Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur's Comments on Tenant Safety are Patently False

In Today's Ottawa Citizen, the Hon. Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services made the following comments in response to an article the previous day by a frustrated landlord:

Our government also takes tenant safety seriously, which is why we changed the Residential Tenancies Act to make it easier to evict persons whose actions pose a serious threat. Under the Act, grounds for eviction based on the behaviour or actions of a tenant include damage to a unit and involvement in illegal activity. 

Her entire letter can be found here:

She is either lying or completely misinformed.  The letter is entirely inaccurate and the misrepresents the Liberal's record towards landlords since taking office in 2003.  In fact, since the Liberals took the reins, they have done the following by way of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Human Rights Commission:

1.  Introduced what they call a 10 day termination notice  [section 66] which was a public relations stunt, and suggested it can result in faster evictions for dangerous conduct.  In fact, the 10 day notice is meaningless as it still takes between 3 and 6 weeks to get a hearing, and the landlord can file for a hearing date the moment after the notices are served;

2.  By the October 2009 introduction of the Human Rights Commission's policy guideline on rental housing, a 110 page anti-landlord tome, it has become near-impossible for landlords, especially small landlord investors, to evict tenants from their homes even for the most egregious behaviour;

3.  Introduced a new eviction order voiding provision  [section 74(11)] whereby tenants now have 4 chances to void a rent arrears application/order, even after the landlord has filed the Board's eviction order with the Sheriff.  This can add a month to the process;

4.  Added a provision to encourage lease-breaking parties, [section 43(2)(a)] whereby a tenant who wants out of a fixed term tenancy need only act so badly that the landlord is forced to serve a termination notice, thereby ending the tenancy and with it, the tenant's obligation with respect to paying rent for the balance of the lease term;

5.  Toughened the rules that permit landlords to get orders to increase the rent if they do substantial improvements to the property, thereby contributing to the decay of Ontario's rental stock.  This while at the same time changing the methodology for calculating annual permissible rent increases, resulting in the lowest increase in history, just .7% for 2011, this in a year where landlords now have the inflationary effect of the HST;

6.  Introduced new "trial by ambush” provision to the Residential Tenancies Act, [sections 82 & 83] allowing a tenant to prolong the hearing process by raising fictitious claims at a hearing scheduled for rent issues, without prior notice to the landlord, claims that are in many cases, patently false;

7.   Introduced new grounds for eviction aimed at grow-ops, [section 63] but then don't address the problems landlords have getting entry into the rental unit to inspect for grow-ops.  The rules about entry to inspect the unit are archaic. 

8.  And finally, through the extensive delays, both scheduling and procedural, they have exacerbated the bed-bug problem by not allowing quick adjudication of disputes resolving same.

The Liberals should be ashamed of their record on creating balance in the rental housing marketplace and the Minister should be ashamed for her false comments.


Anonymous said...


alberto said...

How about this for "fairness to landlords". The City of Toronto passed a bylaw last year wherein they will issue amended rent reduction letters if the taxes are reduced through an assessment appeal and which result in a higher rent reduction, but will not issue revised rent reduction letters if the reduction in taxes results in a lesser rent reduction ! Believe the unbelievable or not !

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fine your comments are detailed, articulate and accurate! Would you consider publishing this blog as a rebuttal in the Citizen? I am certain many Landlords would appreciate your honesty and respectful exposure of the farce that is currently the "Tenant Protection" Law in disguise. Thank you for continuing to print the truth!

Anonymous said...

I have a student tenant from Quebec with a contract for eight months. My friends advised me not to take him as a tenant but I said he presented himself well and seemed reasonable and decent. On the 7th month, he started writing me complaints emails about all his discomfort living in the house and have inspired two other students to support his claims for monetary compensation. They threatened to file with the rental tribunal to get compensations. In the view that the government will represent them for free and I have to hire a lawyer, I asked what they want to satisfy them. So I paid them to ease myself pain from going through the fighting at the rental tribunal. Of course, I lowered myself to teenagers and apologized to them so they are not going to cause any damage to the property. The government has made up rights more for tenants and not for landlords. I take it as a way of paying for medication to avoid a disease. I learned my lesson I hope: never rent to the well-known group who likes filing complaints. I thought of selling the house, send the money back to my old mother in Asia and go on welfare.

doodle said...

Write more, that’s all I can say. Nice summary. Kudos!