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Posts Tagged ‘Landlord licensing’

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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Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department’s proposed auditing strategy was voted in (with some amendments) on Monday (10 November) by the City’s Executive Committee over the criticism and objections of tenants and advocacy groups such as The Federation of Metropolitan Tenants’ Association, The Parkdale Tenants’ Association, ACORN, The South Etobicoke Tenants Association, and the Parkdale Community Legal Services – Tenant’s Advocacy Division who wanted stronger, more tenant-focused regulation.

The new strategy will go into effect on December 1st, 2008. You can read the full recommendation, that the City’s Executive Commitee reviewed, here.

More later on what the new programme may mean to you and what you can do to help ensure that it is implemented well.

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So, today is the day that the Toronto’s Executive Committee will evaluate and vote on a proposal for a new Municipal Licensing and Standards strategy.

As noted in earlier posts, it looks as if they will approve an auditing plan proposed by the department.

From a tenant perspective (and examined in detail in earlier posts) this proposal is little more than a slightly enhanced version of the status quo.

In earlier posts, we mentioned a meeting that took place yesterday afternoon to show support for landlord licensing – the proposal initially being investigated by the City.

This meeting was well attended (with approximately 40 people present, albeit mostly members from the organizing group, ACORN) and drew a camera crew from Global TV and two newspaper reporters. Three city (more…)

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Toronto city councillor, Howard Moscoe has done a complete about turn from his former support for landlord licensing (as weakened as his version was) in favor of an even weaker auditing plan put forth by head of the City’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department, Jim Hart.

The new auditing plan will be the only fleshed-out proposal to go before the Mayor’s Executive Committee for a vote on Monday, November 10th and if passed, as is likely with no other real proposals on the table, would take effect on Dec. 1st.

According to The Toronto Sun, the auditing scheme would be ‘operated by a team of 12 MLS officers with a background in building audits — will proactively inspect 176 rental (private and social housing) buildings (more…)

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