Being a Landlord No Easy Task in Ontario

Rachel Loizos in Legal

After dealing with some interesting landlord and tenant issues recently, I would remind anyone who is considering purchasing property with the intention of renting to become thoroughly knowledgeable about landlord and tenant law.  The act that will govern this relationship is the Residential Tenancies Act, you would be wise to bookmark a copy (available on Canlii for free) and refer to it often.  Another good source for information is the Landlord and Tenant Board.  They have very helpful information available online and will also answer telephone inquiries.

Some tips for the new Landlord:

1. Get the proper legal names for your tenants, along with a clear photocopy of their Ontario I.D. and make sure that all tenants who will be living at the premises are listed on the lease.

2. Make sure you receive your first months rent and last months deposit by way of bank draft or certified cheque; if you permit a regular cheque, the tenant should not be permitted to move in until the cheque has actually cleared your account.

3. Be creative about calling references and don’t just call the last landlord.  A paralegal who deals with the eviction and rent control legislation for landlords in Ontario, Russ Innanen, alerted me to a creative scam.  Evidently, some bad (non-paying) tenants will threaten to stay at the premises if the present landlord fails to give them a good reference.  Do a credit check and call the last two landlords for a reference.

4. Do not be an absentee landlord.  Keep the property in good condition and make sure you are around.  Do not let small problems get bigger; deal with each issue as it arises and without fail.

Remember that becoming a landlord is a serious undertaking.  Become familiar with the resources available to you and when you have questions, consult a professional. 

Rachel Loizos is an associate lawyer at Sotos LLP in Toronto. She practices in the area of real estate law.
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