I finally received a reply from the AGI Unit of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in Ontario on February 02, 2022, after receiving no reply to seven emails between November 2021 and February 2022, regarding an Above Guideline Increase (AGI) that I filed on December 28, 2020 (1.25 years).

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Part of the reply was, “We are currently working to resolve 2018 and 2019 year files, prior to moving forward with 2020 and 2021 year files …”

Politicians in Ontario built into the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) the requirement that every Ontario municipality must write a letter to every tenant in an affected rental property when their building’s property tax has decreased. The letter typically states that the tenant is entitled to a decrease in their rent, what percentage amount that should be, and that the tenant does not need the approval of the landlord to deduct that amount from the rent. The date of the rent deduction is typically 60 to 90 days from the date the letter was sent.

However, municipalities never send a letter to tenants to advise them that their rent might increase when property taxes increase. In fact, they don’t even tell landlords. Municipalities just send landlords the new bill with the increased amount.

Government effectively sets up residential landlords to take the full brunt of a tenant’s ire by forcing landlords to apply to the LTB to increase each tenant’s rent above the annual guideline. This application makes it appear that the landlord is the culprit behind the tenant’s rent increase when it’s really the municipality.

Many Ontario municipalities charge tenants two to 2.5 times more property tax than comparable single-family homeowners. How often do you hear from tenant advocates or the media about this incredible abuse that drives up housing unaffordability, especially for all the vulnerable tenants living in private-sector housing?

The arcane AGI process severely negatively impacts the tenant-landlord relationship and feeds the hysteria and misperception that landlords are greedy and immoral. Meanwhile, landlords must wait three years or more without any benefit to recover money that landlords were legislatively forced to loan to tenants so that the government was paid in full and on time.

Well gosh golly gee wiz … isn’t that what residential landlords are asking for too? To be paid in full and on time, and for tenants to respect the property and their neighbours? I’d argue that 85 per cent of all conflict that arises between tenants and landlords can be categorized under one of those two criteria.

Regional landlord associations continue to deliberately refuse to create a unified provincial voice to speak out against the outrageous practices against small and medium landlords who have suffered for decades under the oppressive, brutal and persecutorial whims and practices meted out by all levels of government. If there was ever a textbook case of divide and conquer, residential landlords would meet all the criteria and more.

Let’s briefly review the last two years of targeted governmental actions against landlords:

  • Three moratoriums on non-rent-payment evictions in one year
  • Zero per cent rent increase (costing $2.5 billion in lost equity in one year)
  • 10- to 12-month rent-free eviction processes
  • Capped 2.5 per cent annual increase (supposedly tied to CPI) despite four per cent plus inflation
  • three- to four-year AGI hearing process
  • 55 per cent increase in electricity in one year
  • 30 to 100 per cent “war profiteering” insurance premium increases
  • property tax increases, speculators tax, vacancy tax, contemplated renovation tax all add to housing unaffordability
  • Unused $5.5 billion available municipal contribution-in-lieu funds
  • Escalated bylaw enforcement officer “fundraisers”
  • Massive increases in fine amounts of various legislation (such as the fire code)
  • CMHC’s removal of equity extraction for non-property-related purposes (such as retirement income)
  • Still no damage deposit, which has empowered tenants to damage and destroy rental properties with impunity
  • Still no late rent fee despite every financial institution and government agency charging late fees
  • 50 per cent passive income tax while large-scale landlords pay 13 per cent corporate tax (if that)
  • I have 10 bulleted pages of abuses

While there may have been some minor legal process modifications, I’ve not seen any change in legislation that reversed any of the many bad policies and laws that continue to discourage residential rental and purchase housing construction, especially the “missing middle.”

It is not a coincidence that Ontario has the lowest housing per capita in Canada, and of all the G7 countries. Scotiabank recently reported that Ontario needs 650,000 homes … instantly … just to be on par with the rest of Canada.

Robert F. Kennedy, former United States Attorney General, once said, “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”

To politicians, tenants, media and even landlord associations, step back from short sighted self-interests and ask yourself just one question. Why would anyone want to invest in building any kind of housing in this province once they’ve learned the full extent of the immense financial and legal risks one must shoulder, the suffering they will undergo because of persecutorial practices by government and others, and then be denied the justice that every citizen is otherwise entitled to?

You can voice your concern with the LTB: [email protected]

9 COMMENTS

  1. 3 to 4 year wait times for a hearing is unfair and unreasonable.

    And that is just for a chance to plead your case for an AGI. That doesnt mean it will be approved, or if it is, that it will be approved for even the miniscule 3 percent maximum. (Inflation is currently at about 7%).

    Waiting so long for an AGI decision means it will be difficult for many tenants to pay the rent adjustment owing for the wait period (3 plus years), as few will pay even a portion of the possible AGI while waiting for the LTB decision. As a result tremendous pressure will be put on the landlord to forgive this amount owed to them. This is unreasonable as the delay was not the landlord’s doing. Again the landlord is being blamed for others actions.

    Further with inflation now acknowledged at 7% (and most of us are finding real costs have gone up much more), the money originally spent for the costs of the expenditures listed in the AGI application would actually be 15 to 20% higher (at least), than the same amount of dollars spent 3 years latter. Ie: $50,000 on expenditures in 2018 is worth a lot more than $50,000 spent in 2022. AGI decisions should be adjusted for inflation if applicants have to wait 3 plus years. Landlords have to pay their bills when service is provided……….NOT 3 years latter.

    Couple this with the relentless additional costs Cities pile on top of providing affordable housing, the latest being City of Hamilton expanding their “landlord licensing” (tax grab) program, and Oshawa likely about to apply “landlord Licensing” to all rental housing, the steady erosion or what few rights Landlords had and the constant negative media portral. One must ask…………..is being a small landlord in Ontario a sensible or even viable option any more?

  2. These deadbeat tenants as well as our politicians and policy makers need to be educated and realize that without the landlord investment into a rental property, there would be less rental housing available, more need for rental housing, and higher rent cost.

    How about a “class action lawsuit” against the government and LLTB on behalf of all landlords having to support deadbeat, entitled, professional tenants and others that will never amount to anything believing that they have all the rights be cause of “poor entitled me”!

    Many small landlords, purchase a property as a means of investment, which they will use to fund their retirement.

    ? Is there an organization that exists to support the small landlord? If not, why?
    The poor average landlord needs and deserves the strength of large and powerful legal backing?

    I’m not suggesting or taking value away from those already in the profession and helping landlords. Simply suggesting a large and powerful force combined by all in the profession, that the LLTB will view as an intimidator.

    Shoot! Why not simply re-write the one sided TB (Tenant Board) laws! Then we can include the “LL” and rename it the “LLTB”!
    One where the Landlord will have 50% of the protection! Equal balance!
    One that supports the eviction of the “deadbeat professional tenant” quickly and swiftly! 30 days after defaulting. See how quick they would change their “professional tenant” designation!

    Maybe then we can have a more balanced board that doesn’t penalize the landlord for simply being a landlord!

    Wow! Wishful thinking!

    • Actually, Small Ownership Landlords Ontario (SOLO) launched a campaign to sue the Provincial government for the substantial financial and legal harm the government heaped upon housing providers, especially during the COVID years. Your animosity towards the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB or “Landlords To Blame,” or “Loves Tenants Best”) is well-founded but the LTB is a symptom of much greater failed political decisions and short-sighted, ill-conceived housing programs so your (and all landlords’) animosity is misdirected. Many municipalities have a landlord association but none of them have banded together to create a unified provincial voice, which is where 90% of all housing-related matters are addressed. The one provincial landlord association doesn’t currently provide a voice for small landlords, who challenges are substantially different from large operators.

  3. Concise and deadly accurate. Thank you for speaking up for us small ownership landlords. My back is against the wall here – my tenants are all good but long-term and will never move due to the increases in market rents. Meanwhile, I have to shoulder all of the increases in expenses myself. I have not had a reasonable return on my investment in a long time. I may as well sell up to new owner-occupiers and invest elsewhere. All of my tenants, though good, will end up being evicted. The business model is broken by municipal, provincial and corporate greed – not personal greed on my part. I just want a reasonable income on the investment I have worked hard for a lifetime to earn. Time to cash in my chips.

    • I am in exactly the same situation. I have lovingly maintaining and upgrading my multiplex for almost 20 years. I also have many long term tenants. I am embarrassed to say how low the rents are. The quality of the property and service I provide to my residents FAR exceeds the value of the rents. Last year I made LESS than 1.4% return on my property! This was before taxes.

      My property is no longer an investment. It is now a low paying job, for which I must be a skilled handyperson of many trades, a general contractor, a designer, a bookkeeper, a property manager, a legal representative, have basic accounting skills, provide snow removal, yard maintenance, source supplies and be on call 24/7 365 days per year.

      Many blue chip Canadian stocks are paying 4 to 7 percent in dividends. I too will be listing my property for sale.

      I have owned rental property in Ontario for 33 years. Never have i seen conditions so unfair and unbalanced against landlords. I think it will only get worse. The various govts have seen they can abuse us with no consequences. In many instances, we forced to provide free housing. We have become the new social housing providers and are seen as perpetual cash cows to be milked.

      I have remained providing affordable quality rental housing for over 3 decades, not because it was exceptionally profitable, but because i was proud of my properties and felt I was providing a useful service to many. I now finally see that ontario landlords are simply being taken as suckers.

  4. And everyone wonders why the Western World is so divided………you’ve got some with a good strong work ethic and others who just want to ride their backs.
    Unfortunately, the latter are being catered to by the politicians.

    • Thank you for the vote of support. The City of Oshawa is planning to massively extend their rental housing licensing program to every property in the City. This will add significantly to the affordability of rental housing … yet another attack on residential housing providers.

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