• The Rental Conundrum: Is ‘Rental is Mental’ Becoming a Reality?

    In the world of property management, a heart-wrenching story recently unfolded before my eyes. It was a tale of despair and frustration, one that had me questioning the state of the rental market. The protagonist? A client of ours, surviving on a fixed income, whose financial dreams were slowly unraveling.

    Her lifeline was her basement, rented to a seemingly ordinary couple who paid the initial first and last months’ rent. However, the subsequent months saw no rent payments from these tenants, and my client was left in dire straits.

    She now faces the grim prospect of taking out a second mortgage simply to make ends meet. Her tenants, you see, are what we’ve come to know as “professional renters,” individuals who expertly navigate the system to avoid paying rent. These professional tenants are well-versed in every legal loophole available, leaving landlords like my client in financial turmoil.

    Is this situation an isolated incident?

    Regrettably, it’s not. As of last year, a staggering 38,000 eviction applications were pending, with wait times stretching between 7 months to a year. Enter SOLO (Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario), a group born in 2020, uniting small landlords who are fed up with the inefficient eviction process.

    Their only glimmer of hope lies in the Ombudsman of Ontario’s investigation into the prolonged delays in securing hearings, whether for unpaid rent, property damage, or illegal activities on rental properties.

    I must clarify that I’m not a landlord myself, and I’m well aware that not all rental property owners are saints. Some have evicted good tenants merely to raise rents, exploiting the system for their gain. A quick internet search yields countless articles on rent evasion tactics.

    But here’s the concerning part: these professional renters are exacerbating an already dire situation for Ontarians. Why?

    1.     Good Landlords May Sell: The financial and emotional toll may push
    good landlords to sell their properties, leaving the rental market even more
    strained.

    2.     Fewer Rentals: Homeowners may become increasingly reluctant to rent
    out their basements or upper floors, reducing available housing options.

    3.     Risk for Home Buyers: Prospective homebuyers might hesitate to
    purchase properties with existing renters due to the fear of dealing with
    problematic tenants.

    As I write this article, another one of our clients faced a nightmare
    scenario. Their prospective buyer backed out because the existing tenants
    refused to vacate the premises. These tenants even offered the owner a sum
    of $48,000 to leave-an offer that reeks of extortion. The owner had to
    refund the deposit to the potential buyer, who ultimately walked away.

    The situation is nothing short of a crisis. While I don’t possess a
    miraculous solution, it’s evident that if this trend continues, landlords
    will become increasingly cautious, rental properties will dwindle, and
    accommodation costs will skyrocket. In this battle, there are no winners,
    and that’s precisely why addressing the issue of rental regulations must
    become a top priority.

    The phrase “Rental is Mental” might be more apt than we initially thought.

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