Ontario Landlords beware of delays at the Landlord Tenant Board

About the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB)

The Landlord Tenant Board of Ontario, often referred to as the LTB, is an administrative tribunal in the province of Ontario, Canada. It operates under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, and is responsible for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants in a fair and efficient manner. With a focus on maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship between landlords and tenants, the LTB plays a crucial role in regulating the real estate industry in Ontario.

One of the primary functions of the Landlord Tenant Board is to provide a forum for resolving disputes related to residential tenancies. Whether it is a disagreement over rent, eviction, maintenance issues, or any other matter concerning the landlord-tenant relationship, both parties have the opportunity to present their case before the LTB. This impartial tribunal ensures that both landlords and tenants are given a fair chance to voice their concerns and seek a resolution.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, the LTB has established a set of rules and regulations that govern the behavior and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. These rules are intended to protect the rights of both parties and ensure that a balance is maintained in their relationship. For example, landlords are required to maintain the premises in a good state of repair and provide essential services such as heating and water supply. Tenants, on the other hand, are expected to pay rent on time and be respectful of the property.

In addition to dispute resolution, the Landlord Tenant Board also provides valuable information to both landlords and tenants. Through its website and helpline, individuals can access a wealth of resources to educate themselves about their rights and responsibilities. From guidelines on how to draft a tenancy agreement to information on rent increases, the LTB aims to empower everyone involved in the rental industry with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

Furthermore, the LTB conducts hearings and issues decisions based on the evidence presented by both parties. These decisions are legally binding and enforceable, ensuring that the rights of both landlords and tenants are upheld. The tribunal may order remedies such as compensation, rent reductions, or eviction notices if it determines that a party has violated the Residential Tenancies Act. However, it also has the power to dismiss cases or mediate between the disputing parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

The Landlord Tenant Board of Ontario plays a vital role in the real estate industry by promoting fair and respectful relationships between landlords and tenants. By providing a platform for dispute resolution, establishing clear rules and regulations, and offering educational resources, the LTB ensures that both parties are treated fairly and have access to the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of the rental market.

But for some time now, many landlords are nervous these days to rent out their properties. Once bitten, twice shy seems to be the sentiment for many landlords. According to the Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario (SOLO), many small landlords in Ontario are choosing not to rent or sell their properties due to the LTB delays and difficulties around enforcement.

In some cases, landlords have had trouble selling their homes because the tenants do not leave. And nothing can be done about it.

A recent example of a Landlord Tenant Issue

There was a news article in Mississauga News recently (June 7, 2023) about a landlord who accrued thousands in unpaid rent. They even had to take out loans to cover bills on the house, while waiting for an eviction notice that was never granted due to a filing error.

The landlord had rented their Mississauga bungalow to a tenant during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January last year, the landlord filed an application with the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board for over $15,000 in outstanding rent.

And then in December last year, the landlord had a hearing date, where the tenant was ordered to pay over $30,000 in unpaid rent. It appears that the tenancy could not be terminated because the landlord had made an error about the rental period.

“If an N4 notice contains incorrect information as it relates to the termination of the tenancy, the application may be unable to result in eviction but still proceed on the rent arrears only.” – spokesperson for Tribunals Ontario.

Rightly so, the landlord feels defeated as they have a collection order for the rent, which has not been paid and they don’t even want to rent out the house anymore.

Ombudsman Findings

The Ontario Ombudsman recently released a report on the delays within the Landlord Tenant Board system and has given several directions to help get the system back on track.

The report found average wait times of up to nine months for landlords waiting for hearings and up to two years for tenants.

The office found a shortage of adjudicators. A complex filing system that forced applicants to have to start over due to mistakes, antiquated systems and issues with services in French.

Small landlords are really suffering

Across the GTA, availability of affordable homes and condos for buying and renting is already a growing challenge. On top of it if landlords don’t feel confident about renting or struggle once they do rent out their properties, this is a big concern.

With the influx of newcomers, the need for rental units is consistently growing. If our country wants to welcome record number of immigrants, there should be steps in place to ensure that they have affordable renting and eventually home buying options.

Most landlords either break even or come close to breaking even with the rent on their investment properties. Carrying a property these days is already difficult with the high interest rates. It only forces landlords to sell their properties instead of continuing to stay as a landlord.

What measures are being taken by the LTB?

The Ontario LTB recognizes that the wait times aren’t ideal and that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the LTB’s caseload, including the five-month moratorium on eviction hearings from March to August 2020, which contributed to falling short of meeting service standards.

Since then the LTB has been taking steps to hire more staff and to modernize their operations to provide timely service to the users. Read other important recent updates in the LTB Updates July 4, 2023 and visit the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board website to get detailed information on topics impacting landlords and tenants.

So what can landlords do to avoid such situations?

In the real estate industry, landlords play a crucial role in ensuring they secure reliable tenants for their properties. To avoid problematic tenants, there are several measures landlords can take. Firstly, thoroughly screen potential tenants by conducting background and credit checks, as well as contacting previous landlords for references. Additionally, clearly define your rental criteria and ensure it complies with Ontario’s residential rental laws. Set high standards for tenant selection and enforce them consistently. Implement a comprehensive lease agreement that covers all necessary terms and conditions to protect your property and outline tenant responsibilities. Regular property inspections can help identify any issues early on. Lastly, maintain open lines of communication, promptly address tenant concerns, and handle disputes professionally. By adopting these practices, landlords can significantly reduce the chances of renting to bad tenants and maintain a positive rental experience.

Is this a good time to buy an investment property?

Investing in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) real estate market can still be a wise decision, even in a high-interest rate environment. By making a larger down payment, investors can counter the impact of these rates and secure advantageous mortgage terms. There are several compelling reasons why now might be an opportune time to acquire investment properties in the GTA.

Firstly, the GTA is currently witnessing a considerable influx of new immigrants, leading to a heightened demand for housing. When coupled with a shortage of available properties, this creates a favorable market for investors. Additionally, the GTA boasts a robust pool of dependable tenants, ensuring a steady rental income for property owners.

Furthermore, property prices in the GTA have decreased since March 2022. However, as future interest rate hikes are projected to stabilize or even decrease, property values are anticipated to rise. Investing now provides an opportunity for investors to take advantage of potential future appreciation.

Given the combination of immigration trends, housing scarcity, reliable tenants, and the potential for price appreciation, the current market conditions in the GTA offer a prime opportunity for real estate investment.

Are you Looking to Buy an Investment Property or Find a Tenant for Your Property?

Find out more about Team Kalia services whether you are looking to buy a home or a condo as an investment property in the GTA or if you are looking to hire a Realtor to lease your residential property in Mississauga.

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