Tenants live rent free for three months before eviction enforced
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TORONTO, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ - Ontario's rental property owners say the rent dispute process is old and broken - owners spend thousands of dollars providing free housing to tenants who have not paid their rent. They are asking the provincial government to modernize the rent dispute process, bringing it in line with the majority of other Canadian provinces. Their challenges are detailed in a report released today by the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO).
"No other business is required to provide goods or services without payment, yet landlords must by law allow tenants to remain in their apartments for months with faint hope of recovering the cost," said Vince Brescia, FRPO President and CEO. "This situation is patently absurd. It places a huge financial burden on landlords, particularly small ones who must find ways of making up these expenses from rents charged to the majority of tenants who do meet their payments."
Ontario has approximately 1.3 million rental households, representing just 29 per cent of the population. If tenants do not pay their rent on time, landlords in Ontario are required to go through a lengthy dispute-resolution process which will result in eviction only if payment is not made. Last year in Ontario, about 4.5% of tenants required their landlords to utilize this process. About two thirds of tenants who fall in to arrears do manage to make the rent payment, clear up their debt and retain their occupancy.
But 1.5 per cent of tenants ultimately leave without paying their rent. They take advantage of a lengthy process and remain in their units until it runs its course and they leave, or are removed. During this time, no rent is paid.
"With a typical monthly rent of $1,000 per month, that is a $3,000 subsidy in lost rent alone, excluding legal and application fees associated with the non-payment process," Brescia said. "This is a large cost for one landlord to incur with respect to one unit. In the case of a small landlord, it is devastating. This process, including legal fees, costs the landlord anywhere between $5,200 and $6,500."
FRPO is asking the provincial government to:
- reduce the initial removal notification period from the current 14 days to five days
- require hearings to take place in five days instead of the current 29 days
- eliminate the 11 day delay to file for removal with the sheriff once the Landlord & Tenant Board approves termination
- allow private bailiffs to enforce the eviction instead of waiting 6-8 weeks for the sheriff to do it.
"The hearing delay in Ontario alone is the longest in any Canadian jurisdiction, longer than the entire process in four Canadian provinces," Brescia added. "Surely the country's most populous province with the most rental units can come up with a modern, efficient system to resolve rent disputes that is both fair to the tenants, and, the landlords. What we have now is a broken system."
/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:
SOURCE Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario