Real estate investors – why you need to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord

Real estate investors mortgage info and landlord info | CanadianMortgageCo.comMy real estate investors group recently hosted the very knowledgeable Katherine Paliwoda to give us her inside perspective on landlord rights and responsibilities in Ontario.   To provide context, she began with a detailed history of residential tenancy law in Ontario.  She also disected the most recent piece of legislation, The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, and many examples from her extensive experience.  In sum, current or prospective landlords in Ontario need to know the law.  The process and letter of the law is very protective of the rights of tenants, and not nearly as protective of the rights of landlords.  If you’re considering becoming a landlord, Kathy’s message was clear:

Educate yourself on your responsibilities

The responsibilities of a landlord are covered by both the Residential Tenancies Act, as well as in the Ontario Human Rights Code.  There are many things a landlord must do, and many things a landlord must not do.  If you’re a potential real estate investor, you need to be aware of these.  For example, prior to having a tenant move in, a landlord must provide the Landlord and Tenant Board brochure entitled “Information for new tenants“.  Kathy’s suggestion?  Have the tenant sign a receipt to confirm they received your brochure, and keep it in your records. In addition, she provided many common-sense examples of things landlords need to do to be fulfilling their responsibilities and avoiding costly mistakes.

Cutting corners can be a mistake for real estate investors

Making sure to check prospective tenants’ references, asking for credit checks and information on income, and so on, are all critical things you must do to protect your investment.  However, you must ensure that you are treating everyone equally and fairly.  Housing is considered a human right for all Ontarians.  As such, you cannot refuse to rent to a prospective tenant based on things like their ethnicity, gender, social status, sexual orientation, age, or receipt of public assistance.  Be very careful to avoid even the appearance of discrimination in your advertising and vetting of tenants.  What you can – and should – do, however, includes asking for your prospective tenants’ rental history, credit references, credit checks, and income information.   This great article in the Toronto Star describes how to make sure you avoid difficult tenants from the get-go.

Where can you learn more?

Katherine Paliwoda runs periodic educational seminars at locations throughout Ontario.  You can check out her upcoming events in Mississauga and Toronto at her website, Landlord and Tenant matters, by clicking here.

You can also check out the Landlord and Tenant Board information and the website for the Ontario Landlords Association.

And for more information about financing investment real estate, I invite you to look through some of my other articles, here and here.

Happy landlording!


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