The CBC posted an interesting article the other day regarding the state of frustration some landlords in Ontario are in right now with regards to the lack of “bite” in the Residential Tenancies Act. Many landlords are being vocal about their displeasure with how the system works and the length of time it takes to resolve an issue. The case used in example was for a Kingston landlord who rented out his house to tenants only to discover it had become an atrocious, hoarder-like mess. And on top of it, farm animals were living inside the property too: a goat, chickens, rabbits, ducks, pigeons, quails and parrots. It took him nearly six months to resolve the case and he is now out approximately $30,000 in damage and repair costs to the property.
Now clearly, there are times when a landlord is being unfair or non-responsive, which should always be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly, however, just as there are bad landlords there are also bad tenants who need the same sort of swift judgement.
The law should work fairly and equally to protect both landlords and tenants, rather than favour one side over another. Frustrated landlords who pull out of the rental market and decrease supply are of no benefit to anyone, as it only serves to increase the prices of the remaining market inventory and have landlords seek out other methods to garner income, such as with short-term rental companies like Air BnB, which have their own host of problems in themselves too.
Ultimately, the landlord has a duty to ensure quiet and safe enjoyment of a property, but it is imperative that a tenant respects the property and pays the rent on time. Landlords have expenses too – municipal taxes, insurance, maintenance fees, mortgage payments, etc. – that need to be paid and very often rely on the income from rent to keep the roof over that tenant’s head. Everyone should be playing their part in the Landlord/Tenant relationship, and a re-visit to the Residential Tenancies Act sure would be a good initiative too.