Cost of Evicting a Tenant: the Ultimate Guide for Canadian Landlords

cost-of-evictions-canada-landlords-guide
cost-of-evictions-canada-landlords-guide

Delinquent tenants are arguably the biggest risk a landlord faces when they decide to invest in rental property. While landlords try their best to screen for good tenants to keep their rental income secure, sometimes the unexpected can still happen. Landlords still have to deal with evictions when they end up with delinquent tenants who may not pay their rent or may even damage the property.

So how do landlords evict tenants in Canada? What does the eviction process look like and how much does it actually cost to remove a delinquent tenant?

When calculating the cost of evicting a tenant, Canadian landlords need to keep three things in mind:

A. Loss of Rental Income During Evictions

The only recourse that landlords have to deal with non-payment of rent and tenants who refuse to leave the unit is to go through the provincial tribunal or court to file for tenant eviction.

The problem is that the process of eviction in most provinces suffers mainly from long delays due to a high backlog of hearings. So it takes a long time  to carry out eviction procedures from start to finish.

The duration of the eviction process in Canada depends on three things:

Statutory Delays

Statutory delays are periods of time that a landlord must wait before they can apply to their provincial tribunal or court to remove a tenant. This set number of days differs in each province.

The purpose of these additional wait times is to give tenants the opportunity to pay any outstanding rent owed to a landlord. If the set number of days passes, the landlord can then apply for an eviction order on the grounds of non-payment of rent.

How long does it take to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent in each province?

In British Columbia, a landlord must issue a 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent when a landlord fails to pay rent by the agreed upon date. Within the 10 days, if the tenant fails to pay the outstanding balance of rent, a landlord must wait the respective 10 days before they can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to claim the lost rental income.

When a landlord wishes to remove a tenant in Alberta, the landlord is to serve the tenant with a 14- day notice to vacate the unit.

In Saskatchewan when a tenant is 15 days late to paying rent, the landlord has the right to immediately end the tenancy by serving the tenant with an eviction notice.

In Manitoba a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant 5 days after the rent is due. On the 5th day, the landlord can ask the tenant to vacate the unit and has full discretion in determining how soon the tenant should vacate the unit.

The average amount of time given to tenants to allow them to leave is between 5 and 10 additional days (this is at the discretion of the landlord as there is no guidance on this).

In Ontario, eviction proceedings take at least 25 days.

First, a landlord must issue a Termination Notice (N4 Form) when the tenant is late on rent, then they have to wait 14 days to file an application for eviction (L1 Form) with the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict the tenant.

In addition to this initial 14 days, and unlike any other province, there is also a statutory requirement that the landlord must wait an additional 11 days to allow the tenant to either pay the outstanding balance or vacate the unit before the landlord is allowed to hire a sheriff to enforce the standard order.

In Quebec, the landlord must wait 3 weeks from when the payment was initially due before filing to evict a tenant. Once a tenant is 21 days late, the landlord can then apply to the Tribunal to end the tenancy, remove the tenant, and recover the lost rent.

Following the application for eviction after 21 days, if the tenant pays the outstanding balance to the landlord before the Tribunal reaches a conclusion, then the termination of the tenancy is avoided.

In Nova Scotia, a landlord can only serve a delinquent tenant with a notice after their rent is 15 days late. Further, a landlord must wait an additional 15 days from the date the tenant is handed the eviction notice before the eviction can be carried out, totalling a minimum of 30 days of mandatory wait time before a tenant can be evicted.

In PEI, a landlord can issue a notice to evict the tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 20 days to vacate the unit. If they manage to pay the outstanding balance within 10 days, then the eviction notice is invalidated.

Similar to PEI, in New Brunswick the landlord can issue an eviction notice to a tenant as soon as rent is 1 day late. The tenant then has 15 days to vacate the unit.

In Newfoundland when a tenant is 5 days late in paying rent, a landlord will then serve a tenant with notice that the tenancy has ended, and the tenant then has 10 days to vacate the unit amounting to an average of 15 days for the entire eviction process.

Statutory Delays in Evictions by Canadian Province

Court Delays

Court delays are the length of time between the issuing of the notice to the tenant or filing with the provincial tribunal, to when an arbitrator issues a decision. These numbers include any delays in scheduling a hearing date, and any delays in the arbitration proceedings including the amount of time it takes to release a decision.

How long does it take to get an eviction court order?

In British Columbia, after a landlord files the appropriate 10-day notice to end tenancy for unpaid rent and a tenant has not paid all outstanding rent or vacated the unit, the landlord must then proceed to claim the unpaid rent amount with the provincial tribunal (the RTB).

In BC, the tribunal can take 1-2 weeks to schedule a hearing for the two parties to plead their case depending on the availability of arbitrators and their caseload. Following the end of the arbitration, the tribunal will make the final decision within 30 days of the hearing.

In Alberta, it can take as little as 5 days to as much as 48 days for a landlord to have a hearing scheduled. On average, it takes 25 days after filing a dispute to get a hearing scheduled. Following the conclusion of the hearing, it takes an additional 10 days for the arbitrator to reach a final and binding decision. Depending on the outcome of the possession order, a landlord may further need to wait between 10 to 30 days before they can regain possession of the unit.

In Saskatchewan, due to the lighter caseload, hearings are scheduled approximately 7 days from when the claim is brought the tribunal.

Manitoba’s court system adds an additional 15 days in lost time. This is because it takes approximately 12 days for the hearing to be scheduled. Following the hearing, the arbitrators release the final outcome after 3 days.

Ontario’s court delays total an average of 51 days. It takes 14 days for the provincial tribunal to schedule a hearing. When the hearing date is set, it is typically scheduled for 4-6 weeks later.

Similar to Ontario, Quebec’s tribunal system is subject to heavy delays. It can take up to 3 months in some cases for a tribunal to release a final decision. However, on average, it takes 30 days for a final and binding decision to be made.

For Nova Scotian landlords, it can take up to an additional 20 days to receive a verdict for eviction. This is a combination of delays in scheduling the hearing and waiting for a conclusion by the arbitrator to be reached. 

In PEI, the provincial tribunal prioritises eviction hearings over other landlord-tenant disputes. So hearings are scheduled between 7 – 10 days after the landlord brings forth the claim to the tribunal.

New Brunswick boasts the shortest court delay length across Canada. Landlords there face shorter wait times as it takes an average of 5 days for the court to issue their decision.

In Newfoundland, after requesting a hearing at the Residential Tenancies, there is an additional 14 day wait before the hearing is conducted. While the average length of delay is 14 days, tenants, in some cases, can have up to 18 days to file an appeal and have the case reconsidered.

Sheriff Delays

Following the eviction decision from the court, landlords need to also account for the time it’ll take to hire a sheriff to enforce an order of possession or court order to remove a non-paying tenant and allow a landlord to re-possess his unit.

How long does a sheriff take to evict a tenant?

In every province except for Ontario, it takes between 1-6 days for the sheriff to enforce an eviction. However, in Ontario, due to the backlog of cases in the LTB there is also a high demand for sheriffs to enforce evictions. Therefore, following the issuing of an order to allow a landlord to regain possession of the unit, and following the statutory waiting period of 11 days to allow the tenant to move out of the unit, if the tenant does not leave, it takes an average of 30 days more for an Ontario landlord to hire a sheriff to uphold the eviction order.

This statistic is one of the key reasons why the process of carrying out an eviction in Ontario is longer than any other province. While we see the average across the country is only 4 days, in Ontario this process takes approximately 8 times longer than in the rest of Canada.

Sheriff Delays in Evictions by Canadian Province
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Total?

It takes between 2 weeks to 3 months to remove a delinquent tenant (depending on what province you reside in). The province with the longest procedural delays during an eviction is Ontario and the province that has the shortest delays is Saskatchewan.

Total Lost Time by Province
So how much rent in total can a landlord expect to lose?

You can calculate the total amount of rent a landlord expects to lose while going through the eviction process using this formula:

TOTAL LOST RENT $ = AVG EVICTION TIME (+1 MONTH TO FIND A NEW TENANT) X AVG MONTHLY RENT $

To determine the total cost in lost rent when faced with a delinquent tenant, it is important to consider what the monthly average monthly rent and utilities are in each province:

On top of not receiving rent for multiple months, a landlord can expect to spend an additional 1 extra month to post ads, screen, and sign a lease with a new tenant. This does not include any time spent repairing any possible damages to the property by the delinquent tenant.

This lost income also does not include extra costs such as legal expenses, court fees, etc that may be incurred during eviction proceedings.

Total Lost Rent by Province

The average landlord renting a 1-bedroom unit can expect to lose between $2,000 to $4,000 worth of rent while going through the eviction process. In Ontario, landlords are subject to much higher losses as Ontario landlords can expect to lose $9,000 in rent! This is due to the lengthy eviction process in Ontario (3 to 5 month) combined with the higher avg. rent prices.

B. Eviction Legal Costs

In addition to the rental income that landlords lose during the process of evicting a tenant, they also spend thousands of dollars in legal costs.

There are 3 types of legal costs:

Legal Fees

Legal expenses mainly include the cost of hiring a paralegal to deal with a case on behalf of a landlord. Paralegals will file relevant paperwork, handle the eviction hearing and any other negotiations that may be necessary throughout the process.

Legal Costs For Eviction in Canada

In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the average landlord spends between $700- $800 to hire a paralegal to carry out the eviction process. 

However, in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, and Newfoundland, the average landlord spends approximately $400 – $500 on legal expenses over the course of an eviction.

Unsurprisingly, Ontario and Quebec are the most expensive provinces in relation to hiring legal assistance due to longer eviction processes. In Ontario legal fees cost $2,000 on average and in Quebec they cost $1,000 on average.

Court Fees

Court fees are the payment to be made to the court or a tribunal in order to file a claim or order to evict a tenant. Generally, the average spend for court applications is between $50 to $100. Ontario, once again, remains as the outlier as the cost to file an application with the LTB for eviction is $175 (nearly twice as much as the next most expensive province).

Sheriff Fees

The cost of hiring a sheriff to enforce an order to remove a tenant widely varies across Canada. The average amount ranges between $100 – $200. In Ontario, due to the high demand for sheriffs, a landlord must also spend approximately $400 before a tenant is removed by a sheriff. On the other hand, landlords in Newfoundland, PEI, and New Brunswick pay a measly $50 – $75 for the same service.

Legal Expenses by Province

C. Estimated Property Damage Costs

Lost rental income is one of the scariest expenses that a landlord can face. The only thing that can make a landlord’s job harder is when a delinquent tenant damages their property before vacating the unit.

In Canada, 1 in 6 eviction cases includes a claim for compensation for damages to the unit in addition to lost rent. The average landlord claims between $1,500 to $3,500 in court against a tenant for damages caused to their unit.

Damages caused to a landlord’s unit tend to extend the waiting time and the amount of losses that a landlord suffers before they are able to find a new tenant and begin renting the unit out once again. It can take 1-2 weeks just to do simple repairs to the property. Landlords may not be able to recover the full amount of damages from the tenant in court so they may still be left with some expenses to cover out of pocket.

What is the total cost of eviction?

In all Canadian provinces, even the least expensive ones, the costs of eviction can be substantial. From the many days it takes to begin eviction proceedings to the additional months it takes to remove a tenant; landlords lose an average of 2 months (60+ days) of rental income going through the process. They also have to account for an extra 1 month of lost rental income till they find a new tenant.

The average cost shouldered by landlords across Canada is between $4,000 to $5,000 in eviction expenses. These costs can even reach $11,000 in more expensive provinces with lengthy processes such as Ontario.

Total Cost of Eviction by Province
How do landlords protect their rental income and keep renting risk-free?

For a landlord to protect themselves and their unit, the first step to be taken is to perform a proper tenant screening when signing a new lease.

Tenant screening services offer financial insight into the tenant’s history. Some services, like SingleKey offer a comprehensive Tenant Credit & Background Check that includes a full credit check, as well as a background check and a social media scan. All this information comes wrapped in one report, and you can get started in just 5 minutes.

For landlords who are looking for additional peace of mind and protection for their unit, products such as the SingleKey Rent Guarantee program offer just that. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee Program protects landlords from losing rental income by guaranteeing up to $60,000 worth of coverage.

Best Practices for Finding Good Tenants

landlord tips for rental tenant screening and finding good tenants
landlord tips for rental tenant screening and finding good tenants

Finding good tenants could really save you a lot of headaches. Paid rent, no damage, complaints and  even more time for family and friends. It is always worth investing the extra time and effort to find a good tenant.

Although it may seem like a complicated process, it comes down to 2 things:

1) Having interested applicants to choose from 

2) Screening for the best applicants

This step-by-step article will focus on helping you put your best foot forward when marketing your rental listing.

Best Practices for Finding Good Tenants

Step 1: Say Cheese! Start with Great Photos

That’s right, take photos that people want to see. Landlords and property managers need to learn how to take good rental photos.

The purpose of these photos is to intrigue people to come and check out your rental property. In the rental market you are competing against similar listings and your unit’s photos are the first opportunity to make a good impression.

Your rental’s photos should provide a complete view of your unit. Make sure to showcase the appearance and size of your property. Angles are important. Be strategic with how you take your property’s pictures to really display the space and layout in the rental unit.

Make sure that your rental property is cleaned and ready to be rented. No one will be interested in a household with dirty laundry on the floor and paint that is already peeling off the walls.

 

Once the rental unit looks great, take photos with bright lighting, ideally during a sunny day, and consider having all the lights on.

landlord tips for finding good tenants

 

By helping your potential applicants know what to expect, it will usually be the most interested tenants that come to the viewing and provide their information.

Step 2: List Your Unit on the Top Rental Sites

Around 43 million Americans and 4.4 million Canadians live in rental housing. This means that there will always be people looking for a place to live, especially in urban areas. 

It is your goal now to get as much exposure as possible to your listing in order to find qualified tenants who are ready to move in. 

Here are some of the best free rental listings sites to advertise your property:

When working on your rental advertisement, follow this format for greater traction.

        • Attention-grabbing headline
        • Highlights of your property (Size, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)
        • Location (approximate/intersection)
        • Detailed description of your rules, fees and any other important information

When posting your rental’s photos, make sure to include a description of your property and your expectations. This will separate the interested viewers from the not so interested ones. 

Step 3: Pre-Screen Tenants and Schedule a Viewing

After hearing back from interested applicants, let all of the candidates know that you will be holding viewings on a specified date (preferably weekends). This saves time and is more efficient than having daily viewings.

Before inviting a rental applicant to a viewing, make sure to ask a few pre-screening questions, to avoid wasting time on tenants who will not qualify. Some key questions you should ask from the get-go are:

        • Their monthly income (to determine affordability)
        • Their credit scores (to estimate risk)
        • Their preferred move-in date (to save time)

Keep in mind, a lot of the time the viewing is the moment where the tenant decides whether or not they would like to rent out your property. With that said, make sure to:

        • See that the appliances are working in order as well as light bulbs, doors, etc.
        • Remove unnecessary furniture and items for a more spacious look.
        • Air out the unit with some fresh air before your showing.
        • If necessary, repaint the walls of the property.

COVID Alert! Virtual Tours

Note that in many regions, viewings are now done online due to COVID. Many landlords are doing Virtual Tours via video calls so that they can walk through and show the unit while chatting with the prospective tenant and answering their questions in real time. 

Step 4: Follow the Fair Housing Act

The law states that you can not discriminate against a wide array of people and behaviors. This means that questions regarding certain subjects must not be asked, including:

        • Origin
        • Religion
        • Gender
        • Race and Colour
        • Disabilities
        • Marital status

As a landlord you are responsible to follow this act and can face serious penalties if you do not. 

Also keep in mind that by discriminating against certain people, you may be missing out on a great tenant.

Step 5: Rental Application Form and References

Knowing exactly what to include in a rental application form can be difficult. Without the right information on the form, the application can make your decision challenging.

For this reason we included a list of the most important things to ask for.

  • Applicant information:
        • Personal Information (Name, Address, Date of Birth, Contact Info)
        • Credit Score
        • Pets
        • Smoking
        • Employment/Occupation/Income
        • ID/Driver’s License
  • Consent for Credit Check: Running a tenant credit & background check has become standard practice when renting, and most tenants will expect it. So, make sure to have a consent clause in your rental application form.
  • Proof of Income: In the form of recent pay stubs, employment letters or bank statements. This is critical to ensure employment and sufficient income to pay the rent.
  • Employment References: Asking for the applicant’s employment history and a reference from their manager will give you an idea of whether or not they are stable.
  • Previous Rental History: More often than not applicants will have previous history that you can learn from. By asking for this information and contacting the previous landlord you can ask about rent payments as well as the condition of their home.

    By having this information about the applicants, you will generally have a great understanding of their tendencies and whether you would like them to live in your property.  

    More importantly, rental applications will make it clear what type of applicants you should generally decline.

You may still receive applicants that do not meet all of your qualifications, but they can explain why they still proceeded with the application if this was the case.

Step 6: Do Not Settle!

Finding a worthy tenant is not an easy task, and if you do not feel confident about your applicants, there is no need to move forward with them.

Rental Property Landlords Tenant screening services

Finding good tenants is a marathon not a race. Invest the time and effort to find good tenants because it will save you a lot of stress and headaches that can result from dealing with a problematic tenant. Sometimes it may be worth losing a month of rent due to a vacancy to take the time to find the right tenant.

Evicting a delinquent tenant can cost a landlord thousands of dollars in lost rent, damages and legal fees – as well as significant time and stress. If you want to avoid these headaches and have complete peace of mind, consider enrolling in a Rent Guarantee Program.

Goodluck, and happy renting!

How to Screen for Great Tenants

“It’s none of your business what my credit score is!!” How’s that for a start?

Tenants that are soon to live in your property can come in all types : good, bad, really bad. This is why you should do your due diligence before renting out your unit.

If it sounds stressful, don’t worry!

Luckily, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to screen for great tenants and included some tips along the way. 

1. Looks are Deceiving, A Credit Report is Not

After narrowing down your potential tenants to a short list, it is time to select the best one.

A credit report reveals a detailed breakdown of an applicant’s credit history. Credit bureaus are responsible for collecting financial information and a credit report is a great tool to get this info.

An individual’s prior financial history is a good indication of what they will do in the future. Chances are that if someone consistently pays their bills on time, they are most likely to pay their rent on time as well.   

Here is what to look out for in an Equifax credit report: 

    1. Personal Information – such as tenant’s name, address, date of birth and employment information. Make sure that this information matches the info on rental application.
    2. Payment Behavior – how often the applicant is late on their debt payments. Poor payment behaviour will be reflected in the credit score. 
    3. Credit Accounts Information –  the types of accounts, when they were created, the limits and amounts for these accounts as well as payment history.
    4. Debt Type and Amount – The debt amount is not the only important factor, mortgage debt is much safer than credit card debt and as the interest rate will be much lower.
    5. Type of Inquiry –  hard credit bureau inquiries can negatively impact the tenant’s credit score if done too often, soft inquiries do not. A tenant credit check is a soft inquiry.
    6. Public Records and Collections – from public court records such as bankruptcies, collections files, convictions and sometimes past eviction judgements.

2. No Income, No Rent

Credit check looks good? Awesome! 

But how often has your tenant switched jobs and addresses? If the answer is “often”, there is a chance you may have an unexpected vacancy in the near future.

These tenants may have the risk of losing their income and not being able to cover rent.

Another thing to consider is that individuals who work for a salary usually have a safer way to make money rather than those who depend on self-employment or freelance contracts. 

So what should you do? 

Always check the tenant’s source of income, check its reliability and compare it to the required rent payments. Alongside their income, double check their prior addresses and employment history to make sure they’ll be able to pay rent on time.

Not only this, but find out the amount of debt your prospective tenant has, and the monthly interest they are paying. This is important because if your tenant is paying $1000 or more in debt payments, they may not be able to afford the rent.

This credit report will tell you exactly what their total monthly debt payments are.

Tenant rent to income ratio screening tenants credit check

Quick Tip

Create a rent-to-income ratio. Take your prospective tenant’s monthly rent and divide it by their monthly household income. If the rent is over 30% of their income, recognize they are more likely to be delinquent.

An ideal candidate should have additional income to cover the rent payments in the case of unexpected expenses. 

If your tenant has been consistently changing addresses and jobs, be wary of them doing the same with you.

3. Run a Background Check

A background check is used to investigate a candidate’s history. It generally includes employment, education, criminal records, credit history, motor vehicle and license record checks. 

So how do I run a background check? 

It’s easy! All you need is:

  1. Tenant’s Full Name
  2. Driber’s license or Social Security Number (both optional)
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Current Address

4. Contact the Previous Landlord

The more information, the better. See if it is possible to contact the former landlord. Chances are the previous landlords will happily share their experience with your prospective tenant. They will relate to and understand your questions and will be inclined to help a fellow landlord.   By reaching out, you would be surprised by what you can find out!  While respecting the landlord’s time and not being too pushy, you should look to acquire more insights on the prospective tenant. Here are some sample questions that you can ask the former landlord:
  • Has the tenant paid you all the rent?
  • Does the tenant pay on time?
  • Has the tenant caused damage to your property?
  • Were they respectful towards the neighbors?
  • Would you rent out your property to this tenant again? 

Quick Tip

It is always better to try and contact more than one landlord in case they are just trying to get rid of their past tenant.

5. Join a Facebook Group

Have a question stuck on your mind but don’t know who to ask? Join a Facebook group of landlords from your province. 

Members of these groups share stories about their experiences and will provide advice that can help you with your current situation.

They will also often share information amongst the group about delinquent tenants and it might save you hours of figuring that out on your own. 

The Facebook admins assist with all questions relating to the Residential Tenancies Act and will help answer your questions!

Landlord Facebook Groups Across Canada

6. Interview the tenant

Have you taken all the steps to screen for a great tenant? Well, it still might not be enough. You can spend weeks screening a tenant but sometimes your instincts are the best judgement. 

Think of the screening as weeding through the candidates that you certainly do not want living in your property.

Quick Tip

When hiring a realtor, their objective is usually to find a tenant in the shortest amount of time. So you might end up with an average tenant rather than a great tenant, which may result in problems over time.

After thoroughly screening your prospective tenant and confirming they’re good on paper, talking to them over a cup of coffee might be the best screening of all.

“Talk to them? About what?” 

Well, first things first, ask about what you want to find out. You should ask about their past renting experience, and see if their story aligns to their references and feedback from past landlords. 

An easy way to start up that conversation is by saying “I know how difficult landlords can be when it comes to their property. How was your past relationship with the landlord?”

You might just find out that they’re in court right now for an eviction.

Final Word

As a landlord, you cannot rely on the paperwork alone to carry out a tenant background search. You have to be creative and willing to engage with tenants on a personal level. Conversations can help you better understand the way your tenants relate to others and how they handle conflict, all of which are essential to achieve the best tenant screening.

Following these 6 steps will minimize the risk involved in renting your unit. Investing in proper tenant screening pays off down the road. With SingleKey, you can get a comprehensive tenant screening report in minutes, including a background check, credit report, employment history, past addresses and evictions, and criminal record.

How Bill 184 Affects Landlords in Ontario

Bill 184 – How it affects landlords in Ontario?

Bill 184 – How it affects landlords in Ontario?

Over the past few weeks, hundreds have taken to the streets of Toronto to protest against a new piece of provincial legislation, called the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act or Bill 184, that many experts fear will allow landlords to evict tenants with ease and cause “increased homelessness” across Ontario. Also known as the “Mass Eviction Bill” by its opponents, the new amendment to the 2006 Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) has become a hot topic of discussion between tenants and landlords as the real effect of this bill remain in dispute over its lack of clarity.

Here is a summary of the key points that you need to know as a landlord for Bill 184:

  1. Bill 184 now allows landlords to retrospectively seek compensation from tenants who have remained in a unit longer than agreed, even after they have left. 
  2. Tenants who have been paying an improperly increased rent amount are not permitted to make a claim if they have already paid the raised rent price for 12 months. 
  3. Landlords will now receive hefty punishments where they are found to have acted in bad faith with a tenant. 
  4. Landlords will be required to include a sworn affidavit as part of their application to the LTB to terminate a tenancy. 
  5. Landlords can now negotiate repayment plans with the tenant as opposed to using the LTB to do so and can more easily evict a tenant who does not uphold this agreement.

The main opposition to the passing of Bill 184 is the tenant community. Many tenant rights activist groups are of the belief that this bill takes aim at individuals who have suffered heavily from the pandemic, the working class. This new piece of legislation has been perceived as giving landlords the power to pressure tenants to move out of a unit without any oversight by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). Further, tenants are even more concerned that the bill fails to include a way for tenants to legally oppose the eviction. Ultimately, those who oppose the bill, see it as a collection of landlord favouring amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act that look to displace tenants.

One of the main focus of this bill is to deal with the backlog at the LTB by forcing tenants and landlords to cooperate. Bill 184 does provide some benefit to landlords; however, this is only because residential landlords are among the most vulnerable people affected by the pandemic and many are in need of immediate relief. 

Many landlords have tenants who can no longer make rental payments. In such cases, landlords are forced to carry the expense, resulting in thousands of dollars lost every month.   Ultimately, as a result of the unaffordable expense of affording multiple homes, these landlords are forced to offload real estate they can no longer afford to pay off outstanding mortgage payments. Bill 184 does a decent job of providing minimal liberation by allowing landlords to act more hastily and less bureaucratically. 

Below we have outlined in more detail the changes that can be expected from Bill 184 that most affect landlords: 

More power against over-holding tenants 

Under the current compensation scheme for landlords in the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords have the power to apply to the LTB to seek compensation for rental arrears from are tenants who overhold a unit. Overholding means tenants who have occupied a unit for longer than agreed upon. Landlords can also claim for damage caused to a rental unit where a tenant remains in possession of the rental unit beyond the expiry of the lease. 

Bill 184 expands this same power to allow landlords to make a claim to the LTB even after the tenant has vacated the unit. Provided that the claim is made within 12 months of the date the tenant vacates the unit, landlords can receive full compensation. Bill 184 further proposes that landlords are permitted to apply to the LTB to claim compensation (up to 12 months after the tenant has vacated the unit) from a tenant where the tenant interferes with another tenant’s ability to enjoy their rental unit and from a tenant who has not paid utilities. 

In such cases, what was once intended to be a profitable investment for a landlord, would then have become a financial nightmare. This amendment allows landlords to retrospectively claim for lost rent or unpaid utilities suffered by a landlord including compensation for not being able to have new renters occupy the unit. 

Conclusively, landlords who have lost rental income, utilities payments, or damages from overstaying tenants can now seek compensation even after the tenant has left the unit.  

New Rules for Rent Increase

According to the Residential Tenancy Act, a tenant (past or present) can file an order with the Landlord Tenant Board requiring that a landlord repay a tenant any money the landlord may have collected as a result of an improper rent increase. This means where a landlord increases the rent without serving the appropriate notice of a rent increase or increasing the rent above the appropriate amount set out by the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs in the respective guidelines. This order must be filed within 12 months of the date of the illegal rent payment. 

Bill 184 adds to the current laws by stating that, where a tenant has already paid the improperly increased rent amount for a minimum of 12 consecutive months, then a tenant cannot seek reimbursement for such an improper rent increase. This new change applies so long as the tenant did not make an application to the LTB challenging the validity of that rental increase within one year from the first charge was made. 

Ultimately, landlords and prospective lenders and purchasers are given peace of mind. Rent payment amounts are no longer subject to challenge by any tenant where they have consistently been paid for a minimum of one year. 

Increased Punishment for Landlords and Corporations 

Under the current state of the law, the Landlord and Tenant Board can conclude that a landlord has acted in “bad faith” when terminating a tenancy. This includes cases where a tenancy is unfairly terminated for a landlord’s personal use, purchaser’s personal use, or for demolition, conversion or substantial renovations to the unit. Under these circumstances, a landlord can be ordered to make payment to the tenant. Pre-Bill 184, landlords could be ordered to compensate a tenant for any portion of increased rent that the former tenant has incurred or will incur from moving into a new unit for a one-year period after vacating the previous rental unit. Landlords could also be forced to pay for reasonable expenses incurred by the tenant including moving and storage. Finally, a landlord can receive an additional administrative fine of up to $35,000.

Bill 184 increases the maximum potential penalty that a landlord can suffer when acts are carried out in bad faith. This is because the bill looks to allow landlords more power to deal with removing a tenant. However, the LTB will now have the discretion to force the landlord to compensate the wronged tenant for a maximum of 12 months’ worth of missed rent where they are found to have acted in “bad faith”. 

In relation to corporations, Bill 184 looks to increase the maximum penalty that can be imposed on corporations that are found liable for breaches under the Residential Tenancies Act. These fines will be increased from a maximum of $100,000 to $250,000. 

Therefore, this increase in punishment that a landlord may suffer serves the needs of tenants as it acts as a deterrent for landlords acting unfairly. Landlords should be cautious as the new regulations subject landlords to paying a much heftier sum than what was previously imposed on landlords. This is in addition to the administrative fine that landlords may be subject to paying. 

Ending a tenancy better come with a good reason

When landlords apply to terminate a tenancy agreement, Bill 184 will require a landlord to attach a sworn affidavit outlining and explaining the reasons in detail for the termination to the LTB. This means declaring reasons for termination including, a landlord wanting to use the unit for personal use, or planned demolition, conversion or renovations to the rental unit. Additionally, the landlord is required to indicate in the affidavit whether he or she has served any notice of termination in respect of the same or another rental unit, within 2 years prior to filing the present application. 

With the new addition to the Residential Tenancies Act 2006, the LTB will be encouraged to take a landlord’s history of serving termination into account when concluding whether or not the landlord has acted in good faith. The amount of previous termination requests filed by a landlord will act as an important indicator as to whether landlords truly have sufficient and substantial reason to end a tenancy. 

The effect of deterring landlords from ending lease agreements and terminating tenancies for disingenuous reasons is to the benefit of tenants. The LTB will now have access to additional evidence to use in favour of tenants. 

This new amendment coupled with the increased fines means landlords are to be more cautious when ending tenancies. Where ending the tenancy does not align with the affidavit or is found to serve another purpose, landlords will be subject to hefty fines for acting in “bad faith”  

Bypassing the LTB

One of the biggest points of contention between the landlord and tenant communities is the proposed changes to the way landlords can address the issue of tenants not paying rent.  

Currently, disputes between landlords and tenants over rent arrears can only be addressed by the LTB. This has contributed to the extreme backlog of cases in the LTB. Pre- pandemic, eviction hearings and cases in the LTB could take an average of 3 months to be heard. 

Bill 184 aims to provide some relief, or at the very least not make the situation at the LTB worse. It allows disputes over rent between tenants and landlords to be negotiated without LTB intervention. Landlords can bypass the LTB and are encouraged to offer a repayment plan directly to tenants, something that was originally the responsibility of the LTB. For this repayment plan to be in good faith, it should be formulated following some form of discussion and negotiation with the tenant as, in theory, the plan is to the benefit of both parties. Additionally, this new change will allow landlords to claim for lost rent and remove tenants who have been withholding payment retroactively. Where the tenant refuses the repayment plan, or accepts and fails to uphold it, this constitutes sufficient grounds for the landlord to evict the tenant. 

Landlords and tenants are forced to work together to reach a solution where the landlord can expect some percentage of rent to be paid regularly, while also taking into account the difficulties that a tenant may be having to repay the rent. 

The introduction of increased compensation for tenants for evictions done in “bad faith” as discussed above, restrict landlords from imposing unfair repayment plans on tenants. Having to compensate a tenant for up to 12 months’ worth of missed rent in Ontario will cost the average residential landlord substantial financial hardship. Tenants are also given the right to appeal to the LTB where they believe their repayment plan or eviction was handled unfairly. The alternative to Bill 184, which is the current state of affairs, is for landlords to have to continue to shoulder the burden of tenants who continue to not pay rent.  

Conclusively, Bill 184 allows landlords to act with more urgency than being forced to wait in a three-month long line at the LTB. However, this solution does not protect landlords from having to shoulder thousands of dollars’ worth of lost rent as the repayment plan must be given a fair chance to work before steps can be taken to remove the tenant.  

The Current State of Bill 184

What this bill means for tenants and landlords is that, there is to be expected a drastic change to the Residential Tenancies Act that aims to force landlords and tenants to communicate, compromise and work together. 

While this new amendment to the RTA looks to provide relief for the LTB, the truth of the state of affairs at the LTB is that they face backlog and a lack of organisation that this bill fails to address. There are still many steps in between tenants not paying rent and a tenant being evicted including negotiating a payment plan and providing the tenants a chance to pay out on their repayment plan. These new amendments do not protect the average landlord from suffering thousands of dollars, and several months’ worth of missed rent. Additionally, claims for damage (on top of lost rent), brough against a tenant can still be expected to eat up landlord time and money because of the ongoing pandemic. 

As a result of the increased risk that comes with being a renter, many landlords are turning to insurance options such as SingleKey to guarantee rental income and protect landlords from delinquent tenants. The SingleKey Rent Guarantee provides landlords peace of mind knowing that they will are protected against tenants who do not pay the rent and who may damage their property.

How Can You Ensure Your Tenants Pay Their Rent On Time?

How to make sure tenants pay rent on time? Here are tips on collecting rent
How to make sure tenants pay rent on time? Here are tips on collecting rent

One of the most frustrating parts of holding the position of landlord is the mandatory task of collecting rent every month. The collection of rent is not only necessary in order for you to keep your job as a property owner one that provides a viable income, but it’s part of an understood (not to mention, written) agreement between a landlord and a tenant.

So why is it so hard to collect the rent on time? Many landlords complain of having to “run down” their tenants in order to make sure that their rent is collected in a timely manner. Is there any easier way to go through the process of getting paid each month? The following are some ideas that many landlords have tried.

Collect a year’s worth of post-dated cheques.

You just might be able to take the whole running-down-your-tenants thing out of the equation if you insist upon being paid in advance. Many landlords ask their tenants to provide them with post-dated cheques. A total of twelve to cover the forthcoming year is generally part of a standard request. Admittedly, this process doesn’t guarantee that enough money will be in the accounts of the tenants who provide the cheques. The last thing you want is for them to bounce.

On Landlordology.com, Sara Thompson also points out a couple of other issues that may arise with this method. “Most tenants I know are uneasy about writing 12 post-dated cheques especially to a landlord they just met,” she notes, “ Remember, it’s illegal to cash a cheque before the date mark.”

Have a heart to heart with your tenants.

Last month, we blogged about the importance of developing and growing the landlord/tenant relationship. Naturally, it makes life a lot easier when you can get along with the people who rent your property. One of the reasons is that it opens the doors for important conversations. Are your tenants going through rough financial patches? Perhaps, you can get to the bottom of why the rent is always late by simply talking it out with your tenants.

“Discuss whether changing the payment date or method would help,” suggests GoCardless.com, “For instance, some tenants may prefer to make smaller payments on a more frequent basis. Asking your tenants to set up a Direct Debit or standing order will reduce the chances of them forgetting to make a payment.”

Sign up with Single-Key!

We’ll be frank about it. We simply can’t come up with an easier and more effective way to ensure that you collect your rent on time than to enlist our expert services! For a monthly fee, we guarantee that you will receive your rental payments on time. While you are able to sit back, relax and avoid worrying about collecting your money yourself, we offer your tenants flexible payment options that help them find easier ways to get their rents paid every month.

And in your worst-case scenario – one where your tenants are unable to pay at all – Single-Key will handle the eviction process as part of the service we provide to you. Enjoy the peace of mind in knowing you’ll never have to worry about running down your tenants for rent money again. Leave it up to us!

3 Ways To Develop And Maintain Strong Landlord/Tenant Relationships

How to have great tenant relationships as a landlord

Being a landlord is not easy. Depending on the size of your property, you may be responsible for a lot of homes. And you know the old saying…“A man’s home is his castle”. Naturally, people put a great deal of care into selecting the places they call home. They need to know that they can trust their property owners to quickly attend to concerns so that they may live peaceful, enjoyable lives in their domiciles.

Of course, a landlord’s job requires a lot more than property maintenance. The fostering and growing of positive relationships between yourself and the people who rent living space in your property is hugely important. It’s likely you have many different personalities to deal with. But knowing how to manage them all in an effort to bring about high-quality living situations for everyone involved is the key to being a top-of-the-line landlord.

Here are three ways to develop and maintain strong landlord/tenant relationships:

1. Screen potential tenants as if they were applying for a job.

Hiring manages have the tough task of composing job postings, reading resumes and conducting job interviews – all in the name of locating the perfect fits for their companies. Recruitment experts will tell you that expert hiring practices involve a vetting process that seeks to find individuals who mesh well within a company’s culture – not just trying to find people with ample skills and experience.

Your job as a landlord should not just entail doing your own background checks on potential tenants, but also include a process by which you gauge the personalities of the people showing interest in your rental property. According to Imperial Properties, “not only does this afford you the opportunity to review a potential tenant’s credit history, references and background, but meeting with your tenant prior to leasing will also allow you the ability to establish expectations for both parties early in your relationship. This helps build trust and understanding from day one.”

2. Be easy to access.

Developing and maintaining strong relationships with your tenants has a lot to do with how much they’re able to trust you. As is often said, trust is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. And a big part of gaining trust is being accessible. Make it known, to each of your tenants, the times that are best to reach you and be sure to provide various methods of contact.

“One of the biggest pet peeves for tenants is not being able to get in touch with their landlords,” says Paul Esajian of FortuneBuilders, “Many landlords view calls as an annoyance, and simply avoid them all together. This is the worst thing you can do for your property. Ignoring calls or emails is basically telling your tenants that they aren’t important enough for you to deal with. If you do this enough times, your tenants will feel the same way about you and the property.”

3. Offer flexible payment options.

Emergency situations arise in all of our lives. We’ve all encountered instances when the car broke down, forcing us to exceed our monthly spending budgets to secure the repairs. Your tenants will likely come to you with stories of their own, detailing why their rents may be late. You have a business to run. The rents must be paid. But your ability to help your tenants find ways to make those payments with a lot less stress will go a long way in providing everyone with more peace of mind.

At Single-Key, we offer landlords a unique way to receive timely payments without having to go through the hassle of running down their tenants. We not only guarantee landlords receive their money on time, but we offer tenants payment flexibility options. This includes the ability to postpone rent payment for a month and the acceptance of payments by cheque or Interac.

Single-Key is your key to growing and developing stronger relationships between you and your tenants. Not to mention, it makes your tough job as a landlord a whole lot easier! For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 416-518-3489 or email us at [email protected].

What Is The Hardest Part About Being A Landlord?

the hardest part of being a landlord
What is the hardest part about being a landlord? Find out!

A landlord’s work is never done. Or, at least, it seems that way to the majority of individuals who hold the title of landlord. While it is often heralded as a rewarding occupation (many people love owning various properties for the purpose of profit), the landlord position is certainly not one that is without hardships. But what is the hardest part about being a landlord?

Many will tell you that it’s the non-stop ringing of the phone.

In most cases, the “phone is ringing off the hook” scenario is one that conveys that business is booming. In a landlord’s case, it may just mean that, as well. A ringing phone can signify a potential renter calling to look at the property. But, most often, the phone calls are complaints. On BiggerPockets.com, Kevin Perk tops his list of things he hates most about being a landlord with the inundation of phone calls he receives.

“When you become a landlord, your phone begins to ring,” he details, “Sometimes that can be good; other times it can be bad. Good or bad, there comes a time when you’ll be ready to throw your phone in the river because it never seems to stop ringing. Prospective tenants call looking to rent an apartment. Current tenants call to tell you something is broken, that they will be late with their rent or to complain about something else. There is always someone calling.”

Others will say that it’s the carrying of a mortgage.

Renters aren’t the only ones who are required to make monthly payments. Quite obviously, landlords – a.k.a. property owners – have monthly payments of their own to make. And, in many cases, they have several properties to pay for. Paying the mortgage is a monthly obligation that can often be a tough task. This is especially true if there is difficulty with collecting rent from tenants on a timely basis.

On ClubThrifty.com, Greg Johnson lists carrying a mortgage at the top of his “Being A Landlord – The Bad” list. “Don’t run out and finance a rental house just yet!” he advises, “Borrowing on a rental house means some fairly major risk for you. If your renter doesn’t pay, is late, or the property is empty, you still have to pay that mortgage bill every month. Before making the leap, be sure you’ve got the money to cover the costs for a few months if needed.”

Most will complain about having to collect the rent each month.

Depending on how many tenants you have living in your property, monthly rent collection can be an intimidating duty. Hopefully, the majority of your tenants are the types who promptly pay their rents without having to be constantly reminded. However, nearly every landlord has experienced altercations with tenants who list numerous excuses as to why they don’t have enough money to pay their rents by their due dates.

At Single-Key, we sympathize with this dilemma. In fact, we understand the difficulties that are presented on both sides. This is why we offer a service that provides both landlords and tenants with great peace of mind. For landlords, we take over the responsibility of collecting rent from your tenants! As a result, you are guaranteed to receive all of your rent money on time, each and every month.

For tenants, we make it a lot easier for you to pay your rent if your landlord is a Single-Key customer! We offer payment flexibility that includes allowing you a choice to pay with either cheque or Interac. And we also allow you to postpone your rent for a month, if absolutely necessary.

For more information about SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 416-518-3489 or email us at [email protected].

What Are The Necessary Steps To Evicting A Delinquent Tenant?

Evicting a delinquent tenant can be a stressful process. It doesn't have to be. Check out this blog post to learn how.

Being a landlord certainly has its benefits. Among the most obvious are the ability to earn a steady income through your investment property and the potential of making new friends through the people who rent your space. Owning and renting a property, however, does have its disadvantages. No matter how thorough your vetting process may be, you always run the risk of renting your property to nightmarish tenants.

Are they constantly throwing parties and damaging your unit? Do they elicit constant noise complaints? Are they regularly late with rent? Have they not paid their rent in months? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ve likely already contemplated taking the steps to evict your tenants. How do you go about it? If we’re being perfectly honest, it can be a super annoying process. What steps are necessary to evict a delinquent tenant?

1. Fill out a Form N4.

For Ontario-based landlords, a Form N4 must be completed. This is also known as the “Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent”. The form requests of you to provide information pertaining to the issues you’re having with your tenant. It also informs that your tenant has until midnight on the day his/her rent is due to pay the rent and that you must wait until after that day to give the tenant notice of his/her eviction.

It’s also vital you carefully check your math. The form will eventually be submitted to your tenant and it is imperative that the exact amount of the past due rent is listed in the tables provided. Of important note: “If your tenant pays rent by the month or year, you must give at least 14 days notice. If your tenant pays rent by the day or week, you must give at least 7 days notice.”

2. Fill out a Form L1 if the tenant does not make a payment within 14 days.

If you’ve provided your tenant with your completed N4 notice and he/she still doesn’t pay the rent within 14 days, you’ll need to complete a Form L1 – Checklist. It is also known as the “Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes”. There is no less than seven-part of this application. Completing them requires you to provide information about the address of the rental unit and the total amount owed by the tenant.

As well, you are asked to provide information about the tenant’s rent amount, the rent deposit and whether or not the tenant is still in possession of the rental unit. You’ll also need to show how you’ve calculated the amount owed you. 

3. Hire a lawyer and to go a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant board.

If you believe this sounds expensive and time-consuming, you’d be right. Not to mention, hearings can often take months to schedule. The process is generally a long and drawn-out one that also tends to be very tenant-favouring.

4. Book the Sheriff to evict the tenant.

This step is only necessary if you’re successful at your Landlord and Tenant board meeting. It will also cost you $500 to book the sheriff. Keep in mind that, on average, it takes approximately 89 days to successfully evict a tenant in Ontario. Unfortunately, most bad tenants are known for their tendencies to keep their homes in disarray. If this is the issue you’ve encountered, you’ll likely have to fork out thousands of dollars for repairs and renovations.

How can you avoid these headaches as a landlord?

SingleKey proudly offers Rent Guarantee. This program has helped many an Ontario landlord to evade unnecessary headaches and time-wasting stress. By taking advantage of Rent Guarantee, you put the burden on SingleKey to manage the time-consuming, tenant-evicting hassle for you. So, how does it work?

Firstly, we invite tenants to apply online for your rental property. After receiving their pertinent information, we screen them for you. As part of the process, we pull credit reports, call references and verify employment and income information. We also collect your rent for you! Rent is collected via pre-authorized debit and is deposited directly into your account. This has been proven to be much faster than either cheques or Interac e-transfers, guaranteeing you an end to late payments.

We don’t use the word “guarantee” lightly, by the way. We ensure that your rent is paid for up to 12 months or $60,000 – even in the event that your tenant misses his/her payment. In fact, we guarantee payment of your rent up until the tenant is removed from your property. We even protect that property of yours. We cover up to $10,000 in property damage due to tenant vandalism. Finally – and this may be the best part – we handle evictions for you!

For more information about SingleKey’s Rent Guarantee, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 416-518-3489 or email us at [email protected].