Landlord and tenant protections

Perhaps you read about a local residential landlord who was shorted thousands of dollars in rent. It turns out that his two tenants were on their fifth rental property since 2010. Each rental ended with debts owing. A false reference had helped secure one tenancy.

In another Beach landlord-tenant dispute, a Beach landlord was fined $3,000 plus costs of $611 to his tenant based on a harassment complaint. While the landlord reportedly plans to appeal, the Landlord and Tenant Board found that the landlord had engaged in actions “beyond the pale, troubling, and completely outside the norms of acceptable behaviour.”

Landlord and tenant disputes are common and can cause enormous financial and personal grief to the parties affected. For landlords, the best protection is prevention.

References are critical, and must be reliable as false references are very common. Social media can be used to find all kinds of information about your prospective tenant and there are professional agencies that will now screen for landlords – a service that can be written off as a cost of business.

Many landlords now check with services such as tenancybureau.com, which lists bad tenants.

A tenant’s best protection is to be familiar with the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act.  There are many resources available online to educate and assist.

If a landlord and tenant cannot come to a resolution they may need to appear before the LTB.

The role of the LTB is to enforce the rights of both tenants and landlords, which are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act. This provincial Act governs residential tenancies in Ontario.

Many tenants find the whole process gruelling and intimidating. However, once in front of the LTB, its role is to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants through mediation or adjudication, and to provide general information about rights and responsibilities to both tenants and landlords.

For a small business or home owners who have tenants, a loss of rental income due to non-payment can be a real hardship and can cause enormous anxiety. Landlords usually bear the cost of mortgage payments, taxes, and other costs even with the tenant still in the rented premises.

Eviction for non-payment of rent is a time-consuming process. Landlords in Ontario are bound by the Residential Tenancies Act. Landlords are involuntarily drawn into a world of giving proper notices, watching time frames, serving papers, and arranging dates in front of the LTB.

In many cases they need to hire lawyers, paralegals, or property managers to assist them. They also may miss work to prepare for and appear before a tribunal. It is a gruelling and tiring process for many.

A little prevention goes a long way in this area of the law.

For FAQs and further information on the LTB, see the board’s website.

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