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Messages - William

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1

Someone just pointed-out this government press release to me:

Ontario Providing More Support to the Landlord and Tenant Board

This press release claims:

Quote
The Ontario government is making an additional $1.4 million investment into the Landlord and Tenant Board, which will allow the board to hire over 35 additional operational staff to enhance scheduling and client experience, issue decisions and orders faster and help tackle the high number of cases before the board.

The funding builds on the $4.5 million investment over three years announced earlier this year, which will be used to recruit more adjudicators and further help the Landlord and Tenant Board to address longstanding backlog issues.

This all sounds fine, except that the adjudicators at the LTB are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on the recommendation of the Minister of the Attorney General.  So the number of adjudicators isn’t something that need funding, rather it’s just up to the government to do their job and make those appointments.

It seems that there was a lack of adjudicators back in 2018, just as Doug Ford’s conservative party came into power:

   Toronto Star: Shortage of adjudicators hits Landlord and Tenant Board

It is in this context that once should consider the appointments (or lack thereof) made by Doug Ford’s conservatives.  I have heard from several informed sources that the real problem with the LTB is that Ford stopped appointing replacement adjudicators which has lead to a significant shortage, and there is evidence to confirm that this is true.  This article includes a graph showing the number of adjudicators by year:

   CTV News: Most new Landlord and Tenant Board adjudicators in Ontario are part time: review

In that article there is a graph about half way down labelled “Landlord & Tenant Board Adjudicators”, and if you study that graph is becomes apparent that number of adjudicators starting falling significantly in 2018 – just as Doug Ford was first elected, and entirely under his watch.

It is also worth noting that the principal point being made in that CTVNews article is that the number of full-time adjudicators hasn’t recovered – the conservatives are hiring new adjudicators only part-time and this is causing new problems.

This seems to me that they have been sabotaging the Landlord and Tenant Board by failing to appoint adjudicators, and waiting for things to crumble and stop working perhaps hoping to be able to bring in sweeping changes – I’ve heard rumours that the conservatives would like to replace the LTB with something new and more “efficient” which would no doubt be terrible for tenants.

Anyway, this press release doesn’t impress me much – there wouldn’t be the huge back-log of cases at the LTB if Doug Ford’s conservatives had been appointing new adjudicators all along as they should have been.

- William


2
General Discussion / Re: Doug Ford's Bill 23 – Bad Bad Bad Good?
« on: November 16, 2022, 11:13:40 pm »

Andy - Nice Post!

The Annex Residents' Association has taken a stand against "the socially unethical, environmentally reckless, and democratically injurious Bill 23", and is asking people to make submissions to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy...

Here's an excerpt from their recent new-letter:

Quote

Timing is crucial

The Bill has been tabled at the most cynical of junctures – not only under cover of the education support workers’ contentious job action, but also in an official municipal vacuum. It was only yesterday that Ontario’s newly elected town and city councils were formally installed. And yet tomorrow is the last day available for citizens or interest groups or even entire municipalities to formally register their objections to the bill.

So we repeat the urgent question – have you sent a message yet?

What to Say

Perhaps you hesitated because you thought your words would have no impact. But that’s not the case. Your message will be posted online as part of the public record. It will add to the mountain of responses that are pouring in. And if the avalanche of negativity is sufficiently overwhelming, that may well make the government give pause.

That’s the outcome hoped for by three former Toronto mayors in their joint opinion piece posted in last Monday’s Star. You can read their arguments by clicking here. We’ve also posted the official ARA letter for you to read. And for a refresher on the basic issues, why not re-read last week’s newsletter? There's lots there to ponder.

How to Submit

Having passed the first two readings in the House, the Bill has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy. To send a message to that committee, you should start by clicking on this link.



3
Other Tenant Problems / Re: Movie shooting in my building
« on: August 02, 2022, 05:57:20 pm »
Hi Charlotte,

I agree with Sandy's reply, and unfortunately I also agree that these sorts of proceedings (or, really, any complaint raised by tenants to the Landlord and Tenant Board) are long-shots with little chance of seeing justice.  The LTB isn't particarly predisposed to consider what it's like living somewhere owned by a difficult landlord.

The LTB does publish "Guidelines" that are sometimes helpful, for example, this one:

   Tenant Rights - Interpretation Guideline 6

This document has sections pertaining to T2 applications, for example regarding:  Harassement, Substantial Interference, and Withholding Vital Services, etc., that you might find informative.

But the truth is, unless the abuse that you are suffering is extrremely henious and undeniably documented, then you probably won't receive any satisfaction from the LTB.

Just FYI, here's a link to the T2 Application Form, and to an instructive pamphlet T2 - Application About Tenant Rights.

What do you think you are going to do?

- William


4
Akelius / Re: Reviewing file and documents
« on: June 30, 2022, 09:33:41 am »
Oh, I see.

You want to see the deal that the other tenants made with the landlord, which is a completely different thing than the landlord's supporting documentation.

There is nothing stopping you from going into a LTB office and requesting a copy of the decision, and they may give it to you (if the final decision has been issued, it may become available to you).  But on the other hand, because the adjudicator decided to keep the other deal hidden from you at that time they may not give it to you.  I guess you'd have to try, and see what happens.

Also, the LTB tends to try to keep the contents of AGI decisions secret.  (They say the secrecy is needed to encourge landlords to take part in the AGI process, which is B.S. because the real motivation for a landlord to file an AGI is the vast profit they make by gouging their tenants.  The secrecy is there to hinder the barganing-power of tenants, and to keep the public from finding-out just how unfair the AGI process is – that's what the landlords want.)

Is there any chance you can approach your tenant association, or one of your neighbours who may be sympathetic to you?  I don't know whether they are legally barred from providing the information to you, but if they aren't, then they might.

Also, consider using some psychology.  If your neighbours seem pretty happy with the deal they got, then maybe you should ask to rejoin them.  You'd probaly have to pay the paralegal something, and you'd be doing this without seeing the actual deal in advance.  But if they seem happy then maybe you could be happy with their deal too, and you'd be saving yourself a ton of time, effort, and stress, in fighting your own AGI by yourself.  Just a thought...

5
Akelius / Re: Reviewing file and documents
« on: June 29, 2022, 12:22:36 pm »
In general, YES!

Any tenant that is the subject of an AGI (or their representative) can request the Landlord's "Supporting Documentation" directliy from the Landlord and Tenant (although I think that there may be a small "copying" fee).  The staff at the front desk should be able to look-up the case number, but if you can find-out your case number it will make things easier for them (the case number is likely given on any notices that you may have received from the LTB).

You should also be able to request this information from the landlord or their legal representative too.  If you ask for this documentation, then they are required to give it to you.  This right is given by section 2006, c. 17, s. 126 (4), of the Residential Tenancies Act:

Quote
Information for tenants

(4) If an application is made under this section that includes a claim for capital expenditures, the landlord shall make information that accompanies the application under subsection 185 (1) available to the tenants of the residential complex in accordance with the prescribed rules.  2006, c. 17, s. 126 (4).

Here's a link:

   https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/so-2006-c-17/latest/so-2006-c-17.html?autocompleteStr=res&autocompletePos=1#sec126subsec4

Just FYI, you can learn more information about AGIs from the guide:  So You Just Received your first Above Guideline Rent Increase


6
Above Guideline Rent Increases / Re: Above Guideline Rent Increases
« on: June 13, 2022, 10:03:32 am »
Here is what the Member endorsement says

The applicant was heard on May 30, 2022. All the Tenants in attendance, except for me (hereinafter referred to the "Tenant"), consented to an order limiting the above guideline increase in rent.

The issuance of the order is delayed for the purpose of giving the Tenant time to consider whether to consent to the order. On or before June 14, 2022, the Tenant shall consent in writing to the order as outlined at the hearing or provide written submissions outlining his objections to the Landlord`s applicaition.

Still nothing in writing as to what was agreed upon.


This is a tricky situation – You need to speak to someone with more experience, who knows about this stuff.

I would strongly recommend speaking to a lawyer or paralegal.  If you don't already have access to one, then use the Law Society of Ontario's Lawyer Referral Service – you'll get a free session (usually on the phone) with a knowledgable lawyer or paragal who can provide you with actual legal advice.  This link provides information about the referral service:  https://lso.ca/public-resources/finding-a-lawyer-or-paralegal/law-society-referral-service, and here's a link to the sign-up page: https://lsrs.lso.ca/lsrs/welcome.

You should also telephone the FMTA Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494.  These people are terrific, and experienced, and will know what you should do.

Also ACTO provides free legal advice to tenants, contact them here: https://tdc.acto.ca.  These are the people who provide free "Tenant Legal Councel" lawyers at LTB offices throughout the province.  Again, they are knowledgable, experienced, and free.

... and finally, keep us posted – we would all like to know what can be done in this situation.


7
Above Guideline Rent Increases / Re: Above Guideline Rent Increases
« on: June 06, 2022, 06:17:17 pm »
I am a tenant who represented myself as the tenant association did not provide clear guidance and support.

[...]

After 4 hours or more on hold the vice chair talks to me and says they have made a decision do you consent.

I have until June 14 to accept or I will have to pay cost.

Am I not entitled to disclosure so I can make an informed decision.

Sorry, I just want to be clear, you mean you have the option of accepting the arrangements made by your tenants' associaiton, or rejecting it, but they haven't told you what those arrangements are?

That doesn't sound fair.

Have you tried reaching out to the members of your tenants' association or their lawyer to find out the details?


8

Hi Jack,

Two rent increases within 12 months is definitely not legal under most circumstances.

See section 120 of the Residential Tenancies Act, which states:

Quote
Guideline increase

120 (1) No landlord may increase the rent charged to a tenant, or to an assignee under section 95, during the term of their tenancy by more than the guideline, except in accordance with section 126 or 127 or an agreement under section 121 or 123.  2006, c. 17, s. 120 (1).

Here’s a link to that section of the law, on the Province of Ontario’s website:

   https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17#BK187

There is an exception to this rule, for example, if your landlord has provided you with an “Additional Service” (did you ask for a new parking spot, or storage locker, or something?),

- William


9
Above Guideline Rent Increases / Re: Above Guideline Rent Increases
« on: April 30, 2022, 03:23:24 pm »

Hi Phil,

You are obliged to pay the annual Guideline rent increase amount (1.2%), but you do not have to pay any of the "above" the guideline portion of the rent increase until you have the hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), and the final amount of the above guideline rent increase is decided.

Just FYI, this is covred in Quesiton 15 of the "So You Just Received your first Above Guideline Rent Increase" guide, which you can find a link to here:

   https://www.torontorentersforum.com/index.php?action=tportal;sa=download;dl=get5

Also, just so you know, on your N1 ("Notice of Rent Increase") form, your landlord is only obliged to inform you of 3% of the increase that they are applying for.  Once you go to the hearing you may find that they are actually asking for more than 3%.  (Above Guideline Rent Increases are limited to 3% per year, but if your landlord can justify, for example, a 9% above guideline rent increase, and if they win their case at the LTB, then you and your neighbours could be facing 3% for upto three consequtive years (i.e., in 3% in 2022, 3% in 2023, and 3% in 2024).  And unfortunately this misrepresentation is legal, so there is nobody to complain to about it.

You and your neighbours should ask your landlord for a copy of the landlord's "application" (also called the "Landlord's Supporting Documentation"), so you can see exactly what expenses (and how much $$) your landlord is actually asking for, and so you can start preparing to defend yoursleves at the LTB.

This website (Toronto Renters Forum) has more information about Above Guideline Rent Increases, here:

   https://www.torontorentersforum.com/index.php?page=agis

- William

10

Jessica Bell says "Doug Ford's own housing affordability task force fails to address or provide recommendations to make rent more affordable for everyday"...   Link to Jessica Bell during Provincial Legislature Question Period


From a recent NDP newsletter:

Ford’s housing task force isn’t interested in building affordable homes
 
In February, the Government-backed Housing Affordability Task Force released its report. The report includes 55 recommendations designed to speed up the construction of new homes, including Lands Tribunal reform, giving the province greater power over construction and planning approvals, increasing density, and opening up farmland to urban sprawl.

While there are pieces of the housing report I support, like zoning reform to increase density and spur the construction of missing middle homes within existing neighbourhoods, I am frustrated by the report's failure to call for the construction of more affordable housing and introduce measures like vacancy control.

Ontarians are being crushed by the skyrocketing price of housing. People are sleeping in parks across Toronto because they have nowhere to go, rent for a single bedroom costs $1,800 per month, and families are putting off having children because a two-bedroom apartment now requires an income of $118,000. 

It’s past time Doug Ford invested in affordable housing and better protections for renters so everyone can live in a safe and affordable home that meets their needs. 

Watch my question here: https://www.facebook.com/UniRoseJessicaBell/videos/666705447870556/

QP Briefing is reporting the government is planning on bringing in a housing bill in the coming weeks. I will share the bill as soon as it is made available.



11
Reading the City of Toronto website, it was unclear to me whether masks would still be required to be worn in residential buildings past March 21, so I e-mailed the City asking for a clarification and am happy to report that I received a definitive answer (included below).

While many medical professionals recommend that people continue to wear masks in indoor public areas to blunt the rise in cases we will see between now and June, the legal requirement to wear a mask in common areas of the building will expire on Monday.  So to be clear, masks will no longer be required.

Please note that the reply from the City indicates that other COVID-stipulations will continue to apply, such as the requirement that your landlord provides hand sanitisers and cleans high-contact surfaces daily.  Also note that masks will still be required in some other locations, such as on public transit or in hospitals, etc.

Quote
Good afternoon William,

I received your inquiry related to the Mask Bylaw from our Strategic Communications Team and wanted to follow-up regarding your question.

The City of Toronto’s Mask Bylaw (Bylaw 541-2020 as amended by Bylaw 664-2020), which requires businesses and organizations to have a masking policy for enclosed areas that are open to the general public, including for common areas of apartment buildings, will expire effective March 21, 2022. These changes coincide with changes to Government of Ontario masking requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. Toronto residents must continue to comply with any provincial masking requirements.

Please note, the COVID-19-related amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 354: Apartments Building Bylaws, including but not limited to the need to provide hand hygiene stations or alcohol-based sanitizers, to clean frequently-touched surfaces in all open, common areas and to post Toronto Public Health signage, do not expire on March 21, 2022. Thus, these amendments will remain in effect and must continue to be followed until either they are extended by City Council or expire without extension after the conclusion of the next City Council meeting. For more information on the COVID-19-related by-law requirements, please visit COVID-19: Orders & Bylaws – City of Toronto.

Thank you,

Anastasia Demakos-Edmondson
Stakeholder Engagement Lead RentSafeTO
City of Toronto | Municipal Licensing & Standards


13

Excerpts from the LTB website...


On September 1, 2021, amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2006 (RTA) came into effect. You can read more about the amendments here:   September 1 Amendments to the RTA

1 – A landlord may now apply for an order requiring the tenant to pay the reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of conduct by the tenant or someone else visiting or living in the rental unit which substantially interfered with landlord's reasonable enjoyment or lawful right, privilege or interest.

2 – A landlord may now apply for an order requiring the tenant to pay the reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of the tenant not paying utility costs (utilities means heat, electricity and water) that they were required to pay under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

3 – A landlord may now file an application if the tenant moved out of the rental unit on or after September 1, 2021 and the landlord believes the former tenant owes them money for rent, utilities, etc.

4 – Landlords who are filing an L2 Application because the landlord, a purchaser or a family member requires the rental unit, or because they want to demolish the rental unit, repair it or convert it to another use, must now disclose in the application all previous N12 or N13 notices of termination given to any tenant in the last two years. 

5 – A tenant filing a T5 Application – Landlord Gave a Notice of Termination in Bad Faith can now ask the LTB to order a landlord to pay them up to 12 months' rent in compensation.


14
Above Guideline Rent Increases / Re: "Necessary" repairs?
« on: October 08, 2021, 11:09:37 am »

There's a clause in the O. Reg. that defines repairs of the "physical
integrity" of the building as including repairs to maintain the "weather
envelope":

   https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/o-reg-516-06/latest/o-reg-516-06.html#sec18subsec1

See 18 (1):

Quote
“physical integrity” means the integrity of all parts of a structure,
including the foundation, that support loads or THAT PROVIDE A WEATHER
ENVELOPE and includes, without restricting the generality of the
foregoing, the integrity of,

(a) the roof, EXTERIOR WALLS, exterior doors and exterior windows,

(b) elements contiguous with the structure THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE WEATHER
ENVELOPE OF THE STRUCTURE, and [...]

I'm guessing that this is the reason the work is described as including
"sealant replacement" so that later, at your AGI hearing, they can
describe the work a necessary to the physical integrity of the building.

These sorts of repairs are very difficult to argue against during an AGI
proceeding because of the aforementioned clauses, that basically state
that these sorts of repairs are always to be approved.



15

From the Office of MPP Jessica Bell:

Good evening,

MPP Jessica Bell will hold a virtual press conference tomorrow morning, Thursday October 7th at 9:30am to address her request to the Ombudsman to expand its investigation into whether the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is meeting its duty to provide justice to Ontarians. The LTB processes over 80,000 cases a year and 90% of these cases are filed by landlords, filing for an eviction. The LTB is the second most complained about organization in Ontario (prisons and jails are first) and has not met its own service standards since 2017.

Housing and justice advocates know all too well how the now permanent move to online hearing has led to additional delays, and access to justice issues, especially for low and moderate income tenants. Here’s a summary of some of the concerns we have heard:

●        The LTB’s online hearing process is disorganized, chaotic and lengthy.

●        There continues to be long delays for a hearing, even for emergency cases. One constituent in our riding, a father of two children, was told he had to wait 70 days for a hearing after his landlord illegally locked him out of his home when he went to get vaccinated.

●        Many Ontarians are unable to fully participate in their online hearing, or even participate at all. To fully participate a person needs a fast internet connection, a computer, a lot of time on their hands, a room free of distraction, computer literacy skills, and written and verbal fluency in English or French. Lower income tenants, racialized and indigenous people and people living in rural areas are more likely to face literacy, numeracy, language, and technological barriers that impede them from fully participating online, sometimes they can call on via phone, or sometimes they don’t participate at all.[1]

●        The online format has made it very difficult for tenants to access free legal advice from duty council. Over 80% of landlords have access to legal representation, while only 2.6% of tenants do. Legal representation helps ensure hearings are fair.

You are invited to join our press conference tomorrow at 9:30 (details below) and we encourage you to send a supporting release or statement to insist on a more fair and just system for all.

Please be in touch if you have any questions and thank you.

The office of MPP Jessica Bell.


*************************
News Release:
*************************


MPP Jessica Bell (University-Rosedale), the Ontario NDP's Housing critic, will hold a virtual press conference Thursday to address her request to the Ombudsman to expand its investigation into whether the Landlord and Tenant Board is meetings its duty to provide justice to Ontarians.
 
Bell will be joined by a tenant who has faced technological and language barriers to accessing his virtual eviction hearing.
 
Thursday, Oct. 7
 
Time: 9:30 a.m.
 
Location: Zoom
 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89526366432?pwd=emhvQUdPSVhBYlJRTStnR2lrQVEwQT09
 
Passcode: 444197
 




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