As Realtors we need to point out inequities and unjust issues that affect Realtors and our clients.  The new law passed by Doug Ford stating that landlords cannot evict tenants who don’t pay rent and/or who cause damage to the landlord’s investment is a grossly unjust, unprecedented and highly prejudicial law against investment property ownership in the province of Ontario. I think as Realtors we need to band together with landlords to protest this and if necessary to drag the Ontario government into court.



One of the arguments from tenant groups is that landlords will be given up to six months to defer payments with the mortgage lenders, which they state is unfair to tenants. They interpret this as free money for the landlords.  When I inquired with RBC they said this applied only to a home occupied personally by the homeowner and only if they are out of work because of COVID-19 and the bank approves of their application. This does not apply to landlords.

Landlords must pay their mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance payments whether or not the tenant pays.  Some of the tenant organizations want the government to declare they can have free rent at the landlord’s expense for the next six months. They forget that even if lenders decided to provide the deferred payments to landlords these are deferred payments not payment forgiveness.  If rent was deferred, many of them would simply leave or declare bankruptcy or something similar rather than try to make any back payments on rent.  Bankruptcy is about $1,800, which will be substantially less expensive than paying six months’ worth of deferred rent.

All real estate boards and Realtors need to protest this law. Here’s the note that I have sent to the Ontario Ombudsman’s office:

“The new Ontario government policy of no evictions regardless of the tenant not paying rent and/or how much damage the tenant does to a landlord’s property is totally unfair.  Landlords are now second-class citizens with no rights. We have been handed the burden of taking care of the province’s social, low-income and lack of housing problems. Unless I have missed something I don’t see any provisions for the province to pay the missing rent or fix the damage caused by errant tenants.

“This policy actually encourages tenants to be irresponsible and not pay rent.

“The province is complaining about the lack of available rental housing.  Chasing investors away from investing in real estate with these kinds of policies is only going to exacerbate that problem.

“The laws in Ontario are not supposed to place one group of citizens at a distinct disadvantage while putting all power in the hands of another group who will benefit by manipulating the law to steal the wealth and hard work of the group selected as victims by the government. If the government persists in this policy and will not amend it to either allow reasonable evictions or to step up to the plate and pay the rent and fix the damages on behalf of their favoured group, then landlords need to band together and sue the government to achieve justice and fairness. It is laudable that the government wants to protect these folks from evictions and wandering streets afflicted with COVID-19 but this should not be accomplished by victimizing landlords.”

 

Tom Booth
Broker
StreetCity Realty
Sarnia, Ont.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Tom for your intelligent insights. Landlords cannot be left vulnerable while the banks increase their profits with interests on top of interests.

  2. Being a landlord is “running a business of renting living space”. How come this business is not only not protected but challenged or, should I say victimized in the time of general economic hardship?

  3. Now we will find out who the professional renters/tenants are. Like Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Democrat Party big wig said: “Never let a crisis go to waste”. In other words, take advantage of a crisis for one’s own party agenda/one’s own personal financial picture, no matter that it will be detrimental to others’ powerless situations not of their making. Dishonest tenants will abuse the rules because they can, especially so if they have an underlying dislike of landlords. The dishonest mercenary types will definitely emerge unless they are publicly shamed before the fact. I suspect most landlords know who the dishonest/shady ones are already.

  4. Lets be honest.

    A Landlord who has not structured their investment from day one to sustain a 6 month window of vacancy is really not qualified to be a landlord. A REALTOR who is not able to explain and convince an Investor Client of this long time safeguard is not qualified to sell investment real estate.

    BTW Investing in SW Ontario is not the same as the GGH and that may be why this article is flawed in its analysis.

    • You missed the point entirely. This is not about building a capital fund to take care of emergencies or maintenance issues or any of the normal activities related to owning a rental property. Many of these tenants are unemployed through no fault of their own. The government has a responsibility to look after the residents of the province when emergencies like this happen. They cannot fob that responsibility off on landlords and make them as individuals responsible for a problem that needs to be addressed by the province.

  5. To be honest you are stating if these people cannot pay you want to evict them….
    This is not the kind of banning together we need. Sure the government is wrong in many ways.
    Payment forgiveness should be given everywhere right now it needs to be mandated….
    I stead of going against your tenants why not get a position signed by all Ontario and Canada to state a state of emergency is needed that states no bills until we can have 80% at least of the workforce return to work.
    What’s not right is the guv has made us stay home but has done f… All about our bills period… They keep building and billing interest whilst we have no income and CERB is f.. Joke….
    $2,000/month if you qualify still…
    So you have groceries for a family that’s $1,000.00-$1,350.00/month internet and phone there’s $100-$300/month then hydro and gas there’s $225-$350/month
    Gas for your car $100-$600/month depending on the vehicle you drive…
    Don’t forget most people have car payments as well $225-$600/month
    Etc… Then mortgage and rent there’s another $1,950-$3,000/month
    Can we all do the math even when working our families run tight now state of emergency forcing not to work.
    Or work less hours but your work found a way to stay open so you don’t qualify for help…
    It’s not agents and lanords who need to band together it’s the citizens of the country to make all debt collection all bills hit pause.

    • Payment forgiveness would simply be transferring the government’s responsibility to look after the citizens of Ontario to victimizing banks and lenders. The Ontario government needs to ensure rent payments with direct government payments to landlords or better yet to subsidize employers to keep them in business conditional on them keeping and paying their employees their regular wages. That way once this is all done everyone will still be employed, businesses will still be in business,, and we will be back to some semblance of normalcy. If businesses are forced into bankruptcy, employees have no place to work, and there is nobody with any money left to buy goods and pay for services, we are then in a full blown depression. That is much more damaging and will take much longer to rectify than the cost of a temporary subsidy for employers and their employees.

  6. There are no words that can express the UNFAIRNESS of this legislation…simply put! Remember when it comes times to vote! From one landlord to the next!

  7. I know that we all need to help out others in these times. It should be left to the landlord and tenant (if the tenant cant pay the rent, to discuss how they can both make ends meet). The Landlord and Tenant Board should remain open on a smaller scale perhaps with people in charge working from home as possible intermediaries.
    I have already had clients call and tell me that their tenants have stopped paying rent. They need those rent payments to pay their mortgages. If they can’t pay, the government is going to have to step in and help the landlords since they created this monster. I believe that we should work together and have our Political affairs committee send out a letter from us all to the government of Ontario. Suggestions that make sense.

    Good for you for having acted already Christopher. I was answered at Doug Ford’s office by a very kind person who agreed that many tenants were calling in, not wanting to pay their rent and she told them that was not what the premier said. She told me she had told the premier what is happening. I said she should tell him he should not allow an automatic 6 months before eviction. He should readdress his comments and think about the mess this might cause. Tell tenants if they need help to pay rent, specifically where they need to go to get help from the government to pay it… We all need to speak up.

  8. So if renters are also out of work, and let’s assume most of them are not. But the renters would qualify for emergency funding, as well as not pay the landlord for 6 months. At the end of six months they’ll simply leave and rent a new address. What is the Ford government willing to do for landlords? Nothing? At a federal level there will be some absolutely massive losses declared on filing income taxes to the point where the top office is not going to be very happy with Ford’s decisions. My message to landlords, hang in there, this will be over ridden by the feds.

  9. Tom, Great suggestions,
    Can you post the Ontario Ombudsman’s office’s email or address so I can send your suggestions to the Office as well.
    Thank you!

  10. I agree. There are many tenants who will take advantage of this simply because they can. Where does this leave a landlord who depends upon his investment in a rental property as his income? He still needs to pay his mortgage, taxes and upkeep including repairs and utilities. Landlords are not necessarily wealthy people with extra properties but business people who invest in a property thereby giving someone who cannot afford or prefers not to own their own property an opportunity of a place to live. Without available rental properties there may be many homeless people. Landlords are being treated unfairly in many instances the past number of years.

  11. The newly announced CERB program may alleviate some of this concern. The Ombudsman may not be the best vehicle for voicing this overarching issue. They deal primarily with service levels and unethical practices, not controversial policy decisions.

    I found a website and a phone number for Premier Doug Ford’s office — 416-325-1941. To my happy surprise, I called the number around 10:00 Sunday (March 22/20) and a customer service person answered, genuinely took the time to understand what I was proposing, and to capture my suggestion in some kind of database or correspondence system that I presume someone, somewhere in government will read. I received a subsequent form message that said in part, “You can be assured that all emails and letters are carefully read, reviewed and taken into consideration.”

    I also wrote the following and submitted it to the Office of the Premier through its website:
    https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/EN/feedback/default.aspx

    Dear Premier Ford,

    Allowing lenders and companies to charge interest, or in fact, mortgage payments during the COVID-19 crisis are profiting on the hardships and misfortunes of everyone else and taking no corporate responsibility for “force majeure” despite the fact that the government shut down schools, entertainment venues, restaurants, places of worship, and most other public-facing non-essential services. It’s tantamount to profiteering, with effectively the government’s blessing.

    You implying that tenants don’t have to pay their rent had a crippling cascading effect on landlords of every type although the obvious target was residential landlords, even though I believe what you “really” said was tenants wouldn’t be evicted for not paying their rent. Shutting down the Landlord and Tenant Board has led to an unprecedented level of lawlessness and tenant aggression. It’s the beginning of the breakdown of society.

    Lenders are an integral part of the economy and should not be permitted to foist the world’s economic woes upon the victims of tragedy and circumstances beyond the victims’ control. Lenders and any company that charges interest during a pandemic crisis should be made to participate in good faith and share in the global consequences. Every landlord of every kind, whether residential, office or perhaps the most hard hit–retail–should be given some grace period to recover. Accumulated interest during this period should be cancelled, defaults (power of sale, foreclosure) should be suspended, and allowances made for deferred payments over, I suggest, 6 months after the pandemic crisis is declared finished.

    ——————————————————

    If landlords know that they will be protected and allowed to recover from this crisis, then I believe most landlords would (or should) back off and not retaliate in kind against tenants.

    I also mentioned in my phone call that interest should not be charged by utility, phone and other companies but especially credit cards with their outrageous 25 to 30% per annum interest rates. Tenants and the rest of us are going to get massacred by these credit card companies.

    • Thank you for supplying the premier’s contact email address. I have sent a similar notice to the above article directly to his office. We will see if in fact his office answers the question about fairness to landlords. If they do I will post the answer provided by Premier Ford’s office.

  12. What can we do to escalate or support it. Totally unjust although there is already imbalance in RTA when it comes to recover rent arrears. What else I see is that rental contract is mainly against the money so if tenants are not paying rent then they are not tenant so RTA should not apply to them. Ike in BC LTB evict the tenants within a month without a hearing. They dont keep hearing just to find out why rent was not paid.

    • I have been told from a number of sources that this matter will be raised with the political arm of the Ontario Real Estate Association as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association. I believe there is a joint meeting between the two groups on April 1, 2020.

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