FMTA Responds to Provincial Proposals to Encourage Small Landlords to Provide Rental Housing

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.

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Response to MMHA proposal 2016.doc57.5 KB

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