Category Archives: Landlord and Tenant Concerns

Protect yourself against condo insurance deductible

I just came across this article by Mark Weisleder that is definitely worth reading and passing along to any condo owner. 

For Complete Article Click Here: Condo Insurance- What You Need to Know

There is a lot of confusion out there by buyers and real estate salespeople as to what insurance is required when buying a condominium. The mistake is thinking that the insurance policy for the building will always cover your situation. In most cases, the buyer will still have to pay for part of the damages, even if they have done nothing wrong.

Here’s why:

Condominium buildings do have an insurance policy that insures the building and the units. However, it will not cover any improvements to the unit made by the owners or the owners’ contents, should damage occur, whether by water leakage, fire or smoke damage. In addition, if someone you invite into your unit gets hurt, they can sue the owner personally for liability. As a result, most condominium buyers purchase a policy that provides coverage for their contents, any upgrades that they do to their unit and liability insurance to protect them if someone gets hurt visiting their unit.

What is confusing to most buyers is that just about every condominium insurance policy has deductibles, which become the owner’s responsibility should any damage occur, even if it is not the owner’s fault. The deductibles are usually $5,000 but I have seen many policies that have $10,000 deductibles. What this means is that let’s say you leave the bathtub overflowing and water damages the unit below you. You are responsible to pay the deductible, and the condominium will pay for any damage above the deductible. This will also be the case if you are responsible for the HVAC equipment in your unit and any malfunction causes damages to the building or to other units.

Let’s say the pipes in the wall burst, your unit was damaged and you did nothing wrong. Although the pipes may be the responsibility of the condominium corporation, you will still have to pay the deductible before the condominium pays anything extra to repair the damages. The only way to fight this is if you could prove that the condominium corporation was negligent in conducting repairs and should have known that the damage could occur. In my experience, you will pay more in legal fees to fight this than the deductible, so it is just preferable to have the proper insurance instead.

In every condominium status certificate, there is a summary given of the insurance policy for the building, including any deductibles. One way to protect yourself is to send this certificate to your own insurance company and tell them that you wish to buy extra coverage for the deductibles noted on the policy.

A better idea, in my opinion, is to use the same insurance company that your building is using for your own insurance package. This company likely understands the deductibles better than anyone and will make sure that your package covers any gap that may exist in the building insurance policy.

If you are buying a condominium as an investment, you still need to make sure that you have this type of insurance protection. Most tenants purchase insurance for their belongings and to cover liability. If you want the tenant to also pay for insurance for the deductibles, you need to say so in your lease agreement and make sure that the tenant provides proof that they have obtained all required insurance coverage before you give them the keys to the unit.

When you understand the insurance you need before you move into a condominium unit, you will be prepared should anything occur later.

1204 Southdale Drive – Open House

1204 Southdale, Oshawa

Open House Today Sunday September 14 from 2-4

Handyman Or Contractor Opportunity. Sold As Is. Are You Ready To Do Some “”Home”” Work. Bring Back The Sparkle! And You Will Have A Smart Investment. This Semi-Detached Home Features 2 Full Baths, Partially Finished Basement, Walk-Out From Living Room To Deck Overlooking Back Yard. Good Sized Bedrooms And Closets. Mostly Newer Windows. Home Located In Quiet Mature Area Near Courtice And Oshawa Border. School Bus Stop Just Steps Away. **** EXTRAS **** Central Air Conditioning (13), Shingles (11), Door (Garden Door 13).

Tenants profit from unsuspecting landlords

Has Anyone read this article.  If you live in a tourist area, and you are a landlord, this is a must read. Please forward.

Landlords are being urged to check their properties are not being sublet by tenants capitalizing on the tourism market.

An increasing number of tenants are cashing in on booming tourism markets and the ease of sub-letting on third party rental websites, including airbnb.

Tenants can generate as much as $150 per night by renting out a room or entire unit to unsuspecting short-term renters.  With the threat of the unit being occupied by squatters and violation of condo laws, landlords are being urged to be more vigilant and proactive when and during the rental process.

The Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) is advising landlords to actively monitor websites on weekend dates, and particularly when there are big events and peak tourism seasons. “Specific addresses are not listed, but most listings have detailed photos and descriptions that will quickly confirm if your property is being used as a vacation business by your tenant.”

A Montreal-based landlord last week revealed last week that upon inspecting her property, she found a party of strangers and that her tenant was making almost double the rent she was charged.

While sub-letting is allowed in Quebec, this process falls into the grey legal area of commercial renting. Many condo tenants, says the board, are advertising their units as hotel rooms, which is being done in contravention of the condominium corporation’s by-laws and so placing an additional legal risk on the landlord.

If the rental unit is being used by tenants in this way, the board advises landlords to consult a licensed legal profession and if applicable, an N5 notice should be served.

Check the condition of your rental investment

By Mark Weisleder

Owning a rental property is not just about collecting the rent on time. It is also about making sure that your property is being properly maintained. If you are not careful, you can face expensive repair bills.

Here’s why:

Mostafa Said owned a home at 11804 Stephen St. in Maple Ridge, British Columbia in 2005. He planned to take his family on a trip to his native Egypt for a year and hired Meadow Ridge Classic Realty to be his property manager to find a tenant and manage the property while he was away. Meadow Ridge found a tenant, Sherry Fontaine, who eventually trashed the place during her one year tenancy. When Said returned, the place was in a terrible condition and he sued Meadow Ridge for his damages.

Said told the judge that since he could not afford a lawyer, he sued in Small Claims Court, where he claimed the maximum of $25,000 as his damages.
The management contract said that Meadow Ridge would only be responsible for “gross negligence”. In a decision dated June 16, 2014, Provincial Court Judge T. S. Woods in the BC Provincial Small Claims Court awarded Said the maximum amount permitted in Small Claims Court, being $25,000.

Judge Woods found that as a result of the failure of the property manager to properly qualify the tenant, recognize red flags and not inspect the property on a consistent basis, they were in fact grossly negligent in their conduct. As an example, the judge pointed out that had the property manager just googled the name of the tenant, they would have discovered a story about Sherry Fontaine in 2004, indicating that she had a criminal record, prior drug use and that her children were taken away from her by authorities in BC after her child was mauled to death by a dog in 2004.  In addition, the application form of the tenant was incomplete, with no information about her employers, banking information or credit cards. No questions were asked as to how she could afford the Said home rental of $1,495 when her prior rental was only $700.

The property manager also took no pictures at the beginning of the tenancy to prove what condition the property was in at that time and despite the fact that the first rent cheque bounced, no additional measures were taken to watch the property more carefully. Instead, the tenant, two other adults and three children, described by the judge as “her entourage”, were permitted into the property. In addition, Sherry rented out rooms to transients during her tenancy, all without permission, and placed locks on some of the doors to create additional units in the home.

Under the law in Ontario, a landlord is permitted to access the rental unit by giving 24 hours’ notice for repairs, to show the property to potential buyers and to view the state of repair. This means that a landlord can get in to make sure that the tenant is properly maintaining the home. This does not mean that the landlord can come every day or once a week, as this could be interpreted as harassment. However, once a month or once every two months would be considered permissible.

When you hire a property manager, ask how often they will attend to inspect your property as part of their management duties. Also ask what checks they do to properly qualify any potential tenants. Remember to google the tenant as well to see if their social media information is consistent with their tenancy application. Also make sure you document the condition of the unit when the tenant moves in so you can prove any damages that may occur during the tenancy.
By doing careful screening in advance and conducting regular visits to your property, you will avoid any unpleasant surprises when your tenant leaves.

A rental property for retirement income: Is it worth it?

Tenants, anyone?

When pondering how to produce an income in retirement, people tend to fixate on stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Rarely mentioned is one other option: becoming a landlord.

Many people rule out the possibility because they don’t want to spend their golden years dealing with rowdy renters and peeling paint. But, under the right circumstances, it may pay to reconsider.

More Related to this Story

Richard Ballenthin, a retired Lutheran clergyman, sold his house a year and a half ago and bought a small commercial building in Durham, Ont., about 45 minutes south of Owen Sound. Today, at 71, he lives in a spacious apartment in the building and rents out two small retail spaces. He figures the move has boosted his retirement income by about 40 per cent.

“This can work well for someone who is prepared to downsize and has been debating a move to a condo or apartment,” he says. “It has certainly worked out far better than I ever expected.”

To find out whether a similar move may make sense for you, it’s important to have a realistic view of the pros and cons of property investment.

At its best, a rental property can throw off cash, much like an annuity, guaranteeing you a lifelong source of income. Better yet, the amount of that income will tend to rise with inflation since rents usually go up in tandem with prices.

The downside? Owning a rental property can leave you exposed to a downturn in the local economy. Go a few months without a tenant and the financial pain can be severe.

The only thing worse than having no tenant is having a bad tenant. If an occupant is particularly unruly, you may be forced to go to court to evict him.

Even with a good tenant, you have to be prepared for the regular grind of maintenance work. Especially as you enter your seventies, you may not want to shovel snow or fix clogged toilets.

For all those reasons, most seniors who want to derive income from the property market should look first at real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Buy units in a REIT and you receive regular payouts from a diversified, professionally managed portfolio of properties, without the hassles of actually dealing with tenants yourself.

But don’t automatically dismiss the notion of buying a rental property yourself. It all comes down to the specifics of the situation.

7 questions to ask when building a backyard deck

Now that summer has finally arrived, many home owners may think about building a backyard deck by themselves. Be careful; if it is not done correctly, you may run into problems later when you try and sell your home. Here are 7 things to remember:

1.    Do you need a building permit?

Every City has its own rules, but typically, if your deck is higher than 2 feet above the ground and is larger than 108 square feet, you will need a building permit before starting. In some cities, if the deck is attached to your home, then you always need a building permit before you build. In my opinion, by getting a proper permit in advance, it is easier to answer any questions about your deck when you sell your home later. This is because the City will do a proper inspection when your deck is completed to make sure that everything was built correctly.

2.    What material should I use when I build a deck?

David Power, President of www.thedeckbuilders.com in Toronto, tells me that while the foundation of most decks is usually pressure treated wood, the veneer and railings are usually cedar. David warns that if you decide to stain your cedar deck, you should pre-stain all six sides of the wood before you install it. In addition, make sure that there is at least a one-quarter inch gap between each piece of wood.

3.    Will it matter how large I build a deck or whether it is close to the boundary line?

The answer is yes. As explained to me by Toronto planner Michael Goldberg of www.goldberggroup.ca, the square footage area of a deck may count when determining whether your home complies with the zoning by-laws regarding how close any structure can be to the lot lines and how much square feet is permitted to be built inside your entire lot. For example, if the deck is at least 48 inches off the ground or the foundation is extended for construction of the deck, then it will count towards how many total square feet you can build on your land. In addition, if the deck is built too close to the lot line, it could also violate the local zooming by-laws. If you make a mistake, you could be forced to remove all or part of your deck.

4.    Should you do it yourself or use an expert?

In my opinion, you should always use an expert. If the deck is not properly secured to your home, it could lead to water in the basement later. In addition, improper design and construction could lead to the deck rotting out and collapsing under the weight of people on it. If it happens, you will be liable for any injuries caused to guests who may be injured while visiting your home. Experts will make sure that your deck has the proper footings in place for the foundation so that it meets all building code requirements and that it is properly secured to your home to prevent problems later.

5.    Is deck design important before you start?

It is very important. Figure out in advance where your barbecue is going to go, and any furniture you may want to include. If you are going to install a hot tub as part of your deck, make sure you leave enough space for this as well. Some owners prefer the hot tub close to their home so they can use it in the winter. Others prefer it in another area of the yard, so that they can have more room to entertain on the deck.

6.    Will I need guard rails?

If the deck is higher than 24 inches off the ground, you will likely need a guard rail that is at least 36 inches high. Once the deck is higher than 6 feet off the ground, it will require a 42 inch high guard rail. In all cases, the openings in the guard rails cannot be larger than 4 inches so that no one falls through.

7.    Should a deck be inspected as part of any home inspection when buying a resale home?

The answer is yes. Professional home inspectors should be able to tell you whether the deck is deficient in any way and whether it may have to be replaced as a result of poor workmanship.

When you are looking for a deck contractor, get references and look at examples of the work they have done elsewhere. Properly constructed decks should last for at least 20 years.

About Energy Ratings | Know Your Energy Score

HomeRating_Dial

Why should you get an energy score?

An energy score is an energy rating that is provided after a home energy audit is completed. The higher the score, the more energy efficient your home is. When you complete an energy audit and receive an evaluation of your home’s current energy use, you’ll be given an energy score, using the Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide Rating System. An EnerGuide rating is a standard measure of your home’s energy performance. Your home’s energy efficiency level will be rated on a scale of 0 to 100. A rating of 0 represents a home with major air leakage, no insulation and extremely high energy consumption. A rating of 100 represents a house that is airtight, well insulated, sufficiently ventilated and incorporates highest efficiency equipment. The higher your score the better.

EnerGuide Logo

 

 

  • Older Homes – 0 to 50%
  •  
  • Older Homes (Upgraded) – 51 to 65%
  •  
  • Energy-Efficient Upgraded Old Home – 66 to 74%
  •  
  • Energy-Efficient New Home – 75 to 79%
  •  
  • Highly Energy-Efficient New House – 80 to 90%
  •  
  • House Requiring Little to No Purchased Energy – 91 to 100%

Why should you get a new energy score after upgrading the energy efficiency of my older home?

During your pre-retrofit energy evaluation, you’ll get recommendations on upgrades you can make to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Once you complete all (or even some) of the energy upgrades (also called retrofits), a post-retrofit evaluation will give you your home’s new and improved energy score. When you compare the two scores, you’ll be able to see the impact your retrofits have made. Knowing your energy score could have future benefits as well. With more and more Canadians looking for ways to conserve energy and make environmentally responsible choices, having a high energy score will be a selling feature for your home. So in addition to saving on your monthly energy costs right now, you’ll reap additional rewards when you sell. Check out our Home Rating program for more information.

Landlord and Tenant Disbutes-How To Win

I came across this article and I thought it might be worth while sharing.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, if you expect to win before the landlord and tenant board, you better be acting in good faith. Here are some recent decisions that make that clear.

In a case heard in Waterloo, the tenant had a pet and lived in a building that was not subject to rent review. The landlord tried to raise the rent by 10 per cent claiming that since pets were damaging his property, he needed to raise the rent of those tenants who had pets to pay for it. The tenant successfully complained to the board that the landlord was imposing a pet tax arbitrarily.

10 per cent recent rent hike denied: In a case heard in Waterloo, the tenant had a pet and lived in a building that was not subject to rent review. The landlord tried to raise the rent by 10 per cent  claiming that since pets were damaging his property, he needed to raise the rent of those tenants  who had pets to pay for it.

The tenant complained to the board that the landlord was imposing a pet tax arbitrarily. The Board agreed and the increase was disallowed.

Who pays for hydro? In a case heard in Windsor, the tenant agreed to put the heat and hydro bill in  his name. The tenant had poor credit and so he asked the landlord to put the hydro bill in the landlord’s name temporarily. The understanding was that the tenant would pay all utility bills as  well as the security deposit. The landlord agreed to help out, but the tenant did not pay the bills.

The landlord asked the utility to suspend service. The utility gave one week for arrears to be paid and then cut off the power. The tenant went to the board, claiming that the landlord cut off a vital service, which is forbidden by law. The judge ruled that since it was the tenant’s obligation to pay for the utilities and he hadn’t, the landlord had not breached the Act.

When can you evict? In a case heard in Whitby, the landlord terminated a tenant’s lease because he was selling the property and the buyer wanted the unit for his own use. In fact, the buyer had signed a rent-to-own agreement, where he would become the landlord’s tenant with an option to buy the property at the end of the rental period.
This was not considered to be a good faith buyer. As a result, the landlord had
to pay the tenant $3,000. It broke down as $1,200 for the higher rent the tenant would have to pay for their new apartment and moving costs of $225.

As well there were damages of $1,600 for the inconvenience of having to move, the extra costs incurred getting the tenant’s kids to school and the fact that the tenant’s daughter had to give up a part-time job.

When to do repairs? In a case heard in Toronto, the tenant complained about the inconvenience caused by the landlord’s repair of the balcony in a small co-op unit. The 384-square foot bachelor apartment had a balcony that made up more than 25 per cent of the total area of the apartment. The tenant had no use of her balcony for 20 weeks and asked for a rent rebate.

The landlord claimed he had no choice since this was a decision of the co-op board. He did not however, give the tenant, among other things, the required 60 days’ notice before the repairs started. The tenant was able to obtain a rent rebate of 25 per cent of the total rent, for the entire 20 week period, totalling about $1,000. The moral of these stories is that when you come to enforce your rights before the landlord and tenant board, make sure good faith is on your side.

For Complete Article Click Here: How To Win Landlord-Tenant Disbute