Last month, Toronto Council approved the new bylaw aimed at strengthening protections for tenants. This new legislation requires landlords to register with the city, respond to urgent tenant requests within 24 hours, inspect common areas for pests on a regular basis and indicate what security features exist on the property.
The law—which applies only to rental properties with a minimum of 10 units, standing three storeys or higher—takes effect this July 1. When it does, there won’t be much leeway for laggard landlords. Penalties for non-compliance include fines of up to $100,000 and a ban on renting to new tenants without being registered.
More recently, the Province of Ontario announced it would widen rent-control rules in an effort to bring skyrocketing housing prices back down to earth. Previously, under the “post-1991 exemption,” only units built prior to 1991 offered rent-control protection. Under the new plan, rent control will extend to all private rental units across Ontario.
The province also committed to improving the Residential Tenancy Act by developing a standard lease in multiple languages, as well as cracking down on regulations that enable landlords to evict tenants if they plan to use the property “for their own use” and compensating tenants who are evicted for that reason.
Additional revisions to the Residential Tenancy Act include prohibiting above- guideline rental increases where elevator work orders remain incomplete.
The Property Owner’s Perspective
What does this mean for landlords? It’s simple: These new laws underscore the need for all landlords and property management companies to ensure a best practices approach and to standardize—and improve—processes.
Track and manage maintenance requests: The government is looking to make elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair. In addition to elevator repairs, building owners and landlords must keep a close eye on all maintenance requests, ensuring a 24-hour response time.
Manage historical tenant data more effectively: Keeping historical tenant data in one place makes it easier to manage and validate your costs. It’s a good idea to maintain a central repository to record things like rent increases and costs of repairs or renovations for all units.
Create an audit trail of resident communications: With a digital record of all back-and-forth with tenants, you can prove that you followed protocol and were bylaw compliant in the case of evictions.
Work the Rules in Your Favour
Property Vista offers a highly secure suite of web-based services that will help you standardize, digitize and consolidate forms and data, so you can ensure compliance while improving internal processes and boosting your bottom line. To learn more, sign up for your free account today.