Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Realtor's new Offer to Lease, Form 400 Now Published. What does it all mean?

The updated Ontario Real Estate Association ("OREA") Agreement to Lease is finally here.  It replaces the old Agreement to Lease, the Form 400 used by Realtors in Ontario for so many years.  The new document was produced in reaction to the Ontario government producing a new standard form lease that must be used by ALL landlords and tenants for leases signed on or after April 30th, 2018.  This includes tenancies where Realtors found the tenant and facilitated the agreement.

OREA's old Agreement to Lease was a hybrid document; an offer document that turned into a lease upon acceptance by the landlord.  Most agreed it was awful but Realtors didn't have a choice but to use it.  Parts of it didn't comply with the Residential Tenancies Act (the "RTA") and didn't contain the detailed clauses that are needed to protect the landlord and give certainty to both parties. Many parts were illegal, and you can't contract out of the RTA's statutory protections.

So the new form 400 was created to be an offer to lease only, and anticipates the parties signing the mandatory government's standard form lease upon acceptance of the offer by the landlord.  A few things bother me.

Can a $500,000 Personal Injury Negligence Claim be an RTA Matter?

This is a crazy one.  I've been concerned lately about the confusion between things that happen in a rental unit, versus things that should be litigated under the Residential Tenancies Act (the "RTA") at the Landlord and Tenant Board (the "LTB").  For instance, a murder committed in a rental unit does not get prosecuted at the Landlord and Tenant Board.  But there are more subtle analogies.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Written tenancy agreements for Ontario's residential landlords have been confusing and inconsistent.  The leases are jam-packed with illegal clauses, confusing provisions and in many cases, there is no written lease at all.  Some small landlord investors are of the mistaken belief that it was easier to terminate tenancies if there is no written lease.  A lot of landlords also confuse the term lease with the concept of lease term.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Long-Term Rentals vs Airbnb is a False Dichotomy

Toronto Council has now passed short-term rental rules that will change the face of Airbnb and similar services in Toronto. The rules will create an entirely new zoning category for short-term rentals that would allow home-owners to offer up to three short-term rental rooms or their entire home for up to 180 days per year, while also firmly establishing who is permitted to rent out their residences. A home-owner could only rent out a unit under this scheme if the room they were renting out was located in their principle residence. The city will create a registry of short-term rental landlords who would have to declare that their rental property was their principle residence and pay an annual fee.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Surprise! Rental Fairness Act is Hardly Fair to Landlords

There have been a number of changes to residential tenancy legislation proposed, announced and implemented since April of this year.  While we don’t know the effect of all of them until the Landlord and Tenant Board and appellate courts have spoken, here are some of the changes contained in the amendments.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Letter to Minister of Housing - The Honourable Chris Ballard

May 13th, 2017

The Honourable Chris Ballard
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay St., 17th Floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C8

Dear Minister:

I am writing you as a small landlord  in Ontario, looking to you for assistance in navigating Ontario’s difficult and complicated residential tenancy laws.  The playing field is about to become even more unbalanced following the government's April 20th announcement.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wynne's Solutions for Rental Housing are Puzzling and Harmful

Anything this government touches turns bad, and Wynne’s announcements regarding rental policy changes is no exception.  A return to full rent control will bring American-style slums to Toronto.  New rentals won't be built, and that includes purpose-built rentals, and condos that are 50% filled with rentals.  Why would an investor risk being subject to rent control when they have no control of condo common area maintenance fees and assessments?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act Needs Modernizing

Ontario’s residential landlord and tenant legislation is badly outdated and needs a complete re-write.  The basic framework of the Residential Tenancies Act and its immediate predecessor the Tenant Protection Act is almost 20 years old, despite some minor, political amendments made in 2007.  A lot has changed since then.  Housing prices in Ontario’s major metropolis have skyrocketed.  Airbnb has added a new type of residential occupation not anticipated by the legislation.  Nor was there any clue that condos would become the new rentals when the Tenant Protection Act was being debated back in 1997.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Residential Tenancies Act Needs Changing to Avert Affordable Housing Crisis

While I loved the musical Les Miserables, the song Master of the House always struck me as backward as the cast sings “Everybody loves a landlord. Everybody's bosom friend.”  From my perch, it seems that everyone despises landlords and wants to make them responsible for government’s shortcomings and many of society's problems.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Airbnb Problem is Connected to Our Awful Tenancy Laws

I read a story in the Toronto Star yesterday about the problem of Airbnb cutting into traditional rentals.  The problem isn’t simple and cuts across complex issues starting with our low interest rates, booming real estate market, and the emergence of the new sharing economy.  But before we start blaming Airbnb for cannibalizing the traditional rental market, we should look at the elephant in the room that is causing many investors to go the Airbnb route.  The problem is that the traditional rental model, governed in Ontario by the Residential Tenancies Act, is broken.  Renting your unit short-term as an Airbnb is exempt from provincial landlord and tenant legislation, as are rentals in hotels, cottages or bed and breakfasts.