Sunday, 22 September 2013

New Site

So ... since I am no longer welcome at the Ontario Landlord's Association forums - nice, eh...take my $99 and kick me out when I did not break a single one of their posted rules -- and then refuse so much as to respond to my emails... clearly won't be recommending them to anyone any more.

ANYWAY... because of that, I got motivated to set up my own website - complete with a forum... am also blogging there... not sure what, if anything I'll do with this blog, but please do drop by my new home at .... and would love to have you stop by and chat at the ONlandlording forum, also.... can even use private messaging, profiles, search, and so on.... no control freaks :)  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A bit more re: my eviction

So ... just in case any members from the Ontario Landlords Association forums wander by (even though they've disabled my profile to make it harder for you to find me *sigh*) ... thought I'd expand a little bit on my previous post.

I have indeed been kicked from the forums entirely - did send an email requesting clarification as to their rationale, but no response, so I assume tis permanent...

Anyway ... since they can't be bothered to respond to me, and since they deleted not one but 2 threads so you can't read for yourself, here is what happened.

The thread re: meeting disappeared ... but in its place, the admin posted a new thread which stated that if we wanted to meet, we need to provide them (via email) with a bunch of information including the purpose of the meeting, number of attendees, location, date, agenda, etc .... THEY will set it all up for us (isn't that ever so ~nice~ of them?)

I responded that it would be difficult for any one of us to provide detailed responses to their questions since they had deleted the very thread where we were attempting to sort those details out. Very shortly thereafter, that thread, and my comment, of course, disappeared into the ether. A new admin thread appeared - locked this time - that one you've probably seen, as I imagine it is still there .... one about using the forums only to discuss issues relating to landlording...?

An hour or two later, I posted the blog post below this one ... offering to facilitate an email list if people wanted.... and then I posted a message on "my" thread re: being "So discouraged" mentioning only that I had added a couple of posts to my blog if anyone was interested.

Shortly thereafter, my account was deactivated and there ya go ...I am, apparently, far more problematic than Tagly, and Doug, and .... well, everyone!

Which, of course, especially combined with the ~magic post~ I mentioned, and the lack of transparency re: the association's advocacy activities re: our issues, or even, indeed, re: who is behind the OLA, causes me to view the whole thing with a rather jaded eye at this point.
I do not understand why an association which claims to facilitate networking with other landlords would have disabled the private messaging function to begin with, nor why they would have such great objection to landlords being in touch with each other via any other mechanisms.

I do not understand why an association which claims to have all the answers in its database of over 70,000 posts would disable the search function, also.

And I certainly do not understand why I, who have actually paid to be a member of the Ontario Association of Landlords, would be ejected for so minor an offense as attempting to facilitate something they claim to be supportive of.

Apparently, name calling, insulting others, and posting ridiculous nonsense are all just fine... but attempting to facilitate contacting people outside the forum is not.

What IS it that the Ontario Landlords Association does not want its members to discuss, I wonder?

Why is a simple get together for coffee so gosh darned threatening to them? 

Smells fishy to me.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Get together?

Apparently, forum admins don't approve of landlords arranging informal get-togethers....

happy to create an email list so that we can make arrangements independently of the forum if you like ... just send me an email and will add you to the list.

4 p.m.  Well isn't that ~fun~ ...apparently they also don't approve of the above blog post - I seem to have been kicked from the forum altogether. No explanation, but I presume it is for posting a comment re: having added posts to this blog if anyone was interested.  

My goodness... how DID the idea of landlords wanting to meet for coffee get so gosh-darned problematic for the OLA? Makes me think that perhaps I wasn't mistaken about the possible implications of the ~magic post~ I saw several weeks ago.

The Legalized Theft Board

I know that it aggravates some people when I refer to the LTB (as in the Landlord & Tenant Board, which is their proper name) as the Legalized Theft Board.

But that has most certainly been not only my experience, but also the experience of many other landlords who post in the Ontario Landlords Association forums - and, no doubt, of thousands more besides.

I happened to be on the LTB site yesterday looking something up and noted, once again, their (supposed) mission statement:

The mission of the Landlord and Tenant Board is to inform landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act and provide balanced and timely dispute resolution in accordance with the law.

Right there on the front page. And hey... if they actually did that, I'd be happy to call them the Landlord Tenant Board.

Unfortunately, what they claim to do bears little/no resemblance to what they actually do.

  • Rules are required to be followed to the letter by landlords, but not at all by tenants. Legal resources provided to tenants, but not landlords. Privacy for tenant information, but not landlords'.... where in the mission statement does it suggest tenants should be advantaged at every turn while landlords are not?
  • almost 6 months for a case where the tenant gave notice, tried to rescind it 2 days before their stated move-out date, and then paid not one blessed cent rent for that almost 6 months? HOW is that timely?
  • the adjudicator finds that the landlord is credible, the tenant is not, and awards judgements to the landlord on all three counts - but goes out of his way to ensure that not one cent will ever be collected and that the tenants get several extra weeks at the landlord's expense  - as a result of a conversation after the hearing to which the landlord was not privy?  HOW is that balanced?

I could go on and on ... I've learned an awful lot as a result of my research & reading - but I can tell you with 100% assurance that the vast majority of evidence - BY FAR - is that the LTB in Ontario has completely lost sight of its mission statement and its purpose.

The mission statement would be far more accurately stated as follows:

The mission of the Legalized Theft Board is to ensure security of tenancy for all tenants whether they live up to their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act or not.

Period, full stop.

Interestingly, the LTB seems to now be rather ~slow~ to post annual reports and/or recent decisions on their website. The last Annual Report which is available is from 2009 - 2010; decisions end as of December 2011.

Things that make one go hmmmm.... could it be that they know they've lost the plot and are loathe to advertise it? Inquiring minds want to know!

In any case, the people who are most impacted by the failure of the LTB to live up to its mission statement? Not landlords.

We are hurt financially - but hey, we still have a roof over our head (at least until you get ~lucky~ like I did and get more than one problem tenant in a short period and lose everything thanks to the Legalized Theft Board) ....

it is the good tenants who don't take advantage of the ~system~ (using the term loosely) to rape their landlords that are harmed.

It's the single mom or dad on OW who can't find a landlord to rent to her because she has no garnish-able source of income.

Or the person with a disability on ODSP who is even less likely to find a place because they not only have no garnish-able source of income, they have the potential to cost us even more money and aggravation because Ontario has decided that landlords are responsible for any and all accommodations, no matter how unreasonable or expensive.

Or the older potential tenant who we are cautious about renting to because you know, they could become disabled or develop Alzheimer's and hey, guess what? Landlords in Ontario are regularly forced to cough up for any and all accommodations, no matter how unreasonable or expensive.

Or the person who is coming from another country, or from a mental health facility, or from the streets... yeah, no... no credit rating, no garnish-able source of income? No shelter, sorry.

It sucks. It breaks my heart. But don't blame the landlords. Blame your Ontario government - the one that has decided that the ONLY people in Ontario who should have rights when it comes to rental housing are the deadbeats & scammers.

Not the good tenants.

Not the good landlords.

Sorry 'bout that... I wish I could be part of the solution. But you know what? Still can't find anyone that can be bothered listening.

Cindy Forster, housing critic for the ONDP did respond to my email - well sort of - she ignored MY email, but did respond to one someone more well known among the ONDP forwarded on my behalf - but that was more than 2 months ago now... somehow I think that "we will have to get back to you in response..." means "please just go away."

Pretty sad when my own party can't be bothered, eh?  *sigh*

But at least they did send an acknowledgement - the Ontario Liberal's can't even be bothered with that. My tax dollars at work. Or not.

Ah well...I'm a stubborn old bitch ...think it's time to start yet another letter writing campaign.

Perhaps this time, I will post the actual letter, and names, addresses & dates of each person I send it to, and any response. Still no guarantee I will get a response, but hey, it might be a fun experiment, no?

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Why is it that there seem to be so few self-proclaimed tenant advocates/activists types that actually are inclined to do anything that might be construed as in any way positive or productive?

I find it extremely discouraging.

If the sort of so-called advocates & activists that show up in the Ontario Landlord Association forums are any indication, it's no wonder that the situation - for both landlords and tenants in Ontario - is such a mess.

No respect - not for tenants or landlords. They constantly frame - and speak to - tenants as incompetent infants incapable of taking responsibility or making decisions for themselves. And of course, as far as they are concerned, every single landlord is an evil greedy slumlord. It doesn't matter what we say, they cannot see past their biases & lack of respect. 

I understand that people who have never been landlords do not see things the way those of us who have do - in fact, I know that as a tenant, I too was ignorant of the realities of being a landlord. But at least I treated them with respect. And when there was an issue, I talked to them ... funny...I never once had to run to the Legalized Theft Board to resolve an issue (nor did any landlord ever feel the need to serve me with any sort of form/notice/whatever).... but among those who participate in the forums, that is the ONLY possible approach to anything. Name-calling, rudeness, and file with the LTB.

The landlords too sometimes recommend that a tenant who has asked for advice file with the LTB - but very rarely without at least first suggesting that they talk to the landlord directly and attempt to resolve their difficulties.  Which is not to say that we are all perfect any more than the tenant uh... ~contributors~ are; many of us are more than a little frustrated & cynical & fed up, and it definitely comes through.... but most of us do try to treat others with respect, and to offer actual advice when it is requested.

It is more than a little discouraging to be constantly attacked no matter what we say.... but more than that, I am discouraged because if these interactions are any indication at all of how ACORN and the other activist/advocacy groups work, the likelihood of any sort of positive or productive dialog happening is slim to none.

People on assistance, people with any sort of disability, and seniors are increasingly going to be discriminated against when it comes to housing in Ontario - and no one seems inclined to do anything to fix that.

It is very unfortunate - especially because it does not need to be this way.

Simple low and no cost fixes ... but hey... what do I know. My solutions tend not to make anyone rich ... must be useless then, huh?

Friday, 9 August 2013

So... here we go again

As a result of all the nonsense involved in getting things sorted with the Dirt Squirrel here in Victoria Harbour, we knew that our other house was a ticking time bomb...

same sort of situation there... single mom on OW ... now that we are no longer so naïve as to think that the LTB, Ontario government, and/or Sheriff's Office have any interest at all in ensuring that landlords don't get ripped off - but instead, are all about helping deadbeats and squatters to do exactly that ... I've been dealing with constant anxiety knowing that it could all go to shit in Peterborough too.

And sure enough:

Here... see for yourself.
Holes punched in ceiling of attic apartment
(which is NOT part of their rental and was left LOCKED.
Window is broken, and the fridge we bought specifically for our use up there is gone.)
There are no undamaged doors remaining in the house.
View from the other side of the door.
Demolished wall.
Shower stall is bent/broken, bathroom is filthy.
Don't you love the sink? Wanna move in?
But at least there IS still a sink upstairs - in the downstairs bathroom, the entire vanity is gone. Just gone.
The entire basement is buried in a mountain of disgusting mouldy clothing.
While I was there, the tenant's bf emptied the dehumidifier tray - into the pile of clothes, NOT the sink -
too drunk to make it to the sink.
Suppose I should be happy there is even a working sink.
Seems to me it rather defeats the purpose of a dehumidifier though.
They demolished the walls - but hey, look - they started to paint the stairs...doesn't that look wunnerful?

The tenant has made a whole lot of excuses to keep me from driving the 2.5 hours (one way) to check things out (gee, I can't imagine WHY?) ... and when I did force the issue, have my daughter bus to Peterborough from Oshawa and back to put a notice on her door, since the tenant is ignoring my Facebook messages, and then make the drive, she was "too embarrassed" to be there (according to the drunk who was there with her son to show me around and assure me that he could fix it all for me. Honest. For cheap! Oh, and she didn't mean for any of this to happen ... oh, alright... as long as she didn't MEAN to destroy my property, it's all good now, I guess.)

So... since I am not able to talk to her, still have no idea when she intends to get the **** out of my property, or if it is going to be another fight. *sigh* On the plus side, she did actually pay August's rent. Of course, to fix everything they've demolished will likely cost every cent of every month's rent they have paid to date and then some.

Do have one tool now that I didn't have with the other house though - as much as the thought of it disgusts me - and the hassle & expense of having to drive 2.5 hours each way every time I need to work or go to the doctor or whatever.... the attic apartment IS mine and I do have the right to move into it. Since she won't talk to me via facebook or the phone, and since I clearly can't allow them to continue to live in such filth and to do any more damage, I've given her notice that I'll be moving in on Monday. Hubby's decided to join me, at least for this week ... wants to fix the attic window for me, replace the locks and the door, etc, so that I'll be safe up there. It's going to be SUCH a ~fun~ week!

And - by the way - as flip /uncaring/coping as this post probably sounds, you can rest assured - especially you, tenant who promised not to let me down, not to prove me wrong and hubby right, etc etc - I am trying my damnedest to stay mad ...and bitchy .... in reality I am absolutely and completely devastated by what you have done to my beautiful old house. The only house that I ever bought...painted... owned.... MY house.

just. devastated.

So ...Tamara... you came up with Dirt Squirrel a name for this one yet?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Landlord Licensing

One of the topics being discussed in the Ontario Landlord Association forums right now is licensing landlords.... some of the so-called tenant activists in the forum are celebrating their "big victory" in Mississauga this week.

I haven't really had to deal with licensing at all - at least not yet - neither of our properties are in places that require it ... but did wander off through Google to have a look at what's involved.

I'm not clear, from my reading, and from what I know about affordable housing in Ontario and landlording in general - who actually benefits from the whole licensing thing.

Tenants in Ontario already have the Legalized Theft Board, Sheriff's Office, free legal services, by-law officers, and police firmly on their side.

If there are problems, tenants seem to have no end of ways to force landlords to solve them - and it costs them a LOT less money than it does the landlords. Plus, bad tenants get to steal hand over fist with the full support of every government agency for months or even years ...and once they finally lose, they can go on to the next place and do the exact same thing all over again because there are no mechanisms for finding out about them.... Good tenants, on the other hand, are already feeling the impacts of this and finding it hard to find affordable places to rent ... but that's another post.

What tenants don't have, or so it seems to me, in most areas, is enough affordable housing options. So I'm not quite sure how cutting the number of units by up to 30% as projected in Hamilton, for example, is going to help.  It seems pretty clear, from looking at  proposed licensing requirements such as these for the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area, that there is no possible way that licensing is going to create an increase in units available for rent.

And look at the potential costs associated with all of those licensing requirements!
Licensing fees themselves (annual of course)... annual criminal record check for landlords (ridiculous! Based, no doubt, on the never ending but eternally aggravating notion that tenants are all vulnerable, incapable & incompetent infants - I SO do not understand why people don't object to this depiction; I most certainly would). .... compliance certificates from every by-law, building, licensing department in the area, and from a HVAC company as well.... parking for every unit ....etc etc etc...

Contrary to popular belief, many landlords are not making huge profits on their units...  so all of these added costs are going to add to the cost of your rent.... if not immediately, then soon. I know, I know.... you all think that we all are independently wealthy and should provide you with low cost housing, all necessary accommodations for whatever you need, and pay your bills besides.... oh, and loan you money whenever you're short, too... love that one. 

But the reality is that even those of us who do manage to make a profit on landlording are not going to keep doing it if/when we can no longer do so, or if/when it becomes too annoying to bother jumping through ridiculous hoops.  And hey ... less available units, more need ... guess what that does to prices? It ain't good. At least not for tenants. 

So ... tenants aren't likely to benefit from licensing.

Not bluddy likely....  increased aggravation, increased costs, increased idiots uh people to deal with, The only group of landlords that are going to benefit from this scheme are the ones in buildings with more than 6 units (or however many they decide the cut-off should be) who do not have to do the licensing thing. Hmmm....  big landlords using government to put little landlords out of business? Naw... they would never do that, right?  Neoliberalism ...gotta love it.

None of the schemes I've seen have been revenue neutral - not even close, actually. To implement this licensing thing costs more than they are going to recoup from fees. So no financial benefit.... although there will be some people who get jobs out of the whole thing... 17 in Hamilton, apparently.

So why are they doing it then? Beats the hell out of me... my guess would be that somewhere along the line, the only people who stand to benefit from the whole thing are pushing some buttons... manipulating some tenant-activist-wanna-be-types  into thinking this would be a good plan, maybe?  And or convincing politicians to go along with it?

It strikes me as very, very odd that a tenant activist group like Acorn would be advocating for something that is so clearly NOT going to benefit tenants.

It sickens me that one of the images that was posted in the forum showed Andrea Horvath there apparently supporting the whole thing.  Seriously?

How/why would the NDP want to do something that so clearly is going to result in higher housing costs for renters and less affordable units? I do not understand what the hell is going on with housing in Ontario. I really, really don't.  And I most certainly do not understand what the NDP are doing re: housing. I am NDP .... and can't conceive of voting any other way - but I am becoming increasingly concerned about their (lack of?) handle on the entire issue of affordable housing in Ontario. Anyway ... that's another blog post too...  perhaps someday either Ms. Horwath or Ms. Forster will respond to my emails about the topic and I'll be better able to explain it - to myself, if not to you.

In any case, I am more than a little baffled, you may note, by the whole licensing landlords thing... your thoughts would be most welcome. Am I missing something? What am I missing? I must be missing something right?