Investing in Toronto real estate – tenants make it possible
The Toronto real estate market has been an “investors paradise” since 1996. What a run it has been! There are many people who have made a fortune. Even those who bought a home for sole purpose of living there have done well.
The importance of finding quality tenants
Successful real estate investors have had the problem of property management and the selection of quality residential tenants. If you are new to this, here are 10 principles for how to select residential tenants.
Buying and selling property with tenants
Many investors have bought property, found a tenant and then decided to sell. One of the most frequent questions is how to sell a property with tenants in it. Both the buyer and the seller are bound by the terms of an existing lease. There are many things to consider when buying or selling a property that has tenants living in it.
Getting vacant possession (AKA “evicting”) of property
There are many reasons why property owners wish to get “vacant possession” of their property. In some cases it is to sell. In some cases it is to move into the property themselves.
In general it is difficult to evict a tenant in Ontario. The Ontario “Residential Tenancies Act” gives them significant and substantial rights. The “Residential Tenancies Act” does contain a provision that allows a property owner to evict a tenant if the property is required for the owner’s personal use. Sounds good. But, as described in a recent article in the Toronto Star, there is a new provision of the Residential Tenancies Act that requires the landlord to pay the tenant one months rent of the landlord claims the property for his personal use. In other words, the landlord must pay the tenant in order to move into his own property.
The above tweet references an article in today’s Toronto Star. Obviously I have made no effort to independently verify the facts. Frankly, I hope the facts in this article are NOT true. Nevertheless, assuming the truth of these facts, I think this deserves some comment.
The article begins with:
One of Toronto’s biggest landlords has an in-house collections agency that pursues evicted tenants for two months’ rent because they didn’t give “proper notice” when they were kicked out of their apartments, the Star has learned.
MetCap Living Management, which has more than 10,000 rental units in the city concentrated in Parkdale and Scarborough, and Suite Collections operate out of the same Richmond St. E. office. Suite’s president, Brent Merrill, who also sits on MetCap’s corporate board, says everyone must give 60 days’ notice to vacate an apartment, even if they’re being evicted.
“It is MetCap’s position that residents who breach their lease or give improper notice are required to pay the rent for the unit until it is re-rented or until the date that would have been the last day of the tenancy had proper notice been given,” wrote Merrill in an email to the Star. “We believe that we are following the law in the Province of Ontario.”
The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said the practice does not appear to be appropriate.
“If the landlord gives proper notice of termination and the tenant voluntarily moves out in accordance with the notice, the tenancy is terminated on the effective date of the notice. No rent is payable after the termination date, other than existing arrears,” said spokesman Mark Cripps.
I believe that the landlords should work hard to avoid Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board. Although not intended to be unfair to landlords, it does provide protection to Ontario tenants. The procedure is costly and dangerous. Although landlord lawyers at Landlordrelief will assist you with tenant eviction, we work hard to avoid this necessity.
In order to avoid the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, Ontario landlords should:
1. Be careful in how they select residential tenants.
2. Treat their residential tenants with respect and dignity.
3. Respect their properties so that the tenants will respect the properties.
4. Work WITH tenants to end difficult tenancies, rather than work AGAINST tenants in an adversarial proceeding.
Notwithstanding this advice, I came across three posts from Ontario Justice Education Network that helps people (both Ontario landlords and tenants) prepare themselves for a landlord and tenant hearing.
Here they are:
This is a question that we get again and again.
What happens if:
1. You are the landlord of a property which is occupied by a tenant with a lease? and
2. You wish to sell the property.
The answer is that that the landlord is free to sell the property, but that the property will be sold subject to the existing lease. It is obviously easier to sell a vacant property. That’s the bottom line. Landlords who own investment properties need to know and understand this.
For a detailed analysis see an earlier post on this issue.
This is a quick post based on a telephone call I had yesterday. You might be interested in buying a property that has tenants in it. You could be buying as either a potential owner or as an investor. Either way, this is a purchase that will require some thought. The primary factor driving a purchase or sale with a “tenanted property” is the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario (or I am sure comparable legislation where you live).
Residential Tenancies Act:
The legislation gives tenants clear rights. The most relevant right is the right to stay in the property (assuming they pay rent). In other words, absent very narrow circumstances, a landlord cannot simply give the tenant notice and ask him to leave. The primary “objective reason” that a “paying and responsible tenant” can be asked to leave is if the owner, or his immediate family, wants to move into the rental unit. (Now, I do understand that this is a bit of an oversimplification, but I don’t want to get sidetracked.)
The simple fact is that real estate agents have no vested interest in finding you a good tenant. I have noted this before. Do not use a real estate agent to find you a tenant. The following article reinforces this view.
ILLUSTRATION BY RAFFI ANDERIAN/TORONTO STAR
Raffi Anderian illustration
How to avoid the tenant from hell
September 30, 2010
Special to the Star
When Barbara Milean’s husband was transferred from Toronto to Ohio with his job as an operations manager at Chrysler last year, the couple faced a difficult decision — what to do with their yet unfinished three bedroom condo. Continue reading