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Letters to the Editor: Ontario’s emergency legislation is unfair to landlords

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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
StreetCity Realty
Sarnia, Ont.

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