Small landlords in Ontario have had enough with tenants not paying rent
While Toronto is full of massive, wealthy landlords who are known for profiting off of the misfortune of others, there are also a number of small landlords who are struggling to stay afloat right now — and they're fed up.
A group called Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario (SOLO), which represents more than 5,000 landlords who own 10 or fewer residential rental properties in the province, is planning a major protest to shed light on the fact that many small landlords are struggling financially.
Varun Sriskanda, a member of the group, told blogTO that many small landlords cannot afford to cover their expenses due to unpaid rent, and the backlog at the Landlord and Tenant Board is making the situation untenable for many.
"We are being forced to house tenants rent free," he said.
Sriskanda, who is a landlord and real estate agent, began speaking out about the issue early on in the pandemic when the tenants renting his parents' house amassed over $55,000 in unpaid rent.
Now, nearly two years later, he says he is still owed just under $40,000.
approaching the 2 year mark on this drama we are still not close to it being over, still before small claims court with no trial date set. the tenant has been able to rent another pricey property. system is clearly broken on so many levels https://t.co/bHCLF1zTqj @mishagajewski— Varun Sriskanda (@VarunSriskanda) May 10, 2022
And he's far from the only one. As CTV recently reported, one Ontario landlord said he drained his entire savings and exhausted his credit after his tenants allegedly stopped paying rent six months ago.
"Landlords cannot do anything if a tenant doesn't pay rent for one year," Sriskanda said. "They are still required to pay the mortgage, property tax and utilities. We all know what happens when we dont pay our mortgage — the lender doesn't care if the tenant doesnt pay."
LTB hearings are currently only being held on Zoom, a practice which has been criticized by landlord and tenant advocates alike.
The LTB is a broken tribunal. Two years into the digital experiment it is clear: digital hearings are actually more inefficient than in-person hearings.https://t.co/zJkrwxkIro pic.twitter.com/pa0ThCrgvO— Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (@TenantAdvocacy) May 9, 2022
And according to Sriskanda, once a landlord files an application at the LTB, they are often left waiting upwards of five months just to get a hearing date.
Then they must wait for the actual hearing, which sometimes takes upwards of six months, followed by many months of waiting for a copy of the board members' decision. The backlog developed as a result of LTB operations being shuttered for five months due to the pandemic.
Not only did the LTB process 28% fewer cases in '20/21 compared to in-person hearings in '19, it managed to schedule hearings within 25 days of filing an application a mere 1% of the time.— Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (@TenantAdvocacy) May 9, 2022
The province promised to allocate $19 million in funding to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the LTB to help clear the backlog in April, but Sriskanda says it's not enough.
SOLO is planning a major protest on Friday, May 27, in front of the Toronto South LTB Regional Office at 15 Grosvenor St. between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Their demands include that hearings be held within 30 days of an application being filed, preferably in-person, and that the province help bail out small 'mom and pop' landlords like they do for commercial ones.
"The LTB is struggling to manage the workload and there have been few attempts by the provincial government to encourage change of behaviour," he said.
"As a result landlords are leaving the business due to significant rental arrears, losing their homes to the bank, being defrauded and having no support from outside agencies."
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