsourcer/contractor.

We would very much like to hear about experiences you have had with the laundry facilities in your building.

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UPDATE – Check  our other  posts for updated information on safety:
 Safety and Security In Apartment Buildings  (This particular post dealt with a robbery that took place at 165 Barrington Avenue, an apartment building owned by Ranee Management) .
 Safety and Security in Apartment Buildings – Security Guards to be Eliminated.  (This post addresses concerns about the impact on  tenants’ safety resulting from removal security guards by Ranee Management.)

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Security for underground parking garages in apartment buildings is a topic that deserves closer scrutiny. There seems to be an increase in the number of break-ins in underground parking garages. This is costing tenants dearly.

While some tenants have been victims of auto theft, others have had their vehicles broken into or badly vandalized. This is certainly a cause for concern. Underground parking garages in residential apartment buildings are supposed to be equipped with an electronic entrance door and a special access key.  This key allows legitimate access to tenants who park their vehicles in the underground parking.  These garages should have functioning surveillance cameras to capture all activities and help keep the location safe. Apartment buildings also have security guards patrolling the entire premises. So we have to ask some troubling questions about how criminals manage to gain access (more…)

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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…)

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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…)

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Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that is beyond our control and have to terminate a rental lease agreement early. In the present economic climate there will probably be an increasing number of renters needing to end their lease/ tenancy agreement early. It could be that laid off or underemployed renters will be seeking less expensive accommodation to survive the downturn in the economy. Some tenants may have found more suitable accommodations and others may be faced with the prospect of becoming homeless due to the economic downturn. Tenants may have to relocate for a new job. It may be that they want to move because of NOISY TENANTS or ‘harassment by a tenant’ and the fact that the landlord is not taking their complaints seriously. Check Municipal Licensing & Standards (Chapter 591 Noise Bylaw) for more detailed information on noise violation. 

 

A tenant may also be concerned about safety and security in their building if they have been a victim of robbery, burglary or break-in and the landlord has not responded adequately. Or there may be existing tensions or conflicts due to other violations of the RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT such as malfunctioning utilities and outstanding major repairs, or Cockroach and bed bug infestation that the landlord ignores. There violations can make your unit uninhabitable. Naturally tenants would want out of their lease/tenancy agreement as soon as possible. There could also be any number of personal (more…)

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