Citing a shortage of adjudicators, Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board is warning those seeking dispute resolution that they may experience longer-than-usual delays.

Based on reported decisions over the past two months alone, including a tenant who was ordered to stop verbally abusing the landlord, it is likely that many of those pending claims are brought by landlords seeking an order to evict tenants for unpaid rent and property damage.

Landlords in every province face eviction delays whether from backlog or tenants who know how to manipulate the system through continuances and appeals.

After waiting it out, a landlord still has to prove the case to the satisfaction of an adjudicator. Those who ultimately win a monetary award may not be able to collect the money owed.

But the fact remains that a landlord loses money every day that a property is not generating rent, and every time a tenant causes damage. Landlords simply cannot rely on the dispute resolution system to save them from income loss.

What does help is careful tenant screening and effective property management practices:

Tenant Screening in a Nutshell

There are two components to tenant screening. First, the applicant must be credit-worthy. The person has sufficient income to pay rent, and that income is verifiable. In addition, the person has a history of being financially responsible — routinely pays bills on time. To confirm credit-worthiness, the landlord must verify the source of income and run a tenant credit check.

The second and equally important pillar of tenant screening is tenant-worthiness. Is it likely the person will follow the tenancy agreement, care for the property, and get along with others? Previous landlord references can reveal a history of criminal activity, prior evictions, disturbances, complaints, unpaid rent, or property damage.

Screening for both components is crucial to minimize income loss and can help landlords avoid long delays while waiting for dispute resolution.

3 Highly-Effective Property Management Strategies

A written tenancy agreement is a necessity when it comes to minimizing income loss. Still, many landlords fail to obtain a lease, or use a form that has not been reviewed by an attorney. For those landlords, it is important to understand the practical value of the tenancy agreement is in educating tenants on what is expected and avoiding tenancy problems, not in proving a case in dispute resolution. For that reason, landlords should review the tenancy agreement provisions in person with each tenant prior to having the tenant sign the agreement.

A tenant orientation is another effective tool in minimizing property damage and reducing tenant complaints. Explaining the proper use of appliances, safety features, how to care for the property, use of common areas, and other house rules in person can keep the tenancy running smoothly.

Finding ways of reminding the tenant that the property is being managed reduces the risk of late rent payments and property damage. Tenants thrive on structure and like to know that someone else is in charge. In their minds, their money goes as much to service as it does the roof over their heads. Sending back a rent receipt each month, a quarterly newsletter, routine inspections to eliminate annoying little maintenance issues, and returning calls quickly keep rent payments on track and damage to a minimum. Omissions, like failing to deposit rent cheques promptly, can cause a disconnect that leads to late rent, lease-breaking, and income loss.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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The allowable rent increase guideline for British Columbia now is set at 2.5% or the rate of inflation, after the provincial government rescinded the 4.5% figure announced last month.

The move came just days after the 3-member Rental Housing Task Force, authorized in April, sent a letter to Premier Horgan and Housing Minister Robinson citing an urgent need to grant relief to renters within the province.

In the letter, the Task Force recommends bringing the rent increase process to the rate of inflation, which is closer to the allowable increases in Ontario and Manitoba. British Columbia had previously calculated the rent increase figure as 2% above the rate of inflation.

Those landlords who already have provided notice of a rent increase to their tenants for 2019 must complete an updated notice form with the new rent increase figure. However, the Rental Branch advises that the 3 months’ notice requirement is not applicable to the updated notice.

Landlords likely will be allowed to apply for above-guideline increases for upkeep, however that process is still under consideration. The Residential Tenancy Branch says it will work with landlords on determining the circumstances under which they can apply for additional rent increases.  (Manitoba landlords are allowed to apply for above-guideline increases to cover increased costs.)

In a statement, Premier Horgan says that the move was necessary for renters, who simply cannot afford increases above inflation each year. “We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties,” he says.

It is unclear what long-term affect the move may have on rental inventory. Ontario only recently expanded its rent increase guideline to cover new rental properties, where before the caps only applied to those placed in service earlier than 1991. Because the expansion occurred recently, there is little data available on the impact of such rent control measures on overall inventory, including investment in new construction.

The Rental Housing Task Force has indicated more changes to the residential tenancy laws may be on the horizon when the members announce their final recommendations, which are expected in November.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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Top 5 Mistakes Landlords Make with Tenancy Agreements

October 8, 2018

Unfortunately, there is no one universally applicable tenancy agreement form that works for every landlord and every property. Individualized tenancy agreements that reflect the landlord’s preferences as well as local tenancy laws are the best way for a landlord to manage a rental property. But a poorly-constructed lease will not do the job. These are […]

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Where Tenants, Landlords Stand on Marijuana

October 8, 2018

Ratehub.ca, Canada’s leading financial comparison website, conducted a survey of 1,200 Canadians in July and August that provides valuable insights into what landlords may face as legalization looms. The survey makes clear that tenants are not aware of their rights when it comes to marijuana in rental homes. One in four tenants believes they should […]

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Manitoba Announces 2019 Rent Increase Guideline

October 8, 2018

Manitoba Rental Branch has announced that the rent increase guideline for 2019 is set at 2.2 percent. That guideline applies to rent increases throughout 2019. The figure is up from last year’s 1.3 percent cap. To increase rent, landlords must provide tenants with notice of rent increase at least three months prior to the increase. […]

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$8,500 Goes Missing: How Landlords Can Avoid Rent Theft

September 24, 2018

A property manager in Tallahassee has been charged with theft after allegedly cashing tenants’ money orders, according to a news report. A supervisor discovered the discrepancy after posting late notices to three tenants who claimed to have paid rent. When the supervisor researched the ledgers, she discovered potentially fraudulent entries. The property manager allegedly cashed […]

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Landlords and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

September 24, 2018

A corporate landlord in Nebraska has agreed to pay nearly $100,000 in damages and penalties to settle claims that it violated the rights of 65 servicemembers by charging early termination fees. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects those in the military who are deployed, relocated or retired by restricting actions […]

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Landlord Tips: Minimizing Losses After a Natural Disaster

September 24, 2018

From historic wildfires to record-breaking hurricanes and storm surges, it’s been a bad year for many landlords and tenants.  Yet few people outside of those immediately affected may realize the colossal toll recovery from these disasters takes on families and individual lives. Some people lost loved ones. Many more are rendered homeless. Even those fortunate […]

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City Opts for Tax Breaks Over Rent Control

September 24, 2018

Minneapolis lawmakers are banking on a new voluntary tax-incentive program to cap ever-increasing rents in the city rather than implementing rent control measures. Under a pilot program, the city is offering a reduction in property taxes to landlords who agree to keep rents affordable. The program incorporates a Minnesota tax statute providing low-income rent tax […]

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Landlords: Are You Asking Tenants the Right Questions?

September 10, 2018

Different landlords use different methods for screening tenants. For some, choosing the right tenant is as simple as a gut feeling. Others turn to artificial intelligence to conduct more elaborate personality tests to find the ideal renter. Rules that protect tenant privacy serve as a damper on what information a landlord can use to make […]

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