By Christopher Seepe

Tenants may think the government is looking out for tenant interests, but if that was true there would be no pandemic housing shortage, multiple offers, outrageous selling prices, extremely low vacancy rates, high rental tenant property taxes and eight-year affordable housing wait lists.



Ontario’s recent “Rent Fairness Act” continues the brutal, gratuitous, dystopian, anti-landlord legislation meted out by short-sighted, vote-pandering politicians who have literally (not metaphorically) persecuted landlords for decades; all of it resulting in the national pandemic critical housing shortage. Examples:

  • Of 46 offenses in the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), 34 solely benefit tenants, 10 reciprocate with landlords, one benefits the landlord and one prevents landlords from kicking vote-canvassing politicians off their property.
  • RTA and the Human Rights Code (HRC) have unintended discriminatory consequences, including:
    1. The broken Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and RTA make all people with no credit, work or rental history (single moms, foreign students and refugees) extremely high-risk tenants for landlords.
    2. Hoarders’ rights override the rights of all other tenants. Vermin, fire hazards and more ruin the lifestyle of neighbours and significantly negatively impact property value. Firefighters can refuse to enter a burning unit if they cannot turn 360 degrees with full respirator gear on. Landlords must accommodate challenged tenants to the point of a landlord’s undue hardship, which is not defined in legislation.
    3. The tenant qualification process of public agencies is not aligned with the needs of the landlord.
  • Landlords submit 91 per cent of LTB applications. Seventy-five per cent are for tenants not paying their rent. The average LTB eviction is five months (versus 25 days in some other provinces), costing an average $5,200 that is rarely collected. LTB offers free, taxpayer-funded duty counsel service to tenants but offers nothing to landlords.
  • A tenant can pay the sheriff full rent arrears on the day of their eviction and start the whole process again.
  • Ontario spent billions on solar power programs. Result: average $217.33/kWhr in Ontario versus $67.89/kWhr in Quebec. Government then punished landlords by preventing landlords from passing on utility costs to the actual consumers (tenants) of that energy.
  • The LTB won’t evict tenants who sign and then breach a no-smoking clause in their rental agreement. The whole health industry pushed for this change and the provincial government still denied it. Eleven per cent of Canadians smoke daily and 64 per cent don’t smoke.
  • The HRC denies requests to teach landlords about landlord responsibilities but hosts free full-day seminars for tenants.
  • The RTA and municipal bylaws require landlords to remediate mould caused by a tenant’s actions, even though it’s not caused by the building’s envelope.
  • The rent of a tenant switching from a single bulk meter to an individual meter must be reduced by the cost of energy consumed over the previous 12 months. Therefore, the most energy-abusive tenants receive the greatest rent decreases while energy-conscious tenants are penalized.
  • The RTA sets the practical limit on building repairs and maintenance: three per cent of property income for three years. The 270,000 Ontario social housing units have a $1.2 billion capital shortfall. Toronto faces $2.6 billion in building repairs and will close 400 homes in 2017 and 1,000 by 2018.
  • Some municipalities charge tenants up to 2.5 times the property tax rate of condo and single- family homeowners.
  • Rent control doesn’t benefit low-income tenants. Tenants who can afford to pay market rents receive the benefit of lower rents and successfully beat low-income tenants competing for tenancies in the government-created housing shortage.  Shrinking housing inventory forces buyers to stay in rental housing longer. There are 171,360 Ontario families waiting for affordable housing (2015), some for as long as eight years.
  • The federal budget gave a $209.4 million bailout for social housing repairs but nothing to the private sector faced with the same issues.
  • A tenant’s unpaid utility bill is added to the property owner’s property tax bill, even if the landlord proves that their tenant signed an agreement to pay their own utilities. This is like holding police responsible for all the crimes committed by the criminals they didn’t catch.
  • Municipal bedbug and garbage bylaws hold landlords responsible for cost of cleanup even if the tenant caused the infestation or doesn’t sort their garbage.
  • Housing shortages lead some tenants to illegally rent out a rental unit or portion at a higher rent.
  • The LTB won’t hear cases where tenants who damaged a property moved out. Small Claims Court won’t hear any case involving a landlord-tenant dispute.

Society can’t exist without housing. Private sector landlords built homes for more than nine million Canadians, and relatively affordable housing to a subset of more than three million. Canada’s total social housing sector accommodates about 1.5 million Canadians.

Private sector landlords willingly accept extraordinary financial and legal risks to provide safe and healthy housing. Landlords are not social workers, financiers or otherwise an extension of government social housing programs, policies and other political agendas.

About 39,000 rental units were built in 1972 alone versus a net of about 22,500 units in the 25 years following. Look at the success of the housing programs of the 1960s and early 1970s and replicate that success.

Footnote: An anagram of “LandlordTenantBoard” is ‘Abandon Rent, Add Troll’.

  • Brian Martindale

    Chris’s article is a very telling expose’ regarding the left-wing socialistic attitude of our so-called “mixed economy” bureaucratically dominated governments (via deputy ministers and top-tier there-forever lifetime mandarins who are the real operators of the levers of power from behind the scenes through their influential arguments that overpower the elected know-nothing M.P.’s/M.L.A.’s). These people often don’t like people who create businesses, services and housing for profit because that mindset goes against the indoctrination that they bought into at the left-wing universities from whence they earned their degrees in the social sciences. For them, profit is bad; levelling (at the lowest common denominator) is good. Free enterprise is bad; big government control is good, don’t’cha know. I had many a spirited debate with my left-wing professors (most of whom had never been out of the classroom working in the real world) when I attended university as a full-time mature student (age 35 onward) whilst earning a degree in politics.
    My wife and I rented out a property during the 1990’s (a single family bungalow in Oshawa, Ontario) for a year by way of a lease to a couple with a young baby. Within a couple of months the rent was late, and it habitually became later and later. I had to physically go after payment at the front door. Then I found out that eleven other people had moved in to help pay the rent. The neighbours complained about the drunken parties at all hours and all days of the week. I finally decided to get rid of them. I gave them sixty-days notice to vacate because I was going to move back from the Lakefield area into the house. The tenant disputed my claim and said that he would go to the authorities. He did, but he found out that that was the only way that I could legally evict him and his entourage. He said that he would wait around the corner on the days after he moved out to verify that I was moving back in. I told him that a police officer would be waiting for him around the corner every day henceforth when he drove his car onto the street. (He was an alcoholic and he regularly drove drunk) The police office was an O.P.P. Officer who was my step son (who the tenant had recently met when I asked him to tour the premises with me) They all moved out on time and left the house spotless. I never rented by lease ever again.
    This is why so many landlords do the rooming house thing. Rent out rooms and get paid by the week with no strings attached. Bad tenant? Y’er fired! Get out! Next! That is what I did until I got sick of dealing with losers altogether. I would never get into the rental business ever again, and I would never recommend that business to anyone who does not have a cast-iron constitution against dealing with professional renters. We can thank our left-wing governments for that. Margaret Thatcher said that “Socialism is great…until you run out of other peoples’ money”. Take from the makers and give to the takers; that’s what we have going on nowadays as we slowly inch toward the reality of creeping socialism. There are more takers than there are makers, and that is the problem. Left-wing politicians will always appeal to the takers for votes. Politicians have short-term agendas called priorities. They are: First: get elected. Second: get re elected. Go where the prey/votes is/are respectively. And the game continues.

  • Rob Longo

    I think the 11th bullet point should say landlord not tenant?

    • It is a bit confusing. Actually, I did mean tenants … just not directly. It’s presumed that property tax is passed on to the tenant as part of their rent. Many municipalities charge up to 2.5 times more tax for a purpose built apartment buildings than for a single family home but this is transparent to the tenant.

      If a landlord was successful at getting their property tax reduced for any reason, MPAC (or the municipality?) sends a letter to every tenant in the building stating the PT decrease and notifying each tenant how much their new reduced prorated rent will be.